Sharing Stories of Sponsorship

Since the “100 Park Benches for 100 Years of BC Parks” program was launched on June 11, 2011, we have heard so many amazing stories about why people are sponsoring a park bench.  We thought we would share a few of them with you here...

A bench for Brandon Hein

Lisa Tavender and Kirk Hein remember their son with a bench in Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area.

While trying to find a way to remember their son Brandon, Lisa Tavender & Kirk Hein remembered seeing memorial benches in their local parks & walking trails around the Kamloops area. Upon searching the internet, they came across BC Parks’ “100 for 100 Park Bench Challenge”.

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Brandon Hein

Lisa was not hopeful that she could find a bench in the right location – let alone in the Kamloops area – that was still available. The first bench she clicked on in the Kamloops area was bench #69 at Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area. She knew right away this bench was meant for their son Brandon Hein. Not only was it “Bench #69” (his favorite number), it was his ball jersey number and it was located right above the road to Red Lake where Brandon spent many days fishing.

Brandon was 19 when he passed away on July 23, 2011. Brandon loved the outdoors. He could always be found fishing, dirt biking, playing baseball, or just hanging out with friends and family. Brandon was a gentle, helpful, loving young man, who touched the hearts of many; an “old soul” as we say.

Next time you are hiking on Mara Trail in Lac du Bois Grasslands, pay a visit to Brandon’s bench and take in the beautiful view from bench #69.

The Community of Mackenzie and Donna Thornton

Sponsored a bench in Heather Dina Provincial Park.

Donna Thornton first heard of the 100 for 100 Park Bench Challenge through the BC Parks website when the challenge was launched in June 2011. She thought it would be a great idea to bring the community of Mackenzie together and fundraise to sponsor a bench in one of their local provincial parks, Heather Dina.

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The idea blossomed into overwhelming community support: from the Executive Director of the local Chamber of Commerce, Denielle Isberg and Mackenzie Mayor Stephanie Killam launching a community “challenge,” to the Mackenzie Times newspaper and CHMM 1035 radio station advertising this community initiative.

Funds were collected at the local District office where staff kept track of anyone donating $25 or more to ensure they received a charitable tax receipt for their contribution. The community banded together to raise $1,500 to sponsor a park bench.

The District office also took suggestions for the final wording on the bronze-casted plaque and local DJ, “JD Mackenzie,” announced the winner on the radio. The final plaque read: “This bench is dedicated to the Community of Mackenzie for providing a glimpse of the glory of God for all to see! Heaven is in your backyard!”

Way to go Mackenzie!

View of Heather Dina Lake, taken by “Mackenzie-ite” Kerri Borne in 2008.
View of Heather Dina Lake, taken by “Mackenzie-ite” Kerri Borne in 2008.

David Goosen from Teck

Sponsored 11 benches in various BC Provincial Parks (Tunkwa, Champion Lakes, Syringa, Mount Fernie, Kikomun Creek, Wasa Lake, Cultus Lake, Mount Seymour, Moberly Lake, Lakelse Lake, and Ruckle Provincial Parks).

Teck’s Business Development Manager, David Goosen, was attending a Zero Waste Conference in Whistler when he saw an advertisement for BC Parks’ 100 for 100 Park Bench Challenge. Based in Castlegar, David started to discuss the idea with his colleagues across the province and after a few e-mails and phone calls Teck agreed to sponsor 11 benches in parks near the communities where they operate.

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“We wanted to support BC Parks’ 100th anniversary,” says David Goosen. “This sponsorship was a great opportunity to give back to the communities where we operate, and at the same time support an important part of our province’s unique natural heritage.”

Thanks to Teck, British Columbians can rest their weary feet on benches in 11 different provincial parks and enjoy one of the many inviting vistas that BC Parks’ has to offer.

Photo of the plaque being installed on Teck’s 11 benches across BC.
Photo of the plaque being installed on Teck’s 11 benches across BC.

Sheena Ball and the Dalton Family

Sponsored a bench in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

Sheena Ball and her brother, James Brown, have a unique relationship to Garibaldi Provincial Park. Their great-grandfather and grandfather, W.T. Dalton and A.T. Dalton, along with four of their friends, made the first known ascent of Mount Garibaldi on August 11, 1907. They decided to sponsor a park bench in Garibaldi Provincial Park to commemorate their family’s history.

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Garibaldi Park, named after the towering 2,678 metre peak (Mount Garibaldi), was designated a provincial park in 1927. Although the Daltons’ ascent occurred three years before BC Parks was established and 20 years before the park was designated, this ascent marks a significant point in the history of Garibaldi Provincial Park – and the Dalton family.

The Dalton Family bench pays tribute to both W.T and A.T. Dalton has been installed near the Elfin Lakes Shelter in the Diamond Head area of Garibaldi Provincial Park. We hope you have the chance to visit this bench and stare in awe at the majestic Mount Garibaldi that was climbed for the first time, over 100 years ago.

(L to R) Arthur Dalton, and his friend, Atwell King, on the summit of Mount  Garibaldi – August 11, 1907. (Photo from BC Parks’ archives).
(L to R) Arthur Dalton, and his friend, Atwell King, on the summit of Mount Garibaldi – August 11, 1907.
(Photo from BC Parks’ archives).

Flickr’ Friends of Jim Dubois

Sponsored a bench in Elk Falls Provincial Park.

When Jim Dubois passed away in the early months of summer 2011, his online ‘Flickr’ friends (a photo-sharing website) banded together to sponsor a bench in his memory.

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Jim was an avid photographer from northern Vancouver Island who was always snapping photos of wildlife and loved visiting Elk Falls Provincial Park. Jim’s wife Linda was contacted by the Flickr group and was touched that the group wanted to commemorate her husband even though many of them had never met him in person.

By early July in 2011, Jim’s Flickr friends rallied together to raise money for the bench. Donations started to come in from 11 different states, two provinces and as far away as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In fact, the Flickr’ group raised the $1,500 required to sponsor a bench - as well as $335 extra! They decided to donate the extra money in Jim’s name to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Next time you are in Elk Falls Provincial Park… take a rest on Jim Dubois’ bench to pay tribute to the avid photographer who is greatly missed by his wife, Linda, and his Flickr friends from across the world.

Jim Dubois (Photo courtesy of Vida Morkunas)
Jim Dubois. (Photo courtesy of Vida Morkunas).

Norm Collingwood

Sponsored a bench in Peace Arch Provincial Park.

Dale and Norm Collingwood had been married for over 40 years when she died in January, 2011.

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Dale disliked funerals and at her request there was no service. Instead, she asked Norm to have her cremated when she died and to scatter her ashes at their home, a 5-acre parcel of park-like land in South Surrey. Dale loved her home and reminded Norm that her ashes were really just bone chips and after two or three grass cuttings the ashes would be reduced to bone meal, an excellent fertilizer which would enable her to keep the lawn green and growing.

Her wishes were honoured but Norm still felt something more was needed in her memory. That need was answered when he saw the ad in the 2011 summer issue of British Columbia Magazine for the BC Parks’ 100 for 100 Park Bench Challenge, so he chose to sponsor a bench in Dale’s memory in Peace Arch Provincial Park; the closest provincial park to their home.

Norm hopes that Dale’s family and friends will remember this remarkable woman who touched the lives of so many when they visit her bench in Peace Arch Provincial Park.

Peace Arch Provincial Park, White Rock, BC
Peace Arch Provincial Park, White Rock, BC.

Pelletier Land Donation

Bench dedicated to the Pelletier family at White Lake Grasslands Protected Area.

On February 11, 2011 Denis Pelletier donated 60 acres of land valued at $475,000 for addition to White Lake Grasslands Protected Area. The land was donated to the Province of B.C. as part of the Federal Ecological Gifts Program.

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Photo of John Pelletier, Shannon Ford and Denis Pelletier on their bench in the newly designated area of White Lake Grasslands Protected Area.

As the land was gifted in memory of Denis Pelletier’s late parents, BC Parks installed a "100 for 100" park bench on the newly acquired park land in their honour.

The property is within the Ponderosa Pine Biogeoclimatic Zone, which is one of four zones that are of provincial conservation concern. It is rare, being less than one percent of the provincial land base, and listed by B.C.’s Conservation Data Centre (CDC) as being of special concern due to high losses from residential and agricultural development.

Mr. Pelletier’s generous donation has left a legacy for British Columbians; we hope you have an opportunity to visit the Pelletier family bench and enjoy the view of this rare ecosystem and contribution to BC Parks.

If you would like to sponsor your own bench, please click here for more information.