Photo Credit: Sarah Etoile

Lowry Lake, Port Alberni
Photo Credit: Kyle Hamelin

Kyle Hamelin was born and raised in Port Alberni and has spent the last 27 years exploring life in Port Alberni. His favourite place in the Alberni Valley used to be the Academy. It was an all-ages music venue, giving Port Alberni youths somewhere to hang out and listen to good local music. Kyle made most of his friends there. That being said the Academy is no longer operating so his favourite place is now Sproat Lake. Whether it be swimming, fishing, camping, hiking or boating he loves it all.

One of our toughest questions for Kyle was, “If you could do one thing to make the Alberni Valley a better place what would you do?” He mentioned that there are a thousand things you could do to make Port Alberni a better place but, the reality is that it takes more than one person with an idea to make a change. Kyle hopes to see more activities and programs aimed at the youth of Alberni Valley.

“I won’t mention any names without permission but there are a few people in the Alberni Valley that are doing great things for young musicians in this town and Vancouver Island in general. Maybe open up more doors in that area? Spark some interest in the youth who want to be creative?”

What a typical day in the Alberni Valley looks like for Kyle
“work Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday are for fun. That’s the beauty of small-town living I guess. Especially with where we are located, you don’t always need a plan. Just make it up as you go along. BBQ’s, lake days, fishing and sledding in the winter. There is always something to do.”<

Kyle was a judge at the last two Youth Battle of the Bands put on by The ZattZoo Project. He had this to say about the event, “It’s a great all-age event that promotes creativity in the youth here on the island.”

Kyle also got to be an MC the past two years for the 5 Acre Shaker. With 27 years of experience with Port Alberni’s events, Kyle’s favourite Port Alberni events happen at the Rainbow Room. Being a huge supporter of the local music scene, Kyle attends most of the performances there when he isn’t busy performing with his own band, Forever Frost.

One of Kyle’s fondest memories of the Alberni Valley (there were a lot to choose from) was joining his very first band, Atta Boi. He had a lot of fun with the band and it taught him all about playing music for an audience, not just in his bedroom strumming along to some of his favourite records.

There is one person that stands out for Kyle on his list of people who have impacted his life, Dustin Dame.

“He (Dustin) was the one who ran the shows at The Academy in the early 2000s. He was welcoming of everybody and he created a safe environment for people of all ages to enjoy live music. It was a second home to a lot of people honestly. He’s the reason I took an interest in writing music and playing in front of people, all because of The Academy.”