Tom Maher, left, and Jan Jansma, both longtime volunteers with the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, sit inside the Strathcona parlour rail car they are helping to restore at the IHS building on Dunbar Street in Port Alberni. DAVID HOOPER PHOTO

Volunteer helps restore Alberni Valley’s industrial heritage

Tom Maher is a longtime member of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society


Special to the News

Tom Maher is a longtime member of the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society, concentrating his efforts in the “truck department”. He has led a couple of the restoration projects and is involved in many of the other activities of the IHS, including parades and shows.

More than 15 years ago, Maher was involved in the restoration of the 1937 White truck, bought new for $2800 by the “R.B. McLean Lumber Co.” He led the restoration of 1944 “Don Rowe” truck and has been leading the restoration work on our oldest artifact, the 1882 Parlour Car—a first class passenger rail coach.

Maher also helps out when the IHS hosts children’s activities at the Heritage Centre.

The Maher family has lived in the Alberni Valley for five generations. Tom’s father and grandfather both worked in the logging industry and he followed in their footsteps. Like most oldtime loggers, Maher can turn his hand to almost anything.

The IHS building is located at 5025 Dunbar St. beside the curling club. The building is open Saturdays and Tuesday evenings, or anytime the “open” sign is lit.

There is a woodworking session in the workshop beside the IHS building on Tuesday, June 4 as part of Seniors’ Week festivities in the Alberni Valley. The workshop, intended for people 50 years and older, is from 10 a.m. to noon. Check out the IHS building right next door and see if Tom Maher is working on one of his projects.


Industrial Heritage Society volunteer Tom Maher drives a vintage fire truck with some enthusiastic second graders from Maquinna Elementary School in the back. BOB EAST PHOTO

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