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.
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: https://nctr.ca/about/history-of-the-trc/trc-website/
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.
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 https://www.stzuminus.com/
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 https://maps.fpcc.ca/
Distribution of the 10 Salishan languages to which Hul’qumi’num belongs.
Modified from https://maps.fpcc.ca/
There were 18 Residential Schools in British Columbia, 4 on Vancouver Island.
The residential school closest to us in Ladysmith was the Kuper Island Residential School. (Kuper Island is now called Penelakut Island).
The Kuper Island Residential School on Penelakut Island near Chemainus, Vancouver Island, British Columbia opened in 1890 and operated to approximately 1975. It was run by the Roman Catholic Church although it was primarily funded by the Department of Indian Affairs. Its mission was to provide manual and domestic training for Indigenous children of the Cowichan Indian Agency and adjacent Coast Salish groups.
When the school officially opened in 1890, there were 17 boys in attendance, but the student population would number approximately 171 between 1890 and 1906. By 1920, 320 children had attended the school. The school was designed to be only for male students, but in 1891 12 females registered and the school continued to be co-educational.
Children who went to the residential school were isolated from their community, and frequently forcibly taken from their families. They were forbidden from speaking their language at the school, suffered neglect, were underfed, and often faced sexual, physical and mental abuse. Approximately a third of students died from tuberculosis. Students set fire to the school in 1896 when holidays were cancelled. A survey carried out in that year showed that of 264 former students 107 were dead. In one case, a student was whipped and placed in solitary confinement for taking apples. In the 1930’s, doctors undertook medical experiments on children. Several children drowned trying to escape by swimming across to Vancouver Island, or floating logs across the water, and another student committed suicide in 1966
The federal government took over the administration of the school in 1969 and closed it between 1975-1978; the building itself was demolished in the 1980s.
Examples of Kuper Island Residential School survivor testimony can be found in the report “The Survivors Speak: a report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” (2015), and information sources about residential school history in British Columbia are being collated by the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at the University of British Columbia.
Created by Stz’uminus First Nations carver Luke Marston, this Bent Wood Box was commissioned in 2009 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. After years travelling around the country as the centrepiece of healing circles, collecting items from Residential School Survivors related to their personal journeys, and a time on display at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the box now resides at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The box is a powerful physical and visual symbol of the suffering inflicted upon Canada’s indigenous peoples.
Background to the box:
A 2017 University of Manitoba interview with Marston examined the meaning and significance of the Bentwood Box.
UM Today: What was your inspiration for the design of the Bentwood Box?
Marston: The inspiration for the healing box, or the TRC Bentwood Box, came from my family: my grandmother and my grandmother’s mother were in Residential Schools, both in Kuper Island [now Penelakut], so I drew inspiration from that. I also have other relatives – friends of the family, mentors, Elders – who were in Residential Schools who really helped me when I was making the Box, through guidance and things like that.
Then also, it had to have the representation of all the Nations across Canada, so not just where I’m from – the West Coast – but also the Woodlands First Nations and the more northern Inuit territories and the Métis people as well had to be represented on the Box. Looking within their culture, I found inspiration through their art forms as well.
UM Today: you tell me about the traditional steam Bentwood Box and the materials you used for this particular piece?
Marston: The steam Bentwood Box is a traditional form that was used down to Seattle and all the way up north into the Tsimshian territory. We use them for collecting and storing food and storing things like masks and blankets and anything for cooking. They would be water tight so you could put water in them then put rocks in them to boil food. They’re also used for holding medicine, which this particular one is.
The whole Box is made out of western red cedar. It’s old growth wood. We believe that when we cut down one of those old growth trees, or any tree, we give it a new life into something else. It’s still a living thing, it still has its own spirit, or its own soul, even when it’s just a piece of wood. So that’s why we believe our houses and stuff – like the cedar houses – are still living. We name our houses and our masks and things like that because all of those materials, that cedar, is a sacred thing to us, that’s why we use that traditional wood.
UM Today: Does the Bentwood Box represent the identity of Canada?
Marston: When I look at the Box, I definitely think that I captured the First Nations of Canada distinctly from each area. There are so many different nations within Canada that it would be impossible to get every one, but when you think about Woodlands First Nations – I definitely captured their style of art form. The medicine circle is distinctive to this area and then the Métis figure eight is an iconic symbol that everybody knows. The Bentwood Box itself is for sure a West Coast Box, it comes from there, and that style of carving is Coast Salish, representing the North-West coast carvers. Then the Inuit, the more northern people, are represented with the northern lights and the Inuit man with his parka over his head. As a whole, I feel like it is representative of the Canadian First Nations people for sure.
Then also, when you look at it you can see what it represents, as Canada, and as Canadians, and what Canada has decided to do by acknowledging the Residential Schools and what’s happened. I think that’s the biggest thing when you think about, “Does it encompass Canada?” It’s like, well yeah, this is what Canadians are about and this is what we’re doing – we’re taking responsibility for what’s happened.
UM Today: As Canada celebrates its 150th Birthday, how do you see the Bentwood Box playing into Canada’s future?
The thing with the Bentwood Box coming back here, I feel like it was a necessary move to have it still to be active. Having it safe in the [Canadian Museum for Human Rights] is one thing, but also to have it here, still being used by people and Survivors and knowing that they can come here – it’s something, you know. They say they collected 7,000 statements and they’re all in that Box, so you know if people want to come here and talk and still use the Box, I think that’s really necessary.
I don’t believe that the journey of the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada] is over, I don’t think that healing can be done that quickly – undo all this in five years – especially with the diversity of the people that were affected through the schools. I don’t really know what I see for the 150th for the Box, but I’m happy to see that it’s carrying on and still working and helping people to heal.”
In 2021 The Ladysmith & District Historical Society honored Luke Marston with a Ladysmith Heritage Award for his work in sharing the rich heritage, traditions, art, beauty and resilience of the Stz’uminus people within the Ladysmith Community, nationally and internationally.
Indigenous communities and activist groups have long been advocating for action against the disappearance and murder of an alarming number indigenous women and girls in Canada.
The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) unit of the RCMP was established in 2010 in response to their earlier investigations of murdered and missing Indigenous women, particularly in relation to what became known as the “Highway of Tears” an area of intersecting highways around Highway 16 in northern British Columbia where at least 19 indigenous women and girls had been murdered by that time.
A 2014 report by the RCMP, titled “Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview“, found that more than 1,000 Indigenous women were murdered over a span of 30 years. From 2001 to 2015, the homicide rate for Indigenous women in Canada was almost six times as high as the homicide rate for other women, representing “4.82 per 100,000 population versus 0.82 per 100,000 population.”
In 2016 the Government of Canada launched the independent National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. As background to the inquiry it was determined that, between the years 1980 and 2012, Indigenous women and girls represented 16% of all female homicides in Canada, while constituting only 4% of the female population in Canada.
Statements for the inquiry were gathered from across Canada between May 2017 and December 2018. A total of 2,380 people participated in gatherings and hearings across the country. The final report entitled “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” was released in June 2019.
There was an overwhelming concern expressed by the families who gave testimonies to the Inquiry, believing that police investigations were “flawed” and that police services “had failed in their duty to properly investigate the crimes committed against them or their loved ones.”
This prompted a Forensic Document Review Project to review police and other related institutional files. The most significant findings of this review were as follows:
There is no “reliable estimate of the numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA persons in Canada.”
The 2014 and 2015 RCMP reports on MMIWG “identified narrow and incomplete causes of homicides of Indigenous women and girls in Canada.”
The “often-cited statistic that Indigenous men are responsible for 70% of murders of Indigenous women and girls is not factually based.”
“Virtually no information was found with respect to either the numbers or causes of missing and murdered Métis and Inuit women and girls and Indigenous 2SLGBTQQIA persons.”
“Indigenous communities, particularly in remote areas, are under-prioritized and under-resourced.”
“There is a lack of communication to families and Indigenous communities by police services and a lack of trust of the police by Indigenous communities.”
“There continues to be a lack of communication with and coordination between the police and other service agencies.”
“[d]eaths and disappearances of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are marked by indifference. Specifically, prejudice, stereotypes, and inaccurate beliefs and attitudes about Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA persons negatively influence police investigations, and therefore death and disappearances are investigated and treated differently from other cases.”
Symbolism and Community
In 2010, Metis artist Jaime Black started the REDress Project in response to the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic in Canada. In this ongoing project empty red dresses are hung in a variety of environments to symbolise the missing and murdered persons. Both Canada and the U.S. have declared May 5th ‘Red Dress Day’ to promote awareness of the issue. Jaime Black chose the colour red for the dresses after conversations with an indigenous friend, who told her red is the only colour the spirits can see. “So (red) is really a calling back of the spirits of these women and allowing them a chance to be among us and have their voices heard through their family members and community.”
Our local Stz’uminus First Nation has been touched by this tragedy and has chosen to commemorate their missing women and girls by extending the REDress project to our highways. In May 2021 trees lining the side of the TransCanada Highway at the north and southern approaches to Ladysmith were adorned with red dresses.
On at least one occasion a small group held a traditional prayer meeting at the roadside to honor and remember a murdered family member. Poignant evidence of great pain and sorrow borne with immense dignity.
A LOT has been happening since the last AGM in August 2020 – both on the Covid front and within the Society – which has, I think, coped fairly well given the circumstances.
I want to acknowledge the continued financial support by the town – with which we partner, through a Management and Operating Agreement, to run the Archives and Museum. This agreement comes up for renewal next year, so some negotiations are in the offing. Additionally the Town provided money through a Grant in Aid, to finance, in part, the Industrial Heritage activities at the Comox Logging yard (Steam Loci 11 and Humdergin refurbishment, track upkeep etc.). We also receive annual contributions for heritage promotion and staff/volunteer training.
As I said last year, without this arrangement and support the LDHS would be a very different type of society.
We have been, and continue to be, affected by Covid-19. Hopefully with vaccinations the risk of severe effects has diminished, but we still need to adhere strictly to protocols for the protection of our volunteers and our community.
Covid-19 Emergency Funding:
The Society last year received funding from the BC Museums Association Resiliency Fund and the federal Canadian Heritage Covid-19 Emergency Support Fund. This financial support is gratefully acknowledged. It has financed purchase of Covid related supplies and facilitated expansion of the Society’s online presence through renovation and expansion of the website, increased Facebook and YouTube presence, and purchase of a commercial Zoom account.
Our part-time archivist, Christine Meutzner and Volunteers have been working , and for the time-being continue to work, behind closed doors at the Archives. In-person visits can occur by prior arrangement, following strict Covid protocols. In addition to servicing queries from the public by phone or email, a lot of background work has been going on. Computing systems have been reviewed/improved: hardware and software have been updated. Database clean-up and re-organisation continues: historic photos scanned and id’d etc. etc. Volunteers are researching specific topics – about which we very much look forward to talks and/or reports!. It is pretty busy in there!
After being closed during the winter for renovations (done by volunteers) and due to Covid, the Museum opened in February, with strict Covid entry protocols. Our feature exhibit ‘Prime Predators of Vancouver Island’ has been very successful, attracting young and old from near and far. More about this in the Museum Committee report. Reorganization of the Museum continues, updating content and presentation of permanent exhibits about the town and district, this paired with the addition of video, sound and interactive technologies. Computer hardware and software have also been updated.
In February we received a significant BC Community Economic Resiliency Infrastructure Program (CERIP) grant from the Province of British Columbia for repair and renovation of the Museum building. This funding, gratefully received, is being spent on the following:
improvement of drainage and roofing to prevent flooding every time we get persistent rain
Upgrading artifact storage by installation of compact rolling shelving
Upgrading curatorial work area
Improving visitor flow through the facility
Improving meeting spaces
Upgrading climate control (installation of air conditioning in the attic)
Please take a moment to look at the sketch plans for these renovations – posted in the Museum and on the Society website.
The roof and drainage work is being managed by the Town. As evidenced by a pile of dirt to the north of the Museum building at the time of the AGM, work has started in earnest on the drainage aspect. Quotes are coming in for the internal renovations. The rolling shelving has been ordered and will be here in December. Under the terms of the grant we have until Spring 2023 to complete the work.
After a 5 month Covid hiatus, Industrial Heritage Preservation Group volunteers recommenced work this Spring on Saturday mornings under Covid protocols at the Comox Logging Depot – continuing such key projects as restoring Loci 11, The Humdergin and maintaining the track.
Shirley Blackstaff, head of the Industrial Heritage Committee has written a report on this group’s activities.
The Society entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Island Corridor Foundation, under which a group of volunteers spruced up the building for viewing by groups interested in rehabilitating it for their use. Let’s just say that, amongst other things to be done to make the building presentable, there was some rather interesting graffiti that needed to be covered up…. Thanks to the Kinsmen and Rotary Clubs for financial support. Submissions by interested parties will be reviewed by an as yet to be set up independent committee. We look forward to this heritage building once again playing an important community role.
Historically Speaking Talks Series
This talks series, started last year, has continued via Zoom.
To date, the Society has presented 12 of these talks. The last talk was given on July 20th – the 150th anniversary of BC joining the Canadian Confederation. – an important milestone which our federal and provincial governments unfortunately chose to ignore. The talks are available to view through the Society’s YouTube site. If you have not viewed them, do check them out – lots of interesting stuff there! Links to the talks can be accessed on the LDHS Website. Anyone can make a presentation – please do step up if you have a subject you would like to talk about.
Heritage Promotion took a number of forms:
Again this year we, in conjunction with the LMS we put on Family Day and Heritage Week activities in February.
Our Heritage Treasure Trail was particularly popular with over 5000 views online.
We again presented the Ladysmith Annual Heritage Awards – via Zoom. This year we had star-studded cast of worthy recipients.
The Society has been very active working on projects and contracts:
People and Place Neighbourhood Project:
Spearheaded by Lesley Moore and funded by HeritageBC, this work, focused on identifying cultural diversity and early neighbourhoods in early Ladysmith, was completed with the production of a report and ‘learning kit’ which is available for schools from the Archives.
Heritage Inventory Project:
This project, which involved reviewing all the Museums and Discovery Centres between Mill Bay and Nanaimo, was completed this Spring, with a report being provided to the CVRD which funded it.
Ongoing projects include:
ONE Community Project:
Funded by The Heritage Legacy Fund of BC (managed by HeritageBC), the Society hosted a series of Zoom workshops which were attended by heritage societies and cultural groups in the area from Mill Bay to Nanaimo to see how we can work together to further preservation of, education about, and celebration of, our community’s varied heritage and to further communication between different cultural groups. The project is still ongoing, with work being done on crafting a digital map of heritage assets and pursuing ‘Reconciliaction’. Several more workshops will be held prior to year end.
The Beat Goes On – Music in Ladysmith:
This exciting contract with the Virtual Museum of Canada charts the story of the Ladysmith area through time as evidenced by our music. We are working on it now, writing story pages about specific events exemplified by associated music. More volunteers for this fascinating project would be most welcome.
To wrap up:
Despite Covid-19 difficulties, the Society is active.
Important tasks lie ahead, and challenges remain: namely:
We will need to renegotiate the Archives and Museum Management and Operating Agreement with the Town as the current agreement expires end of June next year. Without additional volunteers or money for wages, it will be difficult for the Society to maintain the current level of service.
We are worried about vanishing Heritage. We have met with the Town about updating Ladysmith’s Heritage Strategic Plan, but there is much more to do on this.
We are working to foster a closer relationship with the Stz’uminus First Nation and to integrate First Nation content within the Museum/Learning Centre.
We are concerned about the Comox Logging Machine Shop, Loci Shed and Railyard. The Loci Shed needs structural work right now.
We need clarification from the Town regarding our tenancy of the Loci shed and railyard – our permit to occupy expired in Fall 2019. We also need clarification on space allocation in the machine Shop – when its current rehabilitation is completed.
We are worried about long term plans for the Museum. The current building is slated for demolition in the future – when is not known. . Where will the Museum be in the future and what form will the building take?
We are short on volunteers – ours is an aging group diminished by Covid concerns. The Society is working at capacity at the moment. We need more people willing to invest time and effort to maintain current activity – let alone do more.
While we are in decent financial health, we are always short of money to finance the projects we want to do. We need a ‘professional’ focus on fundraising.
Oh, did I mention that we need more volunteers?
This is your Society. We are proud of it, and of our Community. Thank you for your membership and your interest in its heritage.
We invite you to attend the 2021 Ladysmith & District Historical Society AGM on Sept 11, 2021. Find up what your society has been up to this year. Election, Light Refreshments. Ladysmith Museum. LDHS – AGM – Saturday, Sept. 11th – 12:00 NOON.
LDHS AGM 2021 – Election of Board Officers/Directors
Election of Board of Directors/Directors: Vote: (circle choice)
For President: Quentin Goodbody Yes No
For Vice President: Marina Sacht Yes No
For Secretary: Alex Stuart Yes No
For Treasurer: Elaine Layman Yes No
For Non-Exective Directors:
Pat Brownfield Yes No
2.Val Galvin Yes No
3. John Sharp Yes No
4. ________________ Yes No
5.________________ Yes No
Note: A total 9 Directors can be elected to the Board. Under the 2020 Adopted By-Laws, no nominations can be taken from the floor.
All those interested in letting their name stand for election will require the following:
Per Section 3.2.3 – “ A Member may designate a proxy to vote on his/her behalf, said proxy to be registered with the Society Secretary a minimum of three days prior to the meeting in accordance with the protocol outlined in LDHS Policy 001 (Appointment of Proxy).” Note: Proxy Form can be email to members.
Per Section 3.2.5 – The AGM shall be not less than 25% of the members in Good Standing present in person or Proxy.
Per Section 7.2.3 – A member must be in Good Standing for a minimum of 21 Days prior to the election date; and is required to have their nomination signed by two members in Good Standing to delivered to the Secretary at least 10-days prior to the Annual General Meeting..
About 50 people attended an open house at the Ladysmith Railway Station on July 21Wednesday evening. The purpose of the event, hosted by the Ladysmith & District Historical Society (LDHS), was to familiarise the community with the building so that the best community use(s) for it could be decided. Now the property of the Island Corridor Foundation, the building has been locked and empty since suspension of rail service in 2011.
Quentin Goodbody, President of the LDHS, addressed the gathering and gave background to the initiative. In February of this year a group of volunteers, under the umbrella of the Ladysmith & District Historical Society, approached the Island Corridor Foundation to see if an agreement could be reached to put the heritage building to use. The ICF responded enthusiastically, and a memorandum of understanding was signed under which the LDHS would try to assess the best non-profit community uses of the building, with the potential of a long term lease being available from the ICF for a nominal fee. Since then, the ICF paid for a new roof, and volunteers have worked diligently to bring the building to its current state which allows the community to see its potential. Apart from thanking the volunteers for their efforts, Quentin thanked the Kinsmen and Rotary clubs for generous financial contributions toward building repairs to date and noted that local firms Heart Lake Roofing and Gutter Gator had been contracted to install the new roof and guttering.
Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation, said that he was very pleased that the community had taken the initiative to put the building to use, and was most impressed with the rehabilitation work done to date. He noted that all but two of the stations along the E&N line were currently being put to community use. Aaron Stone, speaking as Mayor of Ladysmith and as Co-Chair of the ICF Board, said that he was excited about the potential for the building to be an important part of Ladysmith’s waterfront development and to be put to community use, and thanked the volunteers for their efforts.
Goodbody noted that a lot of work remains to be done before the building is in a useable state, and that this will require significant investment. He encouraged interested parties to contact the LDHS with ideas and business plans. Those present, were then invited to tour the building, enjoy its authenticity, imagine potential uses, and leave comments. A number of displays were also on view which put the building in historical perspective.
For those that missed the occasion, other viewings of the building may be made by arrangement with the Historical Society or drop in during their regular work parties every Wed from 10 to noon.