Train station's 100th 'a new beginning'

The centennial of the Qualicum Beach train station was celebrated in grand style Saturday with hundreds of people enjoying displays and activities.
In the morning opening ceremonies, attended by a mix of dignitaries, theatrical types in period costumes and regular folk, Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek noted that the train had brought many people to the town and played a role in the longstanding claim that: “When people come to Qualicum Beach, they come to stay.”
This year the station became home to the Qualicum Beach Digital Media Studio, “a new generation of innovators,” Westbroek said.
The station, he said, “has long been key to the local economy.”
Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney said the day was “a great opportunity to look back… We have a lot to celebrate in our history.”
Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell said it was “remarkable” to think back about what life was like then.
“Imagine me in a wheelchair and the accessibility issues,” she said.
Mary Ashley, co-chair of the Island Corridor Foundation, noted that there “are not many structures on Vancouver Island a hundred years old and in such good condition.”
With volunteers and business contributions, the station underwent a major renovation in 2000-2001, including being gutted, being lifted for a new foundation and having all plumbing and wiring replaced.
“Other communities on Vancouver Island are looking to emulate what you have done,” Ashley told the crowd.
“It feels like this is a new beginning here today,” she said. “On we go to the next phase of life on the railway on Vancouver Island.”

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