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Saanich Pioneer Museum celebrates 90th anniversary

The museum is operated by the Saanich Pioneer Society, which was started by a group of pioneers in the mid to late 1800s.
Saanich Pioneer Cabin. TIMES COLONIST

The oldest purpose-built museum in British Columbia in continuous operation is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a community celebration with displays, tours, demonstrations, vintage vehicles, music, costumes and food on Saturday.

The Log Cabin Museum in Saanichton features primarily local pioneer history but has expanded to include Indigenous, Black and Chinese history in the region.

“One of the founding members of the group was a member of the local Indigenous community,” said Norma Sealey, a longtime Central Saanich resident and volunteer with the museum. “Our great grandparents nurtured a friendly relationship with our indigenous neighbours — a friendship that has endured through generations to this day.”

The museum is operated by the Saanich Pioneer Society, which was started by a group of pioneers in the mid to late 1800s. The group kept family records and items they hoped would help educate subsequent generations. The collection grew until the group felt they needed a facility to store the assembled family histories and artifacts.

Land was found on the old Saanich fairgrounds and the log-cabin building was officially opened by then-premier S.F. Tolmie on July 1, 1933.

When the Municipality of Central Saanich was created, the building temporarily served as the municipal hall until a new facility could be built.

The museum is open for in-person visits 1 to 4 p.m. Saturdays (except statutory holiday weekends).

The museum welcomes arranged visits by school classes year-round.

“As descendants of the early pioneers, we feel that the museum serves as a very important link to the area’s history — one that we like to share with those new to the community,” said Sealey, a former mayor of Sidney.

The museum possesses a large archival collection, which is open to researchers, writers and students of history.

The non-profit Saanich Pioneer Society relies on memberships, donations and a small municipal grant to cover operational expenses at the museum.

The community celebration is free to attend.

It runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the opening ceremony at 11 a.m., on Saturday at the museum, 7910 Polo Park Cres., Saanichton.

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