Old Cemeteries Society (Victoria, BC)

                  1995 Tour Schedule 

Tours are every Sunday at 2 pm in various locations as noted, with 
RBC (Ross Bay Cemetery) tours on 1st and 3rd Sundays.  RBC tours 
assemble at Bagga Pasta in Fairfield Plaza opposite the cemetery at
1516 Fairfield Rd.  For more information call 598-8870.
Admission to tours is $5.00 for non-members and $2.00 for members.  
All proceeds help the research, preservation and teaching activities
of the Old Cemeteries Society.  All guides are volunteers.
Feb. 19   RBC.  Black History.  The first tour of the year marks
Black History Month and the many black pioneer families who are
buried at Ross Bay Cemetery.  Led by Jonathan Johnson of the BC
Black History Awareness Society.
Feb. 26   Shady Creek Cemetery.  This year is the centennial for
Shady Creek United Church and the tour will recognize many of the
church's founders who lie buried in the picturesque cemetery
nearby.  Located at 7180 East Saanich Rd.
March 5   RBC.  History of Ross Bay Cemetery.  John Adams will
explain why the site was chosen, how it developed and why it is
considered western Canada's finest example of a Victorian era
March 12  Downtown Burial Sites.  This tour will start at Bastian
Square in front of the Maritime Museum (where there are graves of
hanging victims), stop at the old Fort Victoria Graveyard and St.
Andrew's Cathedral (memorial windows and crypt) and finish at
Pioneer Square (the Old Quadra Street Burying Ground) and the
Christ Church Cathedral crypt.
March 19  RBC.  Shipwrecks.  Glenn Perlstrom will describe many of
BC's most famous shipwrecks and visit the graves of some of those
who died in them.
March 26  Chinese Cemetery.  At this time of year the Chinese
community prepares for Ching Ming or "The Pure Brightness Festival"
and visits the cemetery to clean and decorate ancestral graves. 
Charlayne Thornton-Joe whose grandfather lies buried here will lead
the 2:00 p.m. tour and explain Chinese burial customs.  Meet at the
foot of Crescent Road, off King George Terrace.  (She will also
lead a morning tour of Chinatown followed by lunch.  See details in
"Special Events and Field Trips".
April 2   RBC.  Chinese Graves at Ross Bay.  The Ching Ming theme
continues at RBC where the oldest Chinese graves date from 1873. 
Learn why many of them were exhumed and about the storm in 1909
that washed others away.
April 9   St. Mary the Virgin Churchyard.  This beautiful Metchosin
cemetery is ablaze with wild lilies at this time of year.  Learn
about the Witty and Weir families and other pioneers, then see a
demonstration of how to grow your own lilies.  4354 Metchosin Rd.
April 16  RBC.  Tombstone Symbolism.  This Easter Sunday tour will
examine Christian and other symbols found in the cemetery.  (See
also "Floral Symbolism" on Sept. 17).
April 23  Vancouver Field Trip.  Join the Society on its one-day
spring tour to Mountain View Cemetery and other Vancouver burial
places.  See details in "Special Events and Field Trips".
April 29-30  Heritage Cemeteries Symposium.  Two days of
discussions, slide shows and workshops about the history and
preservation of BC's heritage cemeteries.  Pre-registration
recommended.  See "Special Events and Field Trips".
May 7     RBC.  Literary Tour.  A wide range of writers from Emily
Carr to Jack Hodgins have used RBC in their works and many other
writers are buried there.  Also visit the grave of the librarian
who chased a cougar away from the Public Library steps.
May 14    Our Lady of the Assumption Cemetery.  Enjoy the rural
charm of this Roman Catholic churchyard which serves the local
white community and the Saanich Indians.  Gabe Bartleman, a
Tsartlip Elder, will explain the First Nations respect for their
burial places.  Meet at the church, 7742 West Saanich Rd.
May 21    RBC.  In the Name of Love.  Yvonne Van Ruskenveld will
describe some of Victoria's most famous (and infamous) romances of
a by-gone era.
May 28    Sooke Field Trip.  Learn about Sooke's pioneer families
and have lunch at the Sooke Region Museum, then visit several of
the area's heritage cemeteries, including that of the Muir family,
with tour leader Elida Peers.  More information and registration in
"Special Events and Field Trips".
June 4    RBC.  Echoes of Distant Wars.  The Crimean War, the U.S.
Civil War, the Riel Rebellion, the Boer War, World Wars I and II
and other wars all have veterans in RBC whose stories will be told
by John Azar.
June 11   Jewish Cemetery.  BC's oldest operating cemetery contains
many well-known names from Victoria history, including Canada's
first Jewish judge.  (Men please wear a hat).  Corner of Cedar Hill
Rd. at Fernwood Rd.
June 18   RBC.  City Fathers.  The 7th annual Father's Day tour to
the graves of Victoria's deceased mayors will once again be led by
a living one.
June 25   St. Stephen's Churchyard Tour and Display.  Tour this
idyllic churchyard at BC's oldest church at 2:00 p.m.  From 1 :00
pm to 4:00 pm visit the special exhibit of the research and
inventory of St. Stephen's Churchyard conducted by the Old
Cemeteries Society during 1994-95 with assistance from the British
Columbia Heritage Trust.  Located at the end of St. Stephen's Rd.,
off Mt. Newton Cross Rd., near Saanichton.
July 2 - Sept. 3  Gossip in the Graveyard Summer Series.  Lively,
entertaining tours are held three times a week at Ross Bay cemetery
during the summer.  Join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.
and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. for a memorable experience.  Meet at Bagga
Sept. 10  Holy Trinity Churchyard.  This old-world churchyard
beside Patricia Bay contains a who's who of North Saanich pioneers,
plus the grave of former Lieutenant Governor Pearkes.  Located at
1319 Mills Rd. at West Saanich Rd., near the Victoria International
Sept. 17  RBC.  Floral Symbolism.  One of our most popular tours
each year interprets the language of flowers as depicted on
tombstones of the Victorian era.  Tour guide Dr. Vivian Rich
provides a lively, entertaining commentary you won't want to miss.
Sept. 23 -24   Weekend Field Trip to Cumberland.  An overnight
train and bus excursion to the interesting Comox Valley will
feature a tour of the Cumberland Museum, a guided tour around the
former coal mining town and visits to the community cemetery and
the Japanese and Chinese cemeteries where many miners lie buried. 
For details and registration see "Special Events and Tours".
Oct. 1    RBC.  Heritage Trees.  Ross Bay is an arboretum of great
variety.  Tour leaders Fred Hook and Jennifer Lort provide
commentary about the trees, their histories and folklore.
Oct. 8    Royal Oak Burial Park.  Women's History Tour - Part 1. 
The first of a three-part series to mark Women's History Month will
visit the graves of Nellie McClung and other notable women.  Meet
inside the main gate, 4673 Falaise Dr.
Oct. 15   RBC.  Women's History Tour - Part 2.  Visit the graves of
an Arctic explorer, a photographer, Suffragettes, BC's first female
land owner and other remarkable women of early Victoria. 
Oct. 22   Pioneer Square.  Women's History Tour - Part 3.  Discover
some of the women of the fur trade, a seafarer, a former slave, a
reluctant midwife and others of the colonial era.  Meet at the
corner of Quadra St. and Rockland Ave. beside Christ Church
Oct. 28 & 29  "Ghost Bus-tours".  Bus tours to haunted sites.  See
"Special Events and Field Trips" for information and registration details.
Oct. 29   RBC.  Annual Ghost Walk.  Always our most popular tour
(500 attended last year) so we have six guides at two separate
times to keep groups small:  1 pm and 3 pm, leaving from Bagga
Pasta.  Reservations not required.
Nov. 5    RBC.  Guy Fawkes Day.  You would be surprised how many
connections with the Gunpowder Plot can be found at RBC if you
really stretch your imagination.  Exercise your mind and learn
about Victoria's history.
Nov. 12   Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Funerals.  This
special program will start at 10 am at Hayward's Funeral Chapel
(1625 Quadra St.), BC's oldest operating funeral company, to
discuss funeral arrangements and customs around the world, have
lunch, visit Mortimer's Monument Company then proceed to the Royal
Oak Crematorium for a tour and demonstration at 2 pm.  No
reservations required.  Join us for all or part of this program. 
See "Special Events and Field Trips" for additional details.
Nov. 19   RBC. Murder Most Foul.  Another one of our most popular
tours will include some of the old favorites told in past years,
but add some new hair-raising stories of true murders in old
Nov. 26   Brethour Family Cemetery.  See one of Victoria's least
known, but most interesting burial grounds, then visit the Saanich
Pioneer Museum for tea and a tour.  Meet at the Brethour Cemetery,
corner of East Saanich Rd. and Ocean Ave. beside the Victoria
International Airport.  No reservations required.
Dec. 3    RBC.  Unsolved Mysteries.  Glenn Perlstrom dips into his
files of Victoria whodunits which have never been solved.  Test
your detective skills against the experts.
Dec. 10   Pioneer Square.  Christmas Tour.  Enjoy hearing true
stories of Christmas in old Victoria at one of BC's oldest burying
grounds.  Meet at corner of Quadra St. and Rockland Ave.
Dec. 13   RBC. Emily Carr Birthday Tour.  This special tour is held
on Emily Carr's birthday and will visit the graves of many of the
characters she knew, with brief readings about them from her
colorful writings.  Meet at 2 pm at Bagga Pasta as usual.  
Write to OCS, Box 40115, Victoria, B.C., V8W 3N3 or call 598-8870 
for reservations and additional information.
March 26  Chinatown Tour and Lunch. (Optional outing before the
Chinese Cemetery tour at 2 pm).  An in-depth tour of Chinatown
includes 3 temples, a mah jong parlor and the Chinese School. 
Lunch at one of the best restaurants.  Starts at 10 am.  $25 per
person includes Chinatown tour, lunch and tour of Chinese Cemetery. 
Deadline for Chinatown tour and lunch reservations March 19.  (No
reservations needed for Chinese Cemetery tour only which begins at
2:00 pm).
April 23  Vancouver Field Trip.  An escorted one-day bus excursion
to Vancouver and New Westminster cemeteries.  Price including box
lunch $50 per person.  Deadline for registration April 10. 
(Option:  Meet the group in Vancouver at Mountain View Cemetery,
33rd and Fraser at 2:00 pm and join in the tour of this one
cemetery.  Cost $5 paid at the start of tour).
April 29 - 30  Heritage Cemeteries Symposium.  An informal
gathering of people interested in knowing more about old cemeteries
anywhere in BC or sharing what they already know.  Slide
presentations about current cemetery projects, workshops on
recording, conservation, research and computer technology.  Field
trips to several Victoria cemeteries and a supper and tour at
historic St. Stephens Church and Churchyard.  Cost $70 non-members;
$60 members before April 1;  $80 and $65 after April 1.
May 28  Sooke Field Trip.  Meet at Sooke Region Museum for tour at
11 am (shared transportation from Victoria can be arranged),
followed by lunch and an afternoon's outing to the Muir family
cemetery and several other little-known cemeteries of the area. 
Cost $15 per person.  Registration deadline for lunch May 20;  no
reservations required for cemetery outing which will depart from
museum at 1:00 pm.
Sept. 23 - 24  Cumberland Field Trip Weekend.  Leave by E & N
Dayliner on Saturday morning and return Sunday evening.  Saturday
afternoon tour of Cumberland village and the museum, then the
community cemetery and the Japanese and Chinese cemeteries.  Supper
in the community hall.  Accommodation in Courtenay.  Sunday visits
to cemeteries, museums and sites in Courtenay and Comox.  $150 non-
members; $135 members.  (Includes all transportation, lunch and
supper on Saturday and motel based on double occupancy). 
Registration deadline Sept. 12.  
Oct. 28 & 29  "Ghost Bus-tours".  Get into the Halloween spirit by
finding out more about some of Victoria's most famous ghost stories
and haunted places.  Escorted bus tours last about 2+ hours and
visit about 10 sites, getting out at 4 of them.  Tours start at
7:00 pm downtown on both Saturday Oct. 28 and Sunday Oct. 29. 
Registrations by mail before Oct. 20 or by phone after Oct. 20 at
384-2895.  Cost $15 per person.  (Don't forget our Annual Ghost
Walk on Sunday Oct. 29 at Ross Bay Cemetery).
Nov. 12  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Funerals.  No
reservations are needed for this special program.  Join in all or
part of the day's events, starting at 10:00 am at Hayward's Funeral
Chapel (1625 Quadra St.), then from 12:30 to 1:30 at Mortimer's
Monumental Works (709 Kings Rd.), then at 2 pm at the Royal Oak
Crematorium (inside the gates at 4673 Falaise Dr.)  If you need
assistance with transportation, please call to arrange.
Throughout the year the Old Cemeteries Society conducts specialized
tours for many groups, generally at Ross Bay Cemetery, but other
cemeteries can be included.  Topics can be customized to suit the
nature of the group and tours can be arranged for almost any time
during the week.  School groups have become a specialty and many
teachers include a unit on Ross Bay Cemetery.  A charge of $5 per
adult and $2 per student is requested.
>From October 16 to 31 Glenn Perlstrom will lead his famous
Halloween Ghost Tour for schools at a charge of $2 per student. 
Book early because these tours usually fill up quickly.
To make inquiries or reservations for any special tour call 598-