Town planner Angela Davies, Ladysmith Ambassador Sidney Mrus , Town senior planner Lisa Brinkman, Ladysmith Downtown Business Association president Andrea Rosato-Taylor, Mayor Aaron Stone, Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce president Tammy Leslie, Ladysmith Vice Ambassadors Brandy Olson and Nina Charley and Councillor Rob Hutchins at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new 49th Parallel markers on Thursday morning.

Ladysmith’s new 49th Parallel markers pay tribute to slice of history

Grab a camera and head to Ladysmith’s Aggie Plaza for a picture on the 49th Parallel.

A ribbon cutting ceremony to highlight the matching western red cedar pillars recently installed in front of Aggie Hall near the roundabout took place on Thursday morning.

“For years, Ladysmith has gained a widespread reputation as a picturesque, seaside community with small town charm located at the 49th Parallel,” said Mayor Aaron Stone.

“These beautiful new markers are a visual representation of that interesting historical fact and provide tourists and residents with attractive photo opportunities.”

The markers were fashioned after the two original signs possibly erected by the federal government in the late 1800s.

A joint signage committee made up of representatives from the town, Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce and Ladysmith Downtown Business Association recommended the idea for new markers during a 2014 review.

“Visitors to Ladysmith often inquire about the best place to take 49th Parallel photos and we are please that the new location was chosen with safety and convenience in mind,” said Chamber president Tammy Leslie.

“The new markers will create a permanent legacy for residents of the 49th Parallel, provide tourists with a beautiful backdrop for their vacation photos, and spur interest in further exploring First Avenue.”

The approximate location of the 49th Parallel, a northern latitudinal marking the Canada and United States border from B.C.’s mainland to northern Ontario, is in fact closer to the Trans-Canada Highway and the turnoff to 1st Avenue.

Town staff picked Aggie Hall plaza as the best place for the pillars because of easy the accessibility for anyone wishing to snap a photo.

The original signs installed over 100 years ago were located at 1st Avenue and Methuen Street and 1st Avenue and Symonds Street to mark the downtown boundaries in Ladysmith.

Ladysmith Museum’s summer manager Lesley Moore said the provincial government’s highway department cut the signs down in 1976 and Dick Sturrock is credited with preserving the one at Symonds Street.

“He picked it up and kept it safe until the Chamber of Commerce revived the 49th Parallel theme in 1986,” she said.

When the Chamber moved in 2014 the organization donated the sign to the museum.

“We welcome people coming into the museum and having their picture taken standing next to it as a memento,” Moore said.

 

A man stands next to one of the original 49th Parallel signs at 1st Avenue and Methuen Street in the 1940s. (Ladysmith & District Historical Society Archives).