December 2010 — A number of schools held annual Christmas shows including Windermere Elementary (shown here).

Remember When? (December 18th, 2013)

A look back through The Valley Echo's archives over the
last 50 years.

10 years ago (2003):  Volunteer marketing organization Columbia Valley Tourism made a big stride forward when it secured, with help from the College of the Rockies, a $45,000 Human Resources Development Grant to hire three full-time employees for a six month period. The grant was welcomed by Columbia Valley Tourism president Robert McIver.  “The funding for marketing- related personnel will help us build on our accomplishments and provide the personnel with valuable work experience in the tourism industry that is so important to the health of our valley,” said  Mr. McIver. The organization’s board of directors made substantial progress in 2003 according to Mr. McIver and had already selected a logo, started to plan a website and iniated surveys, according to Mr. McIver.  “We have a strong board of directors that represents stakeholders for the region and we are in the process of incorporating under the Societes Act. We have circulated detailed surveys throughout the Pacific Northwest to provide feedback and pointers on what is needed to let people know that we look forward to welcoming them in the East Kootenay,” he said. The board consisted of about a dozen people involved in the valley’s tourism industry.

20 years ago (1993): Invermere resident Ron Jeffels attracted a good deal of attention during the Christmas season for decorating his 10th Avenue home with four flying birch reindeer — including a red-nosed Rudolph leading the herd — and four enormous candy canes made out of the spruce trees in his front yard. “It’s not a lot of work; I always got excited by Christmas lights (as a kid) and I think it adds to the feeling of the season and a good feeling of community spirit,” said Mr. Jeffels. He credited his love of Christmas decorating to his dad, who was similarly a Christmas light enthusiast.  Mr. Jeffels said his wife Carol is also cut from the same cloth. “Carol would put the (Christmas) tree up in September if she could,” said Mr. Jeffels. The couple were shocked by how little festive decoration they saw during a Christmas trip to Tahiti. On another Christmas trip to Hawaii, the couple made sure to bring their own Christmas lights with them.

30 years ago (1983):  The Valley Echo printed a slew of letters to Santa. Letter writers asked the jolly fellow for BMX bikes, battery chargers, real sports cars, lego, toy trucks, roller skates, Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbie dolls. Letter writers promised they had behaved well all year, offered to leave cookies, cake and milk and told Santa they had warned Dad not to light a fire in the fireplace on Christmas Eve. Several writers asked about the well-being of Santa’s reindeer.

40 years ago (1973): The valley mourned the loss of well-regarded resident Lloyd Morris Rodningen. Mr. Rodningen was born in North Dakota, then lived for a time in Norway before coming to Canada, first living in Saskatchewan. He moved to the valley in the early 1940s, where he worked for Simon Ronacher Ltd. and then the Mineral King Mine. A host of family and friends paid tribute to Mr. Rodningen.

50 years ago (1963): Enthusiasm spilled from starry-eyed young actors to the enthralled audience of parents, grandparents and friends at the packed Invermere Elementary School concert. The capacity crowd frequently burst into applause. The evening began with amusing performances from the primary grades and culiminated with a perfomance of the play ‘Aladdin’, starring Debra Ede and featuring a vibrant backdrop created by Barry MacDonald. A jolly good time was had by all.

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