By Glen Sanford
Special to the Record
Hundreds of people filled the Florence Filberg Centre on Sunday, Nov. 10 to celebrate the life of Vancouver Island icon Ruth Masters.
Masters, renowned for her passionate advocacy on behalf of parks, environmental protection, peace, animal welfare and many other causes, died Nov. 7 at the age of 97.
Sunday’s celebration was moving, funny and inspiring.
The event began with a welcome by K’omoks First Nation elder Donna Mitchell. After that, dozens of people formed an archway with the “hero spoons” that Masters had bestowed upon them over the years. Masters’ canoe was brought through the archway and placed on the stage.
There were remarks by Masters’ goddaughter, Lorraine Dixon, Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, and various activists who were also close friends with Masters.
Writer Des Kennedy performed a humorous, edgy and emotional monologue about Masters’ life. A note from federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May was also read to the crowd.
Veteran Gordon Highway, who like Masters had served in World War Two, spoke movingly about her fearless determination to fight for Canada’s wilderness.
North Island College is accepting donations for the Ruth Masters Hero Spoon Award. Donations can be made online at foundation.nic.bc.ca, or by mail to North Island College Foundation, 2300 Ryan Road, Courtenay, BC, V9N 8N6.