Report for the Fiscal Year of 2015

The new Squirrel Cove exhibit opened in the summer with prayers, drumming and songs by Norman Harry and Ken Hanuse of the Klahoose First Nation whose traditional history goes back thousands of years.  Many tours, community outreach programs, fundraising events and creating a new website kept us busy throughout the year.  Visitors who signed our guest book totalled 3374, an increase of 23% for 2015.


These programs include Museum Exhibits, the Heritage Garden, the School Programs and Community Outreach events.  Activities are developed to educate and involve the general public, including Cortes residents, First Nations groups, children, seniors, students and tourists.  Cortes history is highlighted along with that of nearby islands and inlets.  The Museum encourages residents and organizations to preserve their own history with artifacts and archival materials.


With on-going exhibits still popular, the new exhibits Squirrel Cove – A Spirit of Place including a history of the Klahoose First Nation T’oq – A Place of Spirit caught the attention of visitors and drew in numerous First Nation visitors. The Squirrel Cove Exhibits were curated by Lisa Gibbons and Laurel Bohart.  The exhibits coincided with the launch of the fourth in our history booklet series, Squirrel Cove, written and produced by Yvonne Kipp and Lynne Jordan with layout by Patricia leRoux.  Continuing exhibits were:  Wild Cortes—Woods, Wetlands & Waters, Species & Ecosystems at Risk on Cortes, the Permanent Exhibit of Cortes History, the Pioneer Kitchen, When Wrangellia Came Wandering In, History of Forest Fires on Cortes, and the Reading Area. An interesting mini exhibit this year was a tubular formation of gravel melted into glass by a downed power line in August caused by the collapse of a big tree on Bartholomew.  A future exhibit will be a “cookie” cut from this famous big tree.  Exciting plans are in the works for a satellite natural history exhibit at Linnaea Farm where Wild Cortes will form the nucleus for this expanded exhibit about Cortes flora and fauna.

Artifact Committee

This committee is tasked with assessing potential donations to the Museum as well as cataloguing and caring for our permanent collection.  This year we were honoured to receive Elmer Ellingsen’s famous accordion which had been kept safe by Ann Dewar and Robbie Graham.  Currently it is on display in the Squirrel Cove Exhibit and a McKenty daughter made it ‘sing’ again at the official opening in July.  We were also excited to work with David Ellingsen who photographed some of the collection for our website and gave lessons on creating photographs for Pinterest.

Heritage Garden

In 2015 the Heritage Garden was popular with visitors, many enjoying lunch at the newly refinished picnic table in the garden.  This table was painted the same blue colour as the Museum building and placed under the apple trees, proving popular with visitors having a relaxing break sitting under the dappled shade of the trees.

Some new perennial plantings were installed, including a lily donated from a Whaletown garden.  Yearly garden maintenance included liming lawn areas, pruning and soil improvement.  Once again, the Heritage Garden participated in the Museum sponsored Creative Spaces Tour in June.

Community Outreach

History Booklets

With the fourth volume in this series now printed and selling well both at the Museum and in the  Squirrel Cove Store, work has begun on the next booklet about Whaletown – a larger topic with much more historical information available to draw upon.

Walks & Talks Program

An important aspect of the CIMAS Public Education Program. We sponsor speakers and events on interesting topics, taking Cortes Island history out into the community.  During this year we hosted the following events:

  • Christmas Bird Count
  • Spring Migration Birding Event
  • 2 Manson’s Lagoon walks
  • 6 Pacific Yellowfin tours
  • Judith Williams – interpreted 2-day cruise of  pictographs in Desolation Sound
  • Mike Moore – Antarctic Adventures
  • David Hancock – Incredible Bald Eagles
  • Lynne Jordan & Yvonne Kipp – History of Squirrel Cove
  • Tara Warkentin – Arctic talk

Community Events

CIMAS hosted the following community events:

  • Creative Spaces – Gardens, Studios & Workshops Tour
  • Manson’s Landing Dock Mariner Swap Meet, co-sponsored with the C.I. Harbour Authority
  • 3 Literary Afternoons co-sponsored with the Seniors’ Society
  • Geo Cache in the garden is popular with families seeking it out
  • Book launch for local author Carrie Saxifrage co-sponsored with Marnie’s Books
  • Radio interview about Museum history by Lynne Jordan on Gary Cork’s CRTZ program
    Co-sponsored with Reel Youth – filmed interviews with seniors
  • CIMAS table at summer/Christmas  Friday Markets
  • CIMAS table at Seafood Festival, Cortes Day & Harvest Festival celebrations
  • Christmas Tea

School Program

Thanks to Christine Robinson and Laurel Bohart, during this year CIMAS sponsored the following school events:

  • Final mounting demonstration of great blue heron with presentation to school
  • 2 Cortes school visits with storytelling by local seniors
  • 2 visits by French Immersion classes from Campbell River who overnighted at the school
  • Class visit from Gold River & Tahsis on biking tour of Cortes

Misty Isles Cruises

CIMAS sponsored the following 8 cruises to:

  • Mitlenatch Island (2)
  • Laughing Oyster Father’s Day Cruise
  • Desolation Sound (2)
  • Geology of Desolation Sound
  • ‘Round Maurelle Island
  • Overnight Pictograph Tour

Tourist/Visitor Information Booth

Visitors to the island come to the Museum seeking information about where to camp, hike, swim, find a place to stay or to obtain a map.  Thea Block, the 2015 summer student host, graciously imparted valuable information directing visitors.  CIMAS maintains the following tourist information:

  • Local brochures and maps on Museum porch available 24 hours
  • Summer host attendant with detailed information & maps during Museum open hours
  • Brochure rack on Cortes ferry
  • Information about lodges, B&Bs and other available places to stay
  • CIMAS presence on websites: Destination BC, Hello BC, Tideline & VI Vacation Rentals

The Museum also provides current statistics and information for the annual production of the Cortes Island Brochure and the Discovery Islands Tourist Magazine, along with distribution to the stores and ferry of both these guides.

Teachers from off-island planning class visits to Cortes contact the Museum for help in planning their touring and overnight stays.  There were three such trips in 2015.

In 2016 a Driving Tour booklet with historical photos of places on Cortes will be sold at the museum.


The main focus of the Archives Committee in 2015 was processing the May and Elmer Ellingsen fonds.  The first stage, an assessment and inventory of the 29 boxes of material in this accession, is almost complete.  We expect to finish the arrangement and description of this major collection next year, and to continue processing other holdings.  We also participated in the launch of the new Museum website last year, creating content for the Archives section and preparing two online exhibits – Images of Pioneer Life and The Peony.


Building Improvement

Projects included the completion of the East fire exit, wheelchair ramp and storage room with freezer.

Webpage Redesign

Board members participated in creating a new webpage, providing material to include initially with continuing additions to keep the website fresh.  Additions in 2015 to our social media presence include: Facebook, Pinterest, Trip Advisor and periodic blogs.


The following grants were gratefully received:

  • Community Gaming Grant – $12,000
  • Human Resources Skills Development Canada – $5977
  • Strathcona Regional District – $800
  • Coastal Community Credit Union – $3000

Additional fundraising activities included:

  • Creative Spaces – Gardens, Studios & Workshops
  • Misty Isles Cruises, Pacific Yellowfin Charter tours
  • Manson’s Lagoon Gumboot Tours
  • Donations and memberships
  • In memorium & estate bequests
  • Museum Shop sales
  • Boarding a boat trailer for sailors off cruising

2015 Board of Directors

Lynne Jordan – President                              Nancy Kendel – Vice President

Debbie Dragseth – Treasurer                         Connie Brill – Secretary

Members at Large: Bonnie MacDonald,  Ian Disney, Donna McLaren, Jill Milton, Laurel Bohart, Lynn Marttila, Erika Grundmann, and Donna Manson

The following volunteers provided essential support to the Board:

  • Christine Robinson (School Liaison)
  • Carol London (accounting support)
  • Peter Henbury (computer support)
  • Joe Jordan (support & dinners for President)

Two part-time employees helped to keep us open year round:  Thea Block (our home grown summer student), and Gina Trzesicka (office/webpage assistant extraordinaire). 

The five year Strategic Work Plan was revisited and updated.


Society memberships are promoted at the AGM and throughout the year at the Museum.  Memberships are also collected at the Friday Markets and other events.  The membership in 2015 increased from 262 to 280 (over 25% of the population of the island).  Newsletters have membership forms attached when they are mailed out 3 or 4 times each year to encourage participation.


Without the efforts of volunteers, our community would be a very different place … and the Cortes Museum would not be in existence.  Our dedicated and committed volunteers keep the Museum a vibrant focal point of the Cortes community.  A total of 92 volunteers donated an amazing 4028 hours of time to the CIMAS administration, programs and building maintenance. A complete list of the 2015 volunteers is at the end of this report.  For sharing your passion and time:  thank you, thank you!



  • Install the Big Tree “cookie” in Heritage Garden & create exhibit in gallery in May
  • Mount new satellite exhibit on Wild Cortes at Linnaea Farm in the fall
  • Make additions to the permanent display panels of Cortes Island history
  • Refresh and reorganize the Von Donop Logging Shed Exhibit
  • Provide curatorial training & hire part-time programmer under BC Arts Council Operating Assistance Grant

Artifact Collection Committee

  • Receive further training in artifact collection management from the C.R. Museum
  • Continue cataloguing & photographing artifacts already donated
  • Create awareness in the Cortes community of the importance of preserving historical objects
  • Obtain hard drive copy of the FOCI Reel Youth “outs” from interviews with seniors

Heritage Garden 

  • Update plant labeling to reflect new plantings
  • Continue to add plantings for early and mid-summer colour
  • Design and install a new garden interpretive panel
  • New weed control measures along front fence
  • Contribute seasonal garden features to blog on CIMAS website

Community Outreach

  • Host Spring Migration Birding (May 7, 2016) and Christmas Bird Count (Dec. 17, 2016)
  • Host “Literary Afternoons” featuring local writers, poets and musicians
  • Host guest speakers and island walks throughout the year
  • Launch Driving Tour booklet
  • Host book launches for local authors
  • Maintain presence with mini exhibits at community events & market days
  • Provide funding and support to Reel Youth program filming interviews with seniors
  • Hold a Christmas event

Tourist/Visitor Information Booth

  • Maintain summer opening hours of six days a week
  • Maintain fall/winter/spring opening hours of two days a week
  • Continue adding to album of comprehensive tourist information
  • Continue providing 24-hour tourist information on covered porch

School Program

  • Liaise with schools in developing interesting educational programs and visits to Museum
  • Continue taxidermy demonstrations
  • Continue helping off-island teachers plan class visits to Cortes & the Museum

Archives Program                           

  • Continue to arrange and describe papers in the Regional Directors and Ephemera holdings
  • Continue cataloguing the May and Elmer Ellingsen fonds
  • Obtain hard drive copy of Reel Youth “outs” from interviews with seniors


Creative Spaces Tour, June 25, 2016

  • Find volunteer coordinator, gardens, artists, workshops for tour

Museum Shop

  • Increase sales through inclusion of materials produced by CIMAS on the webpage
  • Encourage artists to place locally crafted, juried items to sell in Museum Shop
  • Increase stock of books for sale, including children’s books
  • Continue to stock books by local authors

Misty Isles Cruises

Cruises planned for 2016:

  • May 14 – Mitlenatch Island
  • June 11/12 – Mitlenatch & Twin Islands – overnight on Twin  (NEW THIS YEAR)
  • June 19 – Laughing Oyster Father’s Day Cruise
  • July 14/15/16 – Twin Islands Kayaking – 2 nights, 3 days kayaking  (NEW THIS YEAR)
  • July 22 & Aug. 13 – Desolation Sound
  • Aug 5 – ‘Round Maurelle Island
  • Aug 24/25 – Cassel Lake & Twin Islands – overnight  on Twin (NEW THIS YEAR)

Building Projects

  • Build stand & roof cover for Big Tree “cookie”
  • Permanently plumb in new dehumidifier in Archives storage room


  • Continue adding content to new webpage
  • Add blogs to new webpage

2015  CIMAS  VolunteersWe couldn’t do it without your help!     

Abelson, Martha
Anderson, Elizabeth
Ayers, Julian
Baker, Caroline
Baker, Wilson
Balducci, Laura
Bohart, Laurel
Bohart, Tom
Boles-Craig, Pamela
Bonner, Susanna
Brill, Connie
Butt, Doug
Cormack, Gordie
Daly, Diane
DeTrey, Anicca
Disney, Ian
Dobb, Holly-Anne
Dragseth, Debbie
Ekstrom, Christer
Ellingsen, Andy
Ellingsen, David
Ellingsen, Laura
Ellingsen, Sue
Elliott, Peter

Gibbons, Denise
Gibbons, Lisa
Gibbons, Norm
Gronau, Christian
Guthrie, Bill
Guthrie, Doreen
Hanuse, Kenny
Harry, Norman
Henbury, Peter
John, Sue
Jordan, Joe
Jordan, Lynne
Judie, Hipkin
Kendel, Nancy
Kendel, Ray
Kipp, Yvonne
LeaderMense, Sabina
leRoux, Patricia
London, Carol
Lorenson, Mary-Lu

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!” – Sherry  Anderson

MacDonald, Bonnie
MacKay, Holly
Manson, Donna
Manson, Mike
Marttila, Lynn
Marttila, Ray
McKenty Family Band
McKerley, Gail
McLaren, Donna
McPhail, Tamara
Milton, Jill
Moore, Mike
Napper, Chris
Nawrocki, Monica
Nelson, Julie
Ogilvy, Heather
Ophoff, Bill
Purcy, Christina
Robinson, Christine
Robinson, Valerie

Saxifrage, Carrie
Schick, Adam
Schick, Janet
Seltzer, Leah
Sprungman, John
Strijbos, Ester
Trzesicki, Gina
Trzesicki, Jurek
Waddell, Cali
Wand, Kelly
Warkentin, Tara
Watson, Ian
Watson, Victoria
Westcott, Terri
Weyler, Rex
Wheeler, Bill
Williams, Judith
Wolda, Denise
Woywitka, Leonard
Yendall, Lloyd

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