Maritime museum stands firm in staying in Greater Victoria

The Maritime Museum of B.C. in standing firm on its position to find a home in Greater Victoria, rather than relocating to another city.

The Maritime Museum of B.C. in standing firm on its position to find a home in Greater Victoria, rather than relocating to another city on the Island.

Clay Evans, chair of the Maritime Museum of B.C. Society Board, said they’ve had conversations with other jurisdictions including Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Esquimalt and Richmond in the Lower Mainland, on potentially relocating to another community.

But he reiterated the need to keep the collection together.

“Our focus is to keep the collection together and keep it in Victoria. As it stands right now, we’ve talked to other jurisdictions on the Island and on the mainland, and for the most part they just want pieces of it,” he said.“If you want to have a large and successful regional museum you really have to have the right location and make it work.”

Last month, the maritime museum submitted an expression of interest to the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to use the space in the Steamship Terminal in Victoria’s Inner Harbour to house its roughly 3,500-artifact collection.

But its hopes were cut short last week as the harbour authority announced two potential new tenants for the building — Riverside Marine, a B.C. company hoping to operate a new transportation passenger service between downtown Victoria and Vancouver, and Ocean Networks Canada’s proposal to operate a public outreach and visitor education centre.

But the museum isn’t backing down yet.

“I have to remind myself that it was just an expression of interest process. We’ve been advised that we’re excluded and the other two parties have been advised they are to carry on with lease negotiations. I wish them every success, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal by any means,” Evans said.

He noted they have identified Ogden Point, Macaulay Point Park and other locations in the Inner Harbour as potential sites to house the museum.

“We’re not planning on going anywhere and we’re looking forward to working with the city and with the province to find a viable home for the maritime museum in Victoria,” Evans added.

For now, the museum will focus its efforts on moving its collection from 28 Bastion Square to storage spaces at 4000 Seymour St. and Ogden Point, as well as setting up the office at Nootka Court.

The board has not set a timeline for when the museum could find a new home. The museum has been homeless since October when it was told to leave its location in Bastion Square due to safety concerns.