One of Parksville’s most iconic buildings is celebrating 100 years in the community, and events recognizing all that the building has been, begin on May 28.
“We decided May, June would be [the time] to really celebrate the centennial,” said Dave Wright, office administrator with the Oceanside Community Arts Council, which operates the McMillan Arts Centre (the MAC).
The McMillan Arts Centre building was completed in 1913 and in 1914 it opened its doors as the Parksville Elementary School.
A number of people in the community who attended the school have come together to help bring three centennial exhibitions to life, including one called School Pictures. The arts centre was a school from 1914 to 1976 and over 200 hundred photographs have been collected from about 100 people who were connected to the school during that time. There will also be an exhibition called Painting Parksville’s Past, surrounding the MAC’s Wednesday Painting group and some archival photographs found at the Parksville Museum (at Craig Heritage Park).
“They chose a photo and they are interpreting them,” said OCAC director and member of the painter’s group, Geri Rea. “Most of us did them in sepia colours and tones, and they should be of interest.”
The third centennial exhibition is called Building History which includes scrapbooks and memorabilia from the building’s past. All three of these exhibitions run from May 28 to June 22.
A reception to kick off the centennial exhibitions takes place at the MAC Friday, May 31 from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be cheese and wine, and everyone is welcome to attend.
On June 12 an Alumni Tea will take place for people who have used the historic building, whether they attended the school, the dance school that followed, or were involved with the arts centre. Reservations are necessary for this event, which will also feature old-fashioned songs sung by the Grade 2/3 class at the current Parksville Elementary School.
“We’re hoping some of the alumni will speak to the group about their connection with the building,” said Wright.
The guest of honour at that event will be a local centenarian, who turns 100 this year. The event takes place from 2 to 5 p.m.
A Heritage Fun Day will take place June 15 for families where old-style games will be played, a mock classroom will be set up, and historical demonstrations will be going on. Vintage cars will also be on site at the event, which runs from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
A number of music concerts will also mark the 100th birthday of the building.
A Century of Music will feature a variety of old and modern music on two dates, June 7 and 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. both days. The first concert will cover music from the first half of the century, with ragtime and dixieland numbers, while the second will cover rock n’ roll and other modern day music. The concert is being organized by vice president of the OCAC and musician Dave Klinger and will feature other local musicians. The cost will be $10 at the door.
June 14 at the MAC’s Blues Cabaret, Blue Python will perform a centennial-themed show from 7:30 to 10 p.m. and admission will be $10 at the door.
On June 21 a Centennial MACoustic Folk night will take place featuring former school pupils, including Gerry Barnum. This happens from 7:30-10 p.m. and tickets will be $5 at the door.
Following the renovations currently happening at the MAC, there will be another celebration in about six months time. Stay tuned for more fun. Check the MAC’s website for complete listings, times and costs at www.mcmillanartscentre.com or call 250-248-8185.