Saving Swiss Edelweiss Village in Canada

The birthplace of Western Canada’s Mountain Culture and home to the legendary Swiss Guides is endangered and needs you.
Hello, our names are Ilona Spaar and Johann Roduit. We are fundraising for the Swiss Edelweiss Village Foundation in order to save the Edelweiss Village located in Golden, BC, Canada. Swiss Edelweiss Village Foundation is an incorporated non-profit in BC, Canada.
 
At the heart of the Rocky and Selkirk mountains, the Edelweiss Village is at risk of disappearing. The village is listed as one of the Top 10 endangered places on the 2022 National Trust Endangered Places List . We believe that you and I - and all of us together - can save Edelweiss Village and make it a gift for all communities to enjoy.

️Land acknowledgement
We acknowledge that the Swiss Edelweiss Village is located on the traditional unceded territory of the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc peoples. We recognize that they cultivated a deep and ongoing relationship with the mountains and nature for thousands of years prior to the Swiss Guides’ arrival.
 
A cultural treasure unlike any in the world
The village was the historic home to the legendary Swiss mountain guides employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Built between 1910-12 by the CPR, the six Swiss Alpine-style chalets with their eclectic decorative elements represent a unique piece of architectural history. The Swiss mountaineers helped shape the world-renowned mountain culture of the Canadian Rockies, and places such as Banff and Lake Louise would not look the same without their impact. Not only did they make it possible for many to safely access the mountains, but they also showed people new ways to appreciate nature.
 
Why is the village endangered?
The village is currently for sale. It is located just outside the Town of Golden in the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, a rural district with no heritage bylaws in place. With no heritage recognition or protection, the village could be sold at any time to a buyer solely interested in demolition.
 
We are already losing Abbot Pass Hut!
The very same Swiss guides who lived at Edelweiss Village built the legendary Abbot Pass Hut, a national historic site , which will soon be dismantled due to the impacts of climate change. With the disappearance of Abbot Hut, Edelweiss Village with its six chalets remains the last and strongest link to the golden age of Western Canada’s mountaineering and the Swiss guides’ remarkable contributions to it.
 
Why do we need to safeguard and promote Edelweiss Village?
Edelweiss Village represents different layers of important histories. Because of its significant cross-cultural, Canadian-Swiss heritage, there is a responsibility to safeguard it. If we lose it, we lose a part of our own identity, culture and more than 100 years of history. The good news is, you and I can make a difference!
 
How you can help
Make a monetary donation on GoFundMe
 
What’s in it for you?
  • Upon your donation, you will receive a personalized digital certificate. Your name will appear on a digital donor plate that includes the names of your fellow donors unless you wish to stay anonymous. If the goal is reached and we can successfully save the village, the donor plate will be exhibited in the village
  • You will be able to participate in the crowd-sourcing of ideas about the future of the village
Milestones already reached:
  • Thanks to our efforts, Edelweiss Village has been included in the Top 10 Endangered Places List 2022  by the National Trust of Canada which has nationwide increased awareness about the importance of saving the village.
  • A conservation plan for Edelweiss Village is currently underway in the context of the Cultural Resource Management Program with the University of Victoria, thanks to Brittany Newman, Executive Director, Golden Museum & Archives.
  • We were able to secure the property until July 15. Depending on the amount of funds raised, we will save the property and chalets, one square meter at a time. A preliminary feasibility study is currently being conducted.
How are the funds going to be used?
Your donations will help the Swiss Edelweiss Village Foundation to fulfill its mandate: to preserve and promote Edelweiss Villages and make it a gift for present and future generations to enjoy. The foundation’s goal for the village is to become a dynamic, inclusive and sustainable place at the intersection of history, culture, innovation and heritage tourism. The foundation will manage the funds. Depending on the amount of funds raised, the foundation will be able to preserve and promote the village in different ways. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Purchasing the property in full or partially
  • Purchasing the six chalets in full, or partially
  • Restoring the chalets in full, or partially
  • Working with other organizations that agree with our main objectives
  • Conducting the necessary feasibility studies
  • Preserving, caring, maintaining, and promoting the historical and cultural aspects of the site
  • Creating and operating a cultural center with its headquarter in the village
  • Create a digital museum and a digital copy of the village
Urgent action required
  • Phase 1: Securing the property with a non-refundable deposit of CAD: 100'000.00; Deadline: July 15, 2022
  • Phase 2: Buying the property with CAD 2.3 mio; Deadline Dec 16, 2022
  • Phase 3: Restoring the chalets; costs to be determined based on feasibility studies
  • Phase 4: Designing a sustainable cultural tourism concept; costs to be determined
Time is ticking!
The village has been listed as endangered and its preservation is urgent!
Please help us today by donating via our website http://swissvillage.ca.
Please share it with your friends and family.
 
With your help, we can do it. Together we can save Edelweiss Village!
 
Who is behind the project?
 
Foundation Board Members
  • Dr. Ilona Spaar, Swiss-Canadian Historian, Author of Swiss Guides: Shaping Mountain Culture in Western Canada and Swiss Immigration to Canada: Achievements, Testimonies, Relations
  • Dr. Johann Roduit, Elected Swiss Delegate, Council of the Swiss Abroad for Western Canada. Board Member of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Founding Partner at Conexkt
  • Joanne Sweeting, Executive Director at Tourism Golden, BC
  • Ralph Stalder, Former Professional Hockey Player in Switzerland, Recreation Coordinator at Whisper Ranch Cabins in Golden, BC
  • Vince Sciamanna, President of The Garaventa Lift Group, Vancouver, Canada; Former President of the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver, BC
Advisors
  • Andreas Rufer, Consul General at Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver
  • Rudi Gertsch, Swiss-Canadian mountain guide & helicopter skiing pioneer, Golden, BC
  • Brittany Newman, Executive Director, Golden Museum and Archives, Golden, BC
  • Colleen Palumbo, Former Executive Director, Golden Museum and Archives, Golden, BC
  • Thomas Arn, Elected Swiss Delegate, Council of the Swiss Abroad for Western Canada; Founder and Owner of SBO Distributors Ltd, North Vancouver, BC
  • Fabian Lemann, President, Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver, BC; Director, Sales & Marketing at Quality Coffee Systems
Supporting Organisations (so far)
  • Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver, Canada
  • Golden Museum and Archives, Golden, BC, Canada
  • Organization of the Swiss Abroad in Canada
  • Tourism Golden, Golden, BC, Canada
  • Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Canmore, AB, Canada
  • Blockchain for Climate Foundation, Vancouver, BC Canada
Blockchain - Web3 support
  • Tyler Rubino, Fourth Year Ottawa University Biomedical Science Student. Web Developer.
  • Youqi Zheng, Fourth Year Queen's University Psychology Student. Blockchain Developer.
Visual Artists
  • Joel Vanderpol
  • Deanna Cutrone
  • Youqi Zheng
National Trust for Canada
 
News Sources
 
Media Selection:
Canada
Switzerland
Poland
England
 
Short Documentary directed by Camille Candia
 
Endorsement statement
 
A poll from the Golden Star Newspaper mentioned that 96% in favour of creating a foundation
  • Penny Pasnak 
    • $500 
    • 23 hrs
  • Harald Jenni 
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Mirjam Aeppli Bielser 
    • $50 
    • 6 d
  • Peter Thut 
    • $160 
    • 6 d
  • James Victor Walford 
    • $200 (Offline)
    • 7 d
See all

Fundraising team (6)

Johann Roduit 
Organizer
Raised $2,135 from 7 donations
Golden, BC
Swiss Edelweiss Village Foundation 
Beneficiary
Ilona Spaar 
Team member
Raised $550 from 3 donations
Ralph Stalder 
Team member
Raised $15 from 1 donation
Joanne Sweeting 
Team member
Vince Sciamanna 
Team member