Port Hardy councillor Jessie Hemphill shakes hands with the Hon. Judith Guichon

Port Hardy councillor Jessie Hemphill shakes hands with the Hon. Judith Guichon

Lt. Governor visits

The Hon. Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of B.C., takes in North Island on rural communities tour.

PORT HARDY–The Lieutenant Governor of B.C. got quite the welcome to Port Hardy last Wednesday on her tour of rural coastal communities.

The Hon. Judith Guichon was greeted shoreside by dignitaries before being whisked off in a classic car to be treated to dinner and a dessert reception.

But the reception proved more exciting than anyone had bargained for when it was interrupted by an earthquake.

“We proved to her that we were movers and shakers,” quipped Mayor Bev Parnham.

The mayor recalled that the group had just finished dinner and introductions were being made at the meet-and-greet event when the 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck 40 kms southwest of Port Alice.

“We were just making introductions, I think it was to a representative of the Senior Society, when someone said ‘earthquake’,” recalled the mayor. “That was the first I felt it.”

It seems Hon. Guichon was relatively undaunted by the shake-up, as she jokingly commended the local representatives for putting on such a show.

“She was really very gracious; a lovely person,” said Mayor Parnham. “She has a real appreciation of small communities.”

The Lt. Governor’s visit to Port Hardy was a whirlwind one, but Hon. Guichon also paid visits to Alert Bay, Sointula, Heriot Bay and River’s Inlet on her four-day tour aboard the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Calgary.

During her stop in River’s Inlet Hon. Guichon joined representatives of the Wuikinuxv Nation in officially opening the new library there.

The library was built as an initiative under the Lieutenant Governor’s literacy program: The Write to Read Project, a partnership between the Government House Foundation and the Rotary Clubs of District 5040 to assist in building co-operative relationships between urban groups and rural First Nations communities.

“It is a great honour to open this library today as community members will now have access to books and all the adventures and new learning contained between their covers,” said the Lt. Governor. “The partnerships that have developed along the way in building this

library are perhaps as important as the resulting facility itself.”

Sponsors of the Rivers Inlet library include Britco, the Jack Gin Foundation and the North Vancouver Lionsgate Rotary Club. Other libraries under The Write to Read Project have opened in Toosey First Nation, Stone First Nation, Halalt First Nation, Old Masset in Haida Gwaii and, most recently, in Bella Bella. Libraries are also scheduled to open in Fort Rupert, Ditidaht and Malahat.

Accompanying the Royal Canadian Navy on training exercises is a tradition for Lieutenant Governors. Former Lieutenant Governors Steven Point and Iona Campagnolo travelled with the Royal Canadian Navy to various coastal communities during their tenure.