This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, and we couldn’t be more proud to celebrate our centennial with the community we’ve championed since 1919.
While the Chamber is best known today for our support of the local business community, promoting and celebrating the entire region has always been central to our mandate.
Did you know, for example, that in 1929 a group of Chamber board members dedicated to tourism promotion loaded their packs and ponies and headed out on an overnight expedition to Mount Becher, many sleeping under the stars near the shores of a then-unnamed lake?
Or that, in 1938, the Chamber president made a humble request that planes travelling from Vancouver stop in Courtenay on their way to Zeballos? Yeah, we had to read that a couple of times to make sure we got it right too! Or did you know that we asked the City of Courtenay in 1940 to put up a sign warning visitors about our 25-cycle electrical system after a poor tourist’s radio blew up?
From the little things to the major issues of the day, the Chamber of Commerce has defended and supported this community for 10 decades. The plan for 2019 is to commemorate that dedication with a year-long celebration—with periodic jaunts down memory lane—culminating in September with one of the biggest parties we’ve ever thrown!
On September 28, after we honour our longest-serving members at a special private fête, we invite you and 225 of your closest friends to party like it’s 1919 at the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay. Together, we’ll twist, jive, jitterbug and maybe even moonwalk through the ages to the music of the Time Benders, a wildly entertaining group that changes genres, eras and costumes more than a dozen times in a single set. Tickets, which include appies, live music and all the dancing you can handle, are just $50 and are available online from our Centennial page.
A century of Comox Valley memories
Over the past 100 years, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce has been there not just for local businesses, but for the entire community. From promoting the Valley’s tourist attractions and fighting for more paved roads, to lobbying for tariffs and shouting “Buy Local!” long before it was trendy, we’ve been the driving force behind so many grassroots initiatives designed to make the Comox Valley a better place to live, work and play.
Throughout our centennial year, we’ll be publishing a series of articles exploring some of the various ways the Chamber has been there for the Comox Valley as it’s grown from a frontier outpost into the modern community we know and love today.
Based largely on the work of Bob Scales, who compiled 136 pages of newspaper clippings and other local historical accounts for his recent work, Centennial Project, these articles aren’t intended to be a mere exercise in self-aggrandizement and chest-thumping. Rather, we expect they will provide you with a fascinating and entertaining look at the Valley’s past endeavours and obsessions.
As we pored over Bob’s painstakingly compiled work, what we found most interesting, in fact, is how the shifting priorities of the Chamber have reflected the contemporary culture and concerns of the broader Comox Valley as it’s evolved through the decades.
Like when the Chamber protested the Comox and Courtenay councils in 1950 for secretly planning to hold Doukhobor prisoners at Goose Spit. Or when Chamber members met to discuss the dangerous condition of the Courtenay Bridge in 2018—wait, that was 1922. The more things change, right?
Each article will be available in its entirety from our Centennial page, and abridged versions will also run bi-monthly in the Comox Valley record and the Business Examiner.
We’re so proud to be part of a 100 per cent community-funded organization with such a strong track record of helping make the Comox Valley a better place. We’ve really enjoyed looking back on these past 100 years, and we think you’ll enjoy coming along with us for the ride over the next several months.
And we know you’ll enjoy our centennial bash with the Time Benders on September 28!