The Museum’s Blog

April 2020 Watershed Moments

Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

Photo credit: A hand-coloured postcard featuring Moat Lake on Forbidden Plateau, 1930s. Preston L. Tait photograph. Photo: 975.36.10. Page 7.

Photo caption: “Strathcona Park, designated in 1911, is the oldest park in British Columbia and includes 250,000 hectares in the Forbidden Plateau and Buttle Lake areas.” Page 125.



From Our Library

We hope you enjoy this page of food substitutions from Edith Adam’s Wartime Cook Book published in 1943 by The Vancouver Sun.

The preface states that the “recipes in this book were chosen because they call for only materials available on our markets.”

It might be fun to try some of the dishes just to see how they turn out!



Easter Offering

This lovely image is from a scrapbook donated to the archives over 45 years ago. Inscribed inside the front cover are the words “Minnie Berkeley” and “from Mamma, Xmas 1894.” Minnie filled the pages with pressed flowers, calling cards and inspirational messages.

Minnie Rose Berkeley was born in Sandwick April 28, 1880. She was the daughter of John and Agnes Berkeley. John was one of the first loggers in the district and provincial road superintendent. Minnie married George Swan in 1904. Together they had a family of six children: Madeline, Lloyd, Reggie, Billy, Murray and Norman. Minnie died in December of 1936. Her obituary in the Comox Argus spoke of her in glowing terms. “Mrs. Swan was a very active member of the Ladies’ Aid of the United Church, and was prominent in social and community effort…She was an indefatigable correspondent for the Argus at Grantham, and took a keen interest in the work…Her loss will be…felt all through the district..”.

COVID-19 Update – Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre Closed

This is a special announcement from the Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre regarding COVID-19. In tandem with the City of Courtenay cultural and recreational facilities, the museum will close to the public until further notice.

Alternate Programming

For people at home, you might want to view the museum’s YouTube Channel to learn more about the museum, about fossil collections and explore with some of the scientists who have been involved with discoveries and exhibits at the Courtenay and District Museum.

We will be providing more information regarding opportunities to connect through virtual tours and education sessions as soon as possible.

Helpful Learning Links

The City of Courtenay’s Statement

Here is the March 16, 2020 notice from the City which you can also find on the city’s webpage.

City of Courtenay Closing Recreation Facilities Until Further Notice

March 16, 2020

As a result of the global Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the City of Courtenay is closing all City recreation and cultural facilities at 3 pm today.

  • All programs are cancelled (Spring Break Daycamps today will end at their regularly scheduled time of 4 pm.) All facility rentals are also cancelled until further notice. The City of Courtenay will contact those with upcoming rental agreements.
  • This closure includes:
    • Lewis Centre
    • Florence Filberg Centre
    • Native Sons Hall
    • The LINC Youth Centre
    • Sid Williams Theatre
    • Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre
    • Comox Valley Art Gallery
    • All City Outbuildings: Lewis Park (Tsolum and Salish), Bill Moore Park including Lawn Bowling Building, and Valley View Park
    • Sports field bookings – avoid crowds as per current provincial directions
    • All park washrooms and outdoor washroom at Sid Williams Theatre Plaza

“We are of course deeply concerned by the impact of COVID-19 and aware of the critical role our community will play in slowing the spread of this virus during this unprecedented crisis,” said Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells.

We ask each and every one of you to do your part. Stay home. Save lives. Help reduce the strain on our health care system, and protect our first responders, our seniors and other vulnerable populations. Flatten the curve, and only go out for essential trips.”

The City of Courtenay is taking these measures in support of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the BC Ministry of Health and their efforts to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

More information will be provided as updates are available. Visit or City of Courtenay social media channels Facebook and Twitter.

It’s All There in Black and White: CRUD is for Clean

It was all hands on deck for the Comox Valley spring clean-up of 1970 as seen in this March 18 article from the Comox District Free Press.

But, you may be asking, what the heck is SPEC? Why it is the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation of course! Founded in 1969, SPEC’s website identifies itself as the “oldest environmental non-profit in Canada.”

The Comox Valley SPEC group and hundreds of volunteers made our local campaign the biggest in BC that year.

With legacy support from the Bickle Family and the Comox Valley Echo.

March 2020 Watershed Moments

Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

Photo credit: A dramatic family portrait by Walter Gage, ca. 1905. Photo: 990.24.13. Page vi.

The family in this portrait have been identified by their descendants and the date revised since publication of Watershed Moments. They are the McKelvey family of Dove Creek. The patriarch, Stafford, died December 28, 1901 at the age of 42 from “acute general peritonitis.”

Left to right: William, Nancy, Stafford, Mary Hannah and Frederick Allan. Missing from the photo is the eldest son Adam Samuel McKelvey. Sorry – no names known for deer or dog.

March 2020 Gift Shop News

Spring is in the air and it’s a great time to come and check out new items in store.

There are some fabulous cotton totes with bright and cheerful bear, hummingbird, orca and octopus designs. The totes are lightweight but strong; good for using around town or great gifts to mail friends overseas.

Easter is just around the corner and we have some lovely items if you’re looking for gifts. How about a floral china mug in a matching gift box? Take a look at our huggable stuffed bunnies or (the much less huggable) concrete rabbits for your garden decor.

We also carry plenty of brightly coloured tins in different shapes and sizes that are perfect to use in place of wrapping paper.

Royal BC Museum Exhibit: Wildlife Photographer of the Year

February 14 to March 29, 2020

Experience the wonders of nature through the lenses of award-winning photographers from around the world.

Now in its 55th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition showcases a global selection of outstanding nature photography. Each photo is presented in a huge backlit display with a caption exploring the image’s compelling story. Travelling from London’s Natural History Museum, this exhibition takes viewers on a visual journey around the world, bringing the talent and vision of each photographer closer to all who visit. The images evoke a wide range of emotions but are always visually stunning and thought-provoking. A family favourite.

Click for Details

February 2020 Watershed Moments

Here is the latest newsletter installment of an image and quote from the museum’s award-winning book Watershed Moments – A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District.

Photo credit: View from Comox Hill, 1890s. Photo: CDM Stubbs Collection. Page 39-40.

Photo caption: “Though the land and water provided more than enough for food and shelter, the K’ómoks people had a long tradition of trade with other coastal groups. They also traded cedar root and eulachon oil for Saskatoon berries and dried grass and root fibres from the interior Salish people. This exchange continued with the settlers, who traded tobacco, guns, ammunition, blankets, fabric, buttons, beads, sugar and flour for furs.” Page 30.