Tens of thousands of people poured into the Vancouver Island Exhibition in Nanaimo this weekend to enjoy midway rides, livestock shows and the magic of a country fair.
For 122 years, that mid-Island community has been hosting this fair, and for many its a link to the region’s rural past that is fast being forgotten.
With her foot to the pedal of her vintage tractor, 22 year old Jessica Jane’s keeping a link to her family’s past alive and revving.
“Just the labour that they would put into it and the effort to do that as a living I couldn’t imagine. It’s back breaking work,” says Jessica Jane.
As crowds packed Vancouver Island Exhibition in its 122nd year, vintage enthusiasts got busy bringing the past of the region to life. From blacksmithing, to tractor pulls and water pump displays. The pieces of the past are warmly remembered by some in their lifetimes but are quickly being forgotten by the almost daily advances of technology today.
Al Thorne’s displaying the motor that used to pump water into his grandparents home.
“They’re a great little machine, been in the family for along time so, it’s priceless,” says Thorne.
“I remember that. It reminds me of being home,” says Mario Gauvin looking at a vintage washing machine.
For Gauvin this is proof of how quickly technology and convenience has advanced in his 60 year lifetime.
“Well some people forget about where it comes from you know they think Safeway’s and Thrifty’s is where the food comes from,” says Gauvin. “But it’s not really it’s all the sweat and labour and in the field all day long.”
And with this dedicated group passing on that history organizers of the Vancouver Island Exhibition hope the roots that built this area, and still run deep here will continue to be remembered for generations to come.