The Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society is a group of highly dedicated and extremely talented volunteers. They put their passion for our local maritime history into creating amazing exhibits, and captivating events. Without this team, this organization wouldn't survive.
Meet the Team
Chairman of the Board
Ken grew up in the City of Nelson and as a boy developed a keen interest in history and the heritage of British Columbia through exploring the nearby ghost towns, and abandoned mines and mills in the West Kootenays. Digging for antique bottles and fishing were favourite activities for Ken and his friends.
Moving to the coast in his later teens, Ken developed a love of the ocean including fishing, sailing and particularly scuba diving. Wreck diving was a favourite.
Ken moved to the Alberni Valley in 1986 to work for the City and worked there for thirty years, recently retiring. Given his interest in history and heritage, one of the most enjoyable aspects of Ken’s time at the City involved working with the Alberni Valley Museum staff and members of the Industrial Heritage Society supporting the development and operation of the McLean Mill, Alberni Pacific Railway and other heritage attractions.
Raising of "the Swan” from the bottom of Sproat Lake was a project Ken enjoyed “diving into” and more recently he also enjoyed using his carpentry skills helping build the Swan shelter at the Maritime Heritage Gallery.
Involvement in community volunteer groups has been part of Ken’s life since moving to Port Alberni including roles in the Gyro Club, Portal Players Dramatic Society, Community Arts Council, Barclay Sounders Underwater Society, West Coast Aquatic Society and Rotary Club. Given this, and Ken’s heritage interests, taking on a Director’s position at the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society was a great fit that Ken is really enjoying.
Vice-Chair/ Exhibits Director
David was born in Beckenham, Kent, England at the end of WW2. He spent 3 years in London with his mother and father, who was captain of a minesweeper in the Royal Navy. After the War, his father went back to sea in the merchant service and emigrated to Canada with the family in 1957.
David attended Oak Bay High School and the University of Victoria, graduating with a BA in 1969. He met his future wife Edna while attending UVIC. As a student, every summer David went to sea with the Canadian Hydrographic Service, making charts of the ocean in the Arctic and the West Coast of Canada.
As a teacher of high-school in the Okanagan, every summer David took the family down to the West Coast where they chartered sailing yachts that took them to the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and Desolation Sound.
The family purchased a San Juan 21 sailboat in the Okanagan and cruised and raced it on Lake Okanagan.
After retirement in 2005 , David and Edna moved to Port Alberni. They bought a C&C 30 yacht “SAPPHIRE”. They cruised for 16 years on Georgia Strait. Edna passed away in 2021.
Upon arriving in Port Alberni, David was asked by then PAMHS president, Ken Hutcheson to join the board. David has served PAMHS for 17 years now.
Jean McIntosh, (BA, MA Anthropology UBC), moved to the Alberni Valley for a one-year position as Assistant Curator of the Alberni Valley Museum. That led to an over 30 year career as Curator and Director for the Museum. In that role she was instrumental in the development, operation and promotion of the Alberni Heritage Network, which brought together the Museum, the Maritime Discovery Centre, the McLean Mill National Historic Site and the Alberni Pacific Steam Railway.
Jean has worked closely with the Maritime Heritage Society since its inception and has long admired the excellent work carried out by small numbers of volunteers with this Society.
Now retired, Jean is pleased to have been asked to join the Board of PAMHS and enjoys working with this enthusiastic and knowledgeable group.
I’m a British Columbian and have spent my entire life in BC mostly near the ocean. Born in Vancouver, I spent my first fifteen years in the area adjacent to the University of British Columbia and my latter teenage years in West Vancouver. After high school graduation in 1965, I worked the summer as a “buggy boy” at the Park Royal Woodwards Food Floor and that fall headed to UBC with the intention of becoming a forester. After two summers in the woods, I realized forestry was not the best career choice. In 1967 I switched to the Commerce Faculty at UBC and in 1971 graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, Finance option. To celebrate eighteen straight years of school I took a charter flight from Vancouver to London and traveled around Western and Central Europe and Turkey for one year, staying in youth hostels and meeting people, mostly my age, from around the world.
Since 1982 I’ve been very active in the Rotary Club of Port Alberni as a Director, then Secretary, then President and again a Director and in the Port Alberni Salmon Festival Society, first as Treasurer for ten years and then a continuing member. Since retirement, I try to walk daily for at least an hour at the Bob Dailey track facility, am an Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce yellow-shirted Ambassador and have recently volunteered as Treasurer for both the Port Alberni Association for Community Living and the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society.
During my childhood and teenage years, my Dad was a shipping economist and ship charterer for MacMillan Bloedel and he owned two boats. The first was a small, slow-moving cruiser and next was a faster moving day boat. Both allowed me to cruise among the islands in Howe Sound. As a kid, I visited freighters which he chartered and spent many weekends at the local yacht club looking at all the power and sailboats. Since the sea is in my blood, it seemed natural to volunteer for PAMHS and learn and absorb the maritime history of the Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound, and Vancouver Island’s West Coast.
Ken was born in Port Alberni and graduated from high school here in 1961.
He moved to Quebec after high school for education, fame and fortune.
He trained as a telecom technician in the RCAF and served in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. Ken left the RCAF in 1965 and worked in Ottawa until 1972. He then moved with his wife, Rita, to Vancouver before moving back to Port Alberni in 1974 where they have raised their family.
Always interested in boating, Ken joined the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron in 1978. He has been involved in teaching and administration ever since.
Ken Hutcheson asked him to join the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society while they were building the lighthouse in 1999. He has been an active member of the society since then.
Born in Port Alberni, nicknamed ’ Joey’ so I spell it Geo….short for real name Georges. From earliest childhood I was always on Port Alberni waterfront because my father worked on UCHUCK ships.
When Uchuck went North, father bought LADY ROSE which became my daycare, weekend job, and employer. At that time I wanted to be an Airline pilot! I went ‘deep sea’ on freighter (in the engine room) and yacht crewing/skipper in the Caribbean. Returned to Barkley Sound to run my own fishing&charter boat. I acquired an engineer qualification and went to LADY ROSE as engineer until writing Master ticket.
I built a small ocean sailboat, cruised the Pacific to NZ for three years and returned with a wife to Port Alberni and skippered small ships on the coast for over 25 years; I was lucky to supplement my marine life by flying helicopters for MARS industries. Somewhat retired I skippered and delivered yachts in Middle East. I now have a Motorsailer, the same wife, and busy family in Port Alberni.
Gareth was born on an island in the English Channel - Island of Jersey - twelve miles off the coast of France. Immigrating as a child to Canada, settling in Northern Alberta first, then off to boarding school and University in Saskatchewan. In the mid 1960’s it was off to B.C. – first to Comox and then Port Alberni.
In 1970 Gareth started working at Alberni Engineering & Shipyard on Bird St. For 20+ years she worked with local Fishermen, Loggers and Businessmen. Many changes occurred on the Harbour Front during this time – Harbour Quay, the permanent location for the Banfield & the Maritime Museum - to name a few.
Now retired, the knowledge and passion for “Maritime” history led her to a position as director on the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society. Currently she is the Board’s Secretary. She also serves on the Board of the Alberni District Historical Society and on the Heritage Commission. History is her passion!
My family has a deep maritime heritage (on the east coast), and I have always loved boats, lighthouses, and the ocean.
I am annoyingly passionate about history, and I am extremely fortunate to work at a place where I can share stories and information and basically play show-and-tell all day.
I've had a varied background in journalism, supporting people with developmental disabilities, working at homeless shelters, carpentry, furniture making, and entrepreneurial projects such as bike-powered composting, and biodiesel equipment design.
My maritime heritage is important to me because the skills and strengths of my ancestors, as passed down to me through my family, have helped me survive through my most difficult challenges. I take pride in being able to show up at my job, share some of this heritage, and keep shining through whatever pain the world throws at me. I hope my ancestors are proud too.