Royals open new library at Ditidaht

by Michael McCarthy • September 16, 2014 • Comments Off

Members of the Royal Family were on hand along with B.C. Lt. Governor Judith Guichon and many guests at the opening of the new library and community centre at Ditidaht, Vancouver Island this week. Edward, Earl of Wessex and Countess Sophie cut the ribbon on the new facility as band members joined in the celebrations.

Ditidaht is a small community of 350 residents located about 90 minutes drive on gravel roads south of Port Alberni, the southern most members of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. Sensibly, the Royals arrived by helicopter on a beautiful sunny day that reflected the upbeat mood of the 200 or so people in attendance.

Several members of the North Delta Rotary club arrived a few days in advance to put the finishing touches on the library, already stocked with 4,000 books and several computers donated by London Drugs and Hewlitt Packard. The club raised all the funds necessary to paint and restore the former schoolhouse. Kenn Whitehouse of the Port Alberni Arrowsmith chapter of Rotary also showed up with more books and computers on opening day and reported his club would like to become involved.

Write to Read Project coordinator Bob Blacker acted as MC of ceremonies as a dance and drum ceremony was held outside the library. Chief Jack Thompson, the Earl and Her Honour all spoke words of welcome as several eagles could be seen circling high above nearby trees.

The arrival of the Royals puts the final and officla stamp of approval on the literacy project, adding to the support of Her Honour Judith Guichon who has continued the tradition set by former Lt. Governor Steven Point. Both the Count and Countess mingled freely with the large crowds, with the Countess joining a crew of young paddlers to take a turn out on Nitinat Lake. The event was crowned by a huge feast in the high school gym, with local teacher Eva Clarke recognized for the work she has done to bring the project forward.

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