Exhibition winner collects long-awaited prize

Suzanne Anton collects her $1 prize from Exhibition president Tony Irwin. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)Suzanne Anton collects her $1 prize from Exhibition president Tony Irwin. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
The Cowichan Exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 7. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)The Cowichan Exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 7. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor enjoys the opening of the Cowichan Exhibition with the little ones. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor enjoys the opening of the Cowichan Exhibition with the little ones. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
Shari Patterson, second from left, shows off her award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)Shari Patterson, second from left, shows off her award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
The baking table at the Cowichan Exhibition. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)The baking table at the Cowichan Exhibition. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
Shari Patterson’s award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)Shari Patterson’s award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)
Shari Patterson shows off her ribbon and her award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)Shari Patterson shows off her ribbon and her award-winning ‘blackberry’ pie. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

Suzanne Anton had two reasons for paying a visit to her hometown over the weekend.

One was all business, while the other was pure fun.

The former B.C. attorney-general, a born and raised Duncanite, showed up at the Cowichan Exhibition on Friday evening to collect a prize that had been in limbo for more than half a century.

“A cheque (from the Exhibition) for a dollar re-surfaced not long ago,” explains Anton, who was a teenager in 1967 when she won a prize in a category that she no longer recalls.

“It could have been for jam, our jam always won,” she speculates, “but it could have been for something else.”

Anton, who was Suzanne Williams, the daughter of noted lawyer and author David Ricardo Williams and graduated from Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan in 1970 before going on to the University of Victoria for mathematics, and UBC where she earned her law degree, sent the cheque to Shari Paterson at the Exhibition earlier this year. It was very stale dated by that point.

“Shari called me and invited me to the opening and I was glad to come over from Vancouver. I’ve always liked the Exhibition.”

When she arrived to watch the opening ceremonies that included local dignitaries and Lt-Gov. Janet Austin, Anton selected a seat near the stage where she would have a good view of the proceedings.

“I didn’t know they were going to call me up,” she laughs. “I was very surprised when Tony (Irwin) asked me to come up on stage.”

Exhibition president Tony Irwin then did the honourable thing, presenting Anton with a crisp, green $1 bill in exchange for the cheque from 1967.