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Armstrong celebrates 100th birthday in creative ways

Snowmen and snowwomen cluster outside Armstrong Elementary School, which will officially be declared a heritage building as part of the centennial events.
January 09, 2013 - 2:49 PM

The City of Armstrong turns 100 years old in 2013, and celebratory events outnumber its years.

"We have hundreds of events lined up," Terri Wong, centennial coordinator, says. The diverse events will have certain tourism benefits, but more than that, Wong says they are about bringing fun to the people who live here.

Though 2013 will be speckled with heritage events spearheaded by local groups including the museum, Wong says her vision is more modern.

"I don't like to look to the past," she says. "I like to look forward."

Wong has been the driving force behind an outdoor concert to be held August long weekend at the fairgrounds.

"I wanted to do something for the youth," Wong says. "Something they will remember 10 or 15 years down the road, and say, remember that concert in the summer of 2013?"

Wong says she's got some big name B.C. artists with substantial radio play headlining the show, but won't spill the beans on who they are.

"I won't have trouble creating a buzz for this once the names are out," she says.

Some of the more historical events include a re-enactment of Armstrong's first council meeting performed by today's city council in March, a homecoming in July for anyone who has ever lived in Armstrong, and a Celebration of Love in February, which will feature wedding fashions through the ages and highlight couples married in Armstrong.

Right now, Armstrong is in the middle of a centennial Snowman Flash Mob.

"We want every family to build a snowman in their yard, or go to the fairgrounds and build one," Wong says.

The goal is to have 100 snowmen and snowwomen occupying the city by Jan. 15.

"Take a picture, send it to our Facebook page, and everyone has a chance to win a houseboat vacation," Wong encourages.

There will be prizes for the best heritage snowman and best family of snowmen, among many others.

"Mine will be wearing a bikini and sunhat," Wong says, hinting at her desire to be somewhere warmer. "When life gives you snow, make snowmen."

Warmer temperatures should melt the city's abundance of snow into perfect snowman-sculpting material in the next day or two. Check here for Centennial event updates.


Why 1913?

So, what was going on 100 years ago that caused Spallumcheen, which was incorporated in 1892, to split into two cities? Jessie Ann Gamble, a museum volunteer and long-time resident of Armstrong, says it's owed to differing priorities.

"They realized there were two separate groups," Gamble says.

Spallumcheen was more interested in agriculture, while the town centre was focused on commerce and became a hub for merchants, doctors and packing houses.

"It came down to a question of where they wanted to spend money," Gamble says, noting Spallumcheen wanted to invest in country roads, while the city centre called for things like sidewalks and water systems.

"It was a cooperative separation, and people don't always realize that."


—Charlotte Helston
chelston@infotelnews.ca
(250)-309-5230

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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