City of Peace initiators Olivia and Megan on top of Mt. Cheam, looking over the Peace City of Chilliwack.
Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada: City of Peace
Welcome to the citizens of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada: City of Peace. The initiators of the city of peace movement in Chilliwack are Megan Praat and Olivia Jensen, daughters of Laura Taylor Jensen Praat. Megan and Olivia have shown a great commitment to peacebuilding in the Chilliwack community, reached out to other youth as well as civic leaders to endeavor with them to create a culture of peace in this beautiful Canadian town.
Note: Introduction page with information primarily at the time of joining International Cities of Peace. For updates, please contact the liaison.
CHILLIWACK: The 5th International City of Peace in Canada
We are sisters and two dedicated youths who believe in living with our eyes wide open. We care about the condition of our world, especially the challenges that youth face today. If one sees a humanitarian need or the need to create change to bring about sustainable harmony to any situation, stepping up peacefully and ethically to take action and meet that task, is, we believe, a moral responsibility.
Youth have valuable insights and have the power to bring about real change in their world. Statistics show that the youth determine, for the most part, what the media will promote in the entertainment industry and what will be made and sold in most marketplaces all around the world. If we, the Youth, have this kind of influence on how our world thrives economically, then we also have the power to create and bring about meaningful and significant change in our schools and in all environments that concern us.
Our Vision is to create a culture of Peace and Creativity in our city of Chilliwack. Although our schools, work places, job descriptions and personal interests may be different, we as a community of people are not separate– we are all the stewards of this beautiful land called Chilliwack.
We would like to bring more awareness about our city being one which stands for peace, so that mindset will spread through every home, school and workplace in our city.
We hope to beautify our city with peaceful art, urban sustainability, and have a Peace Park soon – all as symbolic expressions of what our city values.
We will encourage the International Cities of Peace Organization to create an International City of Peace Flag, so municipal offices and the schools can fly it with pride.
“Leave every person place and thing that you meet along the way in life,
more beautiful than the way you found them.”
— Samuel, our Great Grandfather
OUR FOUNDATION AND MISSION
• To rise up to live Peacefully;
• To be Inspirational, Responsible and Accountable youth in our community;
• To take Action in our community (locally and globally) to create a healthy culture that will support sustainable Peace in our City and for the next generations of young people to come.
• To first ask our City Council to support our efforts to bring about more awareness locally about Chilliwack now being the 5th International City of Peace in Canada. We are asking them to fully endorse and support this new title when promoting Chilliwack to set a peaceful tone for our ever-expanding city. We ask that they share this message, letting all who come to live in, do business in or visit our beautiful city and the vast Nature that surrounds it, know that Chilliwack stands for Peace.
• Secondly, we would like our City Council to adopt the Peace Proclamation, thus opening the doors to other community members and groups to get more involved with their city on this and other important issues that concern our community.
• Thirdly we will be asking our City Council to support and move to rename the 5 Corners Park or Princess Lane, in our old historic district, the 5 Corners Peace Park or Peace Lane.
Working with the Chilliwack Arts Council, Olivia would like to organize an art exhibition and juried mural project in town–the “Peace Mural Project”. This will give our city more appeal as a destination as well as highlighting Chilliwack as a fun and diverse community, which we are.
Megan and Olivia will be introducing a project proposal for an annual, educational Day of Peace program for all area schools. It will promote awareness about “What does Peace look like in your schools, in your community, the World?” We hope that each school will get involved and have their own Peace Poles or Peace Flag flying, showing that they are a “Peace Zone”.
We envision many additional projects. Some are in their design stages and as we progress, we will keep our page updated.
ABOUT THE LEADERS
Megan Praat: Megan, age 18, has been involved with Youth Leadership Programs in her schools since 2008. She has been involved in the Scout program of Canada since the age of 10. Megan has been an “A” honors student for most of her school career, and was the Student Body President her Senior year of high school. She also sat on the School Board as a Student Representative Council Member; she serves in her community and has 100’s of hours of volunteer work for a number of organizations both local and global. She and her sister Olivia started WE-BE Magazine—www.we-bemagazine.com, a youth advocate inspirational online magazine, which is now going into its fourth evolutional year. Megan was awarded, along with 11 other college scholarships, the Cmolik Foundation Scholarship and awarded the highest honors for her work in service. She will be attending her first year of University, studying business and psychology. Megan cares deeply about the community she was born and raised in, and feels strongly about being involved with the direction in which it’s growing and evolving.
Megan and Olivia – Awarding two youth with the WE-BE Visionary Award
Olivia Jensen: Olivia, age 16, has been involved with all that is ‘the arts’ since she was 4–drawing, singing, dance and drama. Olivia volunteers as a mentor for elementary students for her local community’s art and drama programs, the Chilliwack Cultural Center and the Chilliwack Arts Council of which she is a member. She has been a valuable part of the leadership programs throughout her school years. She is the Vice President of the African Relief Club at her high school. She and her sister Megan financially support one young mother to complete her schooling, in her native land of Tanzania, so she can go on to achieve more at life and most of all, maintain her freedom while being a mother. Olivia has adopted the community garden, in the historic part of Chilliwack, which is linked to the local soup kitchen. She fell in love with the idea of it being a garden of peace and art. She’s begun to beautify it and would like to bring her plan to fruition – to make it a green, thriving, sustainable, low cost green produce producer; not only to help feed the inner city people who are in need, but to educate them on how to grow their own produce, feel like they are a valuable part of their community, and take pride in their city. Olivia has a peace program that she’s putting together which will bring more awareness about peace and community involvement into the schools in her local district as well as globally– through WE-BE Magazine.
Both Megan and Olivia support giving awards to other young adults in their community. They started the WE-BE Visionary Award in their former Middle School and are taking it global to inspire other young people to do the same in their schools, communities and in the World.
Laura Taylor Jensen Praat: Olivia and Megan’s mother, Laura, would tell you she would like to be first known for her dedication and love for her family as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, a granddaughter and a grandmother. One of Laura’s quotes, favored by many, is “If you don’t educate your children, the World as it is– will.” Laura has an extensive background of accomplishments; she is well known in her field and among her peers as ‘one of most insightful
Spiritual Scientists of our time,’ and the AHLB-Chief Director of the Lightbearers World Center, founded in 1921. She and her husband Frits (father) are both dedicated to their daughters’ project to bring about more discussion and awareness about the understanding of sustainability and Peace for everyone in their community.
For more information please contact:
Laura Taylor-Jensen <email@example.com>
ABOUT CHILLIWACK, B.C., CANADA, Our Beautiful City
Cultus Lake (Photo credits to BC Gov.)
Chilliwack is well positioned within British Columbia with natural majestic beauty, abundant recreational and lifestyle opportunities and a sound business sector, including prosperous agricultural, industrial and commercial industries.
The community has a population of approximately 84,000 people and is located 100 kilometers east of the City of Vancouver. People choose to live in Chilliwack because of our low tax rates, affordable housing costs and exceptional quality of life.
Discover our lifestyle, offering all the benefits of our natural surroundings, rural setting, and family oriented neighborhoods with all the convenience and facilities of a vibrant urban core. Discover our community … Discover Chilliwack!
15 minutes N.E. of Chilliwack is the famous Harrison Hot Springs (Photo credits Mr. Russell Photography)
Our History as we know it
Archeological records date the presence of Aboriginal people in the area today known as Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley, to be approximately 10,000 years ago. At the time of first contact it is estimated that there may have been as many as 40,000 to 60,000 people living within Sto:lo territory. After contact with Europeans beginning in 1782, diseases were introduced and reduced this population by 90% to 95%. When gold seekers first arrived in British Columbia in 1857, there were few aboriginal people left to meet the challenge of the changes brought by the newcomers.
By December, 1858 up to 30,000 miners were pouring into the region, with most travelling through the Chilliwack area. By the mid-1860s a few of the gold seekers had established small farms to service this growing population. These farms were located near riverboat landings. In Chilliwack, this meant that Miller’s, Sumas and Chilliwack Landing became early population centers.
Township of Chilliwhack
The Township of Chilliwhack was incorporated in 1873, the third oldest municipality in British Columbia. Initially the settlement was concentrated along the Fraser River at Chilliwack Landing. Here the steamboats (the main mode of transportation between Chilliwack and New Westminster) arrived and departed, bearing goods and passengers.
Since the small community had little room for expansion along the river, the main commercial area of the town moved up the road to the junction of the New Westminster-Yale Wagon Road, Wellington Avenue and Young Road. The center came to be called Five Corners.
In 1881 a large subdivision called Centreville was developed. In 1887 the name Centreville was replaced by a more popular name, Chilliwhack, and the area was incorporated in 1908 as a separate municipality, the City of Chilliwack. The City and the Township co-existed for 72 years, and finally in 1980 they merged to form the District of Chilliwack. In 1999 the District of Chilliwack changed to the City of Chilliwack.
You may have noticed the slight variation in spelling of Chilliwack. It used to be spelled Chilliwhack and was later changed to Chilliwack.
Chilliwack, How did we get our name?
The word Chilliwack is the name of a local Indian tribe as well as a geographic description of the area. Originally spelled Chilliwhack, this “Halkomelem” word means “quieter water at the head” or travel by way of a backwater.
Thank you from the 5th ‘International City of Peace’ in Canada,
Olivia, Megan, our family and the people of beautiful Chilliwack
All peaceful and ethical rights reserved.
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