Letter: Sad end for town crier position in Duncan

A town crier is a unique institutional function

Sad end for town crier position in Duncan

I would like to thank Muriel Weston for her kind sentiments in her letter of Oct. 14. I have received extensive positive community support; thank you everyone.

Rewards for a job well done are evident in the result and for me no more is needed.

In the case of the Duncan town crier I felt I had the prerequisites of stature, voice control and an ability to linguistically create cries. As a family coming to Canada in 1967 we have always participated actively in our community as our civic responsibility, asking not what Canada can give us, but what we can give to Canada. Community leagues in Edmonton soccer coaching, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides featured strongly in our lives. The family interest in cross-country skiing resulted in program development in Alberta and Vancouver Island. Here I started a Jack Rabbit cross-country ski program, graduated instruction for youngsters, on Mount Washington in the spring of 1982. I believe it is still running in some form or other, 39 years later! Thousands of youngsters have a point of reference and skills which can be tapped into throughout their life.

Unfortunately within hours of my meeting the mayor, a City of Duncan news release produced correspondence with fellow town criers on the East Coast, and from around the world in less than 24 hours. All concerned with the events here in the Cowichan Valley. Need I say that perhaps we are not known for our totem poles but for our “tinkering” with Western European cultural icons!

A town crier is a unique institutional function not seen anywhere else except in the Commonwealth of nations countries, the U.S. and the low countries of Holland and Belgium.

It is rather sad that no forethought appears to have been given to the consequences of eliminating a societal function based on British culture. Hundreds of years in the making and evolving and much enjoyed by all.


Ben Buss