This day in history Sept. 14, 1941: “Elaborate celebrations planned for the dedication of the Ernest C. Manning Park.
Nearly 100 People Attend Despite Inclement Weather; Addresses Delivered by Notables”
“Among the visitors present were: Mrs. E.C. Manning, the Hon. the Minister of Lands, Mr. Wells Gray, C.D. Orchard, who succeeded Mr. Manning as the Chief Forester, C.H. Upper, MLA, W.E. McArthur and J. G. Acres, of Greenwood, E.C. Menninger, MLA; R. McLean and L.A. Mansfield of Grand Forks; A.C. Mackenzie, Thos. Daly and D. Miller of Penticton.
W. D. Seaman, President of the Princeton Board of Trade, was in charge of the proceedings, and after all present had joined in singing “O Canada”, he extended a cordial welcome to all who had come to honour the memory of the late Chief Forester.
Thereafter the band played, then E. E. Burr spoke on half of all the old-timers of Similkameen who had dreamed of such a park, and who had lived to see their dream come true.”
This past Saturday, July 16th marked Canada’s Parks Day, and was the date chosen to celebrate the 75th anniversary of EC Manning Provincial Park.
Despite being in the middle of summer, the weather resembled the initial ceremony that was held on an overcast, chilly September 12, 1941.
An enthusiastic crowd turned out to visit the community booths, which held excellent displays of Manning history, local hiking and conservation groups and represented the Hope, Princeton and Chilliwack communities. Many past and present staff from BC Parks were at the event. To the delight of kids, Jerry the Moose also made an appearance.
Dignitaries who spoke of the heritage and continuing conservation of the park included Mark Weston, BC Parks and Protected Areas Section Head of the Okanagan, Kevin Demers, owner of Manning Park Resort, and Tom Moore, former BC Parks District Manager from 1963-1973.
Mayors of Princeton, Hope and Chilliwack graced the ceremony. The honourable Frank Armitage (Princeton), Wilfried Vicktor (Hope), and Sharon Gaetz (Chilliwack) spoke of the influence of the Park on their communities, as well as their personal experiences and memories.
The Honourable Mayor Frank Armitage presented Manning Park with a special photo of the band that played at the opening ceremony in 1941. It will hang in a place of honour in Manning Park.
A number of volunteers were recognized for their ongoing commitment to maintain trails in the park, as well as supporting the programs and activities that make Manning a special place. They were given the gift of the 75th commemorative painting for their efforts.
Those recognized for their volunteer efforts:
Tom Moore, former BC Parks District Manager and longtime Friends of Manning Park
Kelley Cook, Friends of Manning Park and Heritage Trails
Rose Schroeder, Backcountry Horsemen of BC (not pictured)
Heather MacDonald, Fat Dog 120 organizer
Roger Bean, longtime Friend of Manning Park
Jim Hilton, longtime BC Parks employee with 3 generations (his dad, Joe, then son, Jamie) working in Manning Park (not pictured)
Kelly Pearce & Hope Mountain Centre (represented by Michele Drummond)
Canadian Ski Patrol – Manning Park Team
Jo Hughes, Park interpreter and Manning Park Resort employee (not pictured)
There are many more that could and should be recognized for their continuing dedication to make Manning Park the incredible place that it is. Thank you to these individuals and all those they represent within their organizations and others who work to conserve and protect EC Manning Provincial Park.
Murray Phillips unveiled his commemorative painting – “On the Way to Three Brothers – Manning Park.” He spoke lovingly of the park that he grew up in, and of his honour to memorialize it with his beautiful painting depicting the Heather Trail, looking towards the Three Brothers ridge in the alpine meadows of Manning Park.
All who attended were welcome to get a poster of his painting, and he signed over 250 copies.
Posters are available from Manning Park Visitor Centre. The 75th commemorative painting is also available as art prints and giclée canvas for purchase in the Country Store. Profits go towards the interpretive programs that run in the park throughout the summer.
Thank you for joining us to celebrate this remarkable milestone! Here’s to another 75 years!