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Mayor's chain of office marks new tradition


Nothing tells the world you are a mayor better than a chain of office - but until recently, Squamish didn't have one.

Most communities across BC have a chain of office and after spending $2,031 Squamish has joined the list.

Mayor Ian Sutherland said the chain tells of Squamish's history and it includes the Coat of Arms for British Columbia and Canada.

The modern-looking chain with its deep blue collar is decorated with pewter maple leafs and four full-colour images of the dogwood flower. The names of previous mayors and the dates of their terms in office are printed on a series of bars linked onto the chain. There are blank bars on the chain that will allow for at least two decades of mayors to be added onto the chain.

The main element of the chain is the medallion hanging from the front decorated with the District of Squamish logo and the slogan Outdoor Capital of Canada engraved into it.

The chain is stored on display inside a glass case with the Order of Squamish pins just outside the mayor's office in Squamish's municipal hall.

"Some mayors wear theirs at council meetings," said Sutherland, but he chooses to wear it infrequently.

According to Sutherland, the chain only comes out of its case for special occasions and he expects it will get more use in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics in 2010.

When Sutherland visited Squamish's sister cities in Japan and Italy he found that his hosts were surprised to learn Squamish didn't have a chain of office for the mayor to wear during official events.

There was talk amongst the district staff for about a year of purchasing a chain, Sutherland said. In 2004, the decision was made to go ahead with the purchase.

"We were the odd ones out for not having something like that," Sutherland said.

Corinne Lonsdale, the mayor before Sutherland was elected, never wore a ceremonial chain. The mayors before her didn't have ceremonial regalia either as she confirmed that Squamish didn't previously have a chain of office.

According to International Coat of Arms, an Ontario company that makes the chains, the Dukes of Normandy started the tradition. The manufacturing company reports on its website that the first gold chains were created more than a thousand years ago to be worn by civic officials. The chains included the local seal along with the arms of authority for more senior governments.

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