All posts by Kinsmen Elf

Festival of Lights Kinsmen Parade 2017

This year, 2017, was the 30th anniversary of the famous Ladysmith Festival of Lights. Again, a very small community event that started as an opportunity to bring locals downtown to see the stores they have in their community, before they went to the “big city” to go shopping… and the first Light Up in 1987 managed to bring 500 people down to see a few decorations and three cross street stringers.

Light Up 2017

In 1992, the Ladysmith Kinsmen were asked to sponsor a parade for Light Up. The event had started to grow and the organizers thought a parade would probably be the piece that would make Light Up famous and the five to seven thousand people it attracted annually would be as large as it would get so let’s try and add highlights to it.

What started as a couple of school quartets and a local food store “float”, in 1992, has turned into the largest Christmas parade in B.C. This past November 30th saw OVER 100 entries into the parade! The entries ranged from 4×4 trucks with lights to dancers, to Hydro trucks totally covered with lights to the Vancouver Island University having over 200 students dancing and singing to an actual running cement truck covered in over 75,000 coloured lights to almost everything in between!

Light Up 2017

According to parade chairs, Kinsmen Mike Sumpter and Duck Paterson, it takes us about 10 hours to organize on paper, get all the entries mailed and then as they come in start selecting where we would position them. Sumpter said “Ladysmith wasn’t built for parades, especially something like this one. Built on a very hilly part of the Island we don’t have a lot of room to line up the floats and stuff!” He went on to say “with Light Up always being on the last Thursday of November it’s kinda hard to get members here on time to help organize. Lots of guys work till 4 or 5 and getting back into town is really really tough.”

Paterson, who has also been a member of the Light Up committee for 28 years, says “the highway leading into town, both north and south, comes to a snail’s pace around 4 in the afternoon as folks start coming. We even get bus loads from the mainland.”

Light Up 2017

“The club has to close off 4 side streets in order to get all the entries in some sort of a line up, and then we still get jammed up” stated Sumpter. “It takes our whole club and then even their families and friends to help make sure it goes off without a hitch”, he said.

Paterson said, “Mike’s wife, Marie, is a godsend for us. We look good, but Marie does a lot behind the scenes and really does a huge amount of the paper work”.

When we were first asked to do the parade we figured it was a goofy idea… Who has a parade at the end of November out here??? It rains all winter” Paterson said. “Well in fact, for the 25 years the club has done the parade we’ve only had five nights where it’s rained” he went on to say.

Sumpter said “Probably the biggest event on Light Up Night is when Santa turns on all the lights (over 250,000) in Town but the Kinsmen Parade has become a very HUGE part of the entire family evening that is wrapped up by an amazing fireworks show”.

The Ladysmith Kinsmen have been a very large part of Light Up as it was the Kinsmen that built the building that houses all the lights and decorations. In fact 5 years later they added and additional 36 feet to the building, which is now 48 feet by 90 feet. It was also the Kinsmen that did all the infrastructure work to get lights and an angel into the “Chuck Perrin Memorial Tree” which is a 110 foot tall Douglas Fir that has over 15,000 lights in it!

Light Up 2017

According to Sumpter “The Ladysmith Kinsmen like to think that we have been a part of the success of this amazing family event! Ladysmith is famous for it’s Light Up and knowing that we have been there from almost the beginning is a huge feather in the Kin hat.”

Light Up 2017

Light Up 2017 attracted over 30,000 people to Ladysmith (which has a population of 8,500) and over the eight weeks that the lights are up it’s estimated that a further 125,000 people visit Ladysmith to see the lights.

Downtown Washroom Project

The Ladysmith Kinsmen are embarking on another major project. It’s been a couple of years since the club did their last “major” project, which was the new playground at Transfer Beach, and decided that they wanted to do something they feel the community needed.

The club’s track record on major projects is pretty impressive! Starting back in 1963 when the Kinsmen built the Public Health Centre on High Street (which is now the Boy’s and Girls’ Club) to the playground at Brown Drive Park to the wheel chair ramp at the Museum as well as co-ordinating the spray park at Transfer Beach and lots of stuff in between.

Downtown Ladysmith has been selected as the “Best Main Street In Canada” by the Institute of Urban Planners which we’ve all known for a long time… but there is lacking and that’s public washrooms. The Chamber of Commerce and some of the merchants have public washrooms, but that’s while those establishments are open only.

The Kinsmen have applied to the Town for permission to build a unisex public restroom facility at the alley end between High Street and Gatacre Street.

The facility would be a single concrete block building with hardiplank wrap so that it matches the surrounding buildings and fit in with the heritage flavor of downtown. The facility will have two bathrooms,  a drinking fountain and change table for infants. It will be lit, heated, and proposed to be open 365 days a year.

$84,000

The anticipated cost of the public facility is $84,000 and we are hoping to get a BC Gaming grant to cover up to a third of the cost. The balance will be done by local fundraising projects the club will be taking on.

The members hope to start the build by March 2018.

If anybody is interested in helping with fundraising or other aspects or making a donation they can contact Kinsmen Mike Richardson or Duck Paterson. If successful in their fundraising plans it is hoped to have the project completed by the summer.

The Knights bench will remain as well as the two ornamental Japanese cherry trees.

Ladysmith Lightning Fastball

Members of the Ladysmith Lightning Fastball team show off their new uniforms that the Ladysmith Kinsmen helped to sponsor.

The Kinsmen members believe in helping young people to be able to participate in sports and a healthy life style.  The club assists many youth groups and clubs in the Ladysmith area.

Pictured with the Lightning players are Kinsmen Chris Saunders, Steve Dinsmore and Mike Sumptner.

Ladysmith Orcas

This picture was taken at their wind-up practice, for the summer, at the Frank Jameson Community Centre.  The Kinsmen are a great contributor to the Orca Swim Club and this past Kin Year, members donated $500 so the swimmers could get more training and more time in the FJCC Pool.

As one of the many youth organizations the local Kinsmen sponsor, we are very proud of the members of the club.

Kinsmen believe in young people getting involved in sports and other activities where it gives them a better opportunity for a healthier lifestyle as well as to use their minds.

Little League Scoreboard

Ladysmith Baseball Association

The Ladysmith Kinsmen Club donated an electronic remote scoreboard to the Ladysmith Baseball Association. The club purchased the scoreboard for $7,500 and then provided $3,000 to the Baseball Association to cover some of the cost of the installation.

Ladysmith Baseball Association

B.C. Hydro donated the new hydro pole to bring the power into Little League Park and two Hydro employees volunteered, on their time, to come down and dig the hole and set up the pole.

The Kinsmen also provided power to the Ladysmith Community Gardens so they could have electricity for their project. DC Installations did the bulk of the work as well Howie Davis volunteered to fix-up and clean the 10×10  beams to hold the sign. M.R. Richardson Construction donated the time and material to setup the posts and all the concrete was donated by Mayco Mix Concrete.

“This is the second time the Kinsmen have invested funds in a scoreboard for Little League Park. Ten years ago the club spent $9,000 to have a remote scoreboard installed but unfortunately the company went bankrupt the the club lost all the funds…  so now it’s second time lucky” according to club spokesman Duck Paterson.

“Our members are very happy that it has now happened and Little League Park now has more of a professional look for the kids to play on”.  Paterson said.

“What this community does for it’s young people is fantastic, and our club really appreciates the help we received on this and also to all the coaches, parents and everyone involved in working with the kids”

Kinsmen “Red Army” in Street Hockey

The Ladysmith Kinsmen participated, in strength, in the recent Guinness world record “Largest One Day Street Hockey Game” attempt on Sunday, June 4th in downtown Ladysmith.

Street Hockey
Complete with beer can pads!

Although dapperly-attired, the Kinsmen couldn’t make it past some heavy hitting in the semi-final game! Winning their first two games the members are proud of their stamina and perseverance in the face of great odds when the opposing team fielded a team of 7 players all over the age of 17!

The Kinsmen club was also one of the sponsoring organizations of the event and were really happy to see the main street lined with friends and families having fun and putting Ladysmith on the map.

(not pictured but played: Jason Kelland)

Ladysmith Secondary School Donation

Ladysmith Kinsmen Treasurer, Mike Richardson (left) and Club President, Jason Kelland, present a check for $2,000 to Ladysmith Secondary School Vice Principal, Liliane De Oliveira, and School Counsellor, Sandra Milne.

LSS
Treasurer Mike Richardson (left) and President Jason Kelland (right)

The funds were donated to help support the school’s lunch program so that students in need can be guaranteed a full healthy lunch while at school.

Nutsumaat Syaays Welcoming Figure

The Ladysmith Kinsmen Club recently donated $1,000 to the Nutsumaat Syaays Welcoming Figure project at Ladysmith Secondary School.

Nutsumaat Syaays Welcoming Figure
Kinsmen Treasurer Mike Richardson, Coast Salish artist John Marston, Kinsmen President Jason Kelland and Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone

The Nutsumaat initiative is a multi-phase project with students learning traditional weaving, language as well as local history and Stz’uminus culture.

The Welcoming Figure is, at present, being worked on by John Marston and students in the foyer of Ladysmith Secondary.  It is planned to have the figure finished by September and a special “unveiling” will be held at that time.