It’s packed, Bianca Peters said as she flashed a picture on her cellphone of a crammed storage unit.
The space is jammed with boxes of photographs and railway and municipal documents. There are meat grinders, heavy cloth irons and even a working Gramophone. It’s all there, everything from Squamish forestry pioneer John Drenka’s recounting of local history to Len “Lefty” Goldsmith’s butter churner.
For the past five years, the local unit has played home to the Squamish Historical Society’s artifacts.
“We have so much stuff. We want it to see the light of day,” the president of the society said.
This November, that’s exactly what the historical society is planning to do. After years of collecting and achiving Squamish’s many stories, the organization is partnering with Quest University to host the inaugural Squamish Culture and Heritage Festival on Nov. 23 and 24.
The first day of the event brings Squamish Nation elders, history experts and students together for a workshop on Squamish’s culture and history. Beforehand Howe Sound Secondary School Grade 11 students will create information boards on various historical topics in self-guided study groups. On the big day, Garibaldi Highlands Elementary Grade 3 pupils will evaluate the displays.
“They are going to judge them all,” Peters added.
The second day consists of approximately 17 presentations and workshops open to the public. Speakers range from Cathy Ross’s presentation on Billy Gray and the beginnings of Garibaldi Park to Diana Billy’s workshop on herbal medicines and Squamish Nation cedar basket weaving.
Squamish Nation artist Rick Harry, who recently was named to the Order of B.C., will host a wood carving presentation.
“The history here is still alive and still speaking,” Peters said.
Shuttles will run from the Squamish Seniors’ Centre to the event. General admission is free, but donations to the Squamish Historical Society are welcome. The society is currently restoring a tool shed that has travelled from Saskatchewan to Squamish. The “Wilkie Building” is located on the east side of in the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. The society aims to showcase its artifacts there.
“It is our first museum,” Peters said.
The society is still seeking sponsors for the culture and heritage festival — in-kind and monetary. Anyone needing a ride to the festival can contact organizers. For more information on the festival or to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.squamishhistory.ca.