Courtenay & District Museum

  • Lecture: Finding Coral
  • Elasmosaur in the Running
  • Fossil Tours
  • Exhibit: The Art of the Book
  • Summer Kids Camps
  • Volunteers
  • Sponsoring the Museum
  • Museum Sponsors
  • Photo of the Month
  • Museum Funding

  • Phone:



    Mailing Address:
    207 Fourth Street,
    Courtenay BC,
    V9N 1G7

    Tuesday to Saturday
    10 am - 5 pm

    Monday and Sunday

    John Wilson

    Vice President
    Daryl Wright

    Past President
    April Shopland

    Ruth Masters
    Rick Ross
    Jim Haggart
    Ross Dingwall

    Elizabeth Braithwaite

    Member of...

    British Columbia Museums Association

    Canadian Museums

    Archives Association of
    British Columbia

    Heritage Society of British Columbia


    Lecture Series:
    Finding Coral

    Jennifer Lash, leader of the Finding Coral Expedition, holding a red tree coral (Primnoa) sample. Photo credit: Living Oceans Society

    Paragorgia (‘bubblegum') coral polyps. Corals look like plants but they are actually colonies of tiny animals. Each animal is called a polyp and they look like small flowers with little petals called ‘tentacles'. Photo credit: Mark Wunsch.

    Guest Speaker: Jennifer Lash
    When: 7:00 pm, Wednesday, May 19th
    Where: Courtenay and District Museum
    Admission: $5 museum members; $6 non-members. Advance tickets recommended.

    In June 2009 Jennifer Lash, Executive Director of Living Oceans Society, led the Finding Coral Expedition to explore the distribution, ecology and possible human impacts on temperate coral communities off the northwest coast of British Columbia.

    Jennifer will share stories and images from the expedition, where she and a team of international scientists made 30 dives to the bottom of the sea in one person submarines.

    The science team used video cameras to record the splendour of the coral forests which provide critical habitat for fish and other marine creatures that live in the deep corners of our ocean. The expedition found coral at five of seven sites, with at least 16 different kinds of coral, ranging from small orange cup corals to red tree corals one meter high and two meters wide.

    An additional and equally important objective of the expedition was to educate and raise awareness of the importance of British Columbia's deep sea corals and the need to protect them from destructive fishing methods.

    Jennifer's background is in Public Policy and Administration and she has worked on ocean conservation issues in British Columbia for many years.

    Jennifer lives in Sointula, a remote fishing village on Malcolm Island, with her nine-year-old twins. Her work often takes her from her island home, but she is driven by her passion for the coast and her belief that she is building a better future for her kids through the successful work of Living Oceans Society.


    Elasmosaur in Running for Provincial Fossil

    By Philip Round, Comox Valley Echo. Published Friday, May 7, 2010

    The British Columbia Paleontological Alliance (BCPA) is the driving force behind getting proper legal protection for fossils through the adoption of a provincial management framework.

    It is also the body that has laid out the selection criteria for a provincial fossil, and suggested four possible candidates that would be unique if adopted as a B.C. symbol.

    That's important, as most American states already have official fossils and the BCPA wants B.C. to be distinctive.

    Alaska, for example, has chosen the fossil of a woolly mammoth, and California a sabre-toothed cat. The only Canadian province to have adopted a fossil is Nova Scotia - it claims the oldest known reptile in the world, carrying the official name Hylonomus lyelli.

    The BCPA says the chosen B.C. fossil should be well known and well studied by experts; not currently used as an official symbol by other jurisdictions; capable of being spotlighted as a good educational resource; have wide potential appeal to the general public; be easily useable as a design for promotional purposes; and readily accessible as an exhibit or cast to people in B.C.

    Four fossils best fit the criteria, the BCPA suggests:

    • The Cretaceous elasmosaur, found near Courtenay;
    • The Cambrian lace crab from Yoho National Park;
    • The Cretaceous ammonite found in many parts of B.C.;
    • The Permian fusulinid, also widespread but notable in the Marble Canyon near Cache Creek.

    Full details and illustrations of each can be found on the BCPA website

    To support the idea that our elasmosaur - or any of the other options - should be the official fossil of B.C., readers should send an email to, preferably offering a comment on why it would be a good choice.

    Alternately, suggestions can be mailed to: Fossil Management Consultation, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, PO Box 9303, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C., V8W 9N1.

    Those wanting to read more about the fossil management framework itself should log on to the B.C. ministry of agriculture and lands website."


    Fossil Tours

    Courtenay and District Museum public Fossil Tours are year round. The busy summer season has just begun. May and June tours run on weekends. In July and August tours can run up to seven days a week.

    The interactive tour consists of a presentation at the museum, a short tour of exhibits and then a trip to a dig site. Participants provide their own transportation.

    At the site you will be given an explanation of the history of the location and proper collection techniques. Then with hammers, chisels and goggles participants will have a chance to find a fossil! The museum will provide all necessary tools.

    We require advance payment, which is refundable with 48 hours notice of cancellation. Twenty percent of the fee will be kept if participants cancel with less than 48 hours notice.

    Costs for tours are: Adults $25, Students & Seniors (65+ years) $20, Children (4-12) $15, Children under 4 free. A Family group: 2 adults and up to 3 children is $75. A special group rate is available at $140. HST will be applied to all fees.

    Please call the museum at (250) 334-0686 if you would like register and to pay by credit card.


    Exhibit: "The Art of the Book"

    May 29 to June 6

    Location: Second floor of Courtenay Museum

    Vanier students are thinking "outside the box" – or at least "outside the book" for this exhibit.

    "The Art of the Book" is a temporary exhibit created by students from Georges P. Vanier Secondary School with Artist in Residence Derek Cowan. The project is supported by Artstarts and the G.P. Vanier Secondary School PAC.

    Students from art and creative writing classes have produced many unique books for the display. The creative writing groups have bound and sewn their manuscripts into one-of-a kind volumes. And the Art 12 students have fashioned books in a variety of formats – also very original and pushing the boundaries to what the idea of a book really means.


    Summer Kids Camps

    Monterey Dorid nudibranch at the seashore.

    Camps inside the museum are: Earth Science, Fabulous Fossils, Dinosaur Discovery Days and Wacky Science.

    Field trips outside of the museum are: Fossil Collecting at the Browns River, Fossil Collecting at the Trent River and Explore the Seashore.

    All programmes cost $20/day including HST. There are no prerequisites and all classes run from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

    Please send children with a lunch, drink and backpack. Parent transportation is required to and from all field trip sites.

    Pre-registration and prepayment is required.

    Kids Camps will run through July and August - come and have some fun with us!

    The museum will also be presenting the popular week-long Palaeontology Programme in July and August. This week includes three days inside the museum and two fossil collecting trips. Cost is $100 including HST.

    Please give us a call for more information: 250-334-0686.


    Volunteers - Making the Museum a Better Place

    The Courtenay Museum is fortunate to currently have a core group of volunteers that make extraordinary things possible on a daily basis.

    Click here to continue reading


    Sponsoring the Museum

    It is with great pleasure that we continue our sponsorship initiative to support museum programming and extension. The Courtenay & District Museum is an exciting destination that interprets cultural and natural heritage of the Comox Valley through exhibitions, lectures, special events and programmes. The CDM hosts over 35,000 local, national and international visitors a year.

    Many of the museum's programmes would not be possible without strong sponsorship from our donors and funders. We respectfully request your one-year sponsorship in order to continue to carry out these worthwhile programmes.  

    The levels of sponsorship are:

    • $1,500 Dogwood
    • $1,000 Garry Oak
    • $750 Arbutus
    • $500 Fir
    • Up to $500 Seedling

    Sponsors at the Dogwood level will have their logo or name featured on the museum's newsletter, website and on any publications the museum produces. Additionally, the Courtenay & District Museum is a charitable organization, so contributions are tax deductible.

    Your contributions can also be made on a monthly basis. All sponsors above the $500 level will receive a CDM membership and a complimentary copy of the coffee table book The Comox Valley by Paula Wild.

    We hope you will consider being a part of this worthwhile initiative as we promote and interpret the exciting natural and cultural heritage of the Comox Valley. Please feel free to contact us at 250-334-0686 if you have any questions or desire further information.


    Museum Sponsors

    Judy and Stan Hagen
    Comox Valley Community Foundation
    Daryl and Evelyn Wright-Francis Jeweller's Ltd.
    The Rotary Club of Courtenay Foundation
    The Robert Hunt Family
    Don and Marie Gordon
    M. Jean McMullan Estate

    Comox Valley Echo
    Marjorie Thorpe
    The Bickle Family
    Lorna Gunn
    John Wilson and Family
    Judy Gurr
    Sue and Ian Leakey
    Ed LaFleur

    Elizabeth Braithwaite
    Jean Hawthorne

    Dove and Mike Hendren
    Ruth Masters
    John and Joan Wilson
    George E. Sprogis
    Gordon Schnare
    Mary Mobley


    Photo of the Month

    CDM #990.24.161
    McPhee Store Warehouse, along Courtenay River, c. 1905

    You can view more photos like this on our website. Click here to visit our holdings.


    Museum Funding

    The Courtenay and District Historical Society was registered as a nonprofit society in 1961 to preserve and interpret cultural and natural heritage of the Comox Valley. It has functioned as an independent society since that time. Funds are derived from the generous support of the City of Courtenay, British Columbia Arts Council, Comox Valley Regional District, Valley Charitable Bingo Society, and from museum generated revenues and donations.

    Proud sponsors of the Courtenay & District Museum:


    The City of Courtenay


    BC Arts Councils

    BC Hydro

    Regional District Comox-Strathcona