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Settling In: Highlighting 50 Years of Kitimat's History

Miss Kitimat

The Elks Club was the sponsor of the first Miss Kitimat Pageant, 1954.  Terry Coghlin was crowned during the Club's Frontier Day at Smeltersite.  By 1963, the Kinsmen were sponsoring the event.  Many a Kitimat club, industry, and business entered "Miss" contestants over the years and gave them royal positions of honour on floats in the July 1st parade.  The ultimate destination for Miss Kitimat was to compete in the Miss PNE pageant, the Pacific National Exhibition held each August in Vancouver.

1955 Miss Kitimat Controversy

Edna Webb who scored highest with the four Miss Kitimat judges was identified at first by the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver as ineligible to win Miss PNE as she had been a former contestant in the 1954 Miss PNE contest.  Peggy Burbidge, First Princess was named Queen.  This decision was soon rescinded, however, when the PNE identified it had misinterpreted its own rule.  Kitimat was in an uproar, and the Elks had to publish a sizable explanation in the Northern Sentinel.

Miss Kitimat Contestants

Contestants compete for the honour of becoming Miss Kitimat 1965. The event was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Kitimat and held at Mount Elizabeth High School.

Crowd gathered for Miss Kitimat

A crowd gathers - mostly men - to watch Peggy Burbidge crowned Miss Kitimat at the Elks' Smeltersite Carnival, Dominion Day, July 1st, 1955.  Miss Kitimat of 1957, Annette Hrehorka, remarked on Kitimat's 4,000 bachelors, "Kitimat men are wolves, but nice wolves". 

Miss Kitimat Crowning

Mayor Sam Lindsay crowns Miss Lion's Club Judy Cockriell Miss Kitimat with princesses Judy Conrad (left) and Joan Blaikie, July 1, 1963

Miss Kitimat 1954

Elks' Committee members on stage following the ceremony of crowning Miss Kitimat Terry Coghlin.  From left: Joe Swityk, chairman of the Frontier Day committee; Bill Youdoshuck, Exalted Ruler of Elk's Lodge 383; 18-year-old Terry Coghlin, Miss Kitimat 1954; and Al Kubas, stalls supervisor.  As queen, Terry received some great prizes - luggage and rhinestone jewelry among them.  Photograph courtesy of Terry Voitchovsky (née Coghlin).