Two hundred years to the day after explorer and fur trader David Thompson visited the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers, locals gathered at Millennium Park in Castlegar Monday to mark the anniversary.
Following a performance by the Castlegar drum circle and greetings by Marilyn James of the local Sinixt First Nation, historian Jack Nisbet spoke about Thompson’s travels up the Columbia in 1811-12.
Then Harry Wong, a grandson to Alex Christian, the last Sinixt man to live at what is now Brilliant, launched a sturgeon-nosed canoe in the park’s lagoon.
Local historian Walter Volovsek spoke on the monument along the pathway that marks Thompson’s journey, as well as an interpretive panel he created, while Castlegar city councillor Gord Turner read a poem he wrote about the challenge of paddling the Columbia.
Selkirk College history professor Duff Sutherland and Castlegar Heritage Society manager Deb McIntosh organized the event.