By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec 7, 2013
Downtown Squamish BIA is working with community groups to create a legacy downtown that will boost the local economy by making our waterfront accessible and attractive to locals and tourists while celebrating the town’s history.
The legacy project proposed by BIA in downtown Squamish is one of the project picked by the District Legacy Task Force to be taken to council.
“This project will also help Downtown Squamish become a destination in itself for locals and tourists,” said Christine Campbell, BIA executive director.
Squamish will be 100 years old in 2014.
It was 100 years ago in 1914 that Squamish was given the authority to form its own government; it was also the year the town’s name was changed from Newport to Squamish.
To remember and celebrate this history, DSBIA and the district have worked together for the last one year, brainstorming with an array of community stakeholders on how best to retell the story of Squamish.
Downtown waterfront will be the stage where this history will be recounted through historic canoes, totem pole carving, interpretive signs, a covered deck and a picnic pavilion all overlooking a dike with bike and pedestrian paths.
Waterfront access will be another attractive feature with docks for kayaks, stand up paddleboards and canoes.
“We are honoured to have the support of Squamish Nation families in our joint waterfront project proposal,” said committee member Marnie Lett.
Historian Eric Andersen said Lot 1, the waterfront area accessible from Victoria Street, was given the name of Xwu’nekw – where warriors beach their war canoes.
The site played a central role in Squamish’s economic activities beginning in 1913 with the Pacific Great Eastern Railway Company establishing shops, offices and a railway station along this waterfront land, he said.
The historically rich waterfront land is now merely an eye sore, a dumping ground and
In its railway line and crumbling docks, the past still marks its presence on the waterfront, but for most visitors and locals, it’s an eyesore, overgrown with vegetation and littered with fetid refuse.
The Squamish Legacy Project aims to clean and varnish this land with history, stitching together present with the past.
The Squamish Legacy Team will soon take their proposal to the district, which will pitch in, and apply the proposal for federal heritage funding.
DSBIA executive director, Christine Campbell said BIA and the legacy committee members are excited about the project.
“We are excited to share the vision with our community,” she said.