Ethel Bell awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal

Ethel Bell was honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, presented to her by Senator Nancy Greene Raine during a ceremony attended by many of her friends, family members and well-wishers at Three Valley Gap on Friday. David F. Rooney photo

By David F. Rooney

Ethel Bell, widow of entrepreneur Gordon Bell, was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal by Senator Nancy Green Raine, a long-time family friend, ruing a ceremony at the Three Valley Gap Hotel she and her husband began 52 years ago.

“Ethel, it is a real pleasure to be here today to present you with one of these medals,” Senator Greene Raine said.

The ceremony was attended by a crowd of family and friends who were quite entertained by a recounting of Ethel’s life by grandson Tyson.

Born in Santa Barbara, California, Ethel married Gordon in 1953 and, knowing that the Trans-Canada Highway would be built through the Eagle and Rogers Passes they pruchased land at Three Valley Gap in the late 1950s. “The property was a swamp and required 25,000 tons of rock and fill,” Tyson said.

They opened the first incarnation of the hotel in 1960 but didn’t break even on it until 1974. It now has 200 rooms, restaurants, gardens, a theatre, heritage ghost town, antique car collection and other sights.

“As my grandfather always said, ‘The secret to a man’s success is a great wife.'”

The Bell clan gathered with matriarch Ethel and Senator Nancy Greene Raine after the ceremony. David F. Rooney photo