Winning the contest made it official and the addition of a sign saying so really makes it official: Port Alberni Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town.
The 20 foot high and 14 foot wide red cedar sign was placed at the intersection of Victoria Quay and Johnston Road on Thursday.
“I feel so excited — like a mother expecting a baby,” said Carolyn Jasken, the Valley’s Ultimate Fishing Town coordinator. “A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this, just like it did the contest. I’m glad it’s over.”
In 2010, the World Fishing Network sponsored a contest for Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town. Port Alberni, British Columbia received the highest amount of votes and was subsequently crowned WFN’s Ultimate Fishing Town.
The sign was underwritten with proceeds left over from the $25,000 windfall as a result of the contest win.
The sign is made out of 12 separate pieces and fits together like a puzzle. An eagle sits at the very top, the words ‘Port Alberni Canada’s Ultimate Fishing Town’ underneath and two chinook salmon at the bottom.
The sign is laminated and reinforced with steel, both to insulate it from the West Coast’s elements.
The sign took four months to complete and the finishing touches were put on it on Wednesday night.
The sign is nestled beside the Hupacasath Welcome Figures and the Whaling Shrine. It compliments both the area and the Valley, Jasken said.
The piece was carved by Ucluelet artist Terry McKinnon, 67, whose work Jasken was long familiar with, at his West Coast studio.
“This was really Carolyn’s vision and words and I put it to wood,” McKinnon said. “This is one of a kind. I’ll never reproduce it.”