It was 25 years ago Sunday (May 1) that Nanaimo officially dubbed itself the Harbour City.
In 1986, during their visit to Vancouver’s Expo 86, Prince Charles and Princess Diana made a side trip to Nanaimo to help then-mayor Graeme Roberts proclaim the new slogan. One of his proudest moments as mayor, Roberts welcomed the Prince and Princess of Wales and presented them with a hand-carved native mask after they unveiled the Harbour City plaque and cairn in Maffeo Sutton Park.
The new slogan was a contentious issue with Frank Ney, whom Roberts defeated in the city’s 1984 election. Ney, who held the mayor’s seat for 16 years prior, wanted the city’s slogan to be Hub City.
Roberts won the election on the platform that he didn’t think city hall was being run properly. During his three-year term, Roberts oversaw the city’s waterfront transform through development and revitalization before being defeated in 1986 by Ney.
Current Mayor John Ruttan had hoped to present Roberts with a copy of the historic proclamation, complete with signatures of Charles and Diana, and a plaque at Monday’s council meeting, but Roberts, who still lives on the Island, was unable to attend.