Shawnigan Lake Historical Society
Board of Directors
Garth Harvey – Director
Garth grew up in the 1920s and ‘30s during the 'great depression' so he did whatever came his way until joining the RCAF. After the war, while learning to be a civilian, there were a number of short stints for education, prospecting, working in a copper refinery, selling vacuum cleaners, and making ice in a curling rink. The rest of his working life was with the Public Service. Garth retired at 55 to give back to the community as a volunteer and a philanthropist. The jobs he most enjoyed were: looking after the old community hall, helping to form a non-profit company to help caregivers (which gained national and international attention and had a book written about It) and staying with the Shawnigan Lake Historical Society from its beginning. He is proud of being a volunteer for 41 years who has never been fired.
March 2018 - Shawnigan Focus Newspaper
by Lori Treloar, Shawnigan Lake Museum Executive Director
January 12, 1921 - February 28, 2018
It is with great sadness that I announce that my very good friend, Garth Harvey, has passed away at the age
of 97. Many of you might think that the age of 97 is a more than reasonable age to die… but most of you will have never met Garth.
Garth was different. He was the kindest and most generous person that I have ever met, and he was passionate
about the Shawnigan community. He was also involved and full of purpose until the day he died.
I met Garth in 2005 when the Shawnigan Lake Museum was failing. I had just moved permanently to the area and wanted to get involved with my new community. The museum seemed like a good fit for a life-long educator. I decided to volunteer at the museum, but it was never open. When I finally got through the door,
the person in charge advised that he did not want to do it anymore. In what seemed a split second, I agreed to take over.
This is when Garth entered my life. He rallied some individuals to create a Board of Directors and then we were back in business – no money, but a lot of enthusiasm and a passion for the Shawnigan story. Although I had just met him, Garth chose to help me to rebuild the museum. This was likely due to the fact that he and his wife, Gladys, had been instrumental in the creation of the museum. They were involved in the transformation from Firehall to museum in 1983 and Gladys served as curator for a time. Garth and Gladys retired from Ontario to Shawnigan Lake in the late 1970s with the intention of doing community work.
That they did! They became involved in every aspect of their new community. They created
the Community Crier, a community newsletter, with Brownie Gibson. Garth also
became heavily involved in the operation and maintenance of the old Shawnigan Lake community hall (now
demolished) and the museum. He was also available whenever and wherever a job needed to be done…like
building a dock for Mason’s beach.
Garth later co-founded the Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society with Ranjana Basu. In my early years at the museum, Garth spent as much time at the museum as I did. I met him when he was 84 and he became invaluable to me! His knowledge of the artifacts and his life experiences were an ongoing education.
Garth received many well-deserved awards for his volunteer work, including one that was particularly
special, a Canadian Care Award (2006) from the Governor General of Canada.
Garth Harvey, notes that when he moved to Shawnigan Lake in 1977, a delightful older lady arrived at
his door and informed him that, “When you are settled in, there are some things in the village that need to be
done.” Garth says that this was his delight and also the continuing history of ‘The Lake’ - the things that have
to be, and the things that are, done. When he died, Garth still sat on the Board of Directors at the museum.
I will leave you with one of Garth’s favourite quotes: “…we are most fully human, most truly ourselves,
most authentically individual, when we commit to the community.”
-- The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson
That was Garth Harvey in a nutshell.