Cumberland village council approved the Alleyway Sign Project on Oct. 10. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Cumberland sign project revitalizes alleyways

A group of Cumberland residents is planning to bring the village’s alleyways “back to life.”

The Alleyway Sign Project aims to honour some of Cumberland’s pioneers by creating signs in their name and putting them in various alleyways throughout Cumberland.

Cumberland Village council approved the first phase of the project at its Oct. 10 meeting.

The Alleyway Sign Project Committee (ASCP) aims to install the first set of signs by next year’s Miner’s Memorial Day on June 22.

The committee, made up of seven local residents, is currently researching which eight people they would like to honour first. The committee’s members say they are open to suggestions from the public as to who should be chosen.

ASCP member Marianne Bell says the Alleyway Sign Project is a way to reflect the historical significance of some former Cumberland residents.

“Lots of people walk the alleys here,” said Bell. “Having them named gives people a sense of destination as well as a sense the history of the real people and the stories that took place as people built this town — the people who worked in the coal mine or the businesses, the ones who played sports, or the ones who organized big community events.”

While a handful of names are already entrenched in Cumberland’s history through its museum and archives — such as coal mine owner Robert Dunsmuir or labour activist and pacifist Albert “Ginger” Goodwin — the ASCP hopes the Alleyway Sign Project can highlight others who helped build the community.

“There are a few people who are highlighted in the village’s history, but it takes more than a few people for a community to exist,” said Cumberland mayor and ASCP member Leslie Baird. “There are lots of people who have done amazing things in the village, but they’re not always recognized.”

The committee’s estimated costs for the project total roughly $3,300. To help pay for the project, the ASPC will hold a fundraiser on Nov. 16 at the Cumberland Hotel. Tickets are $25 and the event will include a meal, live entertainment, and a silent auction.