The Town of Ladysmith has been awarded a Canada 150 grant valued at up to $46,000 from the federal government as the municipality works in partnership with Stz’uminus First Nation to create a significant legacy project at Transfer Beach.
A celebration committee was struck last year comprised of elected officials from both councils, staff, citizens at large and representatives from local organizations.
The committee received noticed last week from Ottawa that the grant application submitted in October was approved for up to a maximum of $46,000.
All funds will be matched by the town.
Stz’uminus council member and committee co-chair Roxanne Harris said lots is being planned and Aboriginal Day on June 21 will kick off festivities.
“Basically it will be a week long celebration between Aboriginal Day and Canada Day,” Harris said.
“We want to try and have everyone come together and cross pollinate to build relationships not only between our councils but also amongst our community members as well.”
Eligible projects under the Canada 150 Fund include plaques, monuments and permanents installations; large-scale artwork projects; community building activities and events; and theatrical and musical performances among a host of other initiatives.
The money cannot be used specifically for Aboriginal Day or Canada Day celebrations as both are subject to separate grant applications.
Included in the grant application, however, was plans for two Stz’uminus master carvers to create a canoe that would sit at Transfer Beach, with the bow pointed towards Shell Beach to symbolically connect the communities.
The other committee co-chair Duck Paterson said receiving approval of the grant last Wednesday gives the group a “solid direction to look at the grant and say this is what we wanted to do so now we can start proceeding.”
“It always has been the goal that we have a legacy project and the ideal spot for it amongst the committee is Transfer Beach,” Paterson said.
“That’s what we hope to get accomplished.”
The familiar banners in downtown Ladysmith are also being specially designed to incorporate traditional Coast Salish elements.
Harris said Stz’uminus is more open than every before about sharing its history, which dates back archaeologically more than 5,000 years.
“In the past we’ve been very quiet just because of the nature of our past and I think we’re really willing to share a bit of our culture now and showcase the beauty of who we are,” she said.
Among the local events that will see more Canada 150 themes incorporated this year will be the annual Show and Shine as well as Ladysmith Days.
The Festival of Lights has created a special installation atop the city hall and red and white lights will also be strung in trees downtown.
Ladysmith’s Waterfront Gallery is hosting a Student Show starting this weekend through to April 12, with works from Stz’uminus, Ladysmith and Vancouver Island University students.
“I see Aboriginal Day this year being very big…and I can see a lot more activity for Canada Day at the beach,” Paterson said.
The group is also hoping through the Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business Association to encourage businesses to put up flags and historic photos to show visitors.
Harris said that the cooperation between Ladysmith and Stz’uminus is being noticed by those beyond the local area.
“I think it is because we’ve been working in collaboration quite a bit lately,” she said. “Other communities are actually inquiring about how they can build relationships like that with their town or city council.”