New signs depict life long ago in the Harbour

The first of a series of signs depicting life long ago in Pender Harbour was unveiled to applause Aug. 12.

The heritage sign at Madeira Park Wharf holds photos and stories of historical significance, like the dive competitions the area was once known for and the school boat service.

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"When Madeira Park School was built in 1951 all the little schools were amalgamated into one large school in Madeira, and there was a need for transportation for the children," said Dorothy Faulkner, vice chair of the Pender Harbour Living Heritage Society (PHLHS), which was responsible for the heritage signs.

"Because the roads were so unsafe at that time and not even built in parts, the school boat did the chauffeuring."

The school boat service continued from Madeira Park Wharf to the school and back until 1963 when the roads were fixed and school buses could be used to transport children.

The heritage sign at the wharf holds these stories and more, which PHLHS president Elaine Park hopes will connect people to places in the Harbour.

"When you're standing somewhere you see a sign and you know you're in the now, but you're also in the flow of time and you're standing where people worked very hard to create a community," Park said. "They speak to the experience of people who went before us."

The PHLHS has two more heritage signs in the works right now.

"The next sign is ready for mounting; it will be positioned at the historic one-room schoolhouse currently under renovation at Irvine's Landing," Park said. "A third is entering the design stage and will be installed at the site of the old St. Mary's Hospital, currently the Sundowner Inn, in Garden Bay."

The PHLHS is looking for other suggestions of historic sites to mark with signs and asks anyone with ideas to submit them via the society's website at www.penderharbourheritage.ca or by calling 604-883-0744.

The sign program is being funded by donations and support from the Sunshine Coast Regional District and the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation. Community donations of time and materials have also been integral to the project.

The mission of the PHLHS is to preserve and promote Pender Harbour's unique heritage and keep history alive through community projects and events.

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