The Ladysmith Maritime Society celebrated its 30th anniversary Thursday, inviting members and well-wishers to a soiree at the Welcome Centre at the community marina.
And there’s more to come. On May 30 a diorama of the ‘Long Wharf’, where coal from Ladysmith’s Extension Mine was loaded onto ships from 1899 to 1931, will be unveiled.
LMS President Betty Pearson said preserving the harbour’s history is important. “The history of Ladysmith for the last 150 years has been with the harbour,” she said, noting that in one way or another coal mining, forestry and fishing all relied on the area’s access to the sea.
The maritime society started out with a different name and purpose in 1985. Then it was called The Tall Ship Society, and it’s goal was to build a tall ship for Expo 86, the World’s Exposition on Transportation and Communication held in Vancouver.
Tall ships turned out to be a tall order – none was ever built. But the society, under a new name, has survived and thrived. From its origins as an organization with a ‘few hundred dollars in the bank’ it has become a major part of Ladysmith’s tourism and cultural scene with a $700,000 budget.
Pearson puts it all down to the dozens of people who support the LMS. “It’s all due to the many volunteers we’ve had over the decades,” she said.
Unveiling of the Long Wharf diorama takes place at 1 p.m., May 30, at the Harbour Heritage Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend.