By David F. Rooney
1912 was a big year for Revelstoke. The community had just celebrated the laying of cornerstones for the Provincial Court House and the original Queen Victoria Hospital and now, besides a proposal to build Mountain View School, there were plans to build a “Motor Road” up Mount Revelstoke specifically for automobiles of which there couldn’t have been very many in here! The future seemed bright with predictions of massive population growth and surging economy.
Little did anyone here suspect that in two short years the First World War would change everything forever… but that was still in the future.
According to Cathy English, curator of the Revelstoke Museum and Archives, newspaper accounts of the day paint the August 21, 1912, ceremony to unveil the Mile Zero stone as a monument to the town’s promise. The Mail-Herald crowed that two thousand people enjoyed “a splendid repast” at what was then the Columbia Park fair grounds.
The MP of the day predicted a future population of 50,000-60,000, while a former mayor, Dr. Hamilton, called it “the awakening day of our city.”
Bold words and lofty dreams but the grandiose predictions never came to pass. Well, perhaps MacDonald’s words still ring true. After all, Revelstoke is certainly a place that is in touch with itself and that also knows how to overcome long odds.
As Mayor David Raven noted in an address to park supporters and members of the Friends of Mount Revelstoke & Glacier who gathered at the Golf Club’s Eatery on the Green, MacDonald and the other men who succeeded him as mayor, left behind a legacy that we still see and appreciate almost every day.
He joked that he and other contemporary mayors and councillors only seem to get build infrastructure and repave streets. That’s no really true, of course. But the point Raven was so self-deprecatingly trying to make is that having a vision of the future matters.
That is so very, very true. We have so far celebrated three centennials this year: the laying of the cornerstone for the Provincial Court House (click here for another story about this); the laying of the cornerstone for Queen Victoria Hospital; and now the Mile Zero stone for the road that was visited by royalty on a number of occasions and was eventually officially opened by then-Prince (and later, King) George in 1927.
We have much more to celebrate now as we move towards new visions of the future.
That future will continue to look towards tourism as an economic tool, tourism to both Mount Revelstoke (which celebrates its own centennial in 2014 [Incidentally, the official Mount Revelstoke National Park Centennial logo, as designed by Rob Buchanan, was unveiled at the ceremony at the Eatery on the Green]) and Glacier National Parks
Here are some images from this event at the Revelstoke Golf Club’s Eatery on the Green: