Esquimalt reaches out to capture its past

Township celebrates 100th anniversary in 2012

Longtime Esquimalt resident Yvonne Leach goes through her grandmother's photo album with Esquimalt 2012 Centennial Committee member Graham Jackson at the Esquimalt Archive.

Longtime Esquimalt resident Yvonne Leach goes through her grandmother's photo album with Esquimalt 2012 Centennial Committee member Graham Jackson at the Esquimalt Archive.

As her eyes take in the black-and-white photographs on the pages of her family’s photo albums, Yvonne Leach’s memories and stories come pouring out.

And so does her pride for Esquimalt.

“I just love this community and its unique and special qualities,” she said. “It’s home. Even when I wasn’t living here, it was home.”

There’s a circa 1918 snapshot of her father as a young boy standing in a field behind a sailors’ residence, complete with castle-like spire, which is now the Tudor House Pub in Esquimalt. 

It’s an incredible find for Graham Jackson, with the Esquimalt centennial celebrations committee, who is now appealing to the public for pictures and memorabilia chronicling the township through the ages.

Leach’s photos provide an invaluable history lesson as Esquimalt prepares for its centennial celebration in September 2012 to mark its incorporation in 1912.

“What it’ll do is get people talking and sharing their memories,” Jackson said of the need for snapshots from Esquimalt’s past, no matter the subject matter or era.

“There must be photos out there that haven’t been disclosed,” said Jackson, who recently started using Facebook, Twitter and e-mail to connect with past and present Esquimalt residents.

“It puts a face to the township,” added Greg Evans, with the Esquimalt Municipal Archives. “We get to learn about the people who lived here and who live here now.”

Of the photos now coming out of the woodwork, some are copied, posted on the centennial committee website and stored in the township’s municipal archives as a lasting legacy. They may also be put on display during next year’s centennial festivities.

“(People) want to be part of preserving Esquimalt’s history,” Evans said.

To submit photos or for further details, please e-mail esquimalt100@gmail.com.

emccracken@vicnews.com