LOOK BACK: Port Alberni’s clock tower at Harbour Quay

In this photo, circa 1984, people stand on various levels of the clock tower at Harbour Quay. The man at the right front is Rob Duncan, whose father—Fred Duncan—made a contribution through his estate for construction of the tower. As of February 2022, the tower is being renovated and transformed into a “story tower” with Tseshaht First Nation artwork. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN17802 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)In this photo, circa 1984, people stand on various levels of the clock tower at Harbour Quay. The man at the right front is Rob Duncan, whose father—Fred Duncan—made a contribution through his estate for construction of the tower. As of February 2022, the tower is being renovated and transformed into a “story tower” with Tseshaht First Nation artwork. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN17802 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
In this photo, circa 1984, people stand on various levels of the clock tower at Harbour Quay. The man at the right front is Rob Duncan, whose father—Fred Duncan—made a contribution through his estate for construction of the tower. As of February 2022, the tower is being renovated and transformed into a “story tower” with Tseshaht First Nation artwork. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN17802 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)In this photo, circa 1984, people stand on various levels of the clock tower at Harbour Quay. The man at the right front is Rob Duncan, whose father—Fred Duncan—made a contribution through his estate for construction of the tower. As of February 2022, the tower is being renovated and transformed into a “story tower” with Tseshaht First Nation artwork. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives at portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN17802 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)

Almost 40 years ago, a clock tower officially opened at Harbour Quay in Port Alberni.

The tower was constructed in 1983-84 to commemorate a contribution from the estate of Fred Duncan, the long-time owner and publisher of the Alberni Valley Times. The tower includes a viewing platform at the top, which provides panoramic views of the Alberni Inlet, Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith.

This photo from the Alberni Valley Museum, circa 1984, shows Rob Duncan (Fred’s son) celebrating the official opening of the clock tower.

Today, in 2022, the aging clock tower is being refurbished. The clock faces will be removed and replaced with Tseshaht First Nation artwork, recognizing the historic Tseshaht winter village of Tlukwatkwuu7is (Wolf Ritual Beach) near Harbour Quay.

The City of Port Alberni reached out to the relatives of Fred Duncan a few years ago, asking for their blessings to change the aesthetic look of the tower.

“The Duncans expressed gratitude that the Clock Tower was to be refurbished, and saw this collaboration as a positive step for the Alberni Valley,” said the City of Port Alberni in 2018.

The city is hopeful that the refurbishment work will be completed by Spring 2022.

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