[Home page] [Who is Past Forward ] [Contact Us] [Publications]

Past Forward is now on Facebook "LIKE" us to keep in touch


March 17, 2006

Taking advantage of March Break

I am writing this in the middle of a three week March Break in British Columbia where many outstanding heritage sites are found.  Mixed in with some time with my brother and his family and visits with my wife’s partner in an art show at the Kennedy Gallery in September I have had some excellent visits to heritage sites.  Coincidentally the Vancouver Sun newspaper ran a feature “B.C.’s past comes to life on heritage tour” advertising a tourist oriented Heritage Circle Route (See Tourism British Columbia at: www.hellobc.com.  I had already seen several of the sites and thought some readers may find them of interest. 

Photo of the Great Hall at the UBC Museum of Anthropology.  Doug Mackey Photo.

Museum of Anthropology 

The University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology is noted for its stunning architecture by Arthur Erikson on a cliff overlooking the ocean.  The 35,000-piece collection features west coast native art but has artifacts from around the world.  Looking at the massive totem poles, carved boxes and bowls in the Great Hall makes one marvel at the quality of the work.  Bill Reid’s sculpture including his monumental yellow cedar piece The Raven and the First Man is overwhelming (see the $20 bill for a further example of his work.  Students spend hours studying the artifacts.  A class of film students was shooting a documentary of a staff member describing the artifacts (see www.moa.ubc.ca

Contemporary Museum and Paleontology Centre 

Visiting relatives in Courtenay on Vancouver Island drew my attention to their fine museum.  Beside its’ highly recognized fossil collection it has first nations, pioneer, lumbering and social history from the Comox Valley.  For fossil fans there is a three-hour fossil tour where there is access to an 80 million year old ancient sea shoreline on a local river bed where fossils are in abundance for picking.  (www.courtenaymuseum.um.ca

Fort Langley 

When the Hudson Bay Company established itself in B.C. one of the last posts established was on the Fraser River just north of the American border.  The Fraser River was difficult to travel but with fear of U.S. invasion a post was established in 1827.  It was later moved to its present location where some furs were acquired with the support of the native population.  The post, called Fort Langley eventually became a provisioning post especially for hundreds of barrels of salmon.  They also raised agricultural produce. 

In November 1858 the Colony of British Columbia was established in a ceremony at Fort Langley in the middle of a gold rush which brought 30,000 prospectors – mostly from California – to the Fraser Valley.  The fort closed in 1896 and was restored in the 1950s. 

Fort Langley is now a National Historic Site and is open daily from 10-5 from March 1 to Oct 30.  It has numerous buildings, including an original, costumes, interpreters, and interactive schools.  A great place to spend a few hours. 

There are several other museums nearby including The Langley Centennial Museum, the British Farm Machinery and Agricultural Museum, and the Canadian Flight and Transportation Museum (www.pc.gc.ca/lhmnhs/bc/langley

Cover of Brian Jungen book – artist featured at Vancouver Art Gallery.

Vancouver Art Gallery 

The Vancouver Art Gallery currently has two fascinating exhibits – an overview of the work of Takao Tanabe’s long career profiles one of Canada’s best Japanese Canadian Artists.  Born in B.C. some 80 years ago he traveled widely and moved from abstraction to prairie art and into his B.C. landscape work after his return in 1980. 

Native artist Brian Jungen used west coast native sculptures as the basis of over 40 works produced from sports equipment like running shoes.  The result is a remarkable array of sculptures that capture the essence of the original carvings in a fascinating display of colour and form. 

Heritage Perspective Home Page

Past Forward Heritage Limited: 

330 Sumach St. #41, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3K7   Tel. (416)-925-8412


Copyright © Past Forward Heritage Limited