Port Alberni celebrates 50th anniversary of amalgamation

Twinning of two cities, half a century later

Former mayors and city staff attend the sod turning for the Echo Community Centre to commemorate Canada’s 100th birthday and the amalgamation of the Twin Cities in 1967. ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM PHOTO PN#09372

Former mayors and city staff attend the sod turning for the Echo Community Centre to commemorate Canada’s 100th birthday and the amalgamation of the Twin Cities in 1967. ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM PHOTO PN#09372

Join the city of Port Alberni in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Twin Cities on Saturday, Oct. 28.

On Oct. 17, 1964, a few months after the Good Friday earthquake and tsunami that destroyed 55 homes in the Alberni Valley, an amalgamation referendum was passed, approving the joining of the neighbouring towns of Alberni (in the north) and Port Alberni (in the south).

On Oct. 28, 1967, the two cities officially became one, joining hands to build one greater city.

Fred Bishop, former mayor of Alberni, was the first-elected mayor of the new city of Port Alberni.

That weekend also saw the opening of the Echo ’67 Centre, a community centre and swimming pool that had been a joint project for the two cities. The name for the community centre was chosen by 10-year-old Jane Hanson in a contest.

This Saturday, parks and recreation will be rolling back pricing to reflect the prices of admission in 1967. Family rollerblading will take place at the Glenwood from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., public skating will take place at the multiplex from 1:30-3:15 p.m. and public swimming will take place at the Echo Aquatic Centre from 2-4 p.m.

A free lunch will be offered to the first 100 community members who are at the Echo Centre at 12 p.m. At 1 p.m., Mayor Mike Ruttan and city councillors will be giving speeches and unveiling a 50th anniversary amalgamation plaque.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com