The 17th annual Alberni Valley Museum Regional Heritage Fair experienced some firsts last week.
It was the first time a sitting MP attended the opening ceremony, held Friday, May 3 at Echo Centre. Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns addressed the crowd of students and volunteers, congratulating them for recognizing the importance of history and the work they did on their heritage projects.
Johns later discovered that one student —Keeley McDonnell of Maquinna Elementary School in Port Alberni—had done her project on him and his various efforts in the House of Commons.
This was also the first year a field trip for participants to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport was organized. In past years students took the steam train out to McLean Mill National Historic Site.
Students were bused to the airport in the afternoon and ate their lunch outside the Alberni Flying Club before touring Coulson Aviation and their 727 jet, visiting with some pilots who flew to Port Alberni from out of town for the event; and watched skydivers from Skydive Vancouver Island in Qualicum Beach jump out of a plane and land in the infield.
This was one of the smallest heritage fairs in recent years, acting museum manager Shelley Harding said. Some schools have decided to participate every second year, while the Comox Valley School District—which usually sends 30 or so participants—did not bring any students to the fair this year.
Members of the public had the opportunity to view the students’ work on Saturday at Echo Centre before awards were presented.
Honour medals were awarded to the following five students:
Carlene Sumen (Nellie McClung exhibit), Maquinna Elementary; Kieran Veilleux (La Citadelle de Quebec) École des Grandes-cédres; Kailyn Penner (Lacrosse) Heritage Christian Online School; Summer Eskola (Family Immigration from Finland) Maquinna; Faith MacDonald (Sir John A MacDonald) Maquinna.
Other awards presented on Saturday are as follows (project in brackets):
Chinese Canadian Historical Society Award – Belle Fournier (Family Immigration from England) Maquinna Elem.
BC Hydro Power Pioneers – Arwen Rauguth-Treleaven (O’Keefe Ranch) Heritage Christian online school
Parks Canada National History Award – Sierra Scott (Viola Desmond) Maquinna Elem.
Community History Awards (Alberni District Historical Society) – Marin Noel (Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council) Maquinna; Matana Schulz (Family Roots) Heritage Christian Online
Family History Award (Alberni Valley Genealogy Club) – Emerson Duarte (Before and After Farm) Heritage Christian Online
Maritime History Award (Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society) – Jack Jarvis (Indigenous Fishing Practices & Rights) Maquinna
Industrial History Award (Industrial Heritage Society) – Amelia Harvey (Maple Syrup) Maquinna
Ken Hughes Memorial Communications Award (Hughes Family) – Alison Otis (Cape Beale Lighthouse) Heritage Christian Online
Education History Award (School District 70) – Hailey Merry (Residential Schools) Maquinna
Alberni Valley News Writing Award – Bobbi Eyford-Smyth (History of the Hudson’s Bay Co.) Maquinna
Pam Craig Aesthetic Presentation Award – Charlie Norman (History of Canadian Midwifery) Heritage Christian Online
Three students from the regional heritage fair will be selected to attend the five-day Provincial Fair in Victoria in July.