War Memorial Hall turns 90

On Saturday, residents of Errington mark the day when their community hall was born.

Marjorie Leffler has a keen interest in the history of the local area. Her book Parksville and Then Some which was published in 1999 details some of the history of the area and includes a photo of her in-laws at their homestead in Errington taken in 1915.

The Errington War Memorial Hall celebrates its 90th birthday on Saturday, March 24 and a big party is planned including an old timers tea and get together in the afternoon and a 1920s style evening of music and memories in the evening.

The Errington War Memorial Hall opened its doors March 22, 1922 , and for 90 years has been the heart of the community.

The tradition the hall has built up over the years as a cultural, social and recreational centre for the surrounding area continues today.

The Hall Association made up of a small group of dedicated volunteers, while constantly dealing with problems of keeping the aging facility alive and running, is committed to seeing that the hall remains an asset to all local residents for years to come.

Eighty-nine-year-old Marge Leffler, who will be attending the old timers tea, said she attended many social activities at the hall as a young adult.

Leffler’s late husband Cliff grew up in Errington and the couple lived on the family property on Middlegate Road back in 1945 until they moved into their own home in Parksville two years later.

When asked if the Errington she knew as a young bride has changed a lot, she admitted the community has grown but the old hall is still the same, aside from the upgrades.

“We played badminton and danced at the hall.  I remember the Christmas play every year was a big deal,” recalled Leffler, adding that at one time her sister-in-law had a library in a side room of the building.

Leffler said her husband’s family purchased their property in 1914 but no longer own it.

“There is no one left on that side of the family.”

Leffler said she was given her mother-in-law’s old photo album and if she can find it she will see if there are any old photos she can bring to the event on Saturday.

Bob Herbison, who is part of the organizing committee for the big birthday party, is encouraging guests at the old timers tea which starts at 2 p.m. to bring in any photos they have of Errington from way back when.

A slide show of the hall history will be shown and birthday cake will be served. Admission to the tea and the concert is by donation.

The musical entertainment starts at 8 p.m. Saturday night and while the group that includes some familiar names has been recently formed their music is bound to bring back memories of a by-gone era.

Dr. Phil Harmonic’s Jug Band Orchestra will be playing some down home music performed by local artists of all ages.

Led by Errington’s own recording artist Gerry Barnum and featuring many of the finest folk musicians in the region, Phil Harmonic’s Jug Band Orchestra revives a style of music popular in the ‘20s and ‘30s and popularized again in the ‘60s by the Lovin’ Spoonful, Rooftop Singers, and Dr. Hook’s Medicine Show.

Many of the musicians are well known to local audiences. Barnum is the artistic director and brings vocals, soulful guitar, harmonica, and vintage washboard, John Hamel contributes acoustic and bass guitar, Dean Williams plays assorted guitars, mandolins, and kazoo, Fahlon Smith of Marimba Kumbana and the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra performs on fiddle, Kerri Brown of Skewlines is on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, Doug McLean is on claw hammer banjo and authentic jug, and Rod Sauer contributes his exceptional harmonica stylings.

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