Courtenay & District Museum

  • Block Party Downtown
  • Lecture: What Would Joe Think Now?
  • KidsFest Volunteers Needed
  • Science and Nature Discovery programme
  • A Busy Summer at Capes
  • Exciting Learning Opportunity at UVic
  • Exhibit: Headlines
  • Museum Sponsors
  • Photo of the Month
  • Museum Funding

  • Phone:



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

    Monday to Saturday
    10 am to 5 pm

    12 noon to 4 pm

    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


    Block Party Downtown

    Cliffe Avenue between 5th and 4th Streets featuring the Bickle Theatre and the Native Sons Hall, late 1940s/early 1950s. CDM 2002.136.12

    Article by Courtenay and District Museum summer student Kevin Imrie

    There is no party like a Block Party, and there just so happens to be an historically significant one being held in downtown Courtenay on August 21st. Two of the Comox Valley’s most recognizable landmarks, the Native Sons Hall and the Sid Williams Theatre, are hosting the event on Saturday, August 21st between 12 pm and 4 pm, and our own Courtenay and District Museum is getting in on the festivities.

    The Native Sons Hall, constructed in 1928 and home to one of the pioneering groups of the Native Sons of Canada, is celebrating its grand re-opening after being transformed through extensive interior and exterior refurbishing. Hourly facility tours will be offered between noon and 4 pm.

    The Sid Williams Theatre is also celebrating a major milestone in its unique history: this centre for local arts and entertainment is celebrating its 75th birthday. The Sid will be presenting a display of classic movie memorabilia between noon and 4 pm, and will also be screening, free of charge, Laurel and Hardy’s 1935 classic slapstick film Babes in Toyland at 2 pm.

    The neighbouring Courtenay and District Museum will be contributing to the merriment, as well: at 1 pm author Ian Kennedy will be offering a free lecture entitled, “What Would Joe Think Now?” (see article this newsletter). In keeping with the rich historical tradition of the event, visitors to the museum will be encouraged to explore "Headlines", a temporary exhibit that boasts an impressive collection of articles, captions, and photographs from Comox Valley, further immortalizing some of the most important local and international events of the Twentieth Century.


    What Would Joe Think Now?

    Author Ian Kennedy ponders the question “What would Joe think now?” in his illustrated talk at the Courtenay Museum 1 pm on Saturday, August 21st.

    Kennedy is referring to Joseph McPhee, the topic of his recently released book The Life & Times of Joseph McPhee, Courtenay’s Founding Father.

    When Joseph McPhee laid out the town of Courtenay in the 1880s he possessed a vision of what “his” town should look like, and for the next sixty years, until he died at 98 in 1946, McPhee worked ceaselessly to fulfill that dream.

    Over a half-century after his death Kennedy asks: “What would Joe think now?” Has the city McPhee founded lived up to his expectations of what he hoped for the town? What are its strengths? What are its shortcomings?

    The public is welcome to drop by the Courtenay Museum and lend their thoughts to what should be a lively discussion. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

    Kennedy is a retired Geography and History secondary school teacher turned rugby journalist and world traveler. Widely published in many magazines, his journalism also includes articles about history, travel, motorcycling, cottage living and pubs. The Life and Times of Joseph McPhee ($24.95 plus tax) is his fourth book.

    This free lecture is part of an afternoon of scheduled events in and around the museum to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Sid Williams Theatre and the grand re-opening of the Native Sons Hall.


    KidsFest Volunteers Needed

    The Courtenay & District Museum has been one of the producers of the Comox Valley Children’s Festival since day one.

    Helpers (15 years and older) are needed again for this year’s festival on Saturday, September 11th.

    Please consider volunteering for "KidsFest" a fun, affordable family event.  People are needed to help with set up and take down of equipment, face painting, supervising games, arts and crafts, ticket sales, parking and a whole lot more.   Volunteer opportunities are available for a few hours or the whole day. This exciting event is held at Lewis Park. 

    If you would like more information or would like to volunteer, please call Courtenay Recreation and speak to Louise at 250-338-5371.


    Science & Nature Discovery programme for Home Learners

    Attention all parents of home learners! Have you been looking for a fun and exciting way to meet the prescribed learning outcomes or just an interesting way to teach science to your child? The Courtenay & District Museum now offers a Science and Nature Discovery programme exclusively for home-schooled children aged five to twelve. The programme is based on British Columbia’s prescribed learning outcomes and at the end of each session parents will receive a list of PLO’s that have been covered during the course.

    The three main areas that will be covered are Life Science, Physical Science and Earth & Space Science.

    Topics covered in Session #1 will be: Seashore Life: Creatures of the Comox Valley (Life Science), Earth Science: Structure of the Earth (Earth and Space Science), Matter: Atoms, Molecules and Beyond (Physical Science) and Fossils and Dinosaurs: A Trip Back in Time (Life Science). Classes will consist of a mix of interactive presentations, discussions, demonstrations, slideshows, hands-on activities, games and projects to take home.

    Registration for this exceptional programme is on now and will end September 8, 2010.

    Session #1
    Wednesdays – September 22, 29, October 6 and 13


    Fridays – September 24, October 1, 8 and 15

    All classes run from 2:30/3:00pm to 4:30/5:00pm.
    Cost for one session (4 classes) per child is $60.00 plus HST.

    Alternate programmes will be offered for children who attended last year’s classes! For more info or to register call us at 250-334-0686.


    A Busy Summer

    Capes Escape has had another busy and successful summer. People from all over the world have been visiting the house while enjoying themselves in the Comox Valley. Guests have stayed while at the Vancouver Island Music Festival, and we have a group attending the Seniors Games in September. A long stay this fall also promises to be very positive for the Capes Escape!

    Click here for photos and availability


    Exciting Learning Opportunity at UVic

    Invitation to a lecture and workshop on forensic science with visiting professor Dr. James Pokines

    The Arts and Science programme area and the Department of Anthropology are presenting an exciting opportunity to learn about and discuss topics within forensic science with a distinguished scholar from the United States. James Pokines is a forensic scientist who has excavated recovery scenes in multiple countries in Asia, Greenland, Iraq and the United States. His academic background is in Stone Age zooarcheology, taphonomy and forensic anthropology. He will be presenting two different course options in September at the University of Victoria.

    The evening session on Monday Sept. 13th (course code ASH1471) will focus on crime scene investigation, forensic archeological investigation, laboratory operations, the effects of increasing DNA analytical capabilities within the field, biological profiles of human skeletal remains, trauma analysis and the overall reliability of analytical conclusions. The fee for this lecture is $25 plus HST.

    The workshop on Saturday Sept. 18th (course code ASH1472) will include a survey of forensic anthropology utilizing multiple case examples and other practical demonstrations. Participants will gain an understanding of how forensic anthropologists “read” bones to determine biological characteristics, cause of death and subsequent effects on remains. The workshop fee is $60 plus HST.

    UVic welcomes the participation of people interested in anthropology, archeology, criminology and forensic science in these courses. To find out more go to

    To register please call (250) 472-4747 or register on-line at


    Exhibit: Headlines
    On Right Now!

    Cleaning up bricks at the Courtenay Post Office after 1946 earthquake. Credit: CDM 967.13.42

    Be sure to drop in to see the “Headlines” exhibit.

    The show features newspaper pages and photographs commemorating valley events of the 20th Century like the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1919, the 1946 earthquake and the burning of the Riverside Hotel.


    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 #997.539.5
    Goose Spit from Nob Hill, c. 1900

    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