BIG YELLOW MERVILLE HALL SET TO CELEBRATE MERVILLE’S 100 YEAR ANNIVERSARY IN 2019

 In April 2019, the Merville Soldiers’ Settlement community will be 100 years old.  Time for a birthday party!  But first we have to organize it, right?

The Big Yellow Merville hall and grounds, sitting in the geographic middle of Merville, is the ideal venue to host the celebration.  The three-acre site, which has served the community well for over 70 years, includes the large, yellow community hall, two heritage buildings (a 103 year old church and church hall), a playground and a large field.

The property, however, could use some upgrading.  What better time to get the joint gussied up than to celebrate a 100th year birthday party. To that end, the Merville Community Association (MCA) Board has decided to build on its community mandate and expand the site to also become a tourist attraction with a heritage and ag-tourism theme.

Capital costs for the upgrades are estimated to be $200,000 and will include:

  • redoing the kitchen to VIHA standards, building an accessible ramp and kitchen entrance
  • renovating the stage, PA system, lighting and canteen
  • restoring the two heritage buildings to create a heritage theme and added space for rentals
  • developing heritage storyboards to capture the rich history of the area
  • landscaping the greenspace and creating a sustainable gardening operation
  • building a small timber frame shed to store antique farming and logging equipment
  • installation of solar panels

This expansion is anticipated to provide a number of benefits such as additional revenue, local employment, facilities and community participation.  The MCA, while applying for grants, is also developing a community fundraising program targeting individuals and organizations to provide cash and contribution-in-kind.  It also seeks committee members to plan and organize operations and skilled contractors to complete projects.  Fundraising page: Donate.

In 1919, returning soldiers from WWI drew lots for free parcels of rock and stump covered land in the new Soldiers’ Settlement community of Merville (“city by the sea”).  Many ancestors of these original settlers still live in the Comox Valley.  In September, 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, visited the new hamlet of Merville, opened the first school and planted a commemorative tree.  We will be extending an invitation to the current royals in England to pay the community a second visit in 2019.  Merville also has a sister community in Merville, France, that will be approached to send a representative in 2019.

1919 was a big year for this area and we would like to make 2019 an equally important date for this historic part of North Vancouver Island and the Comox Valley.  From a few hardscrabble settlers in 1919, the Merville area now boasts over 8,000 inhabitants.  Let’s celebrate!

Inquiries regarding this project should be directed to Craig Freeman at 250-339-4249 or seabankmars@shaw.ca.