Lumby graduates will be reviving the old tradition painting of Cop Hill to celebrate the conclusion of their high school chapter amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Provincial regulations have abolished all traditional grad parties to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus and municipalities, parent advisory committees and grads-to-be have had to get rather creative in pitching new ideas, or in this case, an old one.
The Village of Lumby Public Works department announced Tuesday, June 2, Glencaird Street between Shuswap and Park avenues would be completely closed to traffic Thursday, June 4, between 1-8 p.m., to allow for the 2020 graduating class of Charles Bloom Secondary School to bring back the traditional event.
“It’s going to be awesome,” Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton said.
Recognizing COVID-19 has put a halt to celebrations, Acton reached out to Public Works and had them do some research into the possible negative ramifications of reviving the traditional painting of Cop Hill.
Nothing came back other than enthusiasm from council, public works and city staff, Acton said.
“I asked my neighbours and no one seemed to have any issue,” he said of the Glencaird Street residents.
“I am excited for them,” Acton said of the graduating class. “For me, Grade 12 was a huge transition and without really marking it or defining it, we could cause our young people some serious issues in the future.
“It’s nice to give them an opportunity to really mark it.”
Acton said Public Works looked to get the most environmentally friendly paint options and he hopes to see the artwork last a while.
“I can’t wait to see the art,” he said. “I know some of these kids are really talented.”
Acton said if all goes well, this could be a tradition that stands the test of time.
“I think it would be up to the next graduating class,” he said. “But if this goes down OK, why not?”
The City of Vernon is also considering the possibility of allowing grads to spray paint a portion of 30th Avenue, otherwise known as Suicide Hill.
Coun. Brian Quiring brought the idea forward to his councillor colleagues during the May 25 meeting after being approached by a member of the public.
Greater Vernon Museum and Archives’ community engagement coordinator Gwyneth Evans said she the tradition of tagging Suicide Hill goes far back.
“We have photos dating back to 1978 showing the grads at work and I have seen another on the Vintage Vernon BC Facebook Page of the Class of ‘77 painting the hill as well,” she said. “But I have heard — although can’t confirm — that a toned-down version of the tradition was practised as early as 1960.”
The 1981 class was the last class to paint the hill, Evans said.
“Allegedly the reason the tradition was stopped because the tagging was spreading into adjacent areas, to private walls and the like,” she said. “I also suspect it was deemed too dangerous.”
The Class of ‘82 painted the Vernon Secondary School parking lot instead, Evans said.