Saanich Neighbourhoods

The neighbourhood virtual exhibits are designed to provide an overview of the history of Saanich from the era of early settlement to the end of the 20th century.

A great source of information for both long-time residents and newcomers, each instalment focuses on an area of Saanich, and highlights some of the key people, organizations, and events that played a role in shaping the community we know today. Check this page regularly to see the latest instalment of these online neighbourhood exhibits!

Carey [PDF - 9 MB]

Gordon Head (Part 1) [PDF - 6 MB]

Gordon Head (Part 2) [PDF - 10 MB]

North Quadra [PDF - 5 MB]

Quadra [PDF - 7 MB] 


Animals in the Archives

Explore this fun photo gallery that looks back through Saanich history to show how animals have helped us at work, connected us to the land, and enriched our lives.

 Animals in the Archives [PDF - 6 MB]


Travel Through Time

Some Saanich residents were world travelers, while some preferred to stay close to home.

They journeyed by car, train or ship to places in Canada and the United States, and to locations in the United Kingdom and Europe, collecting photographs and postcards as mementos of their travels.

Our virtual exhibit invites you to get away from it all with some of our residents from the past.

Travel Through Time [PDF - 7 MB]


Making an Impact: 110 years of the BC Women’s Institute

We’re celebrating Women’s History Month by looking at the history of the BC Women’s Institute

The Women’s Institute was established as an educational organization to support women living in rural areas. Women’s Institutes gave women a reason to get together and an opportunity to learn about rural homemaking.

For over a hundred years, each chapter of the Women’s Institute has taken on projects specific to the needs of their own communities. In addition to promoting education for women and children, Women’s Institutes have advocated for improved public services, social welfare programmes and environmental causes. They have also raised money for purposes such as hospitals, women’s and children’s health, and the Red Cross in wartime. 

This exhibit explores the history of the BC Women’s Institute beginning when the first chapter was formed in Gordon Head in 1909. 

Making an Impact: 110 years of the BC Women’s Institute [PDF - 3 MB]


Saanich Fire Department, 1919 - 2019

In 2019, the Saanich Fire Department celebrated its centennial. Saanich Archives collaborated with the Fire Department to create an exhibit in honour of this milestone.

The exhibit commemorates 100 years of providing the highest quality service to our community.

Saanich Fire Department, 1919-2019 [PDF - 5 MB]


 Diverse Saanich

Diversity has existed in the Saanich region since long before the first Europeans arrived,  and for nearly 200 years immigrants from around the world have chosen to make this area their home. 

In Saanich, we strive to live in harmony with one another and recognize that our differences are what make our community strong.

Learn more about our shared history by exploring our online exhibit 

Diverse Saanich: Early Settlement of the Saanich Peninsula [PDF - 6 MB]


Anne Alice Girling (1880 – 1953)

Nature study of daisies, photograph by Annie Girling (Saanich Archives 2008-025-033)Annie Girling’s more than 900 photographs show life in Saanich and Victoria from 1912 to the 1940s. Girling was born in Suffolk, England in 1880.  In her early twenties she studied photography in London and produced many accomplished botanical studies, landscapes and portraits.  She came to Canada with her family in 1912 and settled on the shores of Swan Lake in Saanich on land that would later become part of the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.  Girling's images document the family's experience in their new environment. In 2008, Mr. Lindsay Lambert generously donated the collection of glass plate and film negatives to Saanich Archives.  Descendants of the Girling family worked with the Archives to identify the images.

View the online exhibit.