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Tofino Fire Hall renamed to honour legendary firefighter

Tofino’s fire hall now bears the name of one of the most dedicated firefighters in the town’s history
A special ceremony was held on Sunday, May 19, to unveil the new name of Tofino’s fire hall as George Hubert Memorial Fire Hall.

Tofino’s fire hall now bears the name of one of the most legendary and dedicated firefighters in the town’s history.

The Tofino Volunteer Fire Department held a ceremony on Sunday, May 19, to unveil the George Hubert Memorial Fire Hall.

“George was a passionate volunteer, and with 35 years of service to the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department, it is so fitting that the fire hall be renamed in his honour. Seeing his name on the front of the hall is a daily reminder to us all of what one person can do in the service of others, and a tribute to George’s legacy,” Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Josie Osborne told the Westerly News.

“Community service is at the heart of our fire department, and I want to express my deep gratitude to all West Coast firefighters—past and present—who put themselves in the face of danger to help protect us and keep us safe.”

Fire chief Mark McKeough told the Westerly News that, along with 35 years of firefighting service before retiring in 2011, Hubert also worked for the District of Tofino for 45 years before tragically passing away in 2023.

“It was the perfect way to honour his service and dedication to both of the institutions,” McKeough said of the renaming ceremony. “He was someone that was hardworking and dedicated to his community. Obviously the number of years he served is pretty indicative of that. He was hardworking and he was a leader.”

McKeough said he was “more than happy” to see a large turnout at the event to honour Hubert and added that Hubert’s legacy lives on in the crew’s dedication.

“The culture we have now is definitely something that’s carried on. Volunteering for the community is something that has been passed down from past members like George Hubert who demonstrated and exemplified a long commitment of service to his community and for his community,” McKeough said.

“A lot of those same values are instilled in our firefighters. We only have two or three members who were members when George retired, but those community service values remain.”

He added the values being passed down to current and future firefighters is vital to keep the community’s volunteer fire department healthy and thriving.

“It’s especially important because, across the province, volunteerism in fire departments is trending downwards. More and more departments are having trouble recruiting members,” he said. “Whereas Tofino’s in a unique position where we are at 27 of 30 spaces filled in our fire department…We’re almost full and we have a really strong membership.”

He added that over half the current crew have at least five years of service under their belt.

“We have a well staffed fire department and we have a well experienced fire department of volunteers as well. That’s something the community shows their appreciation for and should be grateful for,” he said.

He noted the dedication of the team also comes from a shared love of the community as well as the hall’s supportive environment, which Hubert helped foster.

“People who are choosing to live here obviously love Tofino very much. It’s not an easy place to get yourself established and settled down, so people who live here look for ways to give back and this is one of the ways that community members can give back,” he said.

“We have a really healthy culture in the fire department of training hard and training to a high standard while supporting one another, supporting our members and having a good time doing it. It is volunteering, so we try to make it as fun and enjoyable an experience as possible.”

Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
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