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Province chooses interim operator for Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House

Popular heritage site to reopen to public by end of the month
The province has chosen a temporary operator for Victoria’s historic Point Ellice House, just over a month after the non-profit managing the site announced its closure due to a lack of funds. (File photo courtesy Vancouver Island Local History Society)

The B.C. government has decided to intervene to keep the Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens open to the public, just over a month after the historic site announced its immediate closure due to a lack of funding.

On Friday (May 5), the province announced it has chosen the Forager Foundation as interim operator of Point Ellis House to ensure the heritage site remains open to the public while plans are underway to find a long-term site manager.

“Point Ellice House belongs to the people of British Columbia, and we are committed to keeping this important heritage site open for locals and visitors,” Tourism Minister Lana Popham said in a statement.

“We are excited the Forager Foundation will reopen this special heritage site and continue to keep its rich history accessible to everyone.”

The decision means the non-profit Vancouver Island Local History Society, which took over the site’s operations only a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic, will no longer be managing it.

“We will be working to build off of the legacy of previous site managers and create new programs and resources that share Point Ellice’s unique story with a broader audience in Victoria and across the province,” said Bryce Watts, founder and president of the Forager Foundation.

Founded in 2013, the non-profit specializes in educational program development, including VR Voyage, an interactive virtual reality platform that allows the public to engage with arts, culture and heritage across the province.

The province has also renewed a contract for site operations with the Carr House Community Society, established in March 2021, for the next five years. The historic Emily Carr House welcomes roughly 6,000 visitors each year through its programs and tours.

Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens is expected to reopen by the end of the month.

READ MORE: Popular Victoria historic site closes citing lack of provincial funding

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Austin Westphal

About the Author: Austin Westphal

Austin Westphal is the newest member to join the Saanich News team.
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