As we say goodbye (or perhaps good riddance) to 2022 and get ready to welcome 2023, we’re looking back at the stories that made headlines in New Westminster this year.
Of course, it’s impossible to capture all the news — good, bad, ugly and otherwise — that happens in our community in the course of 12 months. But we sat down with our story files and narrowed down our choices to what we see as the 10 biggest news stories of the year.
Some are uniquely local responses to events with global implications. Others are the kind of “only in New West” issues that make this city so near and dear to our hearts.
We’ll be presenting one story each day between now and New Year’s Eve — except for Christmas Day, when we have a different treat in store for you. (No spoilers; just watch for it!)
Today, we’re kicking off the list of top news stories of the year with number 10: Death of a monarch.
New Westminster bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II
It was Thursday, Sept. 8 when Buckingham Palace announced the news: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died at the age of 96.
New Westminster residents responded much as you’d expect from a “Royal City,” pouring out their sadness and gratitude to the long-reigning monarch with a memorial set up at the entrance to Queen’s Park.
As flowers, notes, cards and tributes poured in at the site from folks around the city — including Eileen Glavin, one of the few leaving tributes who was older than the monarch herself. (The 103-year-old New Westminster resident, who was born in England, is known in the city for her story of working as a “spy” in the Second World War, intercepting German messages at a listening station.)
Other residents made their way to Century House to sign an official book of condolences for the Royal Family.
Community leaders — including Qayqayt First Nation Chief Rhonda Larrabee, New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian and then-city councillor Chuck Puchmayr — shared their memories of the Queen.
Historian Jim Wolf shared stories of the Queen’s past official visits to New Westminster.
The Royal Commonwealth Society’s Mainland of British Columbia branch held a well-attended memorial service for the Queen on Sunday, Sept. 18, the day before her official state funeral.
To be sure, the Queen’s death also reignited the discussion around the future of the monarchy and its relevance (or lack thereof) in 21st-century Canada.
But, for a short time at least, New Westminster came together and mourned for the petite woman whose smile has graced so many photographs in so many newspapers around the globe.
And the prevailing sentiment was shared in one small card left at the Queen’s Park memorial: “Thank you for everything, ma’am.”