A map of Esquimalt in 1913 on display at the Esquimalt Archives. (Courtesy of Tara Zajac)

A map of Esquimalt in 1913 on display at the Esquimalt Archives. (Courtesy of Tara Zajac)

Esquimalt Archives reopen to public after damaging flood

The archives, which had to be moved after flooding in a previous building, await a permanent home

The Esquimalt Archives are set to reopen, offering the public a look into the history of the area.

The new temporary location on Esquimalt Road, where the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce used to be located, offers a more accessible place for visitors to stop by and chat with an archivist.

Tara Zajac, manager of communications for the archives, said a flood from the atmospheric river in October 2021 damaged the walls and building of the former archives space and required the space to be move.

Before that, the archives were closed because of COVID-19 regulations.

Until work can begin on the former library where VicPD is currently housed, the archives will call 1249 Esquimalt Rd. home.

After a few steps are taken, such as the construction of the Esquimalt Public Safety Building and subsequent move of the Victoria Police Department, the archives have ear-marked the former library as their future home.

Work to convert the library into an accessible and usable space to store the archive’s extensive collection of historical documents, books and photos can happen after that space is available, Zajac said.

The archives held an informal open house Nov. 23 where visitors could chat with staff, play trivia and learn more about the history of Esquimalt to promote the opening in the new space.

Visitors can also drop in during regular hours on Tuesday, from 1:oo p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Archivists are available to help visitors find government records, manuscripts, photos and maps among the collection, Zajac said.

An online database, which was launched in 2014, further increases the accessibility of the archives, making it easy to access information at any time.

READ MORE: Esquimalt Municipal Archives now online

The Esquimalt Archives welcomes donations such as photographs, letters or other memorabilia that helps tell the history of the community.

Visitors can also learn more about volunteer opportunities by visiting the archives in person or online.

For more information about the archives and online database, visit: Esquimalt.ca/archives

ALSO READ: Esquimalt Archives remain relevant in the age of technology


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