Roller derby team seeks help in solving decades-old mystery

The Rink Minx received a mysterious email just before Christmas

Campbell River’s new female roller derby team has been playing Nancy Drew for the past few months in an effort to unravel a mystery that’s worth hundreds of dollars.

It’s been a busy last few months for the Rink Minx who recently relocated from the Comox Valley to Campbell River.

The team, which was comprised of mostly Campbell River skaters, lost its warehouse in the Comox Valley and took the opportunity to move north after securing practice space at the Community Centre.

Then to top it all off, the Rink Minx received a mysterious email just before Christmas from someone on the Lower Mainland.

Kim Emsley-Leik, one of the Rink Minx co-ordinators, said at first the girls were suspicious but some quick research validated the message.

“We got this email telling us that $700 was sitting in the Bank of Canada for an old roller skating club in Campbell River,” Emsley-Leik said.

Sure enough, according to Bank of Canada records, $677.01 was transferred to the Bank of Canada from the Bank of Montreal on Dec. 31, 1987. When accounts become defunct any unclaimed balances are transferred to the Bank of Canada.

The last known transaction date is Sept. 1, 1977 and the account is registered to C.R. Roller Skating Society.

“They used to be a roller skating club in Campbell River and they had an executive and they have almost $700 sitting in the Bank of Canada,” Emsley-Leik said. “We would like them to donate it to the new Rink Minx of Campbell River, but we need to find the executive.”

The Rink Minx searched through the archives at the Museum at Campbell River and have come up with the names of people who sat on the executive. They’re hoping that someone from the public may know one or two of the members and can put them in touch. Those names are: Grace Brown (president), Denise Dionne (vice-president), Thelma Navid (recording secretary), Isabella McKenzie (corresponding secretary), Helen Schmuland (treasurer), and Ev Bergsma (instructors rep).

The Campbell River Roller Skating Club was founded in 1963 thanks to Iris Millmore, a skater from Britain who was instrumental in establishing the club.

The club offered roller skating lessons to children and other aspiring skaters and held a highly-anticipated annual event, Roller Follies, at the old community hall to showcase the club’s skating abilities.

The Roller Skating Club was a co-ed mix of all ages, from children to seniors, but the club disbanded sometime around 1971 shortly after Strathcona Gardens was established and other recreational opportunities became available.

The Rink Minx are hoping someone in the community can help put them in contact with the former members of the Roller Skating Club.

Anyone with connections to the former Roller Skating Club can contact Lita at 250-850-4936 or by email, rinkminxrollergirls@gmail.com

In the meantime, the Rink Minx are gearing up for another bout this summer. Last year’s event, the first in Campbell River, received tremendous support and attracted roughly 700 spectators.

“It’s a revival of an old community pastime,” Emsley-Leik says. “A good chunk of the audience was over 60 and that’s because of the nostalgia factor.

“Campbell River likes its roller skating, it’s a sport that has huge potential here.”

The Campbell River Skating Club used to put on annual River Follies rollerskating extravaganzas. Museum at Campbell River/Special to the Mirror