Welcome to the Point Ellice House Blog

This blog is a space to share stories and updates about our work here at Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens. We hope you enjoy reading and that it encourages you to come see the site for yourself – maybe it will inspire you to get involved with helping us tell the many stories of this site. Welcome!...

October’s Artifact:  Thermos Set with Leather Case

Lisa Wilson, Curatorial Assistant (Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens) For October, our Artifact of the Month was an item that reminds us of spending time outdoors during the fall. This three-piece Thermos set was likely owned by Frank or Jack O’Reilly and used to bring warm beverages and snacks on hunting and fishing trips. It may also have been used by their sister Kathleen for equestrian adventures, or by Jack’s wife Mary for her own hunting trips. The set from our collection was manufactured in Germany during the 1910s-1920s and consists of a leather carrying case, a metal...

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Artifact of the Month at Point Ellice House

Lisa Wilson, Curatorial Assistant (Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens) Every month at Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens we select an artifact for our volunteer interpreters to show visitors. This new program is exciting as it offers an opportunity for our interpreters to handle and learn about an artifact, while visitors get to view something from our large collection up close – usually an artifact that has never been exhibited before. In September, our debut artifact for this program was an issue of a British magazine called The Bystander, published August 20th, 1913. The Bystander was a tabloid-style...

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The Search for Caroline O’Reilly’s Grave

Guest post by Tim Fitzthum, Point Ellice House Volunteer Interpreter Visitors to Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens are sometimes inspired to share their knowledge, stories, and photographs relating to Point Ellice House or other aspects of local history. This shared knowledge adds to our understanding of local history and reveals aspects of the Point Ellice House story that have been lost to us through time. We value these contributions and encourage others to share their knowledge. One recent contribution comes from Tom Osaki who wrote an account of the death of Caroline O’Reilly and the reason for her...

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Point Ellice House & Victoria’s Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Point Ellice House, Museum & Gardens National Historic Site is a green oasis surrounded by industrial lands on the shores of the Selkirk Water. The Point Ellice House shore is a component of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary and the Victoria “naturehood,” as recognized by Nature Canada. The site’s vegetated shoreline was restored in 2014 and is among the wildest left in Victoria Harbour and nearby waters. This restoration work continues today. To be a part of our ongoing efforts, consider volunteering at Point Ellice House. Guest Post by Jacques Sirois, Co-Warden – Trial Islands Ecological Reserve, Caretaker...

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Rock Bay – One of Victoria’s Best Kept Secrets

  When it was first built in the early 1860s, Point Ellice House was a semi-rural estate, located quite a distance from the very small downtown of Victoria. In the many years since, the other grand homes and residences around Point Ellice House have disappeared. Today, the house and gardens are an oasis in the midst of urban industrial activity. When residents of Victoria think of Rock Bay, gravel piles, dump trucks, and waste transfer stations are likely the first images that come to mind. Of course, Rock Bay is also home to many thriving businesses, local artists, and...

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Uncovering the Stories of Point Ellice House

Last week at Point Ellice House, our Head Gardener Sheila and volunteer Tim were working around the circular drive, trimming holly trees and tidying up the garden beds. As they trimmed back holly branches, they uncovered an enormous stump, likely a horse chestnut tree planted by Peter O’Reilly in the 1870s. The stump was new to us and a reminder that Point Ellice House and its gardens continue to surprise. There’s a lot we know about the house and families that lived here, but there’s still so much we have yet to uncover. There’s rarely a dull moment in...

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