Smithers RCMP Sgt. Shaun Begg is raising funds for Syrian refugees and to help renovate the arena in Kaslo, the small West Kootenay community where he was last stationed before moving to the Bulkley Valley with his young family in July.
He and photographer Rick Wiltse are selling a photo taken in March that went viral on social media — where many called the scene of the then-corporal dressed in his red serge playing hockey on a mountain glacial lake “the most Canadian photo ever” — to raise the funds.
The RCMP gave permission to take the photo, but it is a personal initiative of the two.
“It struck a chord with obviously a lot of Canadians. We were committed to ensuring the photo continued not for personal gain but for a charitable or humanitarian purpose,” explained Begg.
They decided on the arena because of its importance to the small community, as arenas are for small towns across Canada. Helping Syrian refugees was an idea that came as news of the crisis in that part of the world started dominating the news.
“Canadians, we help people right? So lets do something on the humanitarian scale and see if we could raise some money for the refugees coming to Canada who have nothing,” said Begg.
“We were fulfilling our dream of being able to live here, being a Mountie, playing hockey, etcetera; and the Syrians, 25,000 that are coming here have nothing and their dream is to get to Canada … I said let’s help where we can.”
Prints can be purchased at kasloarena.ca/most-canadian-photo-ever/.