All posts by Marina Sacht

Aggie 100th Celebration Event

In November 2021, the Federal Government of Canadian Heritage granted funds for the purpose of hosting this event.

Here is the plan:

  • Saturday, September 22nd, 2002
  • Mid-day through the afternoon (TBC)
  • Location: 1110 1st Avenue

Events include:

  • Open House including lower Air Cadet Hall
  • Static display with photos and slideshow
  • Unveiling of exterior storyboards
  • Dedication of commemorative plaque
  • Souvenir booklet and pins
  • A concert is also under consideration

Stay tuned!

 BC Family Day Fun on the Ladysmith waterfront 

It is BC Family Day Monday, Feb 21, 2022, and the Ladysmith Maritime Society and the Ladysmith & District Historical Society invite the community to celebrate at their Family Fun on the Waterfront event from 11 – 3 pm.

This event is supported by the Province of British Columbia.

Keeping COVID protocols in mind, most of the events are outdoors at the Ladysmith Community Marina and by the Industrial Heritage site located in the 600 block Oyster Bay Drive.
The heritage buildings complex, formerly part of Comox Logging & Railway Co. now includes the LMS Boat Shed where heritage vessels are restored. The LDHS Workshop is occupied by the impressive Steam Loci 11, along with other artifacts. You will get a chance to walk through the facilities and watch volunteers at work and ask them questions.
Just across from the site is the Ladysmith Community Marina. Come down to the docks and visit their floating museum and their heritage boat fleet on display. You’ll get a chance to warm up with some hot chocolate and see what you can discover with their underwater camera.
Don’t forget to stop at the Ladysmith Train Station before you head out. This building is in the process of being converted to a community space and this is your chance to share your ideas on its possible future. A used book sale by donation will be on the premises. So bring some loose change – it’s for a good cause!
This is a free event for all ages with slide shows, music, Snack Station, and a “Take Away” Activity table plus a free booklet based on Ladysmith’s waterfront heritage.
Remember afterwards to post your photos with #ladysmithheritage and share for a chance to win a prize! or

LDHS Signs Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge

During its December 2021 meeting, the Board of the Ladysmith & District Historical Society adopted the Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge.

President of the LDHS signing a pledge
LDHS Signs Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge

Initiated by Heritage BC and created in 2021 in association with a group of culturally diverse advisors representing Indigenous and other cultural groups within British Columbia, the Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge aims to redress the fact that the heritage field in BC has its roots in western colonial systems of knowledge and practice and that these systems have been imposed on other cultures and peoples within our society to their detriment.

The Pledge acts as a guide to achieving new standards within the heritage sector for understanding cultural diversity, past harms done and the need for reconciliation and a new approach.

“By signing the Pledge, the Ladysmith & District Historical Society acknowledges Indigenous and culturally diverse peoples within our community and states its intent to establish and maintain respectful and welcoming relationships with these peoples” states Quentin Goodbody, LDHS president. “The Society commits to support and engage in public education and advocacy relating to cultural diversity, and to making reconciliation and cultural equity part of its strategic direction. Recognising that it has much to learn about the cultural diversity within our community, the Society will ensure that Indigenous peoples and cultural groups are involved in development of this understanding and in the formation of strategies and programs that the Society develops relating to these groups.”

Signed copies of the Heritage and Reconciliation Pledge are displayed in the Archives and Museum and are posted below.

showing document

Page showing pledge





A Year of Activities – 2021

Year in Review

 As it is coming up to year-end, I thought you might like a brief update on what the Society has been doing these past 12 months.  Quite a lot, as it happens:


A reduced roster of volunteers has continued working  behind closed doors managing records,  servicing  queries from the public and conducting research on society contracts and historical subjects of their own choosing.  Housekeeping on the electronic database and computing system has been ongoing.  Oh  – and we have been eating Esther’s baking…

Esther sorting book donations.


It has been a particularly busy year at the Museum.

We opened thePrime Predators of Vancouver Island’, feature exhibit on Family Day on February 15th and closed it on November 30th. It was very successful, despite Covid attracting over  1700 people…

A huge thank you to the volunteers that made this lovely exhibit possible, and to the Hand of Man and RBCM for the loan of the wolf and wolverine.

Wolverine from RBCM

Currently, we have our “Magic of the Season” exhibit open sponsored by the Ladysmith & District Credit Union.  Thanks to Carol Tysdal and the hardworking helpers who put this together.  The Museum has been transformed. Lots of wonderment for kids – and adults too!  Do drop by for an evening or weekend with your little ones.  It closes on January 8th.

Artist Carol Tysdal created handmade dioramas and volunteers transformed the museum into a magical place for the young and young at heart.
Magic of the Season is on Sat & Sun 10-4 pm and evenings Tues-Fri 4-8 pm.

We are working on a new feature exhibit that will open in Spring 2022. More details are to be announced shortly. Additionally, we are currently upgrading existing permanent exhibits on the history of the Town and District.

People continue to donate items of local heritage interest to the Museum. Our Collections Committee is fairly busy and for this we are grateful. Please keep us in mind before tossing old photographs or items of local interest/provenance.

This year the upstairs gallery hosted three exhibitions.

Red Flag, Red Flag fibre arts, curated by Val Galvin
Juhli Shauer’s Octopussy’s Garden
Lynda Phelan’s Manage a Trois
  • ‘Red Flag Red Flag’, a fibre arts exhibit on Climate Change. Thanks to Val Galvin for curating.
  • “Octopussy’s garden” – a collection of paintings by Juhli Shauer featuring west coast octopi.
  • “Ménage à Trois” –  a collection of acrylic paintings, conceptual, mixed media and yard art by artist Lynda Phelan.

Building Works:

In addition to exhibits inside, we have also been working on the Museum Building itself.

During the past several winters volunteers had been battling a leaking roof and flooding in the north extension – due to lack of eavestroughs and poor perimeter drainage – this requiring shop-vacuuming water, sometimes several times a day, during rainy periods.

We applied for and were awarded CERIP (Community Emergency Recovery Infrastructure Program -Unique Heritage Infrastructure grant – of $89,000 to repair the roof, fix perimeter drainage and conduct renovations within the building to improve visitor flow, accessibility, space usage and artifact storage.

We have been working closely with the Town administration. Work done to date includes re-roofing of the extension on the north of the building where many artefacts are stored, installation of new eavestroughs and perimeter drainage, and a significant start made on internal renovations – Ken Brownlow and Sons contractor. Currently, we are receiving bids for electrical work.

Downstairs renovation will make space for functional for meetings.

We have a way to go yet on the internal renovations, which will principally include remodelling of the basement area and installation of a rolling artefact storage system. Right now things appear a bit chaotic, as we play musical chairs moving stuff around,  but we are VERY excited about the changes and know that they will improve the usage of the building significantly – and our ability to look after our heritage artefacts.

Most important to note: There was no flooding during the recent deluges – so the repairs have fixed that problem – which is GREAT! Thank you Richard Frost and Kelly Giesbrecht for all your help.

Repairs outside museum
Town staff working on the exterior of building

Oh – we also recently had a break in the water line – completely unrelated to the work on the eavestroughs and perimeter drainage. This was repaired very quickly by the Town.

The Museum also held a very successful fundraising book sale in September. Again, many thanks to the volunteers for putting this together.

Historically Speaking talks

We continued with our Historically Speaking series and have held 8 talks so far this year, with over 4000 people taking them in.

We have another talk scheduled for December 14th at 7.00 pm. Catherine Gilbert will present ‘A journey back to Nature’ which will lead us through the fascinating history of Vancouver Island’s beloved Strathcona Provincial Park.

These talks are recorded and added to the LDHS YouTube channel. You can view them via our Website.

Industrial Heritage Preservation

The Industrial Heritage Preservation Group recommenced activities at the Comox railyard once all had received their vaccinations.

Plymouth coming back to Ladysmith

The loan agreement between the LDHS and the Museum of Port Alberni for the Plymouth 107 gasoline engine was finalized – thank you Shelly Harding for your efforts on the Port Alberni side. The engine was brought back to Ladysmith from Port Alberni in October. A huge thank you to Lyndon Harris and Boss Machinery of Parksville who donated the transport of the engine, and to Ken Fyfe of Coombs for assisting with the arrangements.  We are extremely grateful to them for their generosity.

The engine is housed in a temporary shelter and work is currently ongoing on the engine – starter motor and carburetor rebuilds, etc. You may remember the dual reason behind bringing this engine to Ladysmith: not only did it work at the CL&RCo yard here in Ladysmith and thus is of direct local heritage interest, but also when repaired to running condition it will be used to shunt rolling stock around the trackage – including pulling Loci 11 in and out of her shed.

John and Myff Plecas very kindly donated two railway switch stands which the group have installed so that the railyard track is functional.

Loci 11

Work continues on Loci 11 – aiming at having her looking pretty and as complete as possible for her 100th anniversary in 2023. A committee has been formed to prepare a celebration to mark the event. The Humdergin also is being worked on – installation of a replacement radiator being the principal focus.

Heritage Week 2021 (February 15-21)

Snowfall at the beginning of the week stopped people from moving about. This prompted extending planned activities to February 28th.

BC Family Day

A Covid-friendly outdoor family activity put on jointly by the LDHS and LMS consisting of a ‘Heritage Treasure Trail’ proved very popular. The trail started at the Museum, wound its way through downtown and ended up at the LMS Marina Welcome Centre, with rhymed clues to heritage features along the way and treats and a vintage boat display at the Marina. 257 actually did the Trail; astoundingly the Facebook introduction to the Trail with map and clues drew 4800 views, and the slideshow with answers and information on each of the artifacts was visited 2200 times.

Heritage Awards:

The Society also celebrated BC Heritage Week by giving out 5 Ladysmith Heritage Awards in a very successful online ceremony attended by, amongst many others, our MP and MLA. Mayor Aaron Stone, Chief Roxanne Harris and Quentin Goodbody officiated. The online ceremony was recorded and attracted more than 2000 views.

Currently, the Society is inviting nominations for the 2022 awards. If you know of someone or something deserving of recognition, please consider contacting the society either by phone or email.

Luke Marston along with his brother John Marston received awards.

 ‘ONE Community’ Project:

Funded by a grant from The Heritage Legacy Fund of BC , this project is about getting to know each other within the heritage community on east central Vancouver Island, developing a mid-Island Heritage network, improving awareness and understanding of cultures within our community and developing Heritage Tourism.

Four Zoom workshops have been held. A website and interactive map of heritage assets are in development. Lots more work to be done!

The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith:

This contract with the Virtual Museum of Canada focuses on telling the Town and District’s history through music of each era. Did you know that there was music composed to celebrate the relief of the siege of Ladysmith? Have you heard the strikers’ disparaging song about the militia sent in to restore order after the riots in 1913? How familiar are you with Robert and Dan Swanson’s logging poetry? These and other stories are coming together. We could do with additional volunteers.  Musical bent would be very useful but is not a requirement. Send the Society an email or call to connect.

To wrap up:

Ladysmith Train Station renovations and community engagement were spearheaded by the LDHS

Despite Covid, the Society is very active and in good shape. We could do with more members and volunteers. …..

The very best to you for the Season! Stay safe and healthy.

Respectfully submitted by:

Quentin Goodbody, President LDHS

Ladysmith & District Historical Society Receives Federal Grant to Celebrate Aggie Hall Centennial

The Ladysmith & District Historical Society and the Town of Ladysmith are thrilled to announce the receipt of a $15,300 Federal grant from the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program for the community to commemorate the 100th anniversary of construction of the Ladysmith  Agricultural Hall (Aggie Hall).

Aggie Hall is located on 1st Avenue near the roundabout and is an important example of an early community-driven building project.

The hall and grounds were initially developed with funds raised by the community through subscription and the sale of shares. It was built in 1922 in seven weeks by miners.

When the floor was laid a dance was held, the first of many that would bring joy to generations of residents. The Agricultural Fall Fair became a tradition that continued into the 1990s as a major annual event with extensive involvement from local growers, food producers, artisans, gardeners and families.

Today, the Aggie Hall remains an important ‘people place’ within the community, housing the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron 257, one of B.C.’s oldest aid cadet squadrons, and Ladysmith Family and Friends (LaFF) as well as hosting other community events.

The hall represents the fruits of our community working together a hundred years ago.

A celebration for next September is being planned by The Aggie 100 Committee, composed of representatives from a variety of community organizations.

The Town appreciates the efforts of volunteers in carrying on the spirit of this historic landmark in the planning of activities of celebrations, details of which will be announced in 2022.

Stay tuned; look forward to a wonderful time and a celebration of our community.

Call for Nominations for Ladysmith Heritage Awards

The Ladysmith & District Historical Society is calling for nominations from the community for the third annual Ladysmith Annual Heritage Awards.

The awards are to recognize the individuals, businesses and societies that have played a key role during this past year (2021) through their actions or initiatives toward preserving or promoting local heritage.

“These awards are a way to show appreciation of the role people or organizations play in preserving our heritage, to recognize how this heritage characterizes our community, and to emphasize the importance of this heritage to attracting visitors,” says Quentin Goodbody, President of the LDHS.

There are two award categories: (i) Restoration of a heritage building, place or artifact, (ii) Commitment displayed by an individual or organization (society or business) to preserving and promoting local heritage.

Anyone can nominate, including nominating themselves, their business or their society.

Applications are being accepted until January 15th 2022

Award recipients will be announced during February’s BC Heritage Week.

To nominate please visit…/call-for…/

For more information please phone 250-245-0100 or email

View 2021 Awards Ceremony here



Stz’uminus Canoes

The federal government has announced September 30th as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. In honouring the First Nations, we’d like to present a history of their canoe races across the decades from c1905 to 2021 There is also a photo of a canoe being built.

Compiled by John & Esther Sharp

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada was officially established on June 1 2008 with the purpose of documenting the history and lasting impacts of the Canadian Indian residential school system on Indigenous students and their families.

The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was named in a similar fashion to the commissions by the same name in Chile in 1990 and South Africa in 1996, but differed from those in that the Canadian TRC was not a federal or state-led initiative. It was developed as part of a 2006 legal settlement, the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement, between various residential school survivor groups, the Assembly of First Nations, various Church bodies, and the Government of Canada. As such, the Canadian TRC had no powers of subpoena; no power to offer known perpetrators of abuse the possibility of amnesty in exchange for honest testimony about any abuses that may have been committed. Further, the commission could not explicitly “name names” or accuse individuals. Consequently, the Canadian commission heard primarily from former residential school students.

The inclusion of the term ‘Reconciliation’ in the commission’s name came under criticism of implying that there was once a harmonious relationship between settlers and Indigenous peoples that is being restored. It was argued that such a

relationship may never have existed in Canada, the use of reconciliation thereby perpetuating such myth by continuing to deny “the existence of pre-contact Aboriginal sovereignty”.

The mandate of the TRC included hosting seven national reconciliation events across Canada, collecting all relevant archival documents relating to the residential schools from church and government bodies, collecting statements from survivors, and overseeing a commemoration fund to support community reconciliation events. The TRC’s mandate emphasized preserving and exposing the true history of residential schools.

After a series of community visits and regional events held by the Commission in our province during 2011-2012, the BC National Event was held in Vancouver September 19-21 2013.

Between 2008 and 2014 the TRC gathered what is estimated to be around 7000 testimonies from residential school survivors. These testimonies were gathered in both public and private settings such as community hearings, sharing circles, Commissioners Sharing Panels, etc. During the public testimonies, survivors detailed their experiences surrounding the residential schools. These regularly consisted of memories of being stripped of their language and culture as well as experiences of abuse, sexual assault and malnutrition.

In June 2015, the TRC released an executive summary of its findings along with 94 ‘Calls to Action” regarding reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. Its six volume final report was released in December 2015 and can be viewed through the following link:

Justice Murray Sinclair (centre) and Commissioners Chief Wilton Littlechild (left) and Marie Wilson pull back a blanket to unveil the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada on the history of Canada’s residential school system, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The findings of the Commission have come under criticism by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons. It has been accused of ‘historicizing’ the effects of the residential schools and failing to recognize/address the ongoing nature and impact of colonialism. It has also been accused of indifference to robust evidence gathering, comparative or contextual data, and cause-effect relationships, resulting in the commission’s report telling a skewed and partial story.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation  was established at the University of Manitoba  in Winnipeg, as an archive to hold the research, documents, and testimony collected by the TRC during its operation. The NCTR opened to the public in November 2015 and holds more than five million documents relating to the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

Main sources:

Compiled by: Quentin Goodbody

Our Local First Nations

  • Today, there are approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in British Columbia. They include First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
  • There are 198 distinct First Nations in B.C., each with their own unique traditions and history.
  • First Nations are grouped culturally and linguistically. The Coast Salish is a large, loose grouping of many nations with numerous distinct cultures and related Coast Salish languages.
  • The Stz’uminus First Nation is a Coast Salish people, speaking a Coast Salish language (Hul’qumi’num).
  • Territory claimed by Coast Salish peoples span from the northern limit of the Salish Sea on the inside of Vancouver Island  and covers most of southern Vancouver Island, all of the Lower Mainland and most of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula (except for territories of the now-extinct Chemakum people).
  • Stz’uminus First Nation lands today constitute 1200 hectares on four separate reserves. Ladysmith residents are most familiar with two of them: Oyster Bay 12 where the Stz’uminus First Nation administrative offices and the commercial development of Oyster Bay Village are located, and Chemainus 13 – Thuqmin containing the communities of Kulleet Bay and Shell Beach and where the community hub comprised of a community centre, daycare, primary and secondary school and the Health and Elders centre is located.
  • For more information about the Stz’uminus First nation visit


Coast Salish First Nations on south eastern Vancouver Island


Stz’uminus First Nation Traditional Territory


Compiled by Quentin Goodbody

Indigenous Languages in British Columbia

  • There are 34 Indigenous languages in BC, divided into 7 language families.
  • There are 2 language isolates spoken in BC, Ktunaxa and X̱aad Kil (Haida) – these languages are completely unique and not related to any other language in the world.
  • The 34 Indigenous languages spoken in BC today represent 60% of all the Indigenous languages spoken in Canada.
  • BC’s indigenous linguistic diversity is related to terrain and the natural abundance of the land. The rough geography (huge mountains, distant islands, etc.) made it difficult to navigate across large swaths of land as compared to the prairies, so people tended to stay closer to home and develop distinct languages. Plus, there wasn’t a great need to travel because of the abundant sources of food found in BC’s ocean, rivers, and forests.
  • Each language is uniquely shaped by the land it comes from, and uniquely contains scientific, historical, and cultural information about those lands that is not held anywhere else.
  • All of BC’s Indigenous languages were oral languages with no writing systems before colonization. Today unique writing systems have been developed for each of the languages.
  • All of BC’s languages are critically endangered – each have less than 1000 fluent speakers, and about half have less than 50 speakers.
  • However, the number of semi-fluent speakers is increasing, indicating that language revitalization efforts are working.
  • The First Peoples’ Cultural Council has an awesome interactive language map of BC  where you can find information on each of BC’s languages. Search
Distribution of the Seven First Nation Language Families in BC.                                                                     Source:

Distribution of the 10 Salishan languages to which Hul’qumi’num belongs.
Modified from


Compiled by Quentin Goodbody