The massive, gleaming restored black Locomotive 11 looms at the Heritage Week Ladysmith Waterfront Exhibition on Feb. 22. (Roland Kokke photo)

Heritage shines along with the sun during Ladysmith Heritage Week

Waterfront event showcases some of the machinery that helped make Ladysmith what it is

The sun shone on the final day of Ladysmith Heritage Week, an annual event celebrating the industrial past of this colourful town.

At the Ladysmith Waterfront Exhibition on Feb. 22, adults grew kidlike and kids bounced with excitement as they took in the attractions that are the result of much hard work by many skilled volunteers over years of time.

A restored pumper speeder—a muscle-powered rail car used in the past to scout the track up ahead and transport men and equipment—propelled beaming youngsters and adults back and forth over a short section of track.

The two Ladysmith ambassadors adding a festive air in their matching sashes and tiaras, were also excited to go for a ride.

In the locomotive shop, the massive, gleaming black Locomotive 11 loomed, greatly restored and impressive.

Outside the shop, on the same stretch of track, was the rebuilt Humdirgen, bright yellow with alien looking appendages, custom designed to push logs off of rail cars. A handmade, intricately detailed working model of a steam locomotive and tender—much smaller but also impressive—was on display for the first time.

In the boat shop next door, visitors warmed themselves by the potbelly stove, chatted with volunteers, and took in the ongoing, highly skilled restoration work on the historic, 1947-built vessel Kirkegaard.

Nearby is the refurbished boxcar, converted for the occasion into an interactive space for families, with a miniature train circulating on a track inside and an area where children had fun painting model boats and railway spikes.

Many knowledgable volunteers were on hand, happy to share in their wealth of information.

Outside under the big tent, the Kinsmen served hot dogs and coffee next to a storyboard display of the ongoing waterfront plans and developments. On display close to the tent was a beautifully restored 1935 firetruck which has a rich history of service in Ladysmith, up until the mid 70s.

Down at the LMS docks, people enjoyed the heritage boats and lined up for free rides on Saravan, a vintage vessel lovingly restored by LMS volunteers.

Quentin Goodbody, president Ladysmith District Historical Society said Heritage Week 2020 in Ladysmith was a resounding success.

Approximately 550 people attended heritage events during the week, made possible by collaboration between various organizations and the work of a large body of volunteers. See more photos at ladysmithchronicle.com.

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