REPORTING · 31st July 2014
The holder of the 1st Miss Kitimat Title, Miss Kitimat 1955, Edna Webb, returned to Kitimat in early July. On Tuesday, July 8th, there was a tea held in her honour at the Kitimat Snowflake Senior’s Centre. Webb shared several stories about Kitimat and the first Miss Kitimat Pageant.
“[In 1955] I worked for Kitimat Concrete, my family had just moved here and they wanted me to run for Miss Kitimat,” said Webb.
She was 18 at the time. To become Miss Kitimat, the contestants had to non smokers, non drinkers and have no boyfriend.
Webb admitted there were several scandals around this contest. Webb had already won a community centre contest becoming Ms. Frasier View. Her having this title raised several question, however, this was not enough to disqualify her. If she had been named Miss Vancouver, there would have been a problem.
In addition, there were money transactions going on behind the scenes. Her employer witnessed one of these leading to the crown being taken away from someone else. In the end, Webb received 2000 votes and became Miss Kitimat.
Once crowned, Webb was sent to the PNE where she won the title of Miss PNE alongside another contestant from Nanaimo. The tie was decided by looking at who needed the money most. Ms. Nanaimo was looking after her mother who was in a wheelchair and received the prize.
Eventually, Webb quit her job, worked in the hospital, became the RCMP Matron and married an RCMP officer. They were transferred out in 1957. She returned in 1958 but never returned after that.
Back in Kitimat after many years, Webb took the time to tour the town she once knew. She expressed that it was emotional to be back and the town has changed enough to be unrecognizable.
When she first arrived in town in the fifties, there was nothing but mud, snow, rain and it was dark. There was one road and there was little to do on a Saturday night but to watch the drunks come out of the Kitimat Hotel.
“We settled and we fell in love with the place because we were the pioneers,” said Webb. “It’s really wonderful being back.”
According to Mayor Joanne Monaghan, who worked on the Miss Kitimat Pageant for 15 years, the reason they stopped holding it is because it was opened up to both men and women.
Only one or two men would sign up and would have to participate in classes in make-up, walking, serving a formal tea and exercise. The men did not enjoy the classes very much and this made it difficult to run the program.
According to Monaghan, there were 15 Miss Kitimats. There are no plans to bring the pageants back at this time.