MAYOR BANMAN’S ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY RUN DEEP
by Robert Bateman journalism students Daniel Liebe, Lorraine Boutin and Lauren Jones
With the sun shining and a peaceful breeze, people gather to celebrate the 90th Anniversary at the Abbotsford News. Smiles are all around as visitors listen to music, speculate the fancy cars that are part of the auto show, and even receive a chance to win a shiny new Harley Davidson motorcycle courtesy of WestJet. Even the mayor has come out to celebrate with The News on this milestone event. Daniel Liebe, a student journalist from Robert Bateman Secondary, had the privilege to interview Mayor Banman during the celebration.
“On a day like today, when the sun’s out, I don’t think there is a more beautiful place on earth. It is a gorgeous, gorgeous city,” the mayor began. “We have the mountains, we have the rivers, we have the green grass, and the farms. It’s just a gorgeous place to live.”
No one could disagree on a day like today. Growing up in Chilliwack and moving to in Abbotsford in 1982, Mayor Banman’s family are proud members of this community.
“I do have family that goes back from the 1800s. My great, great grandfather was a gentleman that had the name of John Mortan, who was one of the three green horns of Vancouver. He purchased five hundred and fifty-five acres, which basically went from Stanley Park to Burrard Street. He was from England and made bricks. He was involved in the starting of the Clayburn brick plant, which I believe was called the Vancouver Brick Work. So the family actually goes back here to a long, long time. I’m technically fifth generation British Colombia.”
A car fan, Banman drives a 1998 Ford Mustang convertible Cobra edition, the SVT. “I’m a car freak. Cars are something near and dear to me, I really enjoy them.” He has his car here at the Abbotsford News, one of the many on display.
Our Abbotsford community holds many memorable moments for him. Banman recounted his childhood when Daniel asked his to share his most memorable event from his time living in Abbotsford. “As a child, every summer in August my father would pack us all up into the car and we would come out and go to the Abbotsford Air Show. The most memorable Air Show for me actually involved some tragedy. It’s funny what you remember as a child. I was at the Air Show the year that the Voodoo Jet exploded. Luckily no one was killed at the accident and both pilots made it out, both the pilot and the navigator made it out alive. But, I remember the crowd going absolutely dead silent, all we saw was a ball of fire in the sky.”
Since his times here in Mayor Banman has noticed huge change, and for the good. “I remember before George Ferguson Way was all connected, it used to be a bunch of small streets. I remember out at Sumas Mountain long before it was developed. My grandparents actually lived here back in the 60s. So it’s had massive change in four years.”
ABBOTSFORD EXCELS IN ‘MANY DIFFERENT AREAS’: ED FAST
Summer was in the air this afternoon, marking a perfect day for the Abbotsford News’ 90th anniversary celebratory festival. All around, visitors have had the opportunity to take in to the sight of various collectible automobiles, visit the pony ride, and also to indulge in the full immersion of Abbotsford’s culture, including live, local music.
Abbotsford Member of Parliament, Ed Fast, was here to speak on behalf of the Abbotsford News. In fact, he took the time to slip out of the sun to have a quick conversation with Howler Reporter, John Kim, and discuss some of his favorite things about our great city.
Mr. Fast has been living here for the past 31 years and has many great memories as a result. For example, he recalled when his four daughters were born: “They were all born in Abbotsford, they all grew up here, they still live here, they still work here, and they love Abbotsford!”
Describing Abbotsford as “one of the most multicultural cities in the country,” Mr. Fast went on to point out abundance of amazing features to be found in our community, commenting on everything from “music” to “sports” to “business.”
“We excel in so many different areas,” Fast enthused, “I’m very proud to see how, even our schools are among the leaders in Canada, providing a high level of educational excellence.”
When asked how much Abbotsford has changed over the duration of time he has spent here, Fast explained, “When we first moved here in 1982, Abbotsford still had a very small town feel to it.” However, he pointed out the tremendous progress we have made as a community. “Over the last thirty years, Abbotsford has grown up in a very significant way. It has actually ‘come-of-age.’” While our growing city has still retained “some of that small town atmosphere,” the progress and continual development of our community has also become key to what defines Abbotsford.
Bateman journalism students also produced live streaming video from the newspaper office tours during the 90th anniversary festivities on Saturday. To view those clips, click here.