EDITORIAL: Put the brakes on heritage loss

We all need to take action to access family stories and other aspects of our community history

Time, as they say, is fleeting and history never stops being created.

In families, when elders pass on, the ability to glean information about the past or stories from the family’s history is lost.

A similar problem presents itself within the architectural and museum world. Without photos of what once stood or how a building looked inside, and in the absence of original drawings or plans, it’s tough to accurately restore a structure or portray an original setting.

Since 1979, when former building lessee the Victoria Conservatory of Music found another location, the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society has done its best to offer visitors a taste of life at the turn of the 20th century, when the wealthy Dunsmuir family resided at the grand sandstone mansion high atop Victoria’s Rockland neighbourhood.

Unable to track down the building’s original plans and hamstrung by a scarcity of photos from the Dunsmuir era at the castle, the staff and society volunteers are left to essentially guess how the family might have furnished, decorated and used the multitude of rooms.

Similarly, Parks Canada has information on the first and last keepers of the Fisgard Lighthouse beside Fort Rodd Hill. The names of the 10 keepers in between are known, but no photos of them have been found and little information is known about their lives.

On its web page for the fort and lighthouse, Parks Canada (bit.ly/11McqJc) asks the public to contribute any information it might have about the lighthouse keepers.

The folks at Craigdarroch are making a similar plea to the public (thecastle.ca/building-plans) for any information that might lead to finding the architectural plans for the castle.

These are just a few examples of how details of our personal, community and built histories can be lost if action is not taken to protect it.

Our heritage can be perpetuated by recording the stories of our elders, donating old photos or heirlooms to museums or groups committed to preserving them, and by supporting those institutions that are committed to the task.

Just Posted

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

City of Victoria announces two more affordable housing projects

The city commits nearly $2M to projects in James Bay and Hillside-Quadra neighbourhoods

Saanich could become the new home of the world’s largest gnome

Galey Farms could find out Tuesday whether it will host the eight-metre-tall structure

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read