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Letter to the Editor- Heritage Week

Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce surprised during Heritage Week

Heritage Week 2020 in Ladysmith was a resounding success! Approximately 550 people attended heritage events during the week, made possible by collaboration between various organizations in the Town and the work of a large body of volunteers.

Activities started on Monday, February 17th — B.C. Family Day — with an open house hosted by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society (LDHS) at the Ladysmith Museum, this made possible thanks to the financial support provided by the provincial government. People came to sample the family-oriented indoor activities, which included vintage games, silent movies and cartoons, an exhibition of beautiful quilts made by the Saltair Quilters and, of course, the regular museum exhibits telling the story of the Town, District and its people.

The museum was the venue on Thursday evening for a wine and cheese gathering, co-hosted by the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Society; Mark Drysdale MC’d while Jacquie Chellew organized. The Chamber thought it was celebrating its 90th year as “The Voice of Business” in the community, but sleuthing in the archives by volunteers showed that in fact the Chamber and its precursor, the Board of Trade, have been around for 118 years — since 1902 — even before incorporation of the Town of Ladysmith (1904). Ed Nicholson gave a wonderful speech describing conditions in the early town, accounting how the ladies played a prominent role galvanizing their men in the Board of Trade to organize provision of basic services (water, sewers and sidewalks) and how it was that the Board of Trade was the reason the Town was incorporated.

Sunny weather on Saturday, February 22, was perfect for a slate of heritage activities, to which the public was invited. Councillor Rob Johnson led a Downtown Heritage Walk, which ended at the museum. Refreshments were provided courtesy of the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association.

The Comox Logging and Railway Co. maintenance yard on Oyster Bay Drive and the Ladysmith Community Marina were extremely busy as the LDHS Industrial Heritage Preservation Group and the Ladysmith Maritime Society (LMS) co-hosted an open house from 11 am to 3 pm. Maritime heritage displays featured the stunning ongoing restoration of the wooden vessel C. A. Kirkegaard, currently being undertaken by LMS, as well as three heritage wooden boats on display at the marina docks.

See more photos of all the Heritage Week activities on facebook HERE

LDHS showed off progress by volunteers on the restoration of Locomotive 11 (a large steam engine built in 1923 used for hauling logs from Nanaimo Lakes to the Ladysmith log dump), the Humdirgen (custom built in Ladysmith’s Machine Shop in 1946 to push logs into the harbour) and a century-old CP Box car now refurbished and used as a temporary centre for heritage displays and youth activities. An army of volunteers put the waterfront displays together. The Cowichan Valley Model Railroaders lent their electric train, which fascinated the kids.

Along with games for all ages, small model wooden boats made by LMS volunteers and railway spikes were painted by many children. These, and informative cards about the Saravan tugboat and Locomotive 11, were taken home as souvenirs of Ladysmith’s history. A highlight of the day was rides on a restored Comox Logging and Crown Zellerbach hand pump car. A collection of early chainsaws and a working model of steam engine No. 12, were much admired. Ladysmith Town Councillors and Mayor Stone explained the Arts and Heritage Hub within the Waterfront Area Plan.

Thanks are due to the Kinsmen for providing refreshments and to the Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Department for bringing their vintage international fire truck for display. The Ladysmith Ambassadors greeted visitors.

Big thank you to Town of Ladysmith, Ladysmith Maritime Society, Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, Ladysmith Volunteer Fire Department, Nanaimo Airport,  49th Parallel Grocery, Chronicle, and Take 5 and special thanks to all the volunteers who worked so hard to share our heritage and pass it on.

— Quentin Goodbody, and Shirley Blackstaff

Letters to the editor on community topics are welcomed but may be edited for space and legality at the discretion of TAKE 5.  Opinions stated do not necessarily reflect those of TAKE 5 and its affiliate. editor [at] take5 [dot] ca

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