After reading a story in The NEWS about a travelling red chair, Qualicum Beach Museum manager Netanja Waddell couldn’t help but think about the museum’s own special red chair.
“It doesn’t travel but it’s certainly had a lot of interesting characters sit in it over the years,” said Waddell.
The red leather chair is one of the last remaining artifacts from the legendary Qualicum Beach Inn/Hotel which was built in 1913 and demolished circa 1969.
Waddell said lots of Hollywood celebrities and politicians stayed at the hotel, including the likes of Shirley Temple and John Wayne, and almost all the governor generals of the time. During World War I, she said it served as a convalescent home specifically for officers (not just any regular soldier).
The red chair was recently donated to the museum by Irene Beckingham, who purchased the chair when the original Qualicum Beach Inn/Hotel was auctioning off their furniture.
“At the time the hotel was demolished, the property was owned by a group of investors and as it required extensive renovations they decided it was best to simply demolish it,” explains Waddell. “I’ve been told a big pile of rubble was burning on Halloween night. There’s stories of rats just fleeing the scene. And then they subdivided it (the property).”
The red chair is part of the Qualicum Beach Museum’s Adopt an Artifact program started last year.
Waddell said artifacts up for adoption range from fossils to furnishings and proceeds from donations will help the museum preserve history. The museum is asking for a $1,000 donation for the famous red chair.
“We think it’s a prized artifact,” she said. “It’s very significant in that it belonged to the original Qualicum Beach Inn and now we have a new one. We want to celebrate what it represents. The original Qualicum Beach Inn was a really big landmark in our community that put Qualicum Beach on the map in the international scene.”
As a supporter you will receive an adoption certificate and photo of your artifact together with background information. Adoptive parents will be acknowledged on the museum’s media sites and a card will be displayed alongside your artifact, recognizing your support. It is a one time donation and tax receipts will be issued.
For more information or to view a list of artifacts up for adoptions please contact the Qualicum Beach Museum at 250-752-5533 or visit http://www.qbmuseum.ca/donate/.