All posts by Marina Sacht

Ladysmith Harbour Heritage Walk

Catch our Ladysmith Harbour Heritage Virtual Walk with Quentin Goodbody on Saturday, June 20, at 7 pm via Zoom. If you can’t make it, make sure you visit our website for a recorded version the next day. Proud participant of Ladysmith & Area Hometown Tourist Weekend.

Time: Jun 20, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 884 4807 5765

Here is a preview of the talk produced by TAKE 5

President’s Report | June 2020

Hello members,

Here is the June 2020 monthly update on Society activities:

COVID-19 is still with us, but appears to be on the wane in our part of the world. This, however, does not yet mean that we can relax our social distancing, handwashing and other mitigation measures.

Businesses and municipal offices are re-opening in accordance with government-controlled relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions. The LDHS Board is carefully considering the reopening to the public of the Archives, Museum and Industrial Heritage site. In preparation for doing so we are familiarizing ourselves with guidelines from WorkSafeBC, BC Parks & Recreation, The BC Museums Association, and consulting with the Town and other similar institutions such as the Nanaimo Museum , other Ladysmith societies – and of course our staff/volunteers. Once approved by the Board, Covid instructions for visitors will be posted at the entryways to the Archives, 1st Ave Museum and Waterfront Industrial Heritage site, and guidelines for operating will be provided to staff/volunteers. They will also be posted on the LDHS website.

Our aim is to provide a safe setting in which everyone entering can have confidence that all reasonable precautions are being taken. Time will tell if and when that confidence is there. We have already seen an uptick of people wanting to visit the Archives.

Barring issues, our aim is to open some of the LDHS facilities to the public sometime in July. We will keep you posted. We do ask that if you can, please conduct your Archives business by phone (250 245 0100) or email (

Museum visitation, initially at least, will be by appointment – made through the same contacts as noted above. We are exploring working with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce to facilitate openings to visitors.

Despite the COVID lockdown, Culture Doesn’t Stop: i.e. things have continued to happen within the Society:

The Website and Facebook pages have received considerable attention; the layout has been updated and contents significantly expanded. This work is ongoing and has in part been funded by a Resilience Grant of $2000 provided by the BC Museums Association – for which we are very grateful. If you have not done so, please take the time to peruse us online. There is a treasure trove of heritage information there.  Many thanks to Marina Sacht and Mark Anderson for their Trojan work – and to Paul Mycroft for consulting with us on his website expertise.

Another online offering by the Society: as part of  ‘HomeTown Tourist Weekend 2020, the LDHS is hosting on June 20th at 7.00 pm an online virtual walking tour titled ‘Harbour Heritage: a virtual walk through the history of Ladysmith Harbour.’  The beauty of today’s Transfer Beach and Marina belies it’s industrial past. This virtual walk, through photographs and narrative, shows what the harbour was like in its industrial heyday, points out where things were, and what vestiges remain.

Links that will allow you to connect with will be posted. Do come and join us in this virtual walk through the history of our Town!  If there is sufficient interest, an actual walk will be organised in the future.

The front room of the Museum has had a make-over in preparation for the opening of the temporary exhibit ‘Predators of Vancouver Island’: thanks to Cheryl Bancroft and Robin Millan for their artistic efforts – worth a visit in itself to see! The featured Bears, Cougars, Wolves and Wolverines are an important  part of our natural heritage. In addition to impressive exhibits and photos, the biology and ecology of  these animals will be presented along with their importance to us humans both historically and now, and what you should do if you meet one – which is perfectly possible in the environs of Ladysmith. The opening is currently planned for sometime in July – keep an eye out for more news on when and how to view this exciting exhibit.

The Ladysmith Timeline which used to occupy the walls of the front room has been digitized and is being updated, expanded and prepared for exhibit via interactive screen.

The Society was successful in its application to The Virtual Museum of Canada for funding for a Community Stories project entitled ‘The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith’. The objective is to share the story of the music/cultural scene in Ladysmith from pre-settler times to today by using archival, historical, video and audio material along with oral histories. More details on the project can be seen on the Website. We are actively looking for volunteers and people to become involved: musicians especially welcome! This is a great opportunity to showcase Ladysmith’s musical history and talent on the national stage.

The LDHS has received funding through the Heritage Legacy Fund of B.C. (administered by Heritage BC) for a project titled “ONE Community, Different Cultures’. The deliverable is to host a workshop or workshop series that will use a facilitator and guest speakers to unite groups in the central Vancouver Island rural communities that have an interest in heritage. We see this as a way to increase communication and understanding between groups/societies, develop a better understanding of each other’s aims, and find a way to cooperate to make them happen.

The Board is still considering how best to hold the Annual General Meeting – postponed from April by COVID-19 restrictions. This is a tricky issue due to the relatively vulnerable nature of our membership re: COVID-19.  Options include holding an ‘actual’ meeting with Covid-19 protocols in place; holding a  ‘virtual’ meeting using Zoom (an online meeting application) through computer connection or phone-in or mail ballot, or a combination ‘actual and virtual’ meeting.

Partly by way of determining how many members can use Zoom, the Board set up  Zoom practice sessions on June 8th, 9th, and 10th. These were not well attended –which could signify that most members are familiar enough with computers and the Zoom App not to need a practice session – but more realistically we believe it is due to discomfort or inability among the membership to working online. Currently, we are leaning toward an ‘actual’ meeting to be held outside with a barbeque on Saturday, August 22, 2020, at noon. We are still determining the best location in mid-August. We will keep you posted.

Key AGM business to be conducted includes provision of the financial report, annual society status report, election of a new Board and approval of the revised Bylaws (which have been on the website for members to review since December).

So despite COVID-19  there is a lot happening! We would love you to become involved.

If interested, please email or phone 250 245 0100. This is, after all, your society!

Stay safe and enjoy the coming summer!


Q Goodbody

President LDHS

People & Places

Were there neighbourhoods in Ladysmith during the 1920s and 1930s?
As part of the People and Place Project, we are looking for photographs of streets, buildings, houses, and gardens within the original townsite of Ladysmith taken during the 1920s and ’30s. There are examples of people identifying areas such as “Finn Town”, “Top of the Hill”, “Little Italy”, and Belgian Town”. Are there specific boundaries to these areas? Did residents identify with the names of their neighbourhood? When did these names start to be used?
If you have information and/or photographs from these locations taken during the 1920s and ’30s, please call and leave a message at 250-826-3228 Project coordinator, or at the Ladysmith Archives phone 250-245-0100.
Thank you – we appreciate your contributions to keeping Ladysmith’s stories alive.

The “People and Place” project was funded in part by Heritage BC through the Heritage Legacy Fund.

First Quarter 2020 Update on Society Activities

 Society Activity Scope & Overview

 The Society continues to function on four fronts:

1/. The Archives per se

2/. The Reading Room

3/. The Museum (consisting of two parts)

i/.  Museum on 1st Avenue, Ladysmith

ii/. Industrial Heritage site at Oyster Bay Drive

It operates the Archives and Museum on behalf of the Town (which owns the facilities and contents) via a Management & Operating Agreement. The Town provides capital to run these facilities, mostly via a Budget Line Item. Additional capital may be provided, but is not guaranteed, via Grant in Aid for the Museum activity at the waterfront (Industrial Heritage Preservation Group activities).  Services to the public are currently curtailed due to Covid-19 concerns.

4/. Very active Website and Facebook page. Currently doing daily posts.


Doing ok. Sufficient operating cash in hand to cover operating expenses to end June when the next tranche of Town funding kicks in.  2019 Total Expenditure $75,900 vs Income $81,600


Postponed from scheduled date April 22nd.

Looking into potentially doing it ’remotely’ if Covid situation persists.

Key business includes:

  • Approval of the revised ByLaws – which have were sent out to members mid December.
  • Board election

 Activities 1st Quarter 2020:

Historically Speaking Talks

January – Earthquake Ladysmith.: History, Reason, Risk and Why you should prepare. Presenter: Q Goodbody (3 times with total audience approx. 70 persons) Venue: Museum & Archives

March –  2nd Boer War Presenter: Rob Johnson. Venue: Museum. 25 people attended.

March – History of Fire in Ladysmith. Presenter: Alex Stuart. Venue: Ladysmith Fire Hall

Future Talks planned:

Climate Change and Global Warming: Understanding the Realities Part 1: Causal factors and History of Climate Change,  Part 2: Greenhouse gases, Who is doing what, Climate change effects,             Forward modelling, Attempts to control. Presenter: Q Goodbody.  Venue: Originally scheduled for the Museum, but currently assessing giving online.

Water Ladysmith -Presenter: Greg Roberts. In the planning stage

Local Healing plants and potions – Daniel Elliott (Stzuminus First Nation). In planning stage

Looking for ideas / volunteers for future talks.

Heritage Week Activities:  February 17-23

 Monday Feb 17th: Family Day at the Museum.  >200 attended

 Thursday Feb 20th: 1st Annual Ladysmith Heritage Awards Presentation. in association with Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce ‘90’th celebration. 1st Annual Ladysmith heritage Awards presented in association with Town of Ladysmith. 45 attended.

 Saturday Feb 22nd Heritage Walk (Rob Johnson), 45 attended – ended up at Museum. Open House at the Waterfront, in association with the LMS. approx. 300 attended


Sorry to report the passing of a Bonnie Peerens, a longtime and greatly valued volunteer for the Society. Bonnie was a regular presence at the Archives. She will be sorely missed.

Archives building was open 5 days per week until closed mid March due to Covid-19 concerns.

Archives per se

Ongoing activities:

  • Walkem Fonds – Esther Sharp
  • Chronicle Fonds – Phil Christiansen
  • Tax Assessments – longterm project
Reading Room

Ongoing Projects: Research

  • History of  Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce – Ed Nicholson principal
  • Ladysmith Nursing School – Pat Brownfield principal
  • Cemetery Info Compilation – Nancy Roy principal
  • Canadian Colliery Employees – Bridget Watson principal
  • Births/Marriages/Deaths (pre 1920) – Linda McAdam
  • Heritage Trail Inventory in Cowichan Valley* – Marina Sacht principal
  • People & Places Neighbourhood Project *– Lesley Moore principal
  • The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith* – Marina Sacht principal

* Externally funded projects

Planned projects: Research
  • WW2 Cenotaph Stories – Esther/John Sharp
  • Kit Wilmot records online
  • Revision/Expansion of Heritage Inventory
  • Ladysmith Heritage App (with Chamber & Town)
  • Ladysmith’s Natural Heritage (Predators, etc.) M
  • Sport in Ladysmith M (to coincide with 2021 Summer Olympics)
  • Ladysmith Breweries M (to coincide with local brew pubs opening)

(M denotes planned Museum exhibit)

Ongoing Projects: Visitor information
  • Family Histories – Bridget Watson
  • General History – Alistair Cowenberg
  • Property Information (House info, Gas Stn Contamination etc.) Pat Brownfield


 Includes Museum on 1st Ave and site at 614 Oyster Bay Drive.

Board is steering focus of Museum to not just chronicling the Past, but to illustrate the relevance of Heritage to Present & Future, & to make Museum a recognized place of learning within the community.

Society is still planning to formally request space in the Machine Shop for Industrial Heritage displays. ‘White paper’ and preliminary budget distributed to LDHS Board for comment. End member of space request could be to house Museum and Archives in one place at the waterfront (see concerns about 1st Ave Museum building).

1st Avenue Museum Location:

Plan is to introduce temporary exhibits and associated activities/talks. First Avenue front room being changed into Temporary Feature Exhibit space. First Feature Exhibit to be ‘Vancouver Island Predators – Wolves, Bears, Cougars & Wolverines.’ Feature Exhibits intended to last 4-6 months.

Town Timeline previously in front room is being ‘digitized’  and expanded.

Remaining museum exhibits will be modernized/updated/expanded through the time when capital/manpower available

  • Saltair Quiltersover now. Quilts being removed.
 Planned Exhibits
  • Predators of Vancouver Island (Active planning ongoing.) Vancouver Island Predators: Bears, Cougars, Wolves, Wolverines. Anticipate Summer/Fall 2020 opening – post-Coronavirus A co-operative effort between LDHS Museum, Game & Wildlife, Tundra Speaks, CWS, etc.
  • Future wildlife exhibits planned. Birds, Fish, Insects, Plants
  • Ladysmith Sports.  Olympians, Guinness Records etc. – we got ‘em all…. History, importance and impact of sport in Ladysmith
  • Brewing and Bottling in Ladysmith and District.

Museum at Oyster Bay Drive (Waterfront) location:

Activity continued at the waterfront until halted in March due to COVID-19 concerns. Ongoing work includes: Restoration of Loci 11, Box Car and Humdergin;  securing Loci Shed against break-in: fabricating and installing rebar grids on windows. Planning for restoration of loci shed (doors in particular as they are in perilous condition).

Planned future projects include restoration of:

  • Log flatcar, Jordan Spreader – has Town approval.
  • Dunsmuir Coal Car and side dumper (currently in Cassidy area) – needs Town approval

Uncertainty as to Town’s plans for Arts & Heritage Hub. Working on clarifying plans and how LDHS can contribute.

Some concern regarding 2020 funding from Town Grant in Aid ($7500) due to COVID-19 reduction in 2020 tax revenue. Time will tell….

 Grants in hand

 People & Places: Neighborhood Project  $3055 Grant from BC Heritage Legacy Fund: Heritage Awareness. Report due October 2020. Research ongoing – Lesley Moore principal researcher. Detailing neighborhoods and ethnic diversity in early Ladysmith

 Heritage Trail: Inventory of heritage places in the Cowichan Valley $1100 Grant In Aid from CVRD. Report currently due – but delayed due to winter and COVID-19 closures. To date Chemainus, Crofton, Mill Bay, Maple Bay (Hand of Man), Nanaimo, Shawnigan Lake, Duncan museums visited. Awaiting visit to B.C. Duncan Forest Discovery Centre. Deliverable: a report detailing an inventory of Museums etc., and discussion on state of institutions; potential for a Heritage Trail

 ONE Community, Different Cultures $7500 grant from Heritage BC. Deliverable is a workshop prior to year end ‘ bringing disparate groups together’ to increase awareness, understanding and co-operation’. Preliminary planning ongoing. Volunteers sought.

The Beat Goes On. – Music in Ladysmith.  $15,000 grant from Virtual Museum of Canada. National exposure: Online history of Music in Ladysmith with video, sound, photos, commentary, text. Preliminary planning ongoing. Volunteers sought.

Grant Applications in preparation

BC Heritage Legacy Fund 2020 (Heritage BC) Applying for $7500 matching grant for ToL 2020 $7500 Grant in Aid financing for restoration of CL&RCo Railway Rolling Stock.  Submission deadline May 1st 2020. Awaiting approval letter from Town re: continued restoration of CL&RCo rolling stock.

Community Gaming Grant  Application in process for funding to permit hiring part time Museum Manager/Fundraiser.

 Other planned Activities

 Repainting lower portion of 1st Avenue Museum. Seeking Town approval ?and Development Permit?

Current LDHS Concerns:

  • Stability of Town funding due to Covid-19 situation. ?Will tax shortfall affect town support – especially concerned about GIA for IHPG activity ($7500).
  • State of 1st Ave Museum Building – addition where artifacts stored is vulnerable to flooding (last flood February 2020). Town notified. No official statement from Town, but unofficial message is that the Town is unwilling to incur the required expenditure to fix ($10s of thousands) as the building is slated for demolition in a couple of years.
  • Long term solution for Museum venue needs to be defined. Town plans (are there any?) need to be shared with the LDHS so joint planning can commence. LDHS recommending industrial heritage (+) centre in the waterfront Machine Shop.
  • Vulnerability of First Avenue Museum building to fire and break-in. Society has installed grids on all basement windows, and bars on all the doors – at it’s own expense to protect artifacts.
  • Vagrant occupying back porch of Town-owned old Food Bank building adjacent to Museum – much garbage, cigarette butts etc. left around Museum requiring constant clean-up. Cigarette butts imply heightened fire risk.
  • Requirement for Review/Revision of Archives/Museum Maintenance & Operating Agreement with Town. Communication initiated with Joanna Winter: Society concerns stated in letter – follow-up meeting deferred due to Covid-19.
  • Crime level at Waterfront – March break-in at First Aid Shed and loss of TV etc. (value approx. $650). Garbage and drug paraphernalia frequently has to be cleaned up. RCMP notified. Notification letter sent to Town with recommendations for additional security measures. No reply to date. All locks replaced, doors strengthened and valuable items removed.
  • Uncertainty regarding Town plans for Arts & Heritage Hub.

Respectfully submitted:

Quentin Goodbody, President LDHS, April 2020



The Beat Goes On – Ladysmith’s Music History Takes the National Stage

Ladysmith City Band, early 1900s. Photo: Ladysmith Archives

The Board of the Ladysmith & District Historical Society is pleased to announce the LDHS has been chosen by the Virtual Museum of Canada for a $15,000 investment in its project on the history of Music in Ladysmith.

Titled “The Beat Goes On,” the project will feature the rich history of music in Ladysmith and its connection to the evolving community. Ranging from pre-settler First Nations music through the early opera houses and city and coal company brass bands of the early 1900s, the ragtime of the roaring 20s and the depressed 30s, the big bands of the 40s and the beginnings of rock ʼn’ roll in the 50s and 60s, with the iconic dances in the Aggie Hall featuring greats such as Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis, the beat continues up to the present day lively music scene.

Through a combination of text, video and period photographs, interspersed with sound bites of the music of the day, the story of our community will be told and our current artists showcased on an online national stage.

Work on the project is commencing, with the final product due end 2021. Volunteers are sought to assist with research, contribute with reminiscences and perform. If interested, please contact the society at or phone 250-245-0100.

The Virtual Museum of Canada, managed by the Canadian Museum of History with the financial support of the Government of Canada, is the largest digital source of stories and experiences shared by Canada’s museums and heritage organizations. The Community Stories investment program helps smaller Canadian museums and heritage organizations work with their communities to develop virtual exhibits that engage online audiences in the stories, past and present, of Canada’s communities.

Community Record of the COVID-19

The Ladysmith & District Historical Society invites you to  keep a record of these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic that will be used in the future at the Ladysmith Archives.

Please consider keeping a personal or family journal of thoughts, activities and challenges documenting how current safety rules are impacting your life and the lives of those around you. How is this pandemic affecting you and your family?  What are your worries? What gives you hope? How have you been impacted negatively and positively?  How do you think life will change when this over?

This is a unique opportunity for children, parents, grandparents and friends to interact safely and help create a community record during this life-changing event.

We are living in a time that will be remembered in our history.  For a moment, let us consider some of the positive things that come from having time and space. The world has slowed down and we have time to think, be creative, let our environment recover, appreciate nature, help those in need, look after ourselves, catch up on chores and understand how much we enjoy friends, family, events and hugs. 

Please begin your journals: diaries, movies, slide shows, friendship emails, scrap books or drawings today.

When COVID-19 is over, bring a copy to the Ladysmith & District Historical Society Archives as a record of this unprecedented time. We would like to save your historical records today for tomorrow.

Now & Then Photos Project

The Ladysmith & District Historical Society is initiating an Adopt A Photo Project in order to expand and digitize our community Timeline.  We are asking photographers to shoot ‘now’ photos to match the perspective of our existing ‘heritage’ photos.  This will be a welcome feature at the Ladysmith Museum for the community to enjoy.

Those interested can contact the lead on this project, Marina Sacht at or 250-756-8892 and we will assign them photos to match.
This is a volunteer position.
For more info view the video below.

April Fools Day – an hysterical perspective

 “April the first stands mark’d by custom’s rules,
A day for being, and for making fools: —
But, pray, what custom, or what rule supplies
A day for making, or for being — wise?”

 – Rev. Samuel Bishop, 1796

Photo:Johnny Hughes

No-one knows for sure the origins of April Fools Day. Some hold that it dates back to antiquity and the celebration of the arrival of Spring. The long winter over and with life-renewing all around, it is a time for happiness and jollity. It is a time for tomfoolery…. it is a time for love – with softened senses and increased desire! Think the mad March hare….

The predominant theory holds that the origin of the April Fools Day tradition dates from about 1582, the year France adopted the Gregorian Calendar, which switched the beginning of the year from what is now the end of March (around the time of the vernal equinox) to the first of January. According to popular lore, some folks, out of ignorance and/or stubbornness, continued to ring in the New Year on April first and were made the butt of jokes and pranks (“poissons d’avril,” or “April Fish”) on account of their “foolishness.” This became an annual celebration that ultimately spread throughout Europe and other parts of the world.

However…. there are a number of facts which put doubt on this popular theory:

The ancient Romans celebrated a festival on March 25 called Hilaria, marking the occasion with masquerades and “general good cheer.”

Holi, the Hindu “festival of colours” observed in early March with “general merrymaking” and the “loosening of social norms,” is at least as old as Hilaria.

The Jewish festival of Purim has a long, colourful history as well. Coinciding with the advent of spring, it is celebrated annually with costume-wearing, carnivals, and pranks.

In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a pioisson d’avril, possibly the first reference to the celebration in France.

Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because, in the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns (to coincide with the arrival of Spring one imagines – most likely a hangover from pagan traditions), with a holiday that in some areas of France, specifically, ended on April 1, and those who celebrated New Year’s Eve on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates by the invention of April Fools’ Day.

The use of January 1 as New Year’s Day became common in France only in the mid-16th century, and the date was not adopted officially until 1564, by the Edict of Rousillion.

So It’s not unreasonable to suppose that the calendrical changes of the 16th and 17th centuries served more as an excuse to codify a general spirit of mirth already associated with springtime, the season of rebirth and renewal, than as the sole inspiration for a pranksters’ holiday.

So what of the traditions?

Convention has it that it is ok to play jokes on unsuspecting victims up ‘till Noon. After that, the fool is the one persisting with the falsity.

Some have expressed the belief that the origins of April Fool’s Day tradition may go back as far as the Genesis Flood narrative.   The London Public Advertiser of March 13, 1769, printed: “The mistake of Noah sending the dove out of the ark before the water had abated, on the first day of April, and to perpetuate the memory of this deliverance it was thought proper, whoever forgot so remarkable a circumstance, to punish them by sending them upon some sleeveless errand similar to that ineffectual message upon which the bird was sent by the patriarch”.

In 1561, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1.

In 1686,  John Aubrey referred to the celebration as “Fooles holy day”, the first British reference. On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”. People would show up only to realize they’d been tricked. No lions, no washing, no nothing….

The street prank worked so well that people kept pulling it year after year, targeting mostly out-of-towners. By the mid-19th century, pranksters had printed up fake tickets.

April Fools’ Day spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk,” in which people were sent on phony errands (gowk is a word for cuckoo bird, a symbol for a fool) and followed by “Tailie Day”, which involved pranks played on people’s derrieres, such as pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on them. The Scots were always adept at kicking others in the arse….

A number of recent April Fools tricks are worthy of mention – some with connotations to the present….

Running for president

“I never did anything wrong, and I won’t do it again,” said former President Richard Nixon, announcing that he would run for president in 1992 (Nixon had resigned from the presidency on August 9, 1974, in the face of almost certain impeachment and removal from office). But the man speaking wasn’t Nixon, and the news segment that aired the announcement wasn’t real. National Public Radio’s piece on Nixon’s 1992 presidential run is one of its most famous April Fools’ Day pranks. Not only did people believe it, but they were also outraged. “A lot of people’s worst dream was Nixon running again. The idea that he would run again was absurd, but it played on their fears so much that thousands of people believed it.”

Does this make you think of someone else down south?

Lenin’s corpse

On April 1, 1995, the Irish Times announced that the Walt Disney Corporation had entered into an agreement with the Russian government to purchase the embalmed remains of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, to put on display at the Euro Disney Theme Park. The founder of Bolshevism and the driving force behind the creation of the Soviet Union would be given “the full Disney treatment,” the article promised, with strobe lights and T-shirt sales. Make you think of someone in Russia today?

Left handed toilet paper:

Why should right-handers be closer to cleanliness? In 2015, Cottonelle tweeted that it was introducing left-handed toilet paper for all those southpaws out there.

Few people may have been taken in by Cottonelle, but that wasn’t the case in 1973, when Johnny Carson cracked a joke about a toilet paper shortage. Worried Americans immediately stocked up.

Does this make you think of the recent ‘runs’ on toilet paper?

Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity:

April 1, 1976, during an early-morning interview on BBC Radio 2, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47 AM that day a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur. Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, and this planetary alignment would temporarily counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment the alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, the station began receiving hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman reported that she and her friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Moore had intended his announcement to be a spoof of a pseudoscientific theory that had recently been promoted in a book called The Jupiter Effect, alleging that a rare alignment of the planets was going to cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 1982.

Oh, and then there was the spoof of Swiss farmers having a bumper harvest of spaghetti, with a documentary by the BBC in 1957 showing them harvesting it from trees….

Enough about the tomfoolery of others:

The LDHS would like to offer a sumptuous prize to whoever sends in the most hilarious April Fools Day prank that you or your family/friends have been involved with. Entries will be judged by a most prestigious jury… and shared on this site.  Send you entries to

Artwork wanted – children

Hello Parents with Young People Learning at Home

We are seeking your assistance with a new display in the Ladysmith Museum on First Avenue, Ladysmith.

The theme is the Important Role of BC’s Predators (Black Bear, Wolf, Wolverine and Cougar). The goal to understand their importance, to respect and honour them, to explore our relationship with them and discover more about our heritage and culture through this display, newly created games, videos and hands-on activities.

We would like to gain your help with this display by having your young people (Grade 1 to Grade 12) create some art work. It might tie in with some aspect of their Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Art Curriculum.  If reports, stories, legends and poems also are created due to an interest in this theme we’d be happy to add them to our display. Students may search the Web for ideas and information.

Later when it is safe to do so we will arrange for a drop off location for your young people’s work.  Our volunteers will make an excellent display of the students’ art work in our new Ladysmith Museum exhibit. Families and friends will be welcome to visit the Museum and be awed and enriched by this exhibit. You will be notified by viewing the Ladysmith & District Historical Society Website under Events to find out when  it will be safe to be open for visitors.

We request that students print their name at the bottom right of their art work.  The size and art mediums (watercolors, acrylic paints, graphite pencils, crayons, charcoal and pastels, etc.) will be your choice.

Students’ work will be returned at the end of the exhibit.

Please share with us your interest in participating in this inclusive community exhibit by emailing Thank you.

Best Regards,

Shirley Blackstaff, LDHS volunteer/director,

Education and Engagement continue despite COVID-19

“While the Ladysmith & District Historical Society (LDHS) has closed the museum and archives and ceased Saturday operations at the waterfront until further notice, that doesn’t mean that our minds have to cease operations,” says President Quentin Goodbody.
LDHS volunteers are working on a few projects designed to entertain and inform you — with a historical perspective.
Some of these projects include a series of walks with points of heritage interest, titled “About Town – Walk Through Time.”
“The idea is to give you the incentive to get out, get some exercise (in a socially isolated manner) and at the same time learn about our communities,” explains Goodbody.
The society is also looking at the best ways to continue presenting their popular “Historically Speaking” series, which will be streamed online at specified times covering a variety of subjects including, but not limited to:
• “Earthquake Ladysmith” details the history of earthquakes on Vancouver Island and the impending “Big One,” examining its likely effects on Ladysmith and what you could/should do to prepare.
• “Ladysmith Fires: Risks and Prevention” looks at local fires through the ages and the story of the Ladysmith Fire Department.
• “Climate Change Examined” puts global warming and its effects into perspective relative to the Earth’s history of climate change prior to man’s industrial activities.
Work is continuing on the new museum exhibit on Vancouver Island predators – wolves, wolverines, bears and cougars. A part of the exhibit is a wildlife photography show, and the society is inviting photographers to submit high-resolution digital photos, as well as prints, that showcase the diverse wildlife in our area.