Learn about the maritime heritage of this province on Canada’s west coast and hear ghost stories about its haunted historic building.
Visit the Maritime Museum of British Columbia to look at some of its 80,000 artifacts relating to the maritime history of Canada. Learn about early voyages, see a collection of model ships, and browse a gallery dedicated to Captain Cook. Listen to stories about the ghosts that some believe haunt the museum, which is housed in the Old Courthouse building.
Your first port of call should be the First Floor Gallery. Here you can learn about the historic journey of the Tilikum, a 30-feet (9-meter) long canoe used by German-Canadian sailor John Voss to circumnavigate the globe. While here, look for the galleries that retell the struggles of whaling and seal hunting. At the Modelmainia exhibit you’ll find more than 400 model boats, the smallest of which is only 2 inches (5 centimeters) long.
See Captain James Cook’s journals, which document his arrival to Vancouver Island in 1778, at the Royal Navy Gallery. This gallery also has stories about naval journeys on the Columbia River. Visit the museum’s official website for details of temporary exhibitions at the gallery. Previous exhibits include the Guardians of the Coast, which honored the life-saving work of the men and women that protect Canada’s coastline.
Wander around the Vice-Admiralty Courtroom, where the notorious Judge Matthew Begbie sentenced prisoners to hang in the late 19th century. Don’t miss out on a ride in the building’s elevator, the oldest working birdcage elevator in North America.
If you love ghost stories, come to the museum to join a ghost hunt. Use the investigative devices of a clairvoyant to search for wandering spirits in the museum’s galleries. You can also take a guided tour of the building and nearby Bastion Square while listening to stories of paranormal activity.
Located in Bastion Square, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia is in the heart of downtown Victoria. Pay-and-display parking is available behind the museum. Ask at the museum’s reception for a free one-hour parking voucher.
The museum is open daily. Some tours have a fee, which is additional to the museum admission charge. Find full details and a schedule on the museum’s official website.