The Mar­itime Mu­seum of Bri­tish Columbia Closed for Mov­ing

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Most of the move will be done by pro­fes­sional movers but some things staff and vol­un­teers can man­age on their own, like the Mu­seum’s col­lec­tion of ship plans.

Our col­lec­tion con­tains more than 1,000 ship plans, most of which are orig­i­nal. Stored in large fold­ers four feet by four feet, get­ting them ready is time con­sum­ing. Each folder is taken out and checked for pests and mold then cleaned with a cot­ton cloth to re­move any dust. Each ship plan is checked to en­sure it is packed in the fold­ers with pa­per be­tween each piece of pa­per in the set of plans to en­sure there is no move­ment or rub­bing when they are in tran­sit. The fold­ers are then checked for any dam­age and re­paired if nec­es­sary. Mu­seum staffer, Christina Starko says, "It's a te­dious process but it's pretty neat when you get to see just what is in the col­lec­tion."

Ap­prox­i­mately 250 ship plans are ready to be trans­ported, just a quar­ter of what the Mu­seum holds in its col­lec­tion. For Starko though, the re­ward has been con­nect­ing per­son­ally to the ship plans. Starko adds see­ing the Princess Sophia blue­prints first-hand have been the high­light for her in the process as the dis­as­ter is one of the sto­ries she told on her ship­wrecks tour this past sum­mer.

"The Princess Sophia story is the one story where the most peo­ple cry," says Starko. "Find­ing the blue­prints added an another level for me to an al­ready emo­tional story."

As she has been work­ing on this project, she thinks back to the peo­ple who held the pen­cils, draw­ing out each line on the ship plans be­fore her. .

The Royal Navy Cana­dian Vol­un­teer Re­serve at the gun em­place­ment near Fer­gu­son Point dur­ing World War I. In the mid-1800s, the Royal Navy was look­ing for a deep sea shel­tered port to serve the Lower Main­land. Bur­rard In­let was the choice, and the Stan­ley Park penin­sula was in an ob­vi­ous po­si­tion to pro­tect it. The penin­sula was des­ig­nated as a mil­i­tary re­serve, with survey work be­gin­ning in 1859. It didn't be­come Stan­ley Park un­til 1886.

In World War I, Bri­tish Columbians were wor­ried about an at­tack from across the Pa­cific be­cause Ger­many had a fleet of cruis­ers sta­tioned at Ts­ing­tao, China. That's when the de­fences for the Port of Van­cou­ver were es­tab­lished in the park. The Royal Navy put in two four-inch cal­i­bre guns, which were manned by naval re­servists. When World War II broke out, the Pa­cific Coast was more pre­pared than it was dur­ing the First World War. Con­struc­tion started in 1938 to build per­ma­nent de­fences. In Stan­ley Park, two guns were in­stalled at Fer­gu­son Point. There was a bat­tery com­mand post, and ad­ja­cent bar­racks where the Third Beach park­ing lot is now. There were also at least 10 search­light po­si­tions es­tab­lished around the har­bour.

There are still re­minders of the rich mil­i­tary his­tory of Stan­ley Park. The bases of the guns that were in­stalled dur­ing the Sec­ond World War have been barely cov­ered by grass. In late sum­mer you can see two per­fect cir­cles of burnt out grass, due to the shal­low soil. One of the search­light tow­ers is now the look­out near Si­wash Rock. City of Van­cou­ver Ar­chives

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