Gift Shop Update

The busy tourist season is starting and staff have ordered some fabulous new items for the shop.

Neat new items for kids include: tubes and buckets of dinosaurs, t-rex wrist pets, Color and Go travel colouring books and binoculars.

If you are looking for a gift, we have something for everyone. Three new items are beautiful etched glass bowls and plates designed by A.J. Salmon. These would make especially great gifts for weddings or anniversaries.

We are now featuring the work of a local glass artist in the shop: Stephanie Gould. Her jewelry is kiln formed dichraic glass which brings out the most amazing colours. All the earrings are free of both nickel and lead. We are also carrying her necklaces and pins. Stephanie also creates very lovely sand-glass plaques which look fabulous in front of any window.

Our gift shop is now open seven days a week – Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday noon to 4pm. Please note: if you are a museum member you will receive a 15% discount on any non-consignment item.

Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway: Carloads

980.65.5  Left to right: Tom Simms and Herb Venables

Left to right: Tom Simms and Herb Venables

CDM 980.65.3  Left to right: Sam Watson, Herb Venables, Tom Simms, Scotty Johnson.

CDM 980.65.3
Left to right: Sam Watson, Herb Venables, Tom Simms, Scotty Johnson.

Cars transporting cars. That would be railway boxcars transporting 4-wheeled automobiles.

Over its long history the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway carried everything from mail to Christmas trees to livestock and more.

In the case of these photographs, the year is 1924 and Model T cars for Corfield Motors Ltd. are being unloaded at the railway station. Some assembly required.

You can learn more about the history of rail by visiting the Ties to Communities exhibit in our second floor gallery.

Before Television: Projectile Point from Goose Spit

CDM 976.13.17

What Happens When We Turn off the Remote

Hamilton Mack Laing collected this beautifully crafted projectile point from his property, located near Goose Spit, in Comox. Laing, a respected naturalist and writer, settled in Comox in 1922 and completed building his home, Baybrook, in 1923.

In Author and Historian, Richard Mackie’s, book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist, p. 87, he writes of Laing, “He had fallen in love with Comox. In October 1922, he bought the five-acre lot on Brooklyn Creek where he, [Percy] Taverner and [D. Alan] Sampson had camped all summer. At the age of thirty-nine he had found his home: he would spend the next sixty years living on the same shell-midden.” As evidenced by the artifact above, Laing found more than just shells on the property.

Early settlers found stone tools such as this often, indicating the large population of First People settled around the shorelines of the Comox Valley before effects of exploration and settlement, such as displacement and disease, took their toll. First Peoples employed stone tools such as this in every aspect of daily life. This projectile point could have been attached to spear poles or shafts for hunting.

Recently, there has been some discussion in local newspapers about the Town of Comox tearing down Baybrook, the original Hamilton Mack Laing house. If you would like more information on Hamilton Mack Laing, there are some copies of Mackie’s book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist available on Amazon.

Our YouTube Channel


Over the past several months this newsletter has linked readers to our YouTube videos created as part of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) project.

These videos were produced with Fox and Bee Media with funds from REDI and Community Futures Strathcona.

If you’d like to see all the videos please visit our new YouTube channel.

Exhibit: Ties to Communities

CDM 2004.28.2
102nd Battalion soldiers arrive via the E&N Railway to train at Goose Spit, 1915.

Opening July 1, 2013

This new exhibit in our second floor gallery will touch on the tremendous influence of rail to the history and development of the Comox Valley from the late 1800s to mid-20th Century.

The “ties” in the title reflects a play on words. Of course the actual railway physically connected people, settlements and industry. And a “tie” in railway terms historically refers to the wooden supports for the tracks which lay perpendicular to the metal rails.

The exhibit is curated by museum staff and will feature maps and photographs from our archives.

Racing Trophies on Display

Three horseracing trophies from 1934 will be on exhibit at the museum in time for our Canada Day Open House.

The trophies were won by Mr. Bert Grieve and his horse American Motors at events in Nanaimo’s Old Home Week celebrations.

The trophies haven’t all been together for many years. But thanks to a thoughtful loan from family members, the trophies, and the interesting story behind them, are together again to share with the community.

Summer Hours

Open Seven Days a Week

The Courtenay and District Museum is now on its summer operating schedule and is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 5:00 and Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00 until Labour Day. As always, members visit free.


July 1st Open House


On Canada Day, drop by the Courtenay and District Museum after the parade and help celebrate our country’s birthday.

There will be free admission, balloons and door prize draws between 12 noon and 4 pm.

Special activities will include cupcake walks for all ages and a hands-on craft for kids.

Musical entertainment will be provided by The Wire Choir.

Check out the revamped palaeontology displays as well as the new exhibit Ties to Communities about the importance of transportation and industrial railways in the Comox Valley.

Canada Day is a great chance to explore history at the museum. Discoveries happen here!

Race to the End of the Earth

The Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria presents the exhibit Race to the End of the Earth on now to October 14, 2013.

Race to the End of the Earth recounts one of the most stirring tales of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole. This exhibition focuses on the challenges that the Norwegian and British leaders faced as they undertook their separate 2900 km journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back.

Click Here for Details