Chemainus labelled one of B.C. tackiest towns

Huffington Post: Community leaders bemused and bewildered by label town shares with Coombs, Langford

  • Oct. 1, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Is the Chemainus street scene tacky? The Huffington Post apparently thinks so.

Prominent Chemainiacs are having a chuckle at a recent article naming Mural Town as one of B.C.’s Tackiest Towns. But they’re also slightly offended.

“What can I say, I think it’s hilarious,” said Chemainus mural visionary Karl Shutz of the article that appeared on Huffington Post’s website Sept. 26. “The fact, they mentioned Coombs and Victoria in the same category, is a huge compliment. But to call historic paintings tacky is beyond my comprehension.”

That’s exactly how North Cowichan mayor and Chemainus resident Jon Lefebure felt.

“Personally, I think it’s rather a strange conclusion. I’m not sure what would make them think that,” he said.

“It’s beautiful out here, so it’s not surprising that tourism forms such a big part of the province’s economy,” writes Huffington’s Emma Prestwich. “According to stats from the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., tourism revenue jumped almost 50 per cent from 1999 to 2009.

“But sometimes towns go a little bit too far to bait tourists. While we have a stubborn love for the Coombs Country Market, the Platzl in Kimberley, and the murals in Chemainus, sometimes the endless gift shops, pioneer villages and tour guides in period costume get a bit wearying.”

With that said, the Post rounded up six cities and towns with “notorious reputations for being kitschy tourist-traps, even if they’re fun.”

Other communities included Barkerville, Langford and Kimberly.

“The murals are all very attached to real life and have historical significance and so on,” defended a very proud Lefebure. “To me it’s kind of the opposite of tacky.”

Shutz agreed.

“Some of our paintings, especially the one on our theatre has a $100,000 value,” he said. “Our community can stand very proud. If this is tacky, then there’s millions of people who appreciate this kind of tacky.”

In a brief description the Post said Chemainus seemed “another place that seems to exist mostly for tourists.”

Prestwich did, however state the murals are “stunning” the theatre “well-produced” and the town “cute.”

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be on the list,” said Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce coordinator Jeanne Ross. “I think if it’s going to get us some more attention, then that’s great.”

Huffington Post reporter Prestwich couldn’t be reached before deadline.

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