By Bianca Peters
Published: April 12, 2016
The District of Squamish has officially proclaimed Saturday, April 30th as “Squamish Culture and Heritage Day”. The entire community is invited to attend the Squamish Historical Society’s (SHS) “Squamish Culture & Heritage Festival” from 10 am to 4 pm at Brennan Park Recreation Centre to celebrate the past and local community service. There will be something for everyone that day including food, entertainment, displays, and student research projects. And the best part, it’s free.
With a grant from Canadian Heritage, the SHS is playing host to its third edition of the festival. It began in 2012 as a way to celebrate and showcase Squamish history every two years. Past editions were held on the top floor of Quest University Canada’s Library but quickly grew out of the space. With a grant in aid from the District of Squamish, the festival has moved to a more central location at Brennan Park for the whole community to access and take part.
The day will begin with an opening by Tswasysia Spukwas, a local Squamish Nation educator, who will be offering drum making workshops throughout the day. Trevor Magee, archivist from the West Coast Railway Heritage Park will be showing off his steam engines to the delight of budding train aficionados. The Britannia Mine Museum will be advocating the importance of rocks and mineral in our environment.
The SHS will be displaying local artifacts, photos and videos from its archives. Food trucks will be serving food out front. Cam Salay, the Sea to Sky Singers and an assortment of entertainment will be on stage throughout the day. Local groups including the Squamish Legion, Squamish Visuals and others will be hosting table and displays. Get your picture taken with a Squamish Pioneer. There will be a heritage swim at the pool: bloomers are encouraged.
In addition to the community celebration on the Saturday, the Squamish Culture & Heritage Festival’s main goal is to encourage local students to study Squamish’s past; the people, the places and events that shaped our local community. Students throughout the district have been invited to participate by entering a research project on various topics related to Squamish and Canadian history. They have also been invited to take part in an all-day field trip prior to the community festival. On this day, they will meet several local historians who will share their stories with the students.
This year, Ellen Grant will be one of the speakers with a talk entitled “The History of Volunteering in Squamish”. As many of you may know, Ellen is the granddaughter of Squamish Valley pioneers, Henry and Annie Judd. Their home still stands on Judd Road, in Brackendale. As Ellen recalls it, back in the day, her grandparents didn’t even know the word “volunteering”. They were just being “neighbourly”. During the Depression Years in the 1930’s, Squamish wasn’t hit like the outside world was. Everyone looked out for everyone and no one went without. The Squamish Valley has played host to over one hundred and twenty five years of community service with traces of it seen today in the estuary, the kiteboarding Spit, the climbing routes, biking trails, the golf course, the sports fields, and even Alice Lake Provincial Park. Community service is the essence of Squamish.
This year is even more special for the students. BC Heritage, the organization that oversees the province’s heritage fairs, has elevated the Squamish Culture & Heritage Festival from local festival to regional status with students from the North Shore coming up the highway to participate. They have provided the SHS Cindy Rowell to coordinate the student heritage fair in the auditorium of Brennan Park on Saturday, April 30th and an awards ceremony which will take at 3 pm. Student projects selected for awards will be considered for a spot at the Provincial Heritage Fair in Prince Rupert this July. Five Squamish students are guaranteed a spot to Prince Rupert all expenses paid.
On behalf of the Squamish Historical Society, we look forward to seeing everyone out at the Squamish Culture & Heritage Festival from 10 am to 4 pm Saturday, April 30th at Brennan Park. For more information about the festival or to get involved, please visit www.squamishhistory.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Happy Squamish Culture & Heritage Day to you!