When we first started talking about doing an exhibit exchange with the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, I was just so excited about the partnership opportunity that I agreed without hesitation. It was only once things started falling into place and the transfer of artifacts was being arranged that I wondered how we were going to pull this off.
Thankfully, there are experts in our community who know a lot about transporting canoes. I contacted Ed Hill of the Gibsons Paddle Club and asked if he had any suggestions. He immediately and enthusiastically offered the assistance of the Gibsons Paddle Club. The club supports community organizations and is actively involved in community collaborations. Ed offered two members to drive the club’s canoe trailer to the Centre in Whistler and pick up the canoe. Sarah Goodwin, the SLCC's Director of Development, agreed to coordinate manpower at her end. All we had to do was come up with 20 strong-bodied individuals to carry the canoe from the trailer into our museum space.
Through an act of synchronicity, Ed Hill and Fred Stark went up to get the canoe on a Wednesday and were coming back on an evening ferry. Wednesday evenings are when the Gibsons Volunteer Fire Department meets for practice. Where else can you find 20 strong-bodied individuals all in one place, at one time? Thanks to the quick thinking of museum board member Mike Clement, Fire Chief Bob Stevens was contacted and arrangements made for the volunteer fire fighters to help with the move. Member of the Paddle Club and the fire fighters converged on the Museum and it all happened seamlessly! In less than 30 minutes, we had the canoe installed in our museum exhibit space, looking as magnificent and impressive as ever.
A big huge “THANKS” goes out to the Gibsons Paddle Club and the Gibsons Fire Department. Their willingness to help and enthusiasm to get involved really confirms for me what “community” is all about.