BC Heritage Fairs Alumni

The Official Heritage Fairs Student Site

Billy Proctor — September 23, 2019

Billy Proctor

Today we have a guest blog post by Tracy, who attended the 2019 Provincial Fair in Victoria.

Editor’s note: Billy Proctor’s books are linked in the text to IndieBound, which allows you to search for stock at an independent bookstore near you. We do not get any funds from sales purchased through these links, we just love supporting independent bookstores. 

 

The Human Encyclopedia of the Broughton Archipelago

Billy Proctor is often called the “heart of the community” in not just the island he lives on, but the coastal areas around him as well. Billy is a well-known figure in the seas of northern Vancouver Island, and has been fishing in the Broughton Archipelago for over 7 decades. When he was young, he worked as a logger, trapper, and commercial fisherman, and has now dedicated himself to preserving marine ecosystems.

In his small residence in Echo Bay, Billy opened “Billy’s Museum,” the name of the museum spelled out with pink salmon lures. It’s a small wooden lodge, filled with interesting things Billy found while beachcombing, each specially labelled and classified. Artefacts range from old glass bottles to ancient spearheads to multiple species of animal tooth. “They’re not garbage,” he laughs when asked to explain. “It’s a hobby, eh?”

Not far from “Billy’s Museum,” Billy has also carefully hand-built a logger’s shack, and a schoolhouse from the 85th School District. The logger’s shack was built exactly the same way a logger would have built it, complete with rusted boots and a pair of dirty socks. The schoolhouse is tiny, with only enough room for three desks and a small piano. Beside the schoolhouse is a small bookshop where you can buy some of the books Billy has written, including Full Moon, Flood Tide and Heart of the Raincoast.

Before we left, I had the chance to flip through Full Moon, Flood Tide, which is a guide to the Broughton Archipelago in Billy’s experiences. There are stories of many famous people, throughout nearly 100 small villages scattered around the area. And I was awed by how the Indigenous Peoples used the full moon, flood tide to trap salmon.

Salmon protection is a big issue for permanent residents like Billy. Most of Billy’s profits in the bookshop go to protecting wild salmon, and both he and Captain Bruce, the owner of Paddler’s Inn, are concerned about salmon farms. “Most of the farms are placed near important migration routes,” Bruce says. He’s worried about parasites and diseases that come from farmed salmon spreading to the wild. Already the wild salmon population has seen a decline, and with that decline the orca population in the Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound have seen downfall as well. Now only 250 orcas roam the Broughton Archipelago.

What do we do to help the wild salmon? “Take the farms away,” Billy states bluntly. But if the salmon farms are removed, we’ll have to depend solely on the wild salmon population to feed the people, which will most certainly cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem. What do we do? I feel that Billy Proctor and Captain Bruce are feeling unsure as well.

Billy Proctor’s Museum in Echo Bay is only accessible by boat or kayak.

It’s Time! Applications Are Live! — September 14, 2019

It’s Time! Applications Are Live!

You heard it here first folks, our applications for the 2019-2020 year are now live! This year, we’re introducing a couple of new things, both of which you can apply for on the above-linked applications page.

 

The Junior Council

The Junior Council is open to Alumni in grades 7 or lower. This is a great way for our youngest Alumni to get involved with the program, with age appropriate opportunities and support. The Junior Council will complete blog and social media posts, as well as participate in monthly calls and complete a major project – details to be decided by the council, and their leader Vedanshi.

 

The Senior Council

The Senior Council is open to Alumni in grades 8-12. This is a great way for our older Alumni to hone their leadership skills, as well as become mentors for the Junior Council members. Students will be involved in completing blog and social media posts, as well as monthly calls and a major project – details to be decided by the council, and their leader Keilin. Student assistants for the Provincial Fair will be chosen from the Senior Council.

 

The Alumni Program

The Alumni Program is open to all students who want to be involved with the Society, but for any reason are not able to be involved with the Council. This is ideal for students who:

  • aren’t sure how much time they have to commit
  • are only interested in something specific, like blog posts, Facebook posts, or Instagram
  • want to test the waters of what it’s like to be part of the alumni team
  • have another specific way they’d like to contribute, without being part of the full Alumni Council

 

So what are you waiting for? Apply today to join our expanded Alumni Team. Deadline to apply for the Councils is October 4, at 5pm, and the Program will have rolling intake. Please reach out to Rachel, Alumni Program Manager, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Her email can be found on the application forms.