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Sandra Richardson: The pockets of history in our community

As we spend more time outside, we have a wonderful opportunity to find the hidden corners of our region that tell stories of years past.
Sandra Richardson from the Victoria Foundation. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

There’s a wonderful sense of exploration that surfaces this time of year. The days are longer and warmer, children and youth enjoy spring break, and evening walks through the light of night become a ritual.

And as we take time to get out and explore our region more, it’s also a chance to discover. As we spend more time outside, we have a wonderful opportunity to find the hidden corners of our region that tell stories of years past.

We’re fortunate in our region to have a multitude of museums of many sizes, many working out of cosy and unique quarters across our city. They bring to life and preserve tales from our community ranging from the modern day to decades in the past.

As mild evening walks become part of the routine, many of us will walk by heritage houses that dot our communities. One of those residences, on Fort Street, is Wentworth Villa. This picturesque heritage house is also a museum, dedicated to highlighting the architecture of heritage homes and telling stories of those who lived in them. Its current exhibit, Vista Victoria, offers some stunning photos of what our city looked like dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. These tales can help liven those evening walks, bringing history to many of our neighbourhoods across Victoria.

This spring signals the time for many of us to enjoy our oceans, whether that’s the beaches in our community or being out on a boat. The Maritime Museum, in downtown Victoria, showcases exhibits and artifacts from our region’s maritime history. Its most recent exhibit highlighted the “make and mend” maritime culture, showing the ingenuity of sailors over the years. Experiences like the Maritime Museum can help add layers of history to our time spent near the water.

With warm weather also comes more time spent downtown and trips to Canada’s oldest Chinatown in downtown Victoria, also the second oldest in North America. Tucked away in Fan Tan Alley is the Chinese Heritage Museum, full of rich history and powerful stories honouring Chinese Canadian History. The amount of rich history and stories that line the museum, and the dedicated volunteers, is something that never ceases to amaze me.

There are many more museums, organizations and individuals working tirelessly to preserve and share the history of our region, offering snapshots of our region from years and decades past. The work these individuals do is one part of helping foster a vibrant, caring community as we preserve and learn from our history going forward.

So, as we emerge from winter to warmer nights full of sun, let us not forget to visit these pockets of our community. The stories they tell, and the history they hold, can help liven up our communities and expand our imagination as we venture out into our community – and beyond – this spring.