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MARCH 17, 2011

Pennyworth • 15

This Was Then... With Old Ike

March 31, 1992 – Firefighters lose ambulances to BCAS As history has recorded, the community put up a good battle to keep the local Fire Department running the ambulance service but the decision to switch to the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) was made by then Health Minister Elizabeth Cull, and the changeover took place at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, 1992. “There are some hard feelings and I fully understand that,” Mike Dwyer, the ambulance unit chief, told Times reporter Diane Morrison at the time. “Given time we will develop a really good working relationship. We all work for the public.” Dwyer and Fred Bates, BCAS superintendent for the North Island, said they recognize that, for a while, the ambulance service will be closely scrutinized by the community. “And rightly so,” Mr. Dwyer said, “because it was such an emotional issue.”

In a symbolic gesture just for the newspaper, Port Alberni Fire Chief Rusty Phillips (front left) handed over the keys for one of the ambulance vehicles to Mike Dwyer, the new unit chief for the B.C. Ambulance Service in town. The exchange took place at the ambulance quarters on Roger Street.

Found in the files A few items caught my eye recently as I scanned some 51-year old issues of the West Coast Advocate. First of all, this item on the editorial page on August 4, 1960:

In the August 11, 1960 issue this announcement:

From the August 18, 1960 issue of the West Coast Advocate, this small article:

Albernis In Top Ten Among Salary Earners

“Jeanette Denise Quesnel of Port Alberni, B.C., graduated recently as a Trans-Canada Air Lines stewardess following an intensive five-week course at Montreal. She worked as a B.C. Telephone Co. operator and desk clerk at Port Alberni before joining TCA in May, 1960. She is now stationed at Montreal with the airline.”

“Probably the youngest stockholder of the giant MacMillan, Bloedel and Powell River Ltd., is six month old Joseph Kjernistad, 915 Sixth Ave. North, Port Alberni. Joey took the easy road to riches by capitalizing on his personality and charm; he won the first prize in the Alberni Super-Valu baby photo contest which was judged during the past week – his prize was one share in MBPR Ltd.”

“Don’t blow a fuse if you’re not in the class of the top ten when it comes to annual salary. At least the average worker in this Valley is supposed to receive $4300 per annum, based on figures released by the taxation department at Ottawa. In the actual standing as set by the rates Port Alberni stands seventh, one

slot ahead of metropolitan Toronto, while Victoria is in twenty-third place. This should raise our ego at least. It is gratifying to know that you are living in one of Canada’s best districts for high paid workers and professional men, and the revenue department at Ottawa, who publish the book on taxation statistics

should know correctly the various ratings. Unfortunately the review of the green book did not cite what the various workers were being paid, but you can rest assured the figures were for wages before taxes were taken away, which would show the take-home pay considerably less, than the round figures for any type of work.”

Can anyone update us on Jeanette? How long did she fly with TCA? Lets chat at: ikepatterson@


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MARCH 17, 2011

This Was Then... With Old Ike

Were you in Grade Five with Una Hall at Alberni Elementary in 1958? Una Hall (now Rose) found her grade five class picture recently and would like to gather the names of her former classmates. “I’m on the far right in the back row, next to our teacher, Mr. Hill,” Una pointed out. “I look really tall, thanks to a bench we were standing on.” If you’re in this 53-year old school photo with Una, please email me at: ikepatterson@ and if you belonged to the Alberni Valley Swimming Club between 1956-62 please include those memories as well.

A classic Reader response ad from 1961 This ad ran in the Twin Cities Times on Wednesday, July 5, 1961. If you remember anything about ALBERNI SERVICE (like who owned it) please contact me at:

Satch Willis emailed about last week’s “ corner of Third & Angus” picture. “In the background I see the building that was Port Motors – although it might not have been when the picture was taken. I worked there from 1955 to 1959 when it was owned by Roy Hill, who was the Dodge Desoto dealer at the time, and I was the last

employee there when the dealership closed in 1959.” Satch went on to point out that Meyer’s Holland Motors, who had the Mercury-MeteorLincoln line, took over the old Port Motors building from their old site at Argyle & Kingsway, which became the location for Leo Katila and Murray Grant’s “Grant-Katila Motors” in 1962. Meyer’s Holland Motors

merged with Oh’s Brothers to become Western Motors on upper Third Avenue after the 1960’s, but as Satch explains that 4th & Angus corner took another turn. “The Filipchuk family who owned the Beaufort Hotel purchased the building; demolished it and built the new Beaufort Convention Centre.”


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40 •


MARCH 17, 2011

This Was Then... It happened in March

With Old Ike

This picture of ADSS French 11 students appeared in the Times on Thursday, March 3, 1988, shortly before they left for Quebec on the first stage of an exchange with students from Lac Megantic, a small city in the Eastern Townships south of Montreal. Twenty-five students took part in the weeklong visit along with Student “Voyageurs”, organizer Mr. David Hooper and chaperone Mrs. Rosemary Ronalds. Front row, Jane Germansen, Claudine Prior and Amanda Lord; second row, Tanya Mah, Kam Sahote, Faye Tam, Lisa Bye, Sandy Kooner, Trudy Foxcroft, Rachel Spence, Susan Kaila, Kim Milliken, and Nadine Sawyer; third row, Mr. Hooper. Trevor Morrison, James Dolan, Erwin Borovica, Dee Dee Sanders, William Schlackl, Katie Dean, Chris Kimberly, and Don Blakey. Missing were Cam Lougheed, Colin Taberner, Suzie Grist and Pam Smith.

Spring was in the air on March 2, 1973, when these Alberni kindergarten pupils were caught by the Times’ camera playing the old-fashioned game of Drop the Handkerchief. If you were out in the sunshine at Alberni Elementary on that day 38 years ago, please let me know at: ikepatterson@

The Irish Rovers played to a packed house on Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at ADSS. If you were there, you would recall that the Rovers were forced to play the entire first set without vocalist Jimmy Ferguson, who was taken to West Coast General after succumbing to a sudden, nasty bout of the flu. He returned, looking drained, but giving a bravura performance anyway, according to Times reporter Shayne Morrow.

Premier Mike Harcourt was all smiles as he modeled the made-inAlberni t-shirt outside the BC Legislature on Monday, March 21, 1994. The shirt featured a cartoon picture of a knock-kneed Dave Haggard, then president of Local 1-85 IWA Canada, working as a tour guide. Haggard presented Harcourt with the gift at the “Yellow Ribbon Parade to Victoria” rally, that saw a crowd of over 20,000 angry loggers and their families gather to protest a park plan they said would cost more than 3,000 jobs. The event, organized by the Vancouver Island Community Coalition, lasted 3 hours and was strongly supported by Valley residents

MARCH 17, 2011

Pennyworth • 41

This Was Then... With Old Ike

Go back 30 years for this bird’s eye view of the harbour

At first glance you may think nothing has changed since this aerial picture of the Port Alberni harbour was taken in August 1981. However, a closer look will tell a different story; for example, no Alberni Harbour Quay (it opened 3 years later in August 1984). What other differences can you see? Share with all of us by contacting: ikepatterson@

SINCE I MENTIONED those “I Love Port Alberni” buttons and t-shirts last week, many people have come forward to say they still have them. Folks like Barb Kalugin who emailed: “I still have about 10 of the original buttons that I found when I was clearing out my promotions stuff at the mall,” she wrote. “I think you are right, we should get the promo going again.” How about it everyone? Lets chat about picking a day or a week to put on an “I Love Port Alberni” reunion. We can show the world, and each other, how proud we are to be the “ultimate fishing town with a heart.” Email me with suggestions and you can email Barb at: to see if you can get an original button.

Musical cowboys from 1976 They didn’t wear rhinestones but the “Cave gang” hit all of the high notes when they entertained the patrons of Diamond Lil’s restaurant at the E.J. Dunn School’s fun fair 35 years ago. The cowboy’s for the evening were (left) Bill Cave, Steve Jones, Rich Acres and Barry Miller.


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Alberni Valley Times - THIS WAS THEN - March 17, 2011  

Alberni Valley Times - THIS WAS THEN - March 17, 2011 printed edition

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