Take a walk around Ladysmith and you’ll quickly see that there are so many examples of the town’s past that have stood the test of time.
All this week the municipality is marking Heritage Week, with open houses planned for this weekend where individuals and families can see impressive restoration efforts, hear stories about local history and be on hand for the unveiling of the Salish Wind at Transfer Beach.
“In addition to offering a historical perspective through our heritage walking tours and other projects, we are also working closely with the Stz’uminus First Nation to make sure that their history is integral to the story of our community,” said Mayor Aaron Stone.
The theme for this year’s Heritage Week celebrated across B.C. is Heritage Stands the Test of Time.
The celebration of Ladysmith’s waterfront runs for a better part of Saturday, including:
10 – 11 a.m. – Ladysmith Maritime Society Boat Restoration Shop will be open so you can see the restoration progress on the heritage wooden boat, C.A. Kirkegaard.
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. – At the Heritage Park site, see the Humdirgen in operation and talk to Ladysmith & District Historical Society Heritage Preservation team members about their work on the track, Locomotive #11 and Tube Tumbler. Have coffee and see a slideshow in the restored First Aid Shed.
12 noon – Come to Transfer Beach Park for the special unveiling ceremony for the Salish Wind cedar canoe.
1 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Celebrate the reopening of the LMS Harbour Heritage Centre. See exhibits and slideshows. Learn about the education program, play the Hul’qumi’num language game and participate in hands-on activities.
Also, people can meet Coast Salish artist John Marston and learn about carving.
LDHS and LMS volunteer Shirley Blackstaff said this is the first time the town, Stz’uminus First Nation and community groups have collaborated on a full day of activities dedicated to heritage.
“Each little step like this brings everyone closer together,” she said, adding the importance of sharing the history of how buildings such as the Machine Shop and Locomotive Shop are all connected.
“I’m happy because the more people that see what we’re doing the more interest there will be in saving our heritage – it all tells a story.”
The Ladysmith Museum will also be recognizing the community’s heritage with a pop-up exhibit entitled ‘Still Here’ – an exploration of what heritage is and means to us today here in Ladysmith and the surrounding area. Public hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday noon to 4 p.m.
This year is also the 10th anniversary of the town’s Heritage Strategic Plan, which aims to identify, maintain and protect the many aspects heritage resources in Ladysmith from the buildings to the artifacts.
“Ladysmith places a very high value on preserving its unique and interesting heritage and the town takes measures to ensure those values are captured in all development – related plans, policies and guidelines,” said CAO Guillermo Ferrero. “Through our various heritage related projects and partnerships, we are keeping Ladysmith’s history alive for future generations.”