100 YEARS: Heritage family donates trophy to mark Alberni centennial

The Crowshaws first came to Port Alberni in 1912. Descendants will mark the inaugural puddle duck race with a trophy.

For more than 100 years, the Crowshaw family has been a part of the Port Alberni community. Now Ken Crowshaw wants to recognize a group of sailors helping families and people with little or no sailing experience share in the maritime heritage of our town.

Crowshaw has donated the trophy for the inaugural Port Alberni Puddle Duck Racers regatta to be held Saturday, Aug. 4 at Harbour Quay.

Bill Crowshaw came to Port Alberni in 1912 to work at the Bank Of Montreal when it was located in the Carmoor Block at the foot of Argyle Street. He and his wife Annie, a war bride from England, are one of a few “heritage families” who have been recognized by Port Alberni’s centennial organizers because their descendants have lived in the city for more than 100 years.

Bill and Annie Crowshaw had three children. The eldest, Kathleen Day, is now 93 years old and still lives in Port Alberni, at Westhaven.

Ken Crowshaw moved to Alberta after serving in the second World War, but his youngest brother Len was employed by the City of Port Alberni for his working life and his children still reside here.

Kathleen’s children have lived in town over the years and her second child Pamela still lives here.

Ken Crowshaw heard that the Alberni Puddle Duck Racers were building boats and holding a regatta in town as part of the centennial celebrations. He remembered that his father Bill spent much of his later working life as a waterman on the Alberni Canal.

Ken was amused by the “cheap, easy and fun on the water” motto of the Puddle Duckers. He was enthusiastic about this innovative use of Port Alberni’s waterfront, so he offered to sponsor the regatta with a financial contribution and donate a race trophy, dedicated to his parents, for the event winners.

If you’ve been down to the Farmers’ Market in the past weeks and looked out onto the water you may have seen the distinctive blue sails of the Puddle Duck Racers. They are small, inexpensive sailboats (around $300 in total materials), that are quick to make and easy to sail.

Now with approximately 19 boats in town, and a few more committed to the race from out of town, the regatta looks to be a very busy race, Pamela Day said.

“It took only a little arm twisting from the PD Racers to persuade Ken to travel from Calgary to present the trophy after the races on Aug. 4,” she said.

The crystal sailboat trophy will be called the Crowshaw Cup and is sure to be a sought after prize by the Puddle Duckers of Vancouver Island for many years to come.

Ken Crowshaw will present the trophy at 2:30 p.m. at Harbour Quay after the races.

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