Learning about the history of our club. This week we learned about the Barrel Run. 


As it was a club day, we didn't have a scheduled speaker, but we were quite lucky to have another historical education moment from Irwin Stewart.

We learned about the Barrel run. It started in 1940. the premise was that a barrel would be released up river, in Lytton, and bets would be placed on the time that it would arrive at the Pattullo bridge. Unfortunately, due to poor record keeping, there is no way to know when exactly it was launched, when it arrived, or how much money was raised. All we know for sure was that the fundraiser was quite successful, as it then became an annual tradition.

In 1941, the second barrel run, the Columbian newspaper followed the story. While no pictures were taken, it was reported that they raised $5,000! (I did a quick search and learned that in 2012 dollars, this would equate to having rasied $78,125).

The barrel run grew in both popularity and money raised. It's rumoured (though the rumours can't be confirmed) that the 1945 barrel run raised a whopping $25,000 (that'd be about $390,625 in today's dollars)

The annual barrel run was the main fundraiser for the club for years. However, it started to slow down in the 1970's when the club was able to raise money through Bingo. The Bingo initiative brought in “barrels” of money, which hampered the need and drive to raise as much with the barrel run.

The last barrel run occurred in 1986 (as an effort to revitalize it after Bingo funds dried up in 1985). Unfortunately, the momentum that had been built, but then not sustained was unable to revitalized. So the barrel was put to rest. The barrel can still be found at the New Westminster Museum.

Irwin will make an effort to show some pictures of the barrel runs at a future historical education moment.