The mystery surrounding a sports trophy from Port Alberni’s early history has been solved, at least partially.
A 1912 “Challenge Trophy” was recovered earlier this year from a garage sale in Keremeos, but aside from the engraving on the cup, nothing was known about the cup’s provenance.
Deepening the mystery was the fact the cup was presented to the “Port Alberni” athletic association, which a century ago was quite different than the present-day Alberni Athletic Association—the city back then was divided into two, and the rivalry was strong.
But a news story from the archives of the British Times Colonist dated Aug. 23, 1913 sheds light on the trophy and what it was for.
Titled “Field Meet in Port Alberni” the story previewed a field sports event being held in Port Alberni on Labour Day weekend.
According to the article, the annual event was hosted by the Port Alberni Athletic Club. The event featured competition between athletes from Vancouver and Victoria.
The Victoria contingent was being led by champion sprinter Hal Beasley who was running for the James Bay Athletic Club. An Olympian, Beasley competed in 100-metre, 200m and 400m races in the 1912 Olympic Games.
The athletes were vying for some coveted trophies— including the challenge trophy offered by the Alberni Land Commission.
The cup is a replica of the one given by the King of England to the Royal Yacht Club. The trophy was presented to the athlete who scored the largest number of points at the Port Alberni meet.