The Comox Valley is anticipating a birthday bash in September, 2019, when the community of Merville will be celebrating its 100 year anniversary. In the spring of 1919 the Soldier Settlement community was officially formed with land grants being offered to returning First World War veterans. In the fall of 1919, Edward, the Prince of Wales, made a visit to the community and even planted a tree to commemorate the occasion.
The Merville Community Association board, keepers of the Big Yellow Merville hall, are planning to have the 3 acre Merville hall site the epicenter of the celebration and it will host a whoop up party for one and all to celebrate the centennial.
Federal and Provincial grant money is being used to complete interior and exterior renovations to the main hall, and to renovate the 103 year old church and manse that are onsite, as well as landscape the grounds. A community incubator garden plot for local farmers has already been started and could be in production by next year.
The board is very keen to reel in community members to help set up and work on committees tasked with organizing the 100 year celebration. We already have invitations out to the Royal Family, and descendants of the original settlers are coming forward with historical information and anecdotes. Contact has been made with the Mayor and Council of the town of Merville, France, and its Mayor and another council member will be coming to the 2019 celebration in Merville, BC.
We will be needing artists to design and create iconic landmarks such as a giant gumboot. Storyboards need to be designed and created. Musicians, poets and actors are needed for entertainment. Workers are needed to help restore the playground; landscape around the buildings; renovate the interior of the church and manse; and help to create a site that will be a community asset for ever. These are all projects that will involve volunteers as well as paid workers and artisans.
There will be a planning and information meeting at 7:00pm, on Tuesday, November 20th, at the Merville hall. We will have presenters outlining their accomplishments regarding the Royals and the Mayor of Merville, France. We’ll also have an update on the progress of the renovations. This is a meeting of the Merville minds so bring your ideas and climb on board this train as it heads down the track.
The MCA has a website (www.mervillehall.ca) and you can reach us by telephone (250-339-4249). Let’s “git ‘er dun”!