Mr. Speaker, this past weekend saw the kick-off of a year-long centennial celebration of the founding of the Alberni Valley's twin cities.
Centuries of first nations presence by the Tseshaht and Hupacasath preceded the growing development and industrial activity that saw Alberni emerge as the first community in 1886. Rivalry grew as the wharf was established up the inlet. Rail pushed through in 1908, linking the port, the mills and the steamships, but the first road favoured Alberni.
Nearly 100 automobiles assembled in Alberni as the unofficial marker for mile one on the Trans-Canada Highway was laid. History records the theft and eventual return of that marker, which had mysteriously shown up in the neighbouring port.
The museum has created a first-class display. Dozens of people in period costume are already recapturing the pioneering spirit. The August long weekend will see a major homecoming event.
Port Alberni is inviting all of Canada to ride the steam train, dodge the notorious Beaufort Gang, visit the historic McLean Mill and join in the fun as port revisits pioneer days and historic routes.