Untitled (Mt. Lehman Firehall Project), 2017
Collaboration with Aaron Young
Located at Mt. Lehman Fire Hall No. 5, Abbotsford – Public Art Commission by the City of Abbotsford
Fire Hall No. 5 is located in a close knit community of Mt. Lehman. When researching the area and the project, we learned how involved the community is, and the efforts they have gone to. It was important for my husband and I to celebrate the history of Abbotsford and so we went through hundreds of photos from The Reach Gallery Museum’s archive, and came across these two that stood out for multiple reasons. The pick up truck spoke to the era of the photo, and the presence of a young lady in the image made this one unique. Incorporated with the oversized print are stamps from the local post Mt. Lehman post office which, instead of saying “Abbotsford” on them, continues to say Mt. Lehman due to the tremendous efforts of the community and their friends and family who solely use their post office to ensure its continued operation.
I was later contacted by that same lady seen in the image. Someone in the community recognized her in the old photo and contacted family members until she was finally reached as she no longer lives in the community. She made a special visit to Abbotsford to see the photo, and to connect with the community and volunteer firefighters that work at that fire hall. It turns out that my husband and I were right about the uniqueness of this image. That year there was a huge bog fire which ran all summer and many people were apart of trying to keep it under control. The young lady in the image was 15 and even remarked how rare it was for her to be wearing shorts rather than a skirt. You can see an image of her below, 58 years later.