Sam Costa enjoyed his time in Barkerville

Sam Costa enjoyed his time in Barkerville

Costa represents Rupert in Ottawa

Samuel Costa had to say goodbye and retire his project-displaying bristol board.

Samuel Costa had to say goodbye and retire his project-displaying bristol board.

After two years and two projects, the thing was starting to fall into disrepair on the Grade 6 student from Prince Rupert Middle School.

But not before it helped Sam win a national award and a trip to Ottawa.

“I had to take down the board because it was starting to fall apart,” said Samuel last week.

“But I think that’s a lucky board

because I used it on my Canada Dry project in 2014.”

Whether it was a lucky piece of material, sheer hard work, or pure passion for his topic, Sam’s Heritage Fair project, based on the gold rush town of Barkerville in B.C., a provincially-owned heritage town and

national historic site, won him the 2015 Young Citizens Award.

The award, given to 26 recipients across Canada – two from each province and territory – was presented by Canada’s History Society for students aged 10 – 15. Each winner was one of 55,000 heritage fair projects to be displayed across the country within the past school year and Samuel’s video was one of 170 viewed by a panel of judges and subject to online voting.

Two projects from the Northwest Regional Fair in 2015 were asked to make videos on their topics for the Young Citizens program, with the other candidate being a student named Marina G. from Annunciation School here in Prince Rupert.

One of the reasons Sam was so successful in having a masterful grip on his topic was because the Rupertite has visited Barkerville just three years ago.

“I had a lot of fun. We were going to Vancouver and on the way, we made a pit stop in Barkerville. I got to go gold-panning and they had a whole bunch of cool stores and I just decided to do my project on it,” Sam said.

His favourite part was ‘The Waterwheel Show’ – a display of 1870s mining technology, using an authentic, wooden Cornish Waterwheel.

In his video, titled ‘Barkerville stands the test of time’, which combines Sam’s narration of the history and significance of Barkerville and a slideshow of historically significant images, with Sam in front of the camera with his project to boot.

During his trip to Ottawa, Sam was able to visit Rideau Hall, the Bytown Museum, the Museum of History and his personal favourite – the War Museum (“It had a lot of tanks”). He represented Prince Rupert at Canada’s History Youth Forum, while B.C.’s other representative came from Tecumseh Elementary School in Vancouver.

While there, he even roomed with a student living on Canada’s east coast.

“We each had a different roommate … so you got paired up with someone, possibly from the farthest province away from you, which was exactly what I got. I was from Prince Rupert and my roommate was from Newfoundland,” he said.

Not only was Sam able to win a national award, but he got to add more than a few pins to his pin collection – now featuring over 400 pins from Canada and the rest of the world.

“Usually in most heritage fairs we do pin trading and I’m a big collector of pins, so everybody brought certain pins from everywhere and gave them out. There were some cool decorated ones, like I got some from [Prince Rupert Mayor] Lee Brain and I got some from Port Edward [Mayor Dave MacDonald to hand out to the rest of the Young Citizens Award winners]. I have three or four from Barkerville,” said Sam. He brought back pins, postcards and flags from his trip as gifts from the other students.

The Rupert student plans on trying similar projects like this one in the future and will apply to the heritage fair alumni program at some point in the future.

In fact, the Provincial Heritage Fair will be coming close to Prince Rupert next year, with the planning committee currently wrapping up the final details, committee member Lesley Moore, general manager of North Pacific Cannery said.

In May 2016, the North Pacific Cannery will hold the Northwest Regional Heritage Fair.

While a lot of the work on his Barkerville project was done by Sam, he had some help using Windows Movie Maker from his parents to make the informational video.

“The Young Citizens program encourages Canadian youth to explore the stories of Canada’s history from the perspective of their own home town, province and country. The 26 student winners exemplify the passion of Canada’s youth who are actively discovering their past and its significance to their lives today,” said president and CEO of national charity, Canada’s History, Janet Walker.

To view Sam’s video, visit