100 YEARS: A commitment to Alberni history

AV News editor Susan Quinn immersing herself in Alberni history for 12 months and she wants to hear your thoughts as part of her research.

I love history. I think I get it from my late father, who had a bookshelf or three full of local history on places he visited. A few of those books made it into my own collection, which keeps growing.

For the next year, I am going to be immersed in the history of Port Alberni. The city will celebrate the 100th anniversary of incorporation of Port Alberni (as opposed to New Alberni) later this year, and I’ve committed to writing a column a week about some aspect of the region from 100 years ago, as well as upcoming centennial events.

I have copies of Jan Peterson’s three books on the Alberni Valley, and expect to spend a lot of time with my borrowed copy of The Albernis 1860–1922 in the coming months. I’m also grateful to Ken Rutherford, who is a fount of historical information. I have a list of topics I want to tackle thanks to him (and I’m open to other ideas too). I’ll also be spending some time visiting the Alberni District Historical Society archives and Alberni Valley Museum, fleshing out those topics.

When trying to decide how to approach a column about the centennial, I thought about writing on significant events that have happened over the past 100 years. But that was too daunting: how to narrow it down to 52 subjects? It’s much easier to look at the year 1912 on its own, I thought.

Now I’m not so sure. A lot of interesting things happened that year, and also in 1911, leading up to incorporation.

The focus back then was more on fishing than logging; development on the waterfront was in its infancy; rail travel was just beginning; and there was even a dispute over whether the Trans Canada Highway would end in Alberni.

There are so many questions begging to be answered: who was the Citizens Committee of 11? How did we end up with two cities with similar names? Who are the city’s pioneers, and what are their stories? What were the four districts of the city back in 1912 (no, really, I haven’t figured that one out yet and would appreciate some help)?

Researching material for this column could become a full-time job. I’ve probably bitten off way more than I can chew, so to speak. But the journey begins now. If you’ve got a tale, a piece of history, memorabilia or a deep-seated curiosity about something that happened in the area 100 years ago, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at editor@albernivalleynews.com, check out our Facebook page or call me at 250-723-6399 and let’s chat.

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

BUSINESS BEAT: New board room at Steampunk Café has nautical flair

Teresa Bird writes about business happenings once a month in the Alberni Valley News

ARTS AROUND: Artists invited to exhibit work at Port Alberni gallery

The Rollin Art Centre is now accepting applications for the 2020 calendar year

Port Alberni millwright brings Beatles’ iconic yellow submarine to life for ice show

Beatlemania is set to take the ice on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Alberni Valley Multiplex

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Missing Surrey snowshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Most Read