The City of Colwood houses many historical items from the former Goldstream Region Museum Society (GRMS). While there is no dedicated museum space for the items, the bigger problem is that some pieces of history have been lost forever.
The GRMS was founded in 1984 to preserve items of historical and cultural value associated with View Royal, Colwood and Langford.
The museum first opened on Goldstream Avenue on the corner of Veterans Memorial Parkway, then moved to the lower floor of the WestShore Chamber of Commerce building.
William Silvester, who served as the chair of the Heritage Commission for six years, said a lack of interest, financial problems and internal politics led to its slow demise.
When the museum was moved out of the Chamber many items didn’t survive.
“While some of the artifacts were stored inside, many others were stuffed into an unheated shed behind the Chamber building and still others were tossed into, and later retrieved from, a dumpster,” Silvester said.
“Because of this treatment most of the artifacts, including invaluable and irreplaceable photographs and papers, were subject to moisture and mould and were destroyed.”
Silvester, who at the time was a Colwood resident, said he thought the City of Colwood should make an effort to take possession of what remained in the GRMS holdings before they were “totally worthless.”
With only two members of the GRMS in 2013, Silvester said the charter was dissolved and funds were donated to the Caleb Pike Museum in the District of Highlands. Any remaining artifacts and documents were turned over to the City of Colwood and some items were moved to Royal Roads University, many of which are in the Millward building.
In 2015 the items were moved to a trailer at Colwood City Hall and the Heritage Commission worked with Royal Roads, Fort Rodd Hill and the West Shore municipalities’ archivists to process the documents and determine their relevance to Colwood and the West Shore.
Silvester said the Heritage Commission discussed having a dedicated museum space, but cost and lack of interest stopped the idea from going any further.
A book called Colwood Chronicles, available through the City of Colwood, was published as a fundraiser to support an eventual museum and expanded archives.