Welcome Back Vaux’s Swifts!

Swifts on Oak-Beeville Texas 2013. Photo by: Jason Collins

The Vaux’s Swifts have returned to the Courtenay Muesum’s brick chimney! As of Sunday evening, April 29, local birder and naturalist, Krista Kaptein, spotted two hundred and seventy birds entering the chimney and they’ve visited successive nights with arrival times between 7:30 and 8:30 and in varying numbers.

Last year, the swifts made an unexpected visit in mid-May. Here’s CHEK’s May 13, 2017 take the on the event with help from Fox and Bee Studios . The swift’s arrival became a must-see for island birders and some came from as far away as Victoria.

For the swift’s 2017 arrival, local birders let us know how special this visit was and connected staff to Larry Schwitters, a Washington resident and scientist who leads the Audubon supported Vaux’s Happening site which tracks numbers of the “wee birds” and roost sites and has a live cam inside Monroe, Washington’s Wagner Center chimney. Monroe residents even celebrate the swifts’ large migratory event, more than 20,000 birds, with “Swift Night Out”. Here’s a closer look at swifts getting ready to leave the Monroe chimney this spring 2018.

The City of Courtenay also helped last year with a soot clean-up and with taking measures to keep swifts safe in the chimney.

We hope you have a chance to come down to see the swifts in the evening and to welcome them back.

May 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image


Click for Larger Image

Photo credit: Bedroom suite in the Courtenay Hotel, 1941. Charles Sillence photograph. Photo: CDM Sillence Collection. Page 137.

Photo caption: “Before World War I, [William] Lewis added a third storey, and there was no shortage of visitors when the E & N Railway arrived in Courtenay in 1914…Major renovations and additions in 1916 and 1938 left the building with a stucco finish and increased protection against flooding.” Page 68.

Periodical Wisdom

Women’s magazines and periodicals from the past offer some great advice on things like how to economize, care for your baby’s teeth or even the proper way to make social introductions.

We’ve scoured the archives for some examples to share with you. As always, please remember to take the information with “a grain of salt” and use your common sense before implementing.

This month’s write-up is an article is from The Ladies’ Review of May 1908 and offers “Some Homely Cleansing Agents.”

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

April 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Photo credit: Courtenay’s original city centre, ca. 1905. Walter Gage photograph. Photo: CDM 972.270.2. Page 62-63.

Photo caption: “”Lewistown,” as some called it, was just across from the head of the slough, at the junction of Dyke Road and Upper Prairie Road. It became a thriving commercial centre…Opposite the hotel was McKean & Biscoe’s dry goods and grocery store. The Masonic Lodge met on the upper floor of this building for thirty-three years. Courtenay’s first bank, the Royal Bank of Canada, opened here in 1909.” Page 63.

March 2018 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.

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Photo credit: Girl Guides depart from Royston train station, 1928. Left to right: Gladys Idiens, Joyce Edwards, Margaret Dunn, Dot Waterfield, Mrs. Mary Greig, Ritsuko Uchiyama, Lynn Hilton. Photo: CDM 990.16.26. Page 158-159.

Photo caption: “The first E & N passenger train arrived in Courtenay on August 6, 1914. The August 13 Courtenay Review noted that the train “consisted of baggage and express cars and four coaches.” The trip from Victoria covered 139.7 miles, with the train averaging a speed of roughly twenty miles an hour.

This arrival of the E & N, combined with major expansion of industrial rail lines, strengthened camps and communities such as Union Bay, Royston, Miracle Beach, Cumberland and Headquarters over the next fifty years.” Page 128.

February 2018 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: Florence Harmston and Sam Cliffe both sailed to Vancouver Island on the Silistria in 1862 and married a decade later in 1872. Photo: CDM 974.78.1 Page 14.

Photo caption: “Ten years after his 1862 voyage, in April 1872, Sam Cliffe married Florence Harmston, who had made the same voyage on the Silistria at the age of six with her parents, William and Mary Harmston. According to family stories, the Harmstons had intended to continue their voyage on the Silistria to arrive in April in Port Clemens, New Zealand. They changed course when they noticed an ad for prairie land in the Comox Valley. Florence, born on the Isle of Man, had fifteen children with Sam. Ten survived to adulthood. Florence and Sam took over the Lorne Hotel in 1883. Sam died in 1908, and Florence twenty-one years later, in 1929.” Page 14.