Armstrong to re-enact first city council meeting

Armstrong Mayor Chris Pieper will sport a mustache to get in character for playing 1913 Mayor James Wright (shown in photo).

By Charlotte Helston

Armstrong's mayor says city hall's agenda wasn't as different 100 years ago as one might think. 

Mayor Chris Pieper is getting ready to dress up in an early 1900s suit and stick on a fake mustache as part of the city's re-enactment of the inaugural city council meeting of 1913. The event is just one of the ways the city is celebrating its 100th birthday. The cast includes Armstrong's current council as well as several other community members including musician Paule Moore and Shamrocks coach and player Pat Nelson.

Pieper will play James Wright, Armstrong's first mayor.

"We have the original minutes from the meeting," Pieper says, adding momentous events from the town's 100 year history will also be incorporated. "We'll be taking pieces of time and talking about them."

A big difference between the 1913 council and today's, is the presence of women. "It was all men then, women couldn't even vote. Now we have two women on council," Pieper says.

But the city's priorities have remained much the same. "We wanted to make Armstrong a great place to live then, and we still do," Pieper says.

"If you look at the minutes, they were already talking about sustainability," Pieper says. "They were talking about doctors, they had three then, we have four now with a lot more people. Health is still a main priority."

Road and transportation improvements were hot topics in 1913, as they are today. "Instead of the train, we've got cars and buses now, and instead of Vernon being a full day trip, now you can get there in 15 minutes."

Mayor Wright, who Pieper will be playing, pushed for a school to be constructed in town. "That was the brick school, Armstrong Elementary. We still value education."

"The biggest change is more people, the essential services we want are still very much the same."

Pieper has never done any acting before, but says he isn't nervous about getting up on stage. He moved to Armstrong with his family at the age of two, and has resided here ever since.

The re-enactment will take place Tuesday, March 26 at Centennial Theatre. Originally planned as just a 7 p.m. showing, an 8 p.m. has now been added to meet demand. Tickets are free and available at city hall. The re-enactment is around 40 minutes long, and between the two shows members of the Armstrong Legion will be presented with the Queen's diamond jubilee medal.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call (250)309-5230.

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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