Schedule at a Glance

We are looking forward to this year’s conference in Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland and hope to see you all there.

Download Conference Program (PDF)

Comox Air Force Museum
Military Row, Lazo

The Comox Air Force Museum will be opening its doors — and opening the Comox Heritage Air Park for tours between 2:00 and 4:30.

The Comox Air Force Museum is located at the main entrance to 19th Wing Comox, our local military base, on the corner of Ryan Road East and Military Row. If you are coming via Ryan Road east, you will be driving right up to our parking lot, and there is lots of signage to help guide you. Same thing goes if you come via Military Row; just keep going past the Recreation Centre and look for us kitty-corner across the road from Canex.

Pick up your registration package and visit the Comox Air Force Museum and the take a tour of the Comox Heritage Air Park. The Comox Air Force Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits artifacts relating to CFB Comox, its squadrons and its units. The Heritage Air Park is home to a collection of aircraft, all of which are models that have flown at 19 Wing Comox. From the Dakota to the CF-100, the Air Park allows you an up-close view of the planes that made the RCAF great. The Air Park also contains the Heritage Stones, a tribute to those men and women who served.

The nearby Comox Museum will be welcoming delegates between 4 and 7.

Comox Archives and Museum Society
1729 Comox Avenue, Comox

The Comox Archives and Museum welcomes delegates to drop by and visit, and the adjacent Pearl Ellis Art Gallery will remain open extra hours for visitors to enjoy their local artisans’ art exhibits

Step off the sidewalk and turn your clock back over 150 years. Explore the history of Comox and area. Visit the exhibit that shows timelines of the development from the exploration of Vancouver Island through to modern times featuring family histories, slide shows, maps and photos to build a picture of the transitioning through time.


Comox Air Force Museum Theatre, 7:00pm

Newly-retired director of the Comox Air Force Museum Jon Ambler will be talking about the creation of the museum and its current role and aspirations. Since its accreditation in 1987 the CAFM has grown and evolved, and is now recognized as a top-flight DND museum. How did it happen? Are there lessons learned or cautionary tales? An informal presentation should lead to great questions, and a chance to learn about a museum that is unique within the BCHF. Delegates are welcome to tour the museum as well.

Native Sons Hall, Courtenay
360 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay

FRIDAY KEYNOTE: “Connecting People that Change the World in a Positive Way”

8:30-10:00 Native Sons Hall
Session Host: Deborah Griffiths, Courtenay Museum and Paleontology Centre

Words of welcome from BCHF President K. Jane Watt
Traditional Welcome from K’omoks Nation Elder Mary Everson

9:00 am
Daryl Hatton, Crowdsourcing pioneer

Daryl leads FundRazr, an innovative, award-winning global enterprise crowdfunding platform. He is a serial entrepreneur who loves the challenge of building companies from scratch, has founded multiple start-ups and helped bring one, Optio Software, to a successful NASDAQ IPO in 1999. Daryl is frequently called upon for expert commentary on nonprofit fundraising and crowdfunding topics for media sites including CBC, CTV, Global News, TVO, PostMedia, BBC, Forbes and Bloomberg. Today, Daryl serves as board member and advisor to multiple Canadian and Silicon Valley based start-ups including Canadian securities crowdfunding site FrontFundr. He is a Director of the PayPal Giving Fund (Canada), Director of the National Crowdfunding and Fintech Association of Canada and sits on the Crowdfunding Working Group for #GivingTuesday.

10:00–10:15 Break

10:15-11:15 Native Sons Hall

Session 1: Strategic Directions, Large and Small
Session Host: BCHF Council Member K. Jane Watt

This session will make room for discussion of strategic opportunities for museums and heritage sites of different sizes in the local, provincial, and national contexts.  It will feature:

  • Michelle Willard, Cumberland Museum
  • Gary Mitchell, Archivist Emeritus, Province of BC
  • John Aldag, MP Cloverdale-Langley City

Michelle Willard’s presentation, “Museum Collections: A Pathway to Growth” will talk about how the Cumberland Museum and Archives, a small non-profit organization, took strategic steps to highlight its collections, leading to rewarding outcomes.

Session Two: Engaging Genealogists
Session Host:  BCHF Council Member Maurice Guibord

Andrea Lister, Editor British Columbia History magazine and Principal of Absolutely Literate

Are you a historical organization in need of volunteers? Are you a genealogist looking for a project? Genealogists and family historians have a lot to offer historical societies. Hear about some examples of ways that family historians have contributed to research projects and learn how you can collaborate in your own community.

Session Three: Japanese History on the Coast
Session Host: BCHF Council Member Greg Nesteroff

Chuck Tasaka: Japanese Charcoal Kilns in the Gulf Islands

Chuck will talk about his grandfather’s immigration journey and how he chose Salt Spring Island. In the summer season, he fished from Steveston and he returned to Ganges in the fall. To make money in the off-season, he built a charcoal kiln.

Duncan McLeod: The Lost Fleet: Japanese-Canadian Fishing Vessels on the Northwest Coast

Duncan MacLeod will be discussing the “Lost Fleet” exhibition developed by the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The display examines the history of Japanese-Canadian fishermen on the BC Coast, and the racist policies used against them. The seizure of the Japanese-Canadian fishing fleet during WWII and subsequent internment of Japanese-Canadians is put in context of modern immigration and refugee crises and contemporary racial prejudices.


Join your fellow BCHF members and member societies as they set up displays showcasing their projects over the past year.  Mingle and visit and celebrate the accomplishments and energy of member societies from across the province.

BUS TO CUMBERLAND Meet your bus outside the Native Sons Hall

2:00pm – 4:00pm

Tour 1: No. 1 Town Historic Japanese settlement and Historic Chinatown settlement located in Coal Creek Historic Park

NOTE: uneven ground, gravel paths

Village of Cumberland Parks and Outdoor Recreation Coordinator, Kevin McPhedran, will provide an introduction to the sites and discuss how the Village of Cumberland partnered with the Cumberland Museum and Archives in the creation of the self-guided tours of these historic sites. After the talk, participants explore the site at their own pace. Walking tour brochures available on site.

Tour 2: Cumberland Museum and Archives

Join Marianne Bell on a tour through the museum. The tour focuses on exhibits that interpret various aspects of the community including the historic hospital and health, schools, cultural communities, local businesses, coal mining, logging and working class and labour history.

Tour 3: Historic Downtown

NOTE: uneven ground

Join guide Meaghan Cursons for a lively and engaging walk filled with facts, rumours, tragedies and tales from Cumberland’s colourful history.

Tour 4: Choice of self-guided tours

Pick up one of four walking tour brochure at the Cumberland Museum and Archives and do your own exploration of historic Cumberland.

3:45 Buses depart from Cumberland for return to Courtenay.

Busses will return delegates to the Native Sons Hall in Courtenay around 4:00.
Dinner is on your own.

6:30 gathering for 7:00 start

K’omoks Big House
3330 Comox Road

Through sharing the songs and dances of the K’omoks and Kwakwaka’wakw peoples, the Kumugwe Dancers are able to help facilitate respect and understanding within the local community and communities abroad.

Taking their name from the traditional Bighouse that sits within the heart of the K’omoks First Nation, members of the dance troupe have been practicing and performing together since 2001. The Kumugwe Dancers feel that by encouraging young members of their community to learn the ancient songs and dances of their people, they will ensure the survival of the culture for generations to come.

There is plenty of parking at the Big House, or sign up for a carpool at the registration table.

Native Sons Hall

9:00am – 11:00am   

11:15am – 12:00pm
Session Host: BCHF President Shannon Bettles

Karen Aird: Not just Stones and Beads: Recognizing, Revitalizing and   Protecting Indigenous Cultural Heritage in BC

A member of Saulteau First Nations in Treaty 8 Territory of BC, Karen Aird has worked as an archaeologist then in cultural heritage management for the past 23 years on many projects that convey a strong sense of place in Indigenous landscapes, encompassing the stories, legal traditions and the intangible and tangible elements into Indigenous heritage. As a consultant, Karen has worked as the Cultural Heritage Planner for the Treaty 8 Tribal Association, the Tse’K’wa (the Charlie Lake Cave house) Heritage Society and the Nun WaDee (Dane-zaa Caretakers Society); as project coordinator for Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Cultural Heritage Study; and as Curator for the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. And, more recently, Karen has embarked on the position of Heritage Manager for First Peoples’ Cultural Council.

Karen is one of the founding directors and now the President of the National Indigenous Heritage Circle, a non-profit organization focused on the identification, management and conservation of Indigenous heritage.

12:15pm – 1:00pm

Pick up your lunch and take it to one of the following short sessions that begin at 12:30

Option One
Host: BCHF Council Member Caroline Ross

Paul Gravett, Heritage BC: “What we are learning from Heritage BC’s Provincial Roundtables”

Starting in 2018, Heritage BC initiated the Provincial Roundtables on the State of the Heritage Sector. We held 26 meetings and heard from nearly 500 people who told us about the influences, practices, values and visions of heritage in the context of community life. The roundtables were always thought-provoking, inspiring, challenging, and sometimes even surprising. In this session, we explore what we heard, and we consider the implications for the sector.

Option Two:
Host: BCHF Honourary President Gary Mitchell

David Leverton, Maritime Museum of BC, “Future Plans of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia”

In the fall of 2015, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia relocated to a much smaller venue at 634 Humboldt Street in Victoria after spending over 50 years at 28 Bastion Square. The Museum has spent the past three years re-inventing it-self and plans are underway to try and relocate back to Bastion Square as part of a bold new vision to become the Canadian Maritime Museum. David Leverton, Executive Director of the Maritime Museum of BC will provide an overview of the Museum’s future plans and the collaborative approach that is being undertaken to accomplish this vision.

Option Three:
Host: BCHF Council Member Michael Gibbs

Comox Valley Fossil Discoveries

Patrick Trask will provide an overview of Comox Valley fossil discoveries and how those discoveries bring visitors from other communities and from around the world.

1:30am —3:30pm

All tours meet at 1:30

Tour One: Fossils at Courtenay and District Museum
Meet in lobby at Courtenay and District Museum

Bus for the fossil bed will leave from the Museum at 1:45

Pat Trask will give a brief lecture and show a short video about the famous discoveries made in the local area. Then, it’s a tour of the exhibit galleries to see the actual specimens and reconstructed casts of the Puntledge elasmosaur, the tylosaurus and other discoveries from local rivers and shorelines. A short 10-minute drive and an easy 5 minute forested walk brings you to one of the many beautiful fossil sites along local rivers.

Tour Two: Natural and Human History of Courtenay River Estuary
Meet at Native Sons Hall

This walking tour hosted by Christine Dickinson and Catherine Siba will visit the site of Courtenay’s first commercial centre and discuss the important role the river has played in the City’s development.  Tour guides will also touch on industrial, military and recreational ties to the Comox Bay and Estuary.

Tour Three: Filberg House tour, Comox
Meet at Native Sons Hall

Bus will leave at 1:30

Bus trip to the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park, where nine acres of beautifully landscaped grounds are located on the harbour near the end of Comox Avenue. The estate was originally built for R.J. Filberg in 1929, and became a public facility after his death in 1977. It is now a Municipal Heritage site.

Tour Four: Self-guided walking tour
Pick up brochure at Courtenay and District Museum.

7:00pm – 10:00pm
Native Sons Hall

Cocktails, mingling, buffet dinner, keynote, awards presentation, and silent auction fundraiser. The winners of the annual Historical Writing Competition, best article award, best website, and recognition awards are announced.

There will be a short presentation by Kim Bannerman and Shawn Pigott of Fox&Bee Studio, a Comox Valley company that produces high-quality, affordable videos for community organizations, businesses, educational facilities and individuals. Past clients include the Courtenay and District Museum and the Cumberland Community Forest Society.

This gala concludes the official conference events.

It has become tradition that following the conference, cemetery enthusiasts visit a local cemetery.

10:00 Informal cemetery tour
Visit historic St Andrew’s Cemetery
1514 Dingwall Road
More information TBA

Our friends as Union Bay have offered to welcome delegates at their site for a few hours, so make time to visit the Union Bay Historical Society 1913 post office, 1904 jailhouse, and 1901 church, just 20 minutes from Courtenay. Union Bay was the shipping port for Cumberland coal from 1988 to 1960.  Janette Glover-Geidt will be on hand to answer questions.

When you are in downtown Courtenay, take a walk and do some shopping on 5th Street, Courtenay just around the corner from the museum.

Be sure to drop in to see the HMCS Alberni Museum and Memorial at Unit 5 — 625 Cliffe Avenue, A unique Canadian naval and military history museum centred around the HMCS Alberni Memorial and the Laughing Oyster Bookshop at 286 Fifth Street which will be hosting a display of books on BC History.

Conference wraps up — safe journey home!