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Armstrong is about to lose one of its most unique heritage buildings with the removal of the old Pea Growers office building (Junction Cafe) and the beautiful cut maple tree that was planted in the courtyard in 1945, just after the Second World War almost 70 years ago by Neil Bosomworth, who owned this building.
The thought of this happening has led me to take a closer look at and have a greater appreciation of the original downtown core of Armstrong.
The following is an excerpt of an article from the Heritage B.C. website titled, A Call to Action from Barry Janyk, a former four-term mayor of Gibson's, B.C.
"From a global historical perspective, British Columbia is young, and part of our challenge is to recognize and protect those features from British Columbia’s past that are of heritage value now, especially in terms of looking to the future. The education of future generations as to who we are, what we value and where we came from, will give them understanding of how they came to be. There is not one of us, who travel this incredible province, that doesn’t make a point of looking for the local museum and historic sites to spend time trying to trace the history of the amazing communities that make up our province."
Protecting, preserving and restoring these heritage sites should be a priority and if a unique building like this one and a tree as special as the cut maple has to be removed, then hopefully it would be replaced with something that reflects the historic character that exists in this original part of Armstrong.
The recycling depot has done a great job of achieving this with their new facility.
This part of Armstrong is a very special place with its old western themed buildings and one can see the sense of pride that exists here with the business and building owners in the way they have been cared for.
With a fresh coat of paint on a few others and perhaps a new facade on some, the character that exists here could be transformed even further.
For example, someone suggested to me that by simply adding a facade to the CIBC building, it could easily take a step back in time and create the look of a bank out of the old west.
It would fit right in with the rest of the area and one would have to admit, would look pretty cool. Maybe even adding a western-themed mural somewhere on the side of it.
Armstrong is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and so it would seem especially important at this centennial anniversary to treasure and preserve this town's history and its uniqueness. Looking to the past to determine the future.
I can't think of a more fitting way to close this than by quoting a line from Joni Mitchell's Big Yellow Taxi. "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got 'till it's gone."