It was with some consternation that I heard of the outright rejection of consideration being given to the Shawnigan Museum for funds for the planned expansion.
It was even more troubling that the issue was summarily dismissed as it was deemed not to be “regional” in nature, by some board members. I was quite frankly astonished that those who made this assertion did not contemplate or may not know where Shawnigan fits in the reality and aspirations of the Cowichan Valley.
May I remind everyone that the Kinsol Trestle, so widely touted in CVRD tourism websites, is in Shawnigan Lake.
The real “Last Spike” is in Shawnigan and Shawnigan is integral to the Trans-Canada Trail and the Island Railway Corridor.
Dr. Francis Kelsey was born and first attended school in Shawnigan.
Shawnigan is the final resting place of E.J. Hughes, one of Canada’s greatest artists. His most iconic paintings were completed when he and his wife lived in Shawnigan. It is to our museum, when he was alive, that he bequeathed original artwork.
Artist George Norris, writer Bruce Hutchison, international portrait painter David Goatley, developer of the Women’s Institute Alice Ravenhill, contemporary mystery writer Chevy Stevens — all have called Shawnigan Lake home.
Shawnigan Lake School, Dwight International School and the Eco-Village are all in Shawnigan Lake and draw their students from around the world. SLS for the past 100 years has produced international captains of industry who routinely return to their alma mater from all corners of the globe.
It was to SLS that Jim Shaw donated $19 million, the single biggest donation to a Canadian independent school. The people who attend the Lion’s Easter Seal Camp, Camp Pringle, Shawnigan Regatta, the water-ski club, Subaru ClassicTriathlon, Shawnigan Show’n’Shine, are mainly those who do not live on Vancouver Island.
The Shawnigan Lake Museum is the keystone of our community and quite literally the last physical structure that links us to our vibrant past. Through the tireless work of our curator, Lori Treloar, her husband Grant, and a small army of enthusiastic volunteers who range in age from 14 to 90, we are fiercely trying to protect our heritage and have become a victim of our own success by outgrowing our present building.
We are desperate to convince the powers that be that our destiny is not just regional but international in scope and that we are, and hope to maintain our position as a recreational and educational green mecca, and NOT an industrial toxic dump site for the outside world.
Sally Davies, president
Shawnigan Lake Historical Society