By Tracy, Junior Alumni Council

Aaand we’re back with day two of our first ever Virtual Provincial Heritage Fair! 

We opened with some introductory comments from Rachel, our Alumni Program Manager. She mentioned something about the Journal Elf(s)… what could that be about?

Robert Bateman Foundation

Our first presentation was Carey-Lynn from the Bateman Foundation! She played a video of Mr. Bateman talking about what each individual’s special place might be, and reminded us that in thinking of our home and the environment that surrounds us as a special place, we get to know it better, and identify why it’s special. That makes us more likely to take care of it.

Carey-Lynn also led us through some drawing exercises, and showed another video of one of Mr Bateman’s sketching practices. She recommends starting out with basic shapes and then adding in cross-hatching or shading for perspectives. Keeping a nature journal is also a great idea!

A quick break for some nature sketching, and then moving on to our next presentation!

Interview #1:

Rebecca was our first interviewee, and she was interviewed by Tracy. 

Many of the wider-known stories (such as collections and fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm) are sexist, and teach us one version of history, whereas many forgotten stories and legends are more “politically correct.” Stories like ‘The Nettle Princess’ shows the princess rescuing the prince, which is a type of narrative that we’re unfamiliar with in most popular fairy tales. Rebecca’s project compares the role of women in fairy tales and Indigenous stories, and she wrote a story based in an Indigenous community that shows a strong, female heroine. 

Interview #2:

The second interviewee was Dayna, whose project was on her grandfather and his journey in the RCMP. She was interviewed by Leona. Her research covered the extensive process and training as an RCMP Cadet, as well as techniques they used and animals in the police force. Dana showed us the RCMP uniform during her presentation, including her grandfather’s epaulets! 


Our next presentation was from our very own Alumni, Leona and Kevin, as well as graduated Alumnus Lucas! They showed us a video of George Elliott being interviewed last summer in Victoria, and how his father Dr David Elliott Sr. created the SENĆOŦEN alphabet. In doing this he hoped to preserve the rich and vibrant culture of the Saanich peoples. 

Leona, Lucas and Kevin also talked about how we need to use reliable resources to learn and educate ourselves about the Indigenous community and their needs and situation. We need to work towards improving Indigenous inclusion and reconciliation – because there are Indigenous voices that aren’t always heard, and it’s all of our individual responsibilities to champion these efforts to have suppressed voices heard. We need to work towards improving Indigenous inclusion and reconciliation.  

They also shared with us a fun Kahoot!

Alberni Valley Museum

Next, we got to go inside the Alberni Valley Museum, right from our screens at home! Shelley led us through the museum, and throughout the trip student participants enthusiastically and chimed in with appreciation for how cool the tour was! Alberni Valley Museum was built in 1971, but expanded to 3 times the size in the 1980s. Their mandate is to collect and preserve the human and cultural history of the Alberni Valley. Some examples are their Indigenous basket collection of 300+ pieces, their furniture gallery, machinery, artworks, and so many more exhibits. 

If you are curious, the virtual tour can be accessed from their website.

Lunch Break

At lunch, we premiered the documentary that both Alumni councils have been working hard on for many many months! The official film will be released on YouTube on Saturday June 4th at 5pm. If you would like, we are inviting you to attend the virtual ‘watch party’ at the same time, which can be joined at this YouTube link.

In the meantime, check out our trailer here!

Interview #3:

Our first presenter after the lunch break was Chloe, interviewed by Vedanshi. Her project was on the inventions, work, and lifetime of Alexander Graham Bell. Chloe talked about how his inventions have revolutionized our world of modern-day communication, especially how important it was to stay connected during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

She noted that the pandemic would’ve looked a lot different without Bell’s inventions, and it would be far more difficult to maintain contact with friends and family. 

Interview #4:

Our next presenter, Andreas, shared with us Canada’s role in NATO during the Cold War and the creation & meaning of Article 2. He was also interviewed by Vedanshi. 

Andreas talked about how different sources have different perspectives, but both are important because it’s good to see both (and all) points of view on the war. Some tellings may not include all the important parts, he said, but it was important to see all the details in the war, not only parts from the winning side.

Vancouver Japanese Language School

We were in for a treat in the next speakers! Dr Horii and Laura from the Vancouver Japanese Language School gave a fascinating presentation about the Japanese Internment and racism in Canada. 

Dr. Horii shared his personal experience with us during his time being in an internment camp, and anecdotes about growing up as a Japanese-Canadian. In this current COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Horii thinks that noticing racism towards Asian-Americans is more crucial than ever. If reconciliation is to happen, then we all must take our steps forward together. 

This is very special! ‘Living history’ from a person who has experienced WWII, is way different from a primary source. 

The Japanese Hall is now a National Historic Site! 

Interview #5:

Next up, with his project on Japanese displacement in the Second World War, was Jack, being interviewed by Ashley and Tom from Know History. His project was based on letters home from a Japanese-Canadian teen, Koji (a pseudonym) who’d been displaced to the Prairies, to his friend Joan. As part of his research process, he used archival sources from UBC Archives, including the original letters. Jack pointed out that in internment camps, letters were often censored, so we are lucky to have them to study today! 

Interview #6:

The next project belonged to Hiba, who was interviewed by Tom and Ashley. Her project was on Barkerville and focused on Billy Barker and the Cariboo Gold Rush. She points out that the starting of BC was in Barkerville, because of the Gold Rush, and that it was fundamental to the founding of British Columbia. It was a flourishing town, with a whopping 8,000 people at its peak!

Gulf of Georgia Cannery

Next up were Tara, Andrea and Johanna from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery! The Cannery is a Parks Canada National Historic Site that opened 126 years ago – before which Indigenous peoples had already been fishing on the land. The workshop was full of interactive activities, including understanding the various machinery. We learned about the Retort, the Iron Butcher and the Vacuum Sealer, which had been developed almost 100 years ago and before, the latest in the 1920-1930’s! They shared with us the importance of people in the canning line as well, not just machines. Did you know that the Iron Butcher can process and clean a salmon per second? Wow! 

The presentation wrapped up with a fun Kahoot. You can check out their interactive Virtual Museum of Canada website here.


And last but certainly not least, Ashley and Tom came back for one last presentation! They work for Know History. The company has 50+ full-time historians, hired basically to make Heritage Fair projects for clients. Sounds like a fun job! 

They shared interpretive writing tips & tricks, whether to caption historical photos or write short summaries. Try not to use unnecessary, fancy words or overcomplicate things! The readers want to know about what’s happening in the moment. 

Before they wrapped up, Tom and Ashley left us with one last task – a writing competition! They showed us a historical photo and asked us to create an interpretive writing for it. Most submissions have been sent in already and we are awaiting results! It’s, in Ashley’s words, a “chance to win some cool KnowHistory swag.” Participated in the fair but still haven’t submitted? There’s still time! 


Rachel offered some concluding remarks. Thank you to all the participants, sponsors, and planners, and supporters for making this such a successful Fair! Although we hate to see it end (and we were having such fun, too!) we hope to see you in the future, hopefully in person! 

And that, my friends, concludes our Virtual Provincial Heritage Fair of 2020!