Alberni Pacific Railway volunteers and conductors wish Sally Anderson a happy birthday on Wednesday, June 17. From left to right: Frank Holm, David Hooper, Sally Anderson, Hugh Grist and Richard Spencer. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Port Alberni’s ‘Flag Lady’ celebrates her birthday in style

Train conductors make a surprise visit to Sally Anderson’s home

Port Alberni’s “Flag Lady” had a special surprise for her 75th birthday.

For many years, Sally Anderson of Port Alberni has been known as the “Flag Lady” as she greets train passengers from her home, located in front of the train tracks near the Kitsuksis Creek trestle. Anderson has a special collection of costumes and flags that she uses to welcome the train and its passengers.

READ MORE: Sally Anderson is more than just Port Alberni’s flag lady

On Anderson’s 65th birthday, 10 years ago, the train stopped at Anderson’s house and passengers serenaded her with “Happy Birthday” before continuing to McLean Mill.

This year, with the train not running due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Alberni Pacific Railway still wanted to celebrate.

Anderson was all dressed up for the occasion on Wednesday, June 17, as well-wishers had been driving by her house all day to wish her happy birthday. However, she was surprised in the afternoon to hear a train conductor’s whistle announcing the arrival of three Alberni Pacific Railway conductors, who arrived from the train tracks behind her house. Conductors Hugh Grist, Richard Spencer and Frank Holm delivered flowers, chocolates and a card to wish Anderson a happy birthday.

Outside of her role as the Flag Lady, Anderson is also the coordinator of the local Read and Feed breakfast program, which delivers nutritional meals to elementary school children in the Alberni Valley. If you would like to volunteer, donate or learn more about the program, contact Sally Anderson at

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Alberni Pacific Railway conductor Richard Spencer delivers a gift to Sally Anderson for her 75th birthday. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

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