It’s been nearly 40 years since the original school bell rang from Tsolum Elementary’s bell tower.
Since sometime in the mid ‘80’s, that bell tower has sat empty, but a former teacher is hoping to find the bell for Merville’s centennial.
Ric Vernon taught at the school from 1983 to 1989 and remembers the bell disappearing sometime during that time. He has always wondered what happened to it.
“I’m thinking it was taken when the schools switched to that electronic bell system, when the buzzers went in each classroom, instead of the old school bell ringing,” he said, adding that it’s also entirely possible it was taken as a prank.
He describes it as just a regular school or church bell, about 12 to 16 inches tall, that was rung by pulling on a string.
Tsolum Elementary School, now Navigate NIDES, used to have around 500 kids attend from all around the Merville area, and Vernon says it was a vibrant centre of the community.
“I just wonder if we could have sort of a community treasure hunt and see if anybody could come up with it,” said Vernon. “Then if it was found, maybe a couple of handy-persons could erect it at the Merville hall and that could chime in the centennial celebrations.”
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of the bell, contact Craig Freeman at 250-339-4249.