Remembering the miners

Cumberland remembers miners at the annual Miners Memorial Weekend.

CUMBERLAND WAS BUILT on the labour of miners

For the past 27 years the Cumberland Museum has played host to a very special commemoration that welcomes hundreds of workers, activists, musicians, historians and artists to Cumberland.

This weekend, the rich tradition continues with the 27th annual Miners Memorial Weekend in Cumberland.

Miners Memorial Weekend is a celebration of local and global labour history and contemporary labour issues that puts special focus on the important labour history of the Village of Cumberland. From well-known figures like Ginger Goodwin and Joe Naylor to many lesser-known figures, this three-day gathering pays respect to the contribution of countless workers and organizers towards the safety, equality and human rights achievements of workers locally, in B.C., across Canada and all around the world.

Miners Memorial is open to the entire community and those curious about B.C.’s rich workers history and current labour issues are encouraged to take part in any of the events.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Great Strike of 1912 and the 70th anniversary of the Japanese internment. Both of these historic events had a huge impact on local workers.

The three-day events started on Thursday, June 21 with a Film and Music Night at the Cumberland Masonic Hall featuring the short documentary These Were The Reasons — a history of labour organizing in B.C. by Howie Smith.

Friday, June 22 includes the much-loved Songs of the Workers from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Cumberland OAP. This relaxed, social pub-style evening features an open stage where local and visiting musicians share songs traditional and contemporary about life, death, work and revolution.

All are invited to come listen or share a few tunes and there will be a performer sign up sheet available. All ages are welcome and admission is by donation.

Saturday is a busy and exciting day. Things start with a delicious pancake breakfast at 9 at the CRI and the Cumberland Museum offers a guided tour at 11.

The big gathering at the Cumberland Cemetery starts at 1 p.m. sharp with speakers, live music and the ceremonial laying of flowers on the graves of fallen workers. At 2:30, activities move to the Chinese and Japanese cemeteries on Union Road for a brief vigil and show of respect.

Miners Memorial wraps up with a big community dinner at 6 at the Cumberland Recreation Institute. Tickets are $20 adults and free for kids under 12.

The evening features a delicious cold plate dinner, bar, door prizes and draws, live music and a key note presentation from BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair.

Tickets for the dinner are on sale at the Cumberland Museum or available online at www.cumberlandmuseum.ca.

To find our more about Miners Memorial Weekend and the Cumberland Museum and Archives, check out  www.cumberlandmuseum.ca.

— Cumberland Museum and Archives

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