Upcoming Publication

Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District to the 1950s


The manuscript is in, the photos chosen and, thanks to Harbour Publishing, the museum’s upcoming hard cover book Watershed Moments-A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District to the 1950s by authors, Christine Dickinson, Deborah Griffiths, Judy Hagen and Catherine Siba, and photo editing by Ernst Vegt will be available in October. Stretching from the early 1800s to World War II, Watershed Moments features over 150 pages of early images and ephemera that provide new glimpses into the region’s history.

Centennial Exhibition

Join us on Saturday, June 27 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm for the opening of the museum’s City of Courtenay Centennial Exhibition which includes historic panels covering Courtenay’s last 100 years created by the City of Courtenay Heritage Commission. This is a great chance to celebrate Homecoming Week, to meet and greet and to enjoy light refreshments. We look forward to seeing you!

Road Trip!


Junior Visits Ucluelet Aquarium

The fleshed out juvenile elasmosaur that is usually in the museum’s lobby took a road trip to Ucluelet this month along with fossils from the collection.

If you get a chance this summer, visit the Ucluelet Aquarium-it’s a great place to get up close and personal with present day marine life, like the spotted rat fish. The Courtenay Museum holds the first cretaceous rat fish fossil found in western North America so we have a lot in common. Thanks to the staff of the aquarium for hosting us. Junior will return to Courtenay by July!

Visit the Aquarium’s Website

A Keepsake for 2015


The Comox Valley Echo and the Courtenay Museum have teamed up to produce a Courtenay Centennial keepsake, a 50 page full colour magazine featuring museum and community images and historic stories. Local authors Ian J.M. Kennedy, Rick James, Judy Hagen and Christine Dickinson along with museum staffers Catherine Siba and Deb Griffiths have produced a keepsake magazine, Courtenay 100 Years of History 1915-2015 as a tribute to the Centennial Year.

“We say thank you to the Echo who have given generously on this project and done a great job and to the many businesses who have advertised. The proceeds from Courtenay 100 Years of History will go to museum programming,” said John Wilson, President of the Courtenay and District Museum Society.

With stories about downtown Courtenay, Joseph McPhee, Sub-Chasers on the Courtenay River, community celebrations, early transportation and more, the affordable magazine is something to take home from centennial celebrations that will be happening throughout the year. The magazines are also available at the museum and the Comox Valley Echo office. For more information contact the museum at 250-334-0686.

Gift Shop News


With the weather already feeling like summer, our new children’s t-shirts are a real hit. The best sellers glow in the dark! We have two designs that glow: dino skeletons and a velociraptor. Kids also love our fun t-rex and octopus shirts.

Adults haven’t been forgotten. If you have visitors who are looking for fabulous t-shirts we stock salmon, octopus, hummingbird or sun mask designs.

All our t-shirts are made from high quality pre-shrunk cotton. They are a fun gift to give or a treat for yourself.

Courtenay’s Centennial: A New Phone System

Throughout this year, the museum newsletter will be providing glimpses into the back story on the City’s Incorporation, history and development.

Courtenay’s communication system took a leap forward on May 3, 1941 courtesy of a BC Telephone Company upgrade. “Cranking” the phone to contact the operator became a thing of the past – the operator was signaled simply by lifting the receiver. Once connected with the operator, callers were required to give the new telephone number of who they were calling instead of the name. That meant a new telephone directory and, for Courtenay, a new telephone office on Cliffe Avenue.

Comox District Free Press, May 8, 1941

New ‘Phone System Cut-over Saturday

Courtenay’s new and improved telephone system went into operation last Saturday evening at 10 o’clock in an interesting ceremony which was attended by Mayor Simms, representing the city of Courtenay, representatives of various local organizations and many British Columbia Telephone Company officials. The cut-over to the new system, which had taken three full months of painstaking preparation, occupied just three seconds. Immediately after contact had been made the operators at the switchboard in the fine new Telephone Office were deluged by calls which were answered in an efficient manner under the supervision of Miss Walker, district traffic supervisor.

An interested witness of the ceremony was Mr. Joseph McPhee, 93-year-old Courtenay pioneer, in whose grocery store the first Courtenay switchboard was set up over thirty years ago.

Among the Company officials present were Mr. Simpson, District Commercial Manager, Mr. McIntosh, Assistant Sales Manager, Mr. Ross, Equipment Engineer, Mr. Janes, Maintenance Superintendent, Mr. J. Borrie, foreman in charge of installation, Mr. Leo Griggs, District Superintendent, Mr. J.W. Hough, district plant man, and a number of other district plant men, engineers and workmen were present.