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Courtenay & District Museum

  • July 1st Open House
  • Summer Day Camps: Kids Discover!
  • Summer Hours
  • It's All There in Black and White
  • Photo of the Month
  • Racing Trophies
  • Exhibit: Ties to Communities
  • Our YouTube Channel
  • Before Television
  • Carloads
  • Gift Shop Update
  • Your Membership Makes A Difference
  • Race to the End of the Earth
  • Museum Sponsors
  • Museum Funding

  • Phone:



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

    Tuesday to Saturday
    10 am to 5 pm

    John Wilson

    Vice President
    Daryl Wright

    Past President
    April Shopland

    Rick Ross
    Jim Haggart
    Ross Dingwall
    Harry Squire
    Mary Everson

    Elizabeth Braithwaite

    Member of...

    British Columbia Museums Association

    Canadian Museums

    Archives Association of
    British Columbia

    Heritage Society of British Columbia


    July 1st Open House

    On Canada Day, drop by the Courtenay and District Museum after the parade and help celebrate our country’s birthday.

    There will be free admission, balloons and door prize draws between 12 noon and 4 pm.

    Special activities will include cupcake walks for all ages and a hands-on craft for kids.

    Musical entertainment will be provided by The Wire Choir.

    Check out the revamped palaeontology displays as well as the new exhibit Ties to Communities about the importance of transportation and industrial railways in the Comox Valley.

    Canada Day is a great chance to explore history at the museum. Discoveries happen here!


    Summer Day Camps: Kids Discover!

    The CDM’s Summer Day Camps for kids delve into discoveries through fun and educational activities, behind the scenes exploration and exciting field trips.

    During each three day camp, kids can learn all about how the Earth works, ancient prehistoric life forms and fossils and local history and natural resources.

    Let your kids discover their passion for the natural world this summer at the Courtenay Museum!

    Click here for Details


    Summer Hours
    Open Seven Days a Week

    The Courtenay and District Museum is now on its summer operating schedule and is open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 5:00 and Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00 until Labour Day. As always, members visit free.


    It's All There in Black and White

    Could this have been the Comox Valley's most exclusive club 100 years ago? According to this article from The Islander of June 14, 1913, "members...reserve the right to reject any application." Sounds like best behaviour and formally dressed only need apply.

    Read this newspaper article from our archives

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


    Photo of the Month

    CDM #990.24.249
    Ploughing, c. 1905

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


    Racing Trophies

    Three horseracing trophies from 1934 will be on exhibit at the museum in time for our Canada Day Open House.

    The trophies were won by Mr. Bert Grieve and his horse American Motors at events in Nanaimo’s Old Home Week celebrations.

    The trophies haven’t all been together for many years. But thanks to a thoughtful loan from family members, the trophies, and the interesting story behind them, are together again to share with the community.


    Exhibit: Ties to Communities
    Opening July 1, 2013

    CDM 2004.28.2
    102nd Battalion soldiers arrive via the E&N Railway to train at Goose Spit, 1915.

    This new exhibit in our second floor gallery will touch on the tremendous influence of rail to the history and development of the Comox Valley from the late 1800s to mid-20th Century.

    The "ties" in the title reflects a play on words. Of course the actual railway physically connected people, settlements and industry. And a "tie" in railway terms historically refers to the wooden supports for the tracks which lay perpendicular to the metal rails.

    The exhibit is curated by museum staff and will feature maps and photographs from our archives.


    Our YouTube Channel

    Over the past several months this newsletter has linked readers to our YouTube videos created as part of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) project.

    These videos were produced with Fox and Bee Media with funds from REDI and Community Futures Strathcona.

    If you’d like to see all the videos please visit our new YouTube channel.


    CDM 976.13.17

    Before Television
    What Happens When We Turn off the Remote

    Hamilton Mack Laing collected this beautifully crafted projectile point from his property, located near Goose Spit, in Comox. Laing, a respected naturalist and writer, settled in Comox in 1922 and completed building his home, Baybrook, in 1923.

    In Author and Historian, Richard Mackie's, book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist, p. 87, he writes of Laing, "He had fallen in love with Comox. In October 1922, he bought the five-acre lot on Brooklyn Creek where he, [Percy] Taverner and [D. Alan] Sampson had camped all summer. At the age of thirty-nine he had found his home: he would spend the next sixty years living on the same shell-midden." As evidenced by the artifact above, Laing found more than just shells on the property.

    Early settlers found stone tools such as this often, indicating the large population of First People settled around the shorelines of the Comox Valley before effects of exploration and settlement, such as displacement and disease, took their toll. First Peoples employed stone tools such as this in every aspect of daily life. This projectile point could have been attached to spear poles or shafts for hunting.

    Recently, there has been some discussion in local newspapers about the Town of Comox tearing down Baybrook, the original Hamilton Mack Laing house. If you would like more information on Hamilton Mack Laing, there are some copies of Mackie's book, Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist available on Amazon.



    CDM 980.65.3
    Left to right: Sam Watson, Herb Venables, Tom Simms, Scotty Johnson.

    Left to right: Tom Simms and Herb Venables

    Cars transporting cars. That would be railway boxcars transporting 4-wheeled automobiles.

    Over its long history the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway carried everything from mail to Christmas trees to livestock and more.

    In the case of these photographs, the year is 1924 and Model T cars for Corfield Motors Ltd. are being unloaded at the railway station. Some assembly required.

    You can learn more about the history of rail by visiting the Ties to Communities exhibit in our second floor gallery.


    Gift Shop Update

    The busy tourist season is starting and staff have ordered some fabulous new items for the shop.

    Neat new items for kids include: tubes and buckets of dinosaurs, t-rex wrist pets, Color and Go travel colouring books and binoculars.

    If you are looking for a gift, we have something for everyone. Three new items are beautiful etched glass bowls and plates designed by A.J. Salmon. These would make especially great gifts for weddings or anniversaries.

    We are now featuring the work of a local glass artist in the shop: Stephanie Gould. Her jewelry is kiln formed dichraic glass which brings out the most amazing colours. All the earrings are free of both nickel and lead. We are also carrying her necklaces and pins. Stephanie also creates very lovely sand-glass plaques which look fabulous in front of any window.

    Our gift shop is now open seven days a week - Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sunday noon to 4pm. Please note: if you are a museum member you will receive a 15% discount on any non-consignment item.


    Your Membership Makes A Difference

    Purchasing a membership to the Courtenay and District Museum, now in its 52nd year, supports heritage preservation in the Comox Valley through special events, lectures, education programmes, research and exhibitions. Your membership benefits these award winning programmes on a year round basis and we appreciate it!

    Becoming a member provides you with discounts in the gift shop and on lectures and an opportunity to support one of the most active regional museums in British Columbia. Thank you for your support.

    Click here to Join


    Race to the End of the Earth

    The Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria presents the exhibit Race to the End of the Earth on now to October 14, 2013.

    Race to the End of the Earth recounts one of the most stirring tales of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole. This exhibition focuses on the challenges that the Norwegian and British leaders faced as they undertook their separate 2900 km journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back.

    Click Here for Details


    Museum Sponsors

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

    Comox Valley Echo
    Marjorie Thorpe
    The Bickle Family
    Lorna Gunn
    John Wilson and Family
    Judy Gurr
    Sue and Ian Leakey
    Ed LaFleur
    Ron Moffat
    Paula Moffat
    Comox Valley Monarch Lions Club

    Elizabeth Braithwaite
    Jean Hawthorne


    Lawrence Burns
    Sheila Carvalho
    Perlita Docuria
    Coral Dunn
    Bent Harder
    Dove and Mike Hendren
    Joanne Jacobson
    Inge Krahn
    Phyllis Long
    Ginny Lowrie
    Ruth Masters
    Mary McCaffrey
    Evelyn Martin
    M.E. McKerrow
    Mary Mobley

    D. Mobley
    Richard Monks
    Barb Page
    Bernie Poole
    Alice Potts
    Robin Potts
    Gordon Schnare
    April Shopland
    George E. Sprogis
    Jean & Ian Sibbald
    Chuck & Mary Slemin
    Roberts and Adela Smith
    Donald Taylor
    M & J Tevington


    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, British Columbia Gaming Branch, and from museum generated revenues and donations.

    Proud sponsors of the Courtenay & District Museum:

    The City of Courtenay

    BC Arts Councils

    Regional District Comox-Strathcona