This “little person” is one of the original gnomes from a long-gone tourist attraction in Cordova Bay. Do you remember Fable Cottage?
My grandfather Don Snobelen was a gardener in Victoria for decades. For many years he tended the incredible flower beds at the attraction.
As a result, I spent many summer mornings hanging out and talking with the gnomes while working alongside my father and grandfather.
Today, the Fable Cottage lands are covered with town homes and the old cottage itself was barged to one of the Gulf Islands many years ago now.
Throughout my 20’s I worked in the hospitality industry. I got my start at McDonald’s however my real training and experience came from my time at Butchart Gardens. I met my wife Emily while working as a waiter in a restaurant in Sidney and I utilize the training and experience I got from working in the service industry everyday in my current role as the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.
As British Columbia begins our slow and measured restart, my heart is with the frontline hospitality workers as their industry has been devastated by COVID-19. Tourism is an important economic engine of the Capital Region and British Columbia.
While Fable Cottage was gone long ago, there are many operations that continue to attract visitors from around the world to our province. Government has a lot of work ahead in finding meaningful ways to support the entrepreneurs in the hospitality and retail industry whose businesses have been (and will continue to be) deeply impacted by the pandemic and associated travel restrictions.
With more than 125,000 people who rely on the hospitality industry to pay the bills, we have a big job ahead to develop initiatives that help hospitality workers through this economic crisis as tourism may take years to recover.
This gnome now sits in my mother’s garden as a reminder of the many days we spent turning soil and making beautiful moss hanging baskets. And, it is also a constant reminder to me of where my community service journey started.
I raise my hands in gratitude to all the frontline workers who serve our communities every day! Thank you! HÍSW̱ḴE!