In the summer of 2019, I went on the Cloverdale Ghost Walk, a walking tour around the downtown area that focuses on the dark side, some of the bad and unfortunate things that happened in Cloverdale. Most of which happened long before I was born.
So let’s fast forward!
When I look at my Grade 1 photo, three boys, out of a class of thirty kids, were involved in other people dying. Before their time, if you get my drift.
None of their stories were part of the Cloverdale Ghost Walk.
Here’s a little bit about the dark side of Cloverdale since I’ve been alive.
When I was in Grade 10 at Cloverdale Junior High School, the biggest story surrounded one of my classmates.
Let’s just use his initials because he was a minor at the time.
I’ve known BM since Grade 1. He’s in that class photo. He was in most of my classes at elementary and junior high school. A smart boy who also had a bit of a temper. Not violent, just loud and insulting when he got mad type of temper.
Cloverdale’s a small town, or at least when I was growing up here, so a story like this spreads fast. Even in the days before social media! BM and his brother B got into an argument in a friend’s back yard after school one day. BM picked up a knife to make a point about something. Literally and figuratively. I don’t think he intended to kill his brother. After he stabbed him, he ran off and hid. The police found him later that night.
Meanwhile my friend’s brother started artificial resuscitation on B, but he couldn’t be saved.
BM was off school for about 10 days and then he showed up at class again. There was no jail time, though I’m sure he was on parole and going to a counselor.
I met Dale in Grade 1, which he was taking for the second time around. He was always the tallest kid in the class. His sister was also in the same grade, my age, and her and I were somewhat friendly. We were never close buddies, we had other friends we hung out with, but we didn’t have any issues or disagreements going on. We did gymnastics and our mothers alternated driving us to the class.
This horrible incident happened in 1992, long after we’d finished school.
I guess my classmates like knives. Dale stabbed two women to death and then drove to a park and fell asleep in his car. A man walking his dog spotted him, the blood, and a knife on the seat, and called the police, thinking he was dead or injured.
The two women who were killed had young children so this was a huge tragedy. Dale got sentenced to 10 years in jail, and he probably was out in a third of that time on good behavior due to overcrowding in the jail system.
This was a drug deal gone bad. The women were selling drugs, some sort of argument broke out, and Dale was probably stoned at the time. Or at least that was his defense. It’s too bad the way the courts look at things. Two women were murdered, but they were drug dealers, so no biggie apparently. Usually murder charges carry a minimum sentence of 20 years before the offender can apply for parole. In other words, in Canada, a “life” sentence usually isn’t. He was convicted of manslaughter. He even appealed his sentence saying it was unfair and excessive. Incredible!
It’s hard to find old news stories, but I have a couple of links if you’re interested.
Both the above articles are part of other news items. I did a search for “Hicks” (Control F) and the story is under “the cocaine made me do it” defense.
My landlords actually know him. Dale’s kids were in school with their grandkids so they’ve seen him a few times.
Small world, hunh?
And yes, if you want to commit a crime, come to Canada. Home of the slap on the wrist for committing double murder.
Another fellow in my Grade 1 class photo is Doug, and out of the three boys from my Grade 1 class, I knew him the best. He lived around the corner and we always went to each other’s birthday parties until we reached that age where we only did all boy or all girl parties.
Doug was convicted of killing his pregnant wife, his 10 year old daughter, and attempted murder of his son, who was about 8 at the time. I have a hard time believing he did it, but he did some stupid moves, like immediately leaving the funeral and heading over to Vancouver Island to spend time with his girlfriend. A few months later the police did a Mr. Big sting and arrested him after getting a confession on hidden camera.
This murder happened in Mission, about a 45 minute drive from Cloverdale.
The first two murders were in Cloverdale.
One of the larger buildings in Cloverdale is (was) the Clover Inn. This is a two story building with hotel rooms on the second floor. The lower floor held probably the ritziest restaurant in town when I was a kid. There were two entrances. One for men only and the other marked “ladies with escorts”. Yup I still remember that. Sexism is alive and well in Cloverdale!
There was a bar and a coffee shop in the building that were more casual than the “fine dining” restaurant.
Over the years they got rid of the fine dining label and the escorts entrance and turned into a casual dining restaurant. I remember going there once because they had specials on steak sandwiches and my boyfriend back in the 80s and I were joining friends there for lunch. I’m a vegetarian so that special didn’t interest me, but they had a salad bar and I went for that. All I can remember is my boyfriend saying my lunch cost twice as much as his did!
The hotel rooms morphed into SRO, a term in this province for single room occupancy which are usually rented to lower income individuals. There were a lot of people with mental and/or physical health issues living in these rooms. I’m not sure how that worked because generally these are people who need assisted living but those type of residences close down and then they’re on the streets. The accommodations at the Clover Inn closed many years ago, the building was renovated, and it’s now home to The Henry pub, which seems to be very popular.
Before The Henry opened, the Clover Inn was operating as a stripper bar for about ten or fifteen years. It seemed to be a popular hang out for motorbike gangs. I remember all the bikes parked in front when I was walking my dogs around town. A man was shot and killed in the bathroom, but he wasn’t the intended target. His murder is still unsolved.
What did I see?
A few years ago I was walking my dogs. I don’t remember what time it was, but it was dark outside. I’m guessing this happened no later than 9pm.
I was walking on the sidewalk, heading back to my house. I’d just passed the Cloverdale Legion, and was about half a block away from Highway 15 where there’s a pedestrian-activated crosswalk at the street lights.
The other side of the street has a wide gravel shoulder, but not a paved sidewalk.
A man and a woman were walking on the other side of the street going in the opposite direction from me. He was very agitated and yelling. He even punched at a chain link fence that had been put around a closed gas station. I watched them, concerned for the woman’s safety. However, she was talking quietly and didn’t look worried.
The man was unhappy with whoever the woman was currently in a relationship with. I don’t know if she was walking with her brother or maybe an ex. Whoever he was to her, she wasn’t showing any signs of fear.
I didn’t get a good look at them. It’s a wide street and it was dark.
They were almost at the Cloverdale fire station, so she certainly could have run in there for protection if needed. I reached the traffic lights and kept watching them, wondering if I needed to dial 9-1-1 and ask for a cop to do a welfare check and see if she needed assistance.
The fact that they were walking, and she was quietly talking to him, and the only violence I witnessed was to a chain link fence (ouch that’s gotta hurt!), I continued on home.
Two days later the news is reporting on a homicide that happened in a townhouse that I walk past daily with my dogs, a couple of blocks from my house. Yikes! That’s too close for comfort.
The victim, a man in his early 30s, was shot from someone standing outside the residence. The girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend was the suspect.
That gave me chills. Was that who I’d seen the other night? When I saw the couple, they were a block away from that townhouse.
I’ll never know for sure.
Anyway, he was sentenced to 14 years. https://www.langleyadvancetimes.com/news/bad-ass-barry-mcquarrie-sentenced-to-14-years/
Yup, if you want to kill someone, come to Canada.
Shot at home
Here are a couple more stories that happened about a year apart where men were shot and killed in their driveways in Cloverdale.
Neither murder has been solved.
The dark side of Cloverdale sends out an unfortunate message: this quiet, small town isn’t so safe any more.