Orca exhibit’s run at RBCM extended until spring

The Royal B.C. Museum has announced it will extend the run of its featured exhibit Orcas: Our Shared Future until March 31.

The $1.6-million production, which features three life-size replicas of southern resident killer whales modelled on local orcas from J-pod, has been running since the spring of this year and had been scheduled to wrap up in January.

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Erika Stenson, assistant vice-president of museum operations, said it’s hoped the extension will encourage repeat visits to “take a deep dive” into the stories and science of the orca.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Victoria residents, as well as snowbirds, spring break-ers and all visitors to the region, during the extended run.”

When the orca exhibit does come to the end of its run, there are plans to have it tour North America and Europe.

This weekend, representatives of the museum plan to visit the future home of its collections and research building in Colwood, meeting with members of the community and sharing information about the museum’s programs, collections, research and exhibitions.

The community is invited to meet with the RBCM at three sessions in three locations in Colwood between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday. All three sessions will feature family-friendly activities.

“We are looking forward to introducing, or in many cases re-introducing, Colwood ­residents to all of the fun activities that take place at the museum,” said Hanna Cho, the museum’s head of learning. “In addition, we are excited to get to meet our new neighbours and learn about the Colwood community.”

The new museum building, valued at $170 million and expected to open in 2025, will feature indoor and outdoor learning areas, laboratories and storage.

Potential builders are being evaluated as part of a bidding process to determine if they are qualified to take on the 166,840-square-foot project on eight acres at Royal Bay. A shortlist of three builders is expected by late October.

Museum staff will be at the following Colwood locations on Saturday:

• The Juan de Fuca branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, 1759 Island Hwy., from 10-11 a.m. Visitors will be asked to guess the purpose of different objects from B.C.’s past.

• Ocean Boulevard at ­Esquimalt Lagoon from noon until 1 p.m., where visitors will have a chance to ask museum staff questions on birds and other topics.

• Royal Beach Park — where a mammoth tooth was once discovered — from 2 to 3 p.m. Visitors will get to see a replica mammoth tooth and piece of actual mammoth tusk at the park, located at Metchsoin Road and Latoria Boulevard.

The museum recommends masks and social distancing at the outdoor meeting events.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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