Saanich Women in WWII: On the Home Front

When World War Two was declared in August 1939, those women who did not sign up for active duty, joined organizations such as the Red Cross, the Women’s Institute, the Civilian Air Raid Precaution Programme, and the Women’s Land Brigade, whose support efforts played an integral role in the allied victory. 

This November, join Saanich Archives in celebrating the service and sacrifice of Saanich women on the home front.

The exhibit runs October 31 to November 25 at the Saanich Municipal Hall.  

Memorial Avenue: A History of Shelbourne Street 

This exhibit tells the story of Shelbourne Street from its early days as a bumpy road to market for Gordon Head farmers, to the present day as one of the main thoroughfares through Saanich and into Victoria, lined with memorial trees to fallen soldiers of the First World War.

Visit the online Memorial Avenue exhibit [PDF - 1 MB].

"So That None Shall Go Unrecorded" -- Saanich Remembers World War One

The unveiling of the Vimy Memorial, Vimy Ridge pilgrimage, 1936 (Saanich Archives 2007-196-198)

November 2018 marked both the centenary of the end of the First World War, and the culmination of a significant community project - Saanich Remembers World War One. At its heart was the Saanich Honour Roll bearing 355 names of men and women who served. Over four years, in addition to information about Honour Roll names submitted by volunteers, Saanich Archives accumulated an important collection of stories, photographs, documents and personal artifacts relating to one of the most significant world events of the 20th century. This exhibit showcases the contributions of Saanich residents past and present, and commemorates the end of World War One. 

Visit the online exhibit. [PDF - 2 MB]

Pte. Kenneth Walter Foster

Private Kenneth Walter FosterKenneth Walter Foster was one of more than 800 Saanich residents who served in the First World War. He left Vancouver Island in September 1915 for gunner training in Bramshott, England. He served in France and suffered serious wounds in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. After spending several months recovering at a Frodsham, Cheshire hospital, he returned to active duty. He was recommended for the Military Medal for bravery during the battle for Hill 70 near Lens, France. He returned to Saanich at the end of the war.

Visit the online Pte. Kenneth Walter Foster exhibit [PDF - 3 MB].

Goward Family Art Collection

Goward Family ArtSaanich residents Elizabeth and Owen Goward were successful portrait, landscape and commercial artists from the late 1940s through the 1980s. They left a significant and lasting legacy to the Greater Victoria visual arts community. In 2007 the Goward family generously donated a significant collection of family records, photographs, letters, sketchbooks, and paintings to Saanich Archives. The collection also includes art by the Beales (Owen’s mother’s family) dating back to the 1840s.

Learn more about the Goward Collection. [PDF - 612 KB].

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 have been working with the Archives to identify the images.

View the online exhibit.