The Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, Janet Austin, made her first official visit to the Kootenays last week including a stop at the Doukhobor Discovery Centre (DDC) in Castlegar.
The duties of the Lieutenant Governor — the Crown’s representative in the province — include a regular schedule of visits to B.C.’s regions. But for Her Honour Janet Austin, those duties were interrupted by two years of the pandemic. And she is only now starting to resume them.
Austin, who was named B.C.’s 30th Lieutenant Governor in April 2018, grew up in Calgary, and spent a lot of time in the Kootenays in her earlier life.
“It’s a spectacular place, with a warm and welcoming culture,” she said in an interview with Black Press.
Austin was given a tour of the DDC by the museum’s director Ryan Dutchak. They were accompanied by Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ Doukhobors executive director J.J. Verigin Jr. and several other Doukhobor community members who joined together to serenade Her Honour with a traditional Doukhobor song.
Austin was presented several gifts including a traditional hand-carved ladle and a storage box featuring intricate wood work.
While in Castlegar, Austin also visited the Southeast Fire Centre to thank local B.C. Wildfire Service and Emergency Management B.C. staff.
Elsewhere in the Kootenays, she visited the ʔaq̓amnik̓ School in Cranbrook, the Yaqan Nuʔkiy school in Creston and Nelson’s downtown and the Selkirk College Victoria Street Campus.
With files from Trevor Crawley