British Columbia's War 1914-1918

British Columbia's War 1914-1918



Travelling exhibition British Columbia's War 1914-1918

February 15 - May 15 2019 at the Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum

Sooke, BC – The Royal BC Museum has dug deep into its collections to unearth powerful material about the Great War, creating a travelling exhibition that will soon set up camp at Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.

The exhibition, called British Columbia’s War, 1914–1918, and which aims to educate British Columbians about the contributions of their forebears in the First World War, will visit The Sooke Region Museum in Sooke from November 9 to February 10.

“The Great War had a monumental impact on the formation of British Columbia as a political entity, with its own emerging sense of identity,” said the Royal BC Museum’s CEO,Prof. Jack Lohman. “The Royal BC Museum’s collections help show how the province coalesced around this traumatic global event, as soldiers and nurses from all corners and various ethnic groups of the province signed up for service.”

The exhibition began touring the province in March 2016.

One of the strengths of this travelling exhibition is its deeply collaborative nature. Partnering community museums have been encouraged to expand upon the exhibition’s major themes by adding content from their own collections to tell the stories that matter most to their visitors.

Vargas Island Ranchers at home and at war

Though many miles away, the First World War had a large impact in Clayoquot Sound. Guest curator Stephanie Ann Warner has created a component complimentary to the larger exhibition which will unfold this history. Much of the story will be told through the perspective of Harold Monks Sr., a Vargas Island pioneer who served oversees. 

"Vargas Island Settlers." Photo by Harold Monks, from Vargas Island notebook, ca. early 1900s. Collection of the Warner family. 

Learn too about how the families of soldiers coped at home, trying to establish farms and gardens (despite acidic Vargas Island Soil), to pay off their general store tabs, and to fight loneliness. 

The Legion, an iconic establishment in downtown Tofino, started as the Clayoquot Sound Great War Memorial Hall. The hall was the site of many dances, pool games, and other events. Members also tried to help support veterans and their families and lobbied for a road from Port Alberni. 


"Tofino Legion - 1925" courtesy of Ken Gibson Collection.


History night at the Legion - Vargas Island ranchers at home and at war

March 21, 2019

7:00-9:30 pm

Refreshments, history, and storytelling with Stephanie Ann Warner, granddaughter of Harold Monks Sr. 



Travelling Exhibit - The SS Princess Sophia

The sinking of the SS Princess Sophia is being commemorated 100 years after the tragedy took place. The passenger steam-liner serviced ports from Skagway, Alaska to Victoria, British Columbia often transporting miners or WWI soldiers during the early 1900s. The ship hit the Vanderbilt Reef, in the Lynn Canal off the coast of Alaska, and sunk resulting in the loss of over 200 passengers and crew. The event had great impacts of communities along the Pacific Northwest Coastline From Alaska to southern BC. 
Join us in learning about how this vessel's years of service affected and connected the Pacific Northwest Coast in the early 20th century. 
This centennial exhibition, developed by the Maritime Museum of BC, will be hosted at the Tofino Clayquot Heritage Museum from April 21 - May 20th, 2018.
When: Sat & Sun 12:30 - 4:00 p.m., April 21st - May 20th, 2018
Location: Tofino Clayoquot Heritage Museum, 331 Main Street (below the Legion Branch #65), Tofino, B.C.
Cost: Admission by donation