Today was the last day of Provincial Heritage Fair 2016. It brought many bittersweet feelings for all of us. Upon our arrival at the beginning of the week, I was thinking about how long the days would be. It seemed like it would be weeks before I would have to go home, but suddenly, it’s all over. I don’t know how the others feel, but I am extremely sad. Of course, I miss my family back home, but in a sense, I have found a new family here; one that I will also miss when it is time to leave.

Friendships formed

After another great breakfast in the cafeteria this morning, we loaded the bus. I was thrilled for this activity! We drove to Granville Island (it seems as if every time we climb onto the bus, at least half of the group falls asleep. There must be something about buses that makes us tired). A couple tour guides gave us the full history of the Island, and then we were sent to do a scavenger hunt. Some of the clues were actually quite challenging, and I will admit that the alumni tried to provide answers that made sense, even if we hadn’t found the place yet… After a thorough search of the market, we returned to the rendez-vous spot, and the scavenger hunt was over. We were then free to explore! The students all split up into different groups depending on where they wanted to visit. There were many different shops to explore, and not nearly enough time to look through them all. However, I think just about all of us alumni came out with a couple cool things (chocolate definitely counts…). We also got to pick lunch from any place in the market, and I saw quite a variety of different meals, from fish and chips to bagels.

Walking tour of Granville Island, provided by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation

We all got back onto the bus, and after counting the students, we were all set to go. The bus conveniently took us all the way to the Chung Collection at the UBC Library, where we split into two groups. While the first group took a little tour, we stayed behind to do an art project. We each received a small canvas with a line through it. The topic was journeys, and we were to draw anything to represent that topic. I saw many, many varieties of journeys, including nature, injuries, and more. I, personally, drew parts that represented being a Heritage Fair participant compared to being a Heritage Fair alumni.

Visit to Granville Island!

After we had finished drawing, we were sent around to find materials to improve our drawings. Once again, there were many different materials used. Dirt was a common one, as well as leaves. Some others found flowers, ferns, and even used the paint on the pencils. It was interesting to see how each colour symbolized something for the drawings.

Finally, our art projects were named and finished, and we headed downstairs for a tour of the Chung Collection (ooh!). The presentation began with an introduction about the type of material the archives carries, as well as what they do. Their oldest materials are Babylonian clay tablets, from about 200 BCE. A couple rare books were shown to us, and that was pretty cool. As a Harry Potter fan, I was extremely excited to see a signed copy.

A model steamship in the collection, Photo credits to the Chung Library

We were then taken into the actual Chung Collection Gallery. Dr Chung enjoyed collecting many different things in relation to early exploration of Pacific Northwest, Immigration and settlement, and CPR. Apparently, he began to be interested in the CPR at a young age, and constantly kept posters and other pieces of history in a scrapbook. He later donated all of his collections to UBC, which consisted of many items, books, and also a model of a ship, which overall, it took him six years and over 4000 hours of working on the model for it to be completed.

When the tour was over, the students were given the option to go to the bookstore or to play basketball.I was surprised by the variety of things in the bookstore, from sweaters, mugs, and school supplies to colouring books, other books, and food. The students seemed to all be interested in at least something in the bookstore, as we were all occupied for quite a while. We hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, so I will admit that most of us succumbed to the power of dessert and bought chocolate (but we all deserved dessert. We worked very hard on…everything).

Having fun, regardless of the weather

Upon our return, we had dinner at the cafeteria, then headed to the lounge for the closing ceremonies. Firstly, Jane did a little speech, then Michael told us a story. Britney then explained to the students about the blog. The blog is very useful for students, as weekly posts and the alumni application (as well as Britney’s email) are all featured there. The alumni went up to the front to do their own speeches. In all, we mentioned how much fun the Fair was and a thank you to Jane, Britney, all of the chaperones, and all of the other alumnis for helping to make the Fair possible. A lot of different people did a lot of work to make sure that the Fair was fun for all of the students.

After the alumni talked, gifts were given out to the chaperones, followed by another story from Michael, and then a great slideshow that consisted of all of the pictures that the alumni had taken. Delicious chocolate cake was handed out to all of the kids and after eating their cake, special papers were distributed. The alumni created a collage of photos, consisting of minimum one photo of each person. Each student received a copy of the collage and they got all of their newfound friends to sign the back. I was quite surprised by the amount of people that wanted the alumni to sign their papers! It was an honour and made me feel incredibly important. I like to think that they wanted us to sign their papers because they hoped to become alumnis themselves.

Julia cuting the cake at the closing ceremonies

Once we had all exchanged emails and phone numbers and promised to talk, it was off to bed. As I sit here, I can recall all of the amazing memories I will now have to treasure forever. Though I will be extremely sad to leave my friends and UBC, I will always remember this Heritage Fair in a positive way, as I’m sure everyone else will. Besides, I’m sure that we will all be able to stay in touch!

Author: Julia