Twelve months after the Litton community in B.C.'s Fraser Canyon was destroyed by a fire, residents and business owners are still awaiting reconstruction. Everything was destroyed by the fire. Lytton literally needs to be rebuilt from scratch.
This is a small community with a population of 250, but its history is extensive and rich. Indigenous people have lived in these lands for thousands of years. There are archaeological records that need to be carefully recorded before the village is rebuilt.
Second, more recent, lesser known There is no history. region.
Gold miners, some of whom are Chinese immigrants, began working in Lytton in the mid-1800s. Immigrants set up stores and run a supply chain. Near the end of the century, Chinese immigrants began to work on important railroads to move goods throughout the country and around the world to this day.
Recording the history of the local China has become a passionate project for Lorna Fandrich. She has been a longtime resident of her and runs a rafting company in town with her husband. However, after learning that her property she owned in her village was once a Chinese temple, she decided to work on another project. To build a museum dedicated to the history of China in Lytton.
That's my "retired baby," Fundrich told Global News. "It was very rewarding because I started with a small paper painting," he created the museum.
It has become a labor of love. "I became obsessed with it, just as people are obsessed with their collection of books."
Before the fire, visitors came to Lytton and of the building. She recalls being interested in Chinese lanterns hanging outside. She sometimes thinks, "This may be a Chinese restaurant." Many visitors are surprised to find a museum dedicated to local Chinese history in an unpretentious place like the village of Lytton, she says.
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A fire wiped out all of the village and the Chinese History Museum in just minutes I was swallowed.
Van Drich luckily escaped. She was working in the basement of the museum on the afternoon of June 30, 2021 when a fire broke out from the south side of the town. She did it with plenty of time.
"I was lucky," she says modestly.
The museum had about 1600 works, from railroad teapots to statues, pottery vessels and other pottery objects. Everything was corrupted and almost all of the collection was lost, but not all.
Since the fire, Fundrich has been engaged in rescue, recovery and training activities called BC HERN to retrieve as many works as possible from the museum. This group acts like a disaster relief response team for museums, churches and other heritage sites. We also provide the community with training to prepare for the next disaster.
The Lytton fire was "an unsupported event," said Heidi Swireng, a member of the organization and guardian of the UBC Anthropology Museum. Swierenga describes the experience of coming to Lytton after a fire as "gutting."
She is accustomed to dealing with "broken pipes and misfortunes in storage rooms", but "total and complete loss of the entire building and almost complete loss of the entire collection". He says he is not used to.
"There seemed to be nothing left and I was wondering,'What can we do?'"
In fact, they did a lot and 400 Saved the weak. piece. They picked up the broken objects and spent hours carefully wiping them off. Bringing fresh water to the scene to clean the object was a challenge.
There were few surprises in the rubble that cheered up the team and motivated them to continue digging. For example, in the corner of the museum's foundation, a fallen tree acted as a guardian of some objects.
But in the end, Swierenga says, "It wasn't as much as the quality of the work we found intact."
Working on Reconstruction
The most difficult part of her overall experience is losing her personal connection to the people who donated her. That's what Fundrich says.
Of her 1600, about 1,000 came from two older collectors who donated her lifelong collections from different parts of the BC interior to her. Other items came from a Chinese-Canadian family with roots in Litton dating back to the era of railroad construction. They donated some of the family's personal souvenirs to Fundrich.
"They gave me their mom's diary, mom's wedding skirt, and other crafts," says Fundrich. It was especially difficult to lose works that had such important sentimental value to people.
Despite the massive setbacks she suffered, Fundrich is working on a rebuild.
Lytton is a village that needs all the support it can get, she says. "People are reluctant to invest in Lytton because it is a very small town."
She receives financial support from the Chinese community in BC to bring tourism and investment to the village. We received moral support from the people of Lytton who appreciate her efforts.
The last thing she wants to do is pick up and leave, one less reason for people to visit Lytton.
"I'm still passionate about the story. I want people to know about China's contribution to BC [and] Canada."