Sam Sattar (far left) and Deb Thierstein (far right) of the BC SPCA Alberni-Clayoquot branch accept a donation from Nicole Sendey of the Coulson Group and Shawna Wright from RBC on Jan. 20, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Sam Sattar (far left) and Deb Thierstein (far right) of the BC SPCA Alberni-Clayoquot branch accept a donation from Nicole Sendey of the Coulson Group and Shawna Wright from RBC on Jan. 20, 2022. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni SPCA wins ‘Trees of Hope’ challenge

Display windows in Port Alberni’s Uptown are now in a ‘transition’ phase

The BC SPCA’s Alberni-Clayoquot branch has received a $500 prize for its decorated window in Port Alberni’s Uptown.

The SPCA was announced as the winner of the “Trees of Hope” contest put on by the Coulson Group and RBC over the month of December, receiving the most votes from the community for their Christmas-themed window at the former Zeller’s building on Third Avenue.

Deb Thierstein of the SPCA worked with another volunteer, Sharon, to decorate the window.

“We had to compete with some beautiful windows,” said Thierstein. “We tried to make it animal-themed. We hung cat toys and dog biscuits on the tree.”

The window also featured an inflatable Snoopy on his doghouse and stuffed animals wearing Santa hats. It took four hours in total to decorate, and just half an hour to take down, Thierstein said.

Alberni-Clayoquot branch manager Sam Sattar says the SPCA doesn’t have any plans for the $500 yet, but the Port Alberni kennel experienced some damage during this winter’s snowstorm and freezing temperatures, with cracked cement and frozen pipes.

“We’re focusing a lot of energy there right now,” said Sattar. “And, of course, we’re focusing on the animals.”

The Trees of Hope contest was the second contest hosted by Coulson and RBC in 2021, with the combined goal of drawing attention to local non-profits and drawing people to the city’s downtown core.

The display windows are nostalgic for many people, said Nicole Sendey of the Coulson Group.

“This is what they were originally meant for,” she said. “To display the very best of what our community has to offer.”

The windows are now in a “transition phase,” with organizations removing their Christmas trees and putting up Valentine’s Day-themed decorations instead. Another Windows of Hope contest is not scheduled at the moment, but Sendey says she and RBC manager Leona Horvath are “looking at future opportunities” for another contest.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

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A photo of the BC SPCA’s decorated window. (PHOTO COURTESY COULSON GROUP)

A photo of the BC SPCA’s decorated window. (PHOTO COURTESY COULSON GROUP)