By writing about history Maureen Duffus is now part of it.
Duffus was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Town of View Royal for her community work as an
archivist and notable citizen.
The award is given to Canadians to honour significant contributions and achievements. In total 60,000 are being given out in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.
View Royal Mayor Graham Hill presented Duffus with the honour at the Sept. 4 council meeting.
Many members of her family were with her as she accepted the medal and heard a few kind words from Hill.
“All her leadership, volunteer, ethic and commitment to community have made and shaped a richer legacy for us and for our children,” Hill said.
“Her contributions will continue to benefit our community for generations to come.”
Duffus said that she is delighted to receive recognition and draw attention to the archival work being done in View Royal.
“I was absolutely overwhelmed about it, it’s wonderful to have,” Duffus said. “It’s a great honour, it really is. Particularly for View Royal.”
Duffus has connections with seven generations of family in the View Royal area. Her great-grandfather was James Yates, member of the first legislative assembly of Vancouver Island and namesake to Yates Street.
Duffus grew up on the waterfront on View Royal Avenue, born to two lawyers. She attended Craigflower elementary, but in the newer school, across the street from where her grandmother attended classes.
Returning to View Royal, Duffus lived on a farm on Atkins Road for 30 years, raising a family with her husband John, a professor at then Royal Roads Military College (now a university).
As a career journalist, both in Victoria and Ottawa, Duffus enjoyed writing historical articles when given the opportunity and developed a love for archives and the stories they hold.
In 1993 she helped found the View Royal archives and published the first edition of her book Craigflower Country: An Illustrated History 1850-1950. Last year Duffus published a new edition of her book with newly discovered photographs and stories.
“Once I started in at the archives and found more and more Hudsons Bay records, colonial records and so on, it got me,” Duffus said. “The research is the best thing.”
Duffus has worked with other groups over the years, including a stint for the province as an interpretive guide at Craigflower Manor and Schoolhouse.
Looking ahead, Duffus said that she will continue to work at the archives, uncovering and sharing history, but primarily having fun.