Posted by: cherylyoung | October 25, 2012



The Maritime Museum of British Columbia is a principal maritime

museum on the Pacific Coast of Canada, and one of the major maritime

museums on the West Coast of North America.

The museum is housed in the historic 1889 Provincial Law Courts

building situated in Bastion Square in Victoria BC.

Visitors can explore an exciting world of BC maritime history,

starting with the following permanent museum exhibits:

Explorers and Navigation
The fog-shrouded Pacific Coast of North America has a deep and

rich heritage that spans the centuries from the first aboriginal

cultures to European exploration and early settlement.

Initially isolated from the European world, this region witnessed

the navigation feats of early mariners and the clash of empires.

Meet great characters such as Captains James Cook and George

Vancouver, witness the territorial see-saw between Russia, the

United States and British Canada, and discover the many mysteries

of the Pacific Coast.

Be sure to inspect the navigation instruments that made the

exploration and surveys of the West Coast possible, and find out

why there are so many Spanish place names.

While pirates and privateers played a minor role in the history

of the West Coast, they assume a large place in the imaginations of many.

At the Maritime Museum of BC, you will have the opportunity to

encounter these scallywags of the sea, and learn the differences

between buccaneers, pirates and privateers.

Hint: One of them has a legal right to steal – guess which one!

Make time to check out the fierce-looking weapons used in sea

battles, and inspect the horrific gibbet (human cage) that was

the fate of many watery criminals.

The Fort and The City
In 1843, the great fur-trading Hudson’s Bay Company moved

its operations north from the Columbia River to an isolated

spot on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

The trading post that started as a wooden palisade fort would

grow to become the vibrant city of Victoria that we know today.

Victoria had many advantages, such as a fine natural harbour,

and benefited as a veritable storehouse, supplying miners bound

for the Fraser River, Cariboo and Klondike gold rushes.

The economic and social life of Victoria was also greatly

influenced by the presence of the Royal Navy Pacific Fleet and by

the Royal Canadian Navy after 1910.

Shipbuilding on Vancouver Island had its origins as a repair station

for ships in need, far from their home ports.

Over the years, a vibrant shipbuilding and engineering industry

flourished, with boat yards turning out everything from large sailing

vessels to coastal steamers and even pleasure craft. Following the

boom periods during the two world wars, shipbuilding activities

greatly declined.

Explore the many strange looking tools used by shipbuilders and

marvel at the skills needed to tie complicated rope knots and create

floating beauty in wood or metal.

Whaling and Fishing
From the earliest aboriginal occupation, the extremely rich sea

life of the Pacific Coast has provided food and other valuable products.

Fish, seals and whales were harvested in huge numbers, and in the

process helped to shape the economy and settlement of the coast.

Today, whales and seals are no longer hunted, but the commercial

fishing industry is still the lifeblood of many communities.

Did you know that salmon has always been a prime resource


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