COLUMN: Honours well-deserved

Civic treasures contribute to Surrey’s arts, culture and heritage.

Surrey’s latest Civic Treasures have all demonstrated a lengthy and passionate commitment to the community.

Historian Roger Bose, reporter and musician Alex Browne and artists and mentors Cora and Don Li-Leger will be formally named 2015 Civic Treasures at the annual business and the arts reception on Oct. 6.

This award is a significant one, as it is one of a small number of initiatives by the City of Surrey to recognize the importance of intangible but important aspects of city life. There is much more to Surrey than development, real estate, crime, roads and transportation.

Bose is one of the many members of the pioneering Bose family who have played an important part in Surrey life for more than a century. He is a valuable source of historical knowledge in the city, regularly takes part in activities to promote Surrey’s rich history and is an instrumental research contributor to an upcoming book about the Bose Family Farm.

His commitment to Surrey’s heritage is significant, and is more important than ever as the city, including parts of the historic Bose farm on 64 Avenue, change almost beyond recognition.

Browne has been reporting on many aspects of Surrey life for more than three decades. He is the longtime arts and entertainment writer for the Peace Arch News, but has also been directly involved in many aspects of the arts for many years.

He has spent decades promoting and supporting artists and new arts initiatives in Surrey, and is a talented musician and actor. He regularly performs music of the 1920s and 1930s with his band, Alexander Browne and the Aristocrats.

Cora and Don Li-Leger have a “passion for local Surrey art and artists (that) is matched only by their love of global contemporary art,” an online summary notes. Described as “an unending source of cultural knowledge and inspiration,” the Li-Legers are “tremendous role models and mentors for many local emerging artists.”

They have lived in Surrey for 25 years, and have supported and taken part in many Surrey arts initiatives since that time.

Their quest to understand contemporary ‘art making’ and its effect on cities is broad and seeks to engage other cultures, the city said in a press release. Cora is a founding member of the city’s Culture Development Advisory Committee.

This is the eighth annual presentation of Surrey Civic Treasure awards. All of the previous recipients have been instrumental contributors to the life and depth of the city. No city is complete unless it has a vibrant arts, cultural and social community. It also needs to have a deep understanding of its heritage and where it has come from.

The award honours individuals who have achieved excellence in the production of the arts and/or made significant contributions to the development of arts and heritage in Surrey and beyond.

Each of the recipients “exemplify the true spirit of a Civic Treasure,” said Coun. Judy Villeneuve, chair of the public art advisory committee.

Each of the recipients has contributed an enormous amount of time and energy to making Surrey a more vibrant place, particularly in arts, culture and heritage. This recognition is well-deserved.

Frank Bucholtz writes Fridays for Peace Arch News. frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

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