Bring History to Life
Learning about the richness of BCS past
BCs Rich Past
history has an undeserved reputation for being boring, but it comes to life when you get away from the names and numbers and give it a face. If you’d like to share British Columbia’s diverse and fascinating past with your children, try exploring some historic sites and activities that are geared toward families. Fishing played an important role in BC’s development and a couple of great sites have helped maintain this slice of history for future generations.
Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Once a bustling 19th century cannery, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery is now a fun, interactive museum. Step into the past with the clatter and crash of the canning line machinery, get up close and personal with fishing industry paraphernalia and learn about people whose lives depending on a successful daily catch.
North Pacific Cannery
If you’re in the mood for a road trip, try heading north…way north. The North Pacific Cannery is the oldest completely preserved cannery in BC. Located in the community of Port Edward, the site features 30 buildings crammed with relics. Wander the buildings to your heart’s content or join up with one of the guided tours and catch a glimpse of life in a 19th century cannery.
BC would not be the province we know today without the fur trade. Although the days of trappers and traders are long gone, you can still experience the activities and get a feel for the lives of those involved with two historic sites involved with the West Coast fur trade.
Fort Langley National Historic Site
Originally a bustling fur trading post, Fort Langley National Historic Site is packed with interactive activities for the whole family. Enjoy blacksmithing demonstrations, feed farm animals, learn about historical weapons and much more. Fort Langley is fun for kids of all ages, with plenty of opportunities to get hands on with the display items and interact with costumed interpreters.
Fort St. James
If you’re in the mood to travel further afield, you can sneak in a history lesson while enjoying the summer fun in Fort St. James. In between water-skiing and swimming, take some time to pop by the spectacular Fort St. James National Historic Site. Time your visit to coincide with some of their special events, or simply wander the site and chat with the costumed interpreters. The whole family will have a blast stepping back into 1896, with activities ranging from bartering for furs to relaxing in frontier furniture and so much more.
Looking for a way to help your children appreciate the natural world?
Pile into the car and head to Delta on a summer Saturday for a guided tour of Burns Bog by the Burns Bog Conservation Society. Known as the Lungs of the Lower Mainland, Burns Bog is a globally unique wetland that has been a key player in BC’s natural history for over 10,000 years. Kids love doing the bog bounce, smelling Labrador Tea and hearing about how the local First Nations used sphagnum moss in their babies’ diapers.
For those who are interested in the more distant past, Tumbler Ridge offers a rare opportunity to walk in the footsteps of giants. The area boasts almost 200 dinosaur footprints and over 400 bones from two different ages. Your kids will love the evening lantern tour, when tracks that are nearly invisible during the day jump out at you by the lantern’s glow. For a daytime experience, visit the paleontology museum, enjoy the Flatbed Creek Dinosaur Tour or some of the countless outdoor activities the area has to offer.