Recognizing and Celebrating People and Historic Moments

The Society works in partnership with local, provincial and federal organizations to remember, commemorate, and recognize individuals, groups and events.
SnapshotEvent Description
BCBHAS Heritage Day February 2018Heritage DayThis is an annual event held in February. The event includes displays, information, artifacts and an opportunity to meet and talk with members of the Society and representatives from other societies such as the Victoria Genealogical Society, Old Cemeteries Society and the Saanich Pioneers Society. There is also a guest speaker and entertainment.
Ross Bay Cemetery Tour Annual EventRoss Bay Cemetery TourThis event happens each year in February. It is a guided tour of the graves of the black pioneers and others, including Sir James Douglas, who played a role in that migration. The tour is hosted by John Adams of the Old Cemeteries Society and Valin Marshall of the BC Black History Awareness Society.
Verna Gibbs, grandniece of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs steps into the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study RoomOpening of the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study RoomMay 26, 2018: The Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room opened at Greater Victoria Public Library sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch. Verna Gibbs, great grandniece, traveled from San Francisco and spoke at the opening ceremony.
Pte. Robert Gilbert captured a German Officer and 24 of his men at Vimy Ridge.To mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge April 9, 2017: Commemorative events were held at the Victoria Armoury on Bay Street. The Society's display featured Pte. Robert Burt Gilbert who joined the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in Victoria and was with the 103rd Battalion at Vimy Ridge in 1917.
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Commemorative Plaque February 2017Gibbs Commemorative Plaque Unveiled in VictoriaFebruary 19, 2017: Gibbs was honored with a bronze plaque commissioned by Canada’s Historic Sites and Monuments Board; and unveiled as part of B.C. Black History Month 2017. The plaque commemorates Gibbs as a person of National Historic Significance per the following: August 4, 2009 Government of Canada recognizes the historical significance of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs. "Our government is proud to honor a man who worked tirelessly for the local Black Community as a politician, businessman, and defender of human rights." said Minister Prentice. "With today's commemoration, we take another step in bringing the national historic significance of Mifflin Wistar Gibbs to all Canadians"
Welcome Home Mifflin Gibbs eventMifflin Wistar Gibbs Day November 18, 2016: City of Victoria proclaims November 18, 2016 as Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Day to commemorate his election to Victoria City Council in 1856. The event included a reception at Victoria City Hall hosted by the mayor. Guests gathered at Victoria City Hall to welcome Mifflin Gibbs back to Victoria; he was here on a book tour to promote his book “Shadow and Light”. Gibbs was portrayed by local actor/play-writer Justin Carter, who delivered a compelling and entertaining performance recounting Gibbs’ time here in Victoria. The “book tour” was co-sponsored by the BC Black History Awareness Society, Victoria City Council and the Community Anniversary Grant from Heritage Canada.
Abraham Lincoln Legacy Citizen Engagement ProjectAbraham Lincoln Legacy Citizen Engagement Project January,February 2015: This project was undertaken with the Province’s Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Office of the Premier. The website was moderated by Sam Sullivan, MLA for False Creek and was active from January 31st to February 28th. The site was visited by over 1800 people from B.C. as well as some visitors from the United States. The final letter and attachments were sent to the Abraham Lincoln digital museum and are part of the permanent collections. Read the letter.
Unveiling of the grave markers for Charles and Nancy Alexander August 16, 2014: This ceremony took place on Saturday, August 16th at 2:00pm sponsored by Karen Hoshal with some assistance from family members.
Dandridge Heritage HouseUnveiling of a plaque at “Dandridge Heritage House"February 9, 2014: Black Pioneers Charlotte and John Dandridge originally occupied the house from 1861 to 1871. The event was a cooperative effort by the Society and the current owners of the home.
Unveiling of the grave markers for Corinthia and daughter Eva AlexanderFebruary 26, 2011: Corinthia and daughter Eva Alexander, two of Victoria's early citizens. In 1858 the Pierre and Alexander families immigrated to Victoria to start lives free from the unjust treatment of Blacks in San Francisco at that time. These two families were brought together through the marriage of their children: Corinthia Pierre and Thomas Alexander. Thomas and Corinthia had seven children between 1888 and 1907. These children and their descendants now represent six generations containing at least 170 individuals
Commemorative Stamp Launch for Fergie Jenkins and Carrie Best Feb 26, 2011Commemorative stamp launch for Ferguson Jenkins and Carrie Best Stamps.February 26, 2011: The BC Black History Awareness Society, in partnership with Canada Post, hosted this commemorative stamp launch. Jenkins is a Canadian baseball star who also spent most of his career in the U.S, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Order of Canada member and youth advocate. Carrie Best, born, raised and worked in Nova Scotia is distinguished as Order of Canada recipient, Doctor of Laws in English (LLD), human rights activist, author, journalist, publisher and broadcaster; founder of “The Clarion”,the first black-owned newspaper published in Nova Scotia
Unveiling of a grave marker for Nancy and Peter Lester2002: The unveiling of the grave marker for Nancy and Peter Lester. . Peter Lester, though seemingly living a quiet life, he was a staunch supporter of the Abolitionist movement, he was well-known, respected; a partner in the firm of “Lester and Gibbs” - a business that rivalled the Hudson’s Bay Company in colonial Fort Victoria. In 1860, he was the first Black to sit as a juror.
Plaque Commemorating the arrival of Black Pioneers in 1858Unveiling of plaque commemorating the arrival of the Black Pioneers,February 20, 2000: The arrival of the Black Pioneers to B.C. in 1858 was designated as a National Historic Event on September 22, 1997. This plaque was commissioned by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and was unveiled on February 20, 2000 at the Shady Creek United Church located at 7180 East Saanich Road.
Rebecca Gibbs Gravemarker at the Ross Bay CemeteryGrave marker for Rebecca GibbsThis gravemarker was erected by the Victoria Black Peoples Society, a forerunner of BCBHAS, in partnership with the Old Cemeteries Society. Rebecca Gibbs was a laundress and nurse but is most remembered for her poems that were published in the Cariboo Sentinel. While she spent much of her life in the Cariboo she is buried at the Ross Bay Cemetery. One side of the grave marker bears her most famous poem “The Old Red Shirt”.