On Saturday May 28th, the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives in collaboration with local producer Robert MacDonald & director David Short, presented George and Charlotte Gibson Day to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Gibson Family’s arrival on the Sunshine Coat. And what a fantastic event it turned out to be! To be honest, the morning’s rain showers had us a little apprehensive, biting our nails and looking at the swirling dark clouds rolling in from the west, but as the day unfolded, it seemed as if luck was on our side!
The festivities began with a dramatical enactment of the Gibson’s arrival at Armours Beach. Actors portraying Charlotte Gibson and her children milled around in period costumes on the landing and there was there was a tangible excitement in the air as everyone awaited George’s arrival. Rowing a small boat up to the dock with one of his sons, the audience cheered as they stepped ashore carrying burlap sacks to represent their belongings. During the arrival, Tim Anderson’s narration told the story of how George Gibson ended up on the Coast very much by fluke as a strong wind pushed his vessel, the Swamp Angel, off course. And remember those present-day dark swirling clouds I mentioned? Well by similar fluke, the sun soon appeared and the Gibson’s began to pack up their belongings on an awaiting horse to travel to their new home. Walking along Marine Drive, the eager crowd followed the Gibson family as outspoken George provided comical and insightful comments along the way. Sunshine Coast history was alive!
As the group approached the museum, the crowd swelled, cheering and hooting wildly as George announced that they had finally reached their destination. Gathering around props set up in front of the museum such as a kitchen table and a wash tub, the actors began to act out A Day in the Life of the Gibson Family. Again, Tim narrated each situation that the Gibsons portrayed, and the audience watched on as they prepared food, washed clothes and fetched firewood. We definitely took some artistic license with this but we made sure to let the audience know and everyone seemed to enjoy it. All too soon, the entertaining enactment was over, but Gibsons Mayor Barry Janyk, dressed in top hat and tails, continued with a historically themed speech, highlighting the changes that have taken place since 1886. As the sun continued to beam outside, much of the crowd gathered in the gift shop of the museum for the cake cutting ceremony. And let me tell you – it was an incredible cake, both to look at and to taste! Snacking on an array of refreshments, locals and visitors alike reminisced about the heritage of Gibsons, while many folks sat outside and basked in the beautiful afternoon. Soon, Matt Cavers presented an informative slideshow of historical photographs, providing insights and anecdotes to the enthused crowd. With the afternoon winding down, SCMA staff and volunteers marveled at how successful the event turned out to be! By all counts, about 150 people came out to the Museum to celebrate and take part in the festivities for the 2011 George and Charlotte Gibson Day.
THANK YOU’S to: producer Robert McDonald, director David Short, actors Roza Rogers, Olivia Perignon, Emily Diamond, Rochelle Perignon, Elizabeth Lyle, Nicolaus VanDerSaand, narrator Tim Anderson, photographer Dan Tsuji, and Julia Davidson (owner of horse); SMCA volunteers Ian Thomson, Mike Clement, Elaine Jackson, Ann Tasker, Lorraine Goddard, Sue Thompson, and Sharon Venechuck; the Town of Gibsons and Mayor Janyk; and Super Valu for the slab cake, IGA for the fruit and vegetable platters, and Tim Horton’s for the coffee.
For more photos and articles in our community newspapers, go to: http://www.coastreporter.net/apps/pbcs.dll/tngallery?Site=GW&Date=20110530&Category=SECHELT&ArtNo=530009999&Ref=PH
http://www.thelocalweekly.ca/ (June 2, 2011 – Vol. 9 Issue 22)
|Gordon and Elaine Jackson|
|Bruce and Makiko|
|Matt Cavers presenting a slide show on the history of Gibsons.|
|Curator Kimiko Hawkes with Heather McEadie, great grandaughter of George Gibson|
|Vintage lace dress donated as a prop by Ms. Heatherington|
|Awaiting the arrival of George and Ralph|
|George and Ralph rowing in to Armour's Beach|
|Mayor Barry Janyk and Narrator Tim Anderson|
|George and Ralph coming up the dock with supplies|
|George is feeling the strain after rowing ashore and packing in the supplies|
|The procession through town, pack horse and all!|
|Charlotte and the girls start doing the chores|
|The family poses for a group shot|
|Narrator Tim Anderson|
|Musical accompaniment by Matthew Lovegrove|
|Hear ye, hear ye! Mayor Barry Janyk presents a speech to the family|
|Mayor Barry Janyk and guest Heather McEadie (great grandaugher of George Gibson)|