A revered steward of West Coast history has been named to Tofino’s volunteer hall of fame.
Lorne Ayres became the latest community champion to receive a Volunteer Recognition Award from Tofino’s municipal council on Aug. 14.
The pioneer behind the burgeoning Tofino-Clayoquot Heritage Museum told the Westerly News he was surprised and delighted by the recognition.
“I put a lot of work into getting the museum developed, but I certainly didn’t expect something like this to come out of it,” he said. “It’s a matter of working on something that I really enjoy doing. In an area like this, there’s just so much history and, if you don’t care about it and do something to preserve it, then people are going to forget about it.”
Mayor Josie Osborne announced the award and said Ayres “has gone way above and beyond with very little expectation or need of reward or recognition.”
“Lorne has spent countless, countless, hours researching local history, compiling information and building and working with a team of people to mount the displays at the Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum,” Osborne said. “We are very fortunate as a community to have this museum that has worked really hard to become what it is now and Lorne is an instrumental figure in everything that it’s done…Lorne, I want you to know, on behalf of council, that we really appreciate everything that you have done.”
Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Society president Steve Bernard told the Westerly News that Ayers played a pivotal role in creating the museum, beginning with his time on the Tonquin Foundation in 2006.
“Lorne spent many hours advancing the museum function as the chair of the museum committee up until the fall of 2017,” Bernard said. “Museums do not materialize overnight. What we are working on today is built on Lorne’s contribution, which spans a decade.”
The museum’s current Operations Manager Ava Hansen expressed gratitude for Ayres commitment to preserving and displaying the West Coast’s history.
“Lorne’s contributions to the museum are bringing more light to the vibrant, complex, and rich history that shapes our present culture and context in Clayoquot Sound,” she said.
Volunteer Recognition Award recipients have traditionally had their names placed on bricks that are then laid in front of the Tofino Village Green, but Osborne said the names are wearing off the bricks, so Tofino will transfer all the names onto plaques.
“We want this permanently recorded,” she said.
Ayres said the recognition is motivating.
“It certainly gives you a lot more incentive to keep going on because there’s always the recognition for the work that you put in to doing something like this,” he said. “Awards like this are something that spurs you on.”
He added the museum came to fruition thanks to the community’s support.
“It took a lot of work, but one of the biggest things is we got the recognition from the district and the local business community that we were doing something that was really going to help,” he said. “Once we started to get some financial support, then we could really push ahead and do all these things.”
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