Past Honoured, Conserved For Future

There are many approaches used to preserve the region’s history, from installing interpretive signs or offering new museum exhibits, to creating conservation plans or training archival staff. This year, Columbia Basin Trust is supporting 43 heritage projects with over $2.8 million to support efforts to honour the past by conserving it for the future.

“The ways people can preserve this region’s history, and make sure it remains relevant to future generations, are as varied as the history itself,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “With input from Basin residents, the Trust developed a strategic priority to ensure the history and culture of the Basin is celebrated. Alongside our partner Heritage BC, we are pleased to support heritage and other organizations, whether they plan to acquire or conserve assets or better manage and promote what they already have.”

Here are three examples of projects that are helping conserve the Basin’s past:

In Kimberley, the Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society will be preserving its Powerhouse, built around 1924. By doing items like brickwork repair and restoring all 34 windows (totalling 3,200 glass panes), it will be preserving this building while protecting the artifacts within it. These range from huge compressors, to a large hand-crafted mine model, to a two-tonne high-grade ore sample that was exhibited at the 1967 World’s Fair in Montreal.

“The mining railway sees over 10,000 visitors per year, and the Powerhouse facility illustrates the scale of the mining operation and Kimberley's rich history,” said Mick Henningson, President. “This very important preservation work will keep this heritage building in good shape for years to come, including all the heritage assets contained within it, for visitors to continue to learn from and enjoy.”

The Slocan Valley Historical Society will be restoring a 31-foot Japanese Canadian fishing boat, to be displayed in the village of Slocan. Built by the Matsumoto family in 1929 in Prince Rupert, the Merriwake was confiscated from its owners during World War II and eventually ended up partially sunk in Kootenay Lake. The society will also be producing short video clips about the boat’s past and restoration.

“The public display and interpretation of this heritage resource will ensure that people will remember what happened to an entire population,” said Joyce Johnson, President. “It will highlight the resiliency and perseverance of the Japanese Canadian people who had lost so much during World War II. It represents a time in our nation’s history that we cannot forget.”

The Village of Salmo will be partnering with the Salmo Valley Chamber of Commerce to create a new, permanent, outdoor mining exhibit along the old railway bed. It will restore and install several pieces of equipment from now-defunct mines in the Salmo Valley, including the first diesel locomotive used in BC, along with educational displays.

“The Salmo Valley-area mines are a significant chapter in the history of mining locally and throughout the Kootenay region,” said Anne Williams, Chief Administrative Officer. “The exhibit will reflect, preserve and share the valley’s rich mining history with both residents and tourists. It will play a significant role in further enhancing community and broader awareness of this history.”

This project funding is an example of the Trust’s three-year, $7.8-million commitment to support the Basin’s heritage values. The Trust is also partnering with Heritage BC to enhance the capacity of local heritage organizations by supporting a Basin-based heritage planner. Learn more at

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit or call 1.800.505.8998.