The BCHF Buzz provides timely information and is a forum for member societies to publicize events and activities.


September 2018
The British Columbia Historical Federation has provided a collective voice for its member societies since 1922.

Step Up for History launches for BC municipal election

Demolition of heritage buildings. Poor funding for local museums. Councils not living up to their own heritage bylaws. It’s time to Step Up For History in BC. The 2018 municipal election campaign is an excellent opportunity to raise such issues with local candidates. The BC Historical Federation has created a special Step Up For History campaign to help get voters and local politicians talking about history.

You’ll find more details, suggestions and a tool kit here.

Our local governments have the most direct impact on many of these issues. It’s important to be specific when quizzing candidates, which helps make them more accountable. Whether it’s revitalization of your downtown, saving heritage trees or preserving an historic trail, BCHF also wants to hear what’s on your historical radar. Tell us what’s up where you live; send examples to:  We’ll share these on our BCHF web page.

And what else are you doing to raise the profile of history during the fall election campaign? Hosting an all candidates forum? Writing letters to your local newspaper? We’ll share ideas and strategies with fellow BCHF members as we head for Election Day on Oct. 20.


British Columbia History Fall 2018 issue: Legacies

The fall 2018 issue of British Columbia History takes a look at legacies — of words, images and planning.

Issue 51.3 is now hitting retail outlets, our online store and subscribers’ mailboxes, so get ready for some great fall reading.

Here’s a sampling of the stories you’ll find in this issue:

  • The legacy of John Aitkin, a photographer who provided rare glimpses of early settlement on Mayne Island.
  • Waterfront property acquisition in West Vancouver — an ambitious, controversial and forward-thinking history.
  • How the Great War affected daily life in Ladysmith, according to coverage in the Ladysmith Chronicle.
  • The Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum Collection goes public.
  • Member profile: the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver.
  • Meet our new book review editor, Aimee Greenaway from Nanaimo — and check out this quarter’s book selections chronicling Fernie at war, artist Arthur Pitts, the history of the BC Labour movement and more!

For more information, or to subscribe, visit British Columbia History magazine.


Heritage BC announces 2018 Watch List

Heritage BC has released the first provincial heritage Watch List to draw attention to a range of at-risk places that are significant to the historic and cultural fabric of British Columbia. The sites, chosen by a panel of sector professionals, represent six areas of concern that face heritage conservation throughout BC.

The Watch List identifies sites that are currently affected by the threat of inappropriate alterations, neglect or demolition. These places contribute to the identity and story of community and place, as well as the legacy of British Columbia. Representing broad categories of threatened heritage, the sites stand as examples of the many other historic places facing similar threats.


Nlaka’pamux basket making marked as historically significant

Timothy Christian, BC member of the Historic Sites and Monuments board of Canada, together with Parks Canada and members of the Nlaka’pamux Nation unveiled a plaque commemorating Nlaka’pamux basket making at an event in Lytton on Sept. 4th.

The baskets made by Nlaka’pamux women are vital to all aspects of life from cradling babies to storing goods. With the creation of each basket, the Nlaka’pamux women crafted a legacy that far exceeds the physical brilliance of each item. Basket-making is central to Nlaka’pamux cultural identity, signifying the role of women as culture bearers.

Read more here.


Canyon War of 1858 on Valley Voices

Valley Voices is a radio program that highlights stories of local history from the Fraser Valley, heard Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on CIVL Radio at the University of the Fraser Valley and hosted by former CBC broadcaster and BCHF council member Mark Forsythe.

On September’s edition: historian Daniel Marshall (pictured at right beside a statue of Sir James Douglas at the Fort Langley National Historic site) reveals more about the Canyon War during the 1858 gold rush. Armed US militias went to war with the Fraser Canyon’s indigenous peoples during this chaotic year.

Daniel’s new book, Claiming the Land: British Columbia and the Making of a New El Dorado (Ronsdale) turns many of our romanticized assumptions upside down. Also, historian Warren Sommer discusses Canada’s Hundred Days at the end of the Great War, and what it meant on the home front.

Listen here


Haida Gwaii’s Sgaaway K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) premieres

The film Sgaaway K’uuna (Edge of the Knife) premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is made entirely in the language spoken by the Haida people in Haida Gwaii.

Read more about it here.


Videos showcase BC Relics

Relics: A Story of Forgotten Places is a series of short documentaries intended to uncover the secrets held within the strange, beautiful and often abandoned and forgotten places of Western Canada.

The series was created by Vancouver-based director and writer Andrew Muir. Four Relics documentaries are currently available, three related to BC History.

  • Relics Episode 1: The Lawless Place, an abandoned home near Osoyoos that provides a window into BC’s settlement history.
  • Relics Episode 3: Greenwood, a Boundary mining town that was used as a Japanese-Canadian internment centre during WWII.
  • Relics Episode 4: Anyox, a remote copper mining town that has been abandoned since the Great Depression.


John MacFarlane honoured for documenting nautical history

On Sept. 6, 2018, Lt.-Gov Janet Austin (pictured above right), presented the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers to 40 recipients at Government House, including John McFarlane of Qualicum Beach (pictured above left).

Since 1976, John has documented Canada’s nautical history through the creation of The Nauticapedia Project  an online information portal featuring more than 57,000 biographies and close to 51,000 Canadian vessel histories. Read more about this honour here.


BC Archives collection taps in to Canadian pioneers

The Royal BC Museum/BC Archives has published a searchable collection of over 10,000 application forms for pioneer medallions presented to BC residents who were either born in Canada or living in Canada prior to Jan. 1, 1892.

Series GR-1489, Pioneer medallion application forms, consists of application forms for the medallions, which were presented by the Canadian Confederation Centennial Committee of British Columbia as part of Canada’s 1967 Centennial celebrations.

Users can search both collections to find the names of applicants, dates and places of birth, names of applicants’ fathers, maiden names of applicants’ wives and mothers, names of applicants’ brothers and sisters, and other genealogical details.

Learn more about this new resource here.


North Shuswap needs speakers

After planning talks for the North Shuswap Historical Society’s members for a long time, Loretta Greenough is tapped out. Can you help her to deliver a winter program of scintillating lectures?
She’s seeking local authors and filmmakers with work to shed new information about the region's history or BC’s history. She’s looking for speakers on historical topics. She’s hoping to find webinars or DVDs of interest to the running of a history-related non-profit.
The North Shuswap Historical Society is a distance from larger communities making it difficult to get speakers. Unfortunately, they do not have the resources to pay speakers.
The society meets monthly at the North Shuswap Community Hall (pictured). If you would be interested in getting onto Loretta’s roster as a speaker or can tell her how to get some interesting DVDs please contact her at


Kids Celebrate! exhibit visits the Nanaimo Museum

The Nanaimo Museum’s fall feature exhibit, Kids Celebrate!, invites children ages 5 to 12 to learn about the many celebrations that are practiced in their own communities — be it India’s Diwali, the Chinese New Year, the Jewish celebration Hanukkah, Toonik Tyme in Iqaluit or Canada Day.

Kids Celebrate! is on loan from the Canadian Museum of History, and Nanaimo is its only Western Canadian stop for the next few years. Special Kids Celebrate! Saturdays will focus on specific celebrations and traditions. Admission on Kids Celebrate! Saturdays is by donation, and all activities are available from 11am – 3pm.

  • Sept. 29: Culture Days with a Sounds of Celebration theme. Fill the gallery with noise using DIY instruments and an On Beat Bingo game.
  • Oct. 27: Annual Haunted Coal mine and spooky selfie station.
  • Nov. 10: Fifth day of Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. Try your hand at creating colourful rangoli-inspired chalk art.

See Kids Celebrate! at the Nanaimo Museum until Nov. 24. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.


Save the dates

The BC Historical Federation's 2019 conference will be held in Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland from June 6-8. The BCHF Book Prize Gala is slated for June 8. More details to come.

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