BC Heritage Fairs Alumni

The Official Heritage Fairs Student Site

Holidays… In disguise! — July 31, 2015

Holidays… In disguise!

Have you ever wondered why we have a long weekend right in the middle of our summer? Do you know which particular long weekend I’m talking… err… writing about? As your calendars may suggest, indeed, I’m referring to the upcoming long weekend in early August.

The first Monday in August is a special day for many, and is commonly recognized as Heritage Day. British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day, and Saskatchewan Day are all celebrated on the same day­ but I’m going to let you in on a secret. All of these are just different names for the same holiday! They really are Heritage Day in disguise!

In the year 1974, the Albertan Government announced that the first Monday of August would be, from there onwards, called “Heritage Day” to honour, recognise, and celebrate the rich history Alberta’s Citizens had shared. “Heritage Day” was renamed as “Simcoe Day” in the year 1969 in Toronto, thus done to honour the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, and the public declaration of the Act Against Slavery.

Later, the first Monday of August started to become known as “Heritage Day” in the other Provinces and Territories of Canada. This is how British Columbia Day and the other such versions of Heritage Day came into existence; however, the difference in names should not blind us from seeing that at the heart of all these differently named “versions” of the holiday is but one strong purpose: to preserve and celebrate Canadian HISTORY and HERITAGE. Also celebrated on this day are Natal Day (from Nova Scotia), and Terry Fox Day (from Manitoba).

To conclude, I have a short haiku that I created in honour of heritage day:

Heritage Day’s great!

Past and present, oh, we’re proud!

Our nation’s happy!

Enjoy celebrating the upcoming Heritage Day 2015 on August 3rd, especially now that you’ve realized it’s significance to our homeland, and join Canadians across Canada in remembering all the little things that add up to make our country big!

Author: Vedanshi

Young Citizens! —

Young Citizens!

Two years ago, I participated in the Young Citizens contest, an online history video competition run by Canada’s History in partnership with Heritage Fairs. In 2013, I filmed my video on the Northwest Passage and won an honorable mention, and as the public voting stage comes to a close for this year’s contest, I thought I would talk a little bit about some of my favourite entries for 2015.

Reed, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, talked about the Canadian book Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine. He told the story of two siblings who lived in Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust, experiencing extreme hate and discrimination due to their backgrounds. Well-spoken and to the point, Reed used informative pictures and videos to talk about how Hana’s suitcase was found decades after the war, inspiring not just a book, but a story that has now been told hundreds of times around the world.

You can watch Reed’s video here: http://www.canadashistory.ca/Kids/YoungCitizens/Profiles/2015/Reed_C

Abrielle from Vancouver used her video to bring awareness to the rich history and cultural significance of the first Black community in Vancouver, Hogan’s Alley. Her film was detailed and well produced, a recipe for first place in the judges’ eyes. Abrielle’s clear voiceovers and engaging scenes helped describe the busy and bustling community of Hogan’s Alley, a culturally diverse and close-knit area once loved by jazz icons such as Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. She interviewed a school principal and former occupant of Hogan’s Alley, Randy Clark, who emphasized the importance of remembering and acknowledging cultural history and the positive and negative stories that go with it. Abrielle definitely paid homage to this iconic Vancouver landmark with her video.

You can watch it here: http://www.canadashistory.ca/Kids/YoungCitizens/Profiles/2015/Abrielle_C

Tate, also from Vancouver, chose to talk about Elsie MacGill, the first female aeronautical engineer. The video perfectly illustrated the challenges Elsie faced, including her overcoming of sexism in her job choice, and the struggle of being diagnosed with polio early in her career. Using carefully chosen images and live video clips, Tate pieced together Elsie’s story, from which emerged the commonly heard but ever-inspiring tale of a young woman overcoming barriers in her career path.  Of course, she was careful to note that even with all the work women of the past have done, females still encounter many problems today in the workplace and the community.

You can watch her video here:


Overall, the Young Citizens contest is a community ripe with opportunity, potential, and young minds, and I highly recommend you check out some of the other videos on the site.  200 students from all over Canada dedicated videos to Canada’s history, and 26 of those students will be continuing on to attend Canada’s History Youth Forum in Ottawa. Although public voting is already closed, there’s still an opportunity for you to share these youths’ videos with friends and family, and learn a ton more about our nation’s history yourself.

Author: Emily M.

Hard Work Pays Off — July 17, 2015

Hard Work Pays Off

As you may or may not know, the 2015 Provincial Heritage Fair just past by and it was full of exiting adventures, learning, and friend making.

As an alumnus my most favorite part of this Provincial Fair was interacting with the kids, each and everyone of them had a unique story to tell behind their project. Some students had a very strong sentimental connection behind their projects, and some of them found out something important had happened in history in seconds. Either or, all the students were so passionate about their projects and that’s what made them extraordinary.

The biggest thing I took away from doing this project in 2013 was the hard work pays off. When I was doing my project I didn’t think I would make in to Regionals, but when I was thinking that I made me work extra hard and do my personal best to make it my best work. When I became an alumni I had the chance to help out and inspire other students on their Heritage Fair journey. When me and my alumni team did just that in the 4 days we were in Victoria, I can not even explain the feeling inside of me (it was a good feeling!).

I would like you to take two things from this post: one that hard work always pays off, and two, don’t under estimate yourself because you can do it!

Author: Anisha

Here’s to Heritage Fair 2016! — July 6, 2015

Here’s to Heritage Fair 2016!

As the curtain falls on the final day of the 2015 Heritage Fair, there is a sense of mixed feelings. The sounds of joy that in a few short hours we will be returning to our loving parents fills us with a sense of happiness, however, there is also a bit of gloom as well that is heard as well. The phase “I don’t want to go.” Is heard from many students not wanting to leave behind the friends that they have made in these past few, short, days. To those who tomorrow will, and to those who today have, shed tears: don’t let the great stories of today dissipate into the unknown of tomorrow. Keep writing your stories and make sure that they are the best that the world has ever seen.

I would like to thank a few people for their roles in the Heritage Fair this year: Thank you to Mary and Judy for constantly ensuring that our stomachs were always filled with an amazing variety of foods. Thank you to Michael and Evan, for all of the work that you’ve done to make everything happen for us at the Heritage Fair. Thank you to all of the chaperones for keeping that participants safe and helping them in the creation of their stories. I’d especially like to thank the chaperones for the alumni, Iris and Britney, for making sure that we (the alumni) always knew what we were doing, and exactly when we were doing it, also I’d personally like to thank them for pretending to laugh at my jokes. I’d like to thank and commend all of my fellow alumni for making this year’s Heritage Fair the most fun that I’ve had in the three years that I’ve been doing Heritage Fair. Lastly, but most certainly not the least, I would like to thank all of the participants of the 2015 Heritage Fair and I’d also like to commend you all for the amazing projects and also the incredibly large amounts of work that you all put into your projects. I hope that I will hear some of your voices on the alumni conference calls next year.


So, with that we end another Heritage Fair, with the hopes that 2016 will be just as fantastic as this.

Author: Jack

~Dance Party!~ —

~Dance Party!~

What happened just now? Well, you may have heard the blasting music, all the cheers, and anything else you would find at a typical dance party. That is, if you live anywhere in Victoria. Or maybe Tsawwassen, I swear the music was super-loud. First, the night started with fancy food, and that gave the first impression of a normal, respective and modest, dinner party. But then, we all had our alumni speeches about what its like to be an alumni, which everyone TOTALLY nailed. It was better than anyone expected, because we all started to write these speeches in the afternoon.

Images for Day 4 blog - dinner (1 of 1)

After that, we had a gift ceremony to celebrate all the chaperones and other volunteers, who all got BEAUTIFUL little packets of whatever gifts are in there. I have yet to find out what they are, I hopefully will get back to you after a night of sneaking into rooms. Just kidding! It was quite a long ceremony, but it was quite enjoyable.

And then, out of the blue, Evan (the Fair Coordinator) anounces that we’re have a dance party! He blasted Uptown Funk (by Bruno Mars) and everyone was on the makeshift dance floor just shaking all the worries away. We were all dancing our hearts out, unlike what we normally would do because we’re “too cool”. Ahhh, the magic of Heritage Fairs. We had dance offs, and oh my, the  break dance moves were unbelievable.That was probably one of the highlights of my day, and I probably got more exercise than my daily week’s worth.

Dance Sequence frame

And at the end of the day, everyone left happy. Now here I am, writing this blog curled up on the comfy couch, relieved that we had an awesome way to end the day/week

Author: Tristen

Today’s Events – Day 4 in Victoria! —

Today’s Events – Day 4 in Victoria!

Today was the big presentation day at the Royal BC Museum, and what a great day it was!

After yet another lovely breakfast at UVic, the group loaded the buses up with poster-boards and dioramas and headed off for the museum. Set-up was speedy, and within minutes thefair was up and running – we were getting visitors even before the opening ceremony! Images for Day 4 blog (2 of 2)

The ceremony itself was held in the Mungo Martin House, a traditional First Peoples’ big house. We sat around a lovely smoky fire (to match the orange, smoky skies in Victoria today) and listened to short introductory speeches from several distinguished guests and the president of the BC Heritage Fair society.


From left to right: The fire in the Mungo Martin House, the smoky yellow sky in Victoria today, and the interior of the Mungo Martin House pre-ceremony. 

After the ceremony, we filed back into the museum and started up the presentations. This year’s provincial Heritage Fair had an incredible number of visitors, and was the best attended provincial Heritage Fair ever! All the presentations were fantastic and clearly showed how much hard work went behind them. Congratulations to all the participants on a hugely successful fair!Images for Day 4 blog (1 of 2)Once the fair was wrapped up, the group took a quick stroll (or shopping trip!) around downtown Victoria, then headed back to UVic for a closing banquet dinner (which was delicious) followed by a little time to dance.

Thank you to all the organizers, students, and volunteers that made this fair as excellent as it was! The Heritage Fairs would love to see all the students again next year as participants, or regional/provincial alumni. Congratulations again to everyone on a very successful provincial Heritage Fair!

Author: Emily T.

Like What You’re Reading!?! — July 5, 2015

Like What You’re Reading!?!

Hello everyone out there! I hope you are enjoying these daily updates from the 2015 Provincial Heritage Fair in Victoria! The Alumni, who are the authors and photographers for these wonderful posts, also write on the blog regularly throughout the year. They write on all sorts of topics from Heritage Fair tips and tricks in May, to heartfelt and reflective posts on Remembrance Day. We launch the Alumni Program Applications and inform you of the upcoming BCHFS Society News too! If you like what you are reading, help us boost our numbers for sponsorship by following us on the BC Heritage Fairs Alumni Blog!

Following the blog is easy! And you will get instantaneous updates to your email inbox whenever we post. All you need to do, is click the little blue box labeled “follow” in the right hand corner of your screen. You will be prompted to enter your email address and a confirmation email will be sent to your inbox within minutes. It’s that simple!

A Day At The Museum —

A Day At The Museum

Our day was full of exiting new adventures at the beach, fun at the legislature, and the most exiting event was probably the Royal BC Museum. The exhibit that seemed the most popular was the new gold rush exhibit; it was full of jewellery from all over the world and all from different times. You want to read more about it? You know you do. Scroll down!

One of the most greatest milestones in Canadian history was the gold rush, in this time some people gained wealth and some just ended up dying along the way. We saw some amazing gold nuggets and some other crazy gold jewellery, for example we saw nose rings as big as my 12cm hand and crazy crowns followed by huge earrings.

The next exhibit we visited was the nature exhibit, it was full of birds, bears, mammoths, fish and cute owls. I enjoyed this part because the animals were all in action and they were helping the environment in many was, i was so shocked because some of the animal looked so real, even through some of them was made out of other, strong material.


My post favourite part of the exhibit was the part were we walked through the old towns and the old hotels, I enjoyed the chinatown part the best because we went there yesterday (read the entry posted before this to find out more) and it looked really realistic. I also really enjoyed the hotel because the kitchen smelt like pie.

At the end of the day we learnt so much about our canadian history and we on adventures in to the “nature”.

Author: Anisha

Today’s Events – Day Three in Victoria! —

Today’s Events – Day Three in Victoria!

Today was a long day packed full of events, and new things to see!


The group kicked the morning off with an early, healthy, hearty breakfast at the UVic cafeteria, after which we loaded up the buses and drove down to the Victoria inner harbour. The drive took us over the top of Mt. Tolmie, where we got a gorgeous, panoramic view of the city of Victoria!
Our first stop by the inner harbour was the BC Legislature Building, where we received a detailed tour of the home of our provincial government. We learned about the history and significance of the architecture (the tiling, the stained glass, and the amazing gold gilding), the government proceedings that take place in the Chamber, and the role of the Head of State in our provincial government!
(The crest of BC in the BC Legislature Building, the Legislature, and the group by a memorial statue out on the front lawn)
After a quick snack and an even quicker walk, the group headed across the street to the Royal BC Museum. We walked through all the displays, starting with the featured exhibit on the BC Gold Rush. Other exhibits we saw included the Woolly Mammoth, the mines, “old-town Victoria”, and the First Peoples’ exhibit!
For lunch, we drove down to the Government House – the residence of Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia – and ate a delicious sandwich lunch in the beautiful gardens. Then we took a tour through the house, which was gorgeous from top to bottom! We walked through the parlour, the drawing room, and the ballroom, and admired the many, many paintings of past Lieutenant Governors. We even got to admire the downstairs restrooms, which were huge, stunning, and probably the most beautiful restrooms any of us had ever seen.
(A corner of the downstairs (female) restroom!)
From the Government House, we took a long walk down to the Ross Bay Cemetery, where we rotated in groups through three activities: stone cleaning, stone recording, and a tour of 3 of the most famous graves. The stones we cleaned of debris and moss looked loads better after we’d carefully scrubbed them down with soap and water. While recording information from the stones, we looked for and drew symbols, then had one of our lovely guides explain them. During the tour, we visited the graves of Billy Barker, Emily Carr, and Sir James Douglas. Through all three activities, we learned the importance of remembering.
 Cleaning tombstones (1 of 2) (1)
We ate a BBQ dinner at the beach just a stone’s throw away from the cemetery, then headed back to UVic for a swim to wrap up our day. Tomorrow is the presentation day for the Provincial Heritage Fair projects, so the group will get plenty of rest tonight!
Stay tuned for updates on tomorrow’s events! 🙂
Author: Emily T.
Breathing New Life into Old Stories —

Breathing New Life into Old Stories

On every November 11th we remember the brave men and woman who heroically gave their lives to protect our most precious commodity; our freedom. While I’m not saying that these people should not be remembered, they should be, but what about the other 364 days of the year? These places that our fallen heroes lay remain forgotten the rest of the year. Furthermore, none of the graves of the people who did not perform such valiant acts, but were still people who were worth remembering, fall into a state of disrepair. Why is this? Is the fact that those who are no longer with us are just that? Do we view it as a sort of “out of sight, out of mind” type issue? Is the simple fact that their time on earth with us, and no longer are, justification for us to simply forget? For us to, simply carry on? Personally, this idea frightens me that once I shuffle off this mortal coil it will be as if I never was. But the participants of the 2015 Heritage Fair proved that this was most certainly not the case. They braved the beating sun, doing back breaking work, scrubbing moss from the stones that remind the world: “This person existed, they had worth, they were loved and they are missed.” These young men and women breathed new life into the old, they gave, “new life” to the tales of those long gone. Remembrance isn’t just for November, and it isn’t just for heroes. Lest we forget.

Cleaning tombstones (2 of 2)

Author: Jack