Of all the clichés and ruminations on history, one of the more amusing comes from adage-aficionado Oscar Wilde: “Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it.”
Given our culture of revisionism, patriotism and shame, it can be a bit hard to tell where the fool stops and the genius starts. No doubt one sometimes doubles as the other. Still, if Wilde set out to praise the act of documentation and compilation, he’d be pretty impressed with the Squamish Historical Society.
As the province gears up for B.C. 150 celebrations, the society recently announced plans for a summer history lesson that includes contests, films and antique appraisals. The event is scheduled for June 7 at the Adventure Centre and will run from noon to 6 p.m.
“B.C. has been a colony for 150 years, and we’re celebrating this year,” said Bianca Peters, president of the society. “It’s very exciting.” The afternoon will include a photo contest. Residents are asked to submit historical pictures of buildings, people or events to The Squamish Chief by May 27. Those photos will be on display, and cash prizes will be awarded to three home-historians.
Al Bowen, an antique appraiser, will be on hand to evaluate family heirlooms, and local columnist and society newsletter editor Helmut Manzi will be screening Brackendale Then and Now , his feature length documentary on one of Squamish’s more fiery locales.
Squamish Nation will also be there. Members will set up story circles and communicate their history through oral tradition.
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Benchmark moments in Squamish history
1858 Governor James Douglas dispatches an expedition into Squamish Valley
1888 Robertson family arrives and settles
1893 First school built in Squamish
1919 Power and water supplied to downtown
1950 Electricity wired to Brackendale
1958 Road forged to Vancouver
1961 The Chief is climbed
1964 Road reaches Pemberton
1970s, ’80s Dykes are built protecting the town from flood waters
2006 Woodfibre closes