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Public display of gratitude springs up in downtown Penticton

Christine Dettling tells the world what she
Christine Dettling tells the world what she's thankful for on Saturday at a gratitude board in downtown Penticton.
— image credit: Joe Fries/Western News

Canada, family and even giant schnauzers were among the things for which people publicly acknowledged their thanks Saturday on a gratitude wall erected in downtown Penticton.

The wall was actually the window at the former Tim Hortons location on Main Street, where passers-by were provided paper and pens to write down whatever they are thankful for. Messages were then taped onto the glass.

“To have people put up comments on the board is a reminder to them and to everybody who stops to read the board that there’s great things in life,” said Lawrence Jaggernath, a Penticton man who’s thankful for living in Canada.

His family has taken in an exchange student from Japan and the experience has renewed their appreciation for their home country.

“It us helps to appreciate what we have and what other people don’t have,” Jaggernath said.

Christine Dettling, who spotted the board while visiting the downtown community market with her seven siblings, all of whom are in Penticton for Thanksgiving, had no difficulty deciding to publicly acknowledge her family.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” she said of the board.

Kelowna woman Colleen Owens was also pleasantly surprised when she stumbled across the display.

“I think I heard about something like this on CBC Radio, because some artists are doing something like this in the States and others areas of Canada, so I was really excited to see one that I could actually participate in,” she said.

While most of the people who wrote on the board gave thanks for family and friends, Owens was the only one to mention giant schnauzers.

“I am allergic to dogs, so these are one of the breeds I can live with,” she explained while petting one of her pooches. “These are my chosen children.”

Community market co-ordinator Laurel Burnham said the board was modelled on one that sprung up in New Orleans and was mentioned on a TED Talk.

Saturday’s community market was the last of the year, and given its proximity to Thanksgiving, Burnham thought it would be an interesting conversation piece.

“In this valley, in this community, in this country, we have a tremendous amount to be thankful for and I wanted people to take a moment and reflect on all that we have in this beautiful, peaceful, prosperous place,” she said.

“After the wall was three-quarters full I walked away, and when I came back it was really neat to see what people were thankful for.”

Students from a Leadership class at Penticton Secondary School assisted with the board.

 

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