One of the trees at McLean Mill features decorations created by Ms. Mayes’ Grade 6/7 class at John Howitt Elementary. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

One of the trees at McLean Mill features decorations created by Ms. Mayes’ Grade 6/7 class at John Howitt Elementary. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

Light up a child’s eyes with McLean Mill’s Christmas tree virtual event

Port Alberni’s heritage mill finds a way to revive annual tree lighting fundraiser

While most Christmas events have been postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, the McLean Mill National Historic Site is still hoping to raise funds for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation with a new, virtual event.

Back in November, McLean Mill announced that it was taking on the much-loved BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Festival of Trees event. The Festival of Trees was previously hosted in Port Alberni by Barb and Steve Kalugin. Each year, trees would be set up in the halls of the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel and members of the community could vote on their favourite, with proceeds benefitting the BC Children’s Hospital. The event was last held in 2014.

“I think a lot of the community is familiar with it,” explained Anita Sutherland, project manager at McLean Mill. “It’s something fun for the community to get involved in, and a way to do something great for an organization that could use some funds.”

Originally McLean Mill planned to hold a Heritage Light-Up event, where visitors could wander the mill site and vote on their favourite decorated tree. The mill had sold “well over” 200 tickets to the event when new provincial COVID-19 restrictions suddenly came down at the end of November, putting an end to all events and gatherings.

READ MORE: Events, gatherings banned through Christmas, New Year’s in B.C. with no COVID reprieve in sight

Organizers had to “reinvent” the fundraising event to make it a virtual one, instead. People can vote for their favourite decorations online, with all proceeds still going to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Several schools and childcare organizations in the Alberni Valley have participated, with children creating “vintage” inspired decorations for four different trees. McLean Mill volunteers then used the children’s decorations to decorate the trees onsite.

“This is a heritage site, and we wanted the trees to feel the same way,” said Sutherland.

Sutherland says that the school/organization that raises the most in donations will win a donut treat day in the New Year.

As of Dec. 15, the event had raised close to $500 for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, but Sutherland said she wants to push for $2,000 by Christmas Eve.

“A bit of a hard feat as the virtual concept around the Festival of Trees is new,” said Sutherland. “Regardless, we want to make every effort to be able to generate a nice donation to the foundation.”

Votes and donations can be made on the mill’s new website at www.mcleanmill.ca/tidings-and-tinsel. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 24 at midnight.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ChristmasMcLean Mill

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Barb Kalugin, chair of the Community For Kids Port Alberni Chapter, is presented with a cheque for $832 for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation from Anita Sutherland, Director of Operations and Opportunities with McLean Mill National Historic Site. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
McLean Mill Christmas event raises more than $800 for BC Children’s Hospital

Festival of Trees fundraiser went virtual due to COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

On Aug. 26, 1947, a fire sparked in the lumber piles between Alberni Pacific Division sawmill and Alberni Plywood (located where Canal Waterfront Park is now). What resulted was a huge fire on Assembly Wharf One, where several buildings were gutted and stacks of lumber were burned. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN07386 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: 1947 fire destroys Port Alberni wharf

Take a peek into the Alberni Valley’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
City of Port Alberni, ACRD prepare for compost collection in 2021

Roadside pickup is expected to begin in the City of Port Alberni in June 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read