Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Vancouver Island Local History Society’s Mission/Vision?

The Vancouver Island Local History Society (VILHS) is a non-profit society dedicated to the promotion and support of local history initiatives. Our mission:

  • To promote, encourage, and engage the study of local and regional history within the communities of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
  • To develop and support local history initiatives that take a critical and exploratory approach to Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.
  • To develop and support projects that are inclusive, diverse, and representative of communities in the past and present.
  • To act as a facilitator of local efforts that build relationships between organizations and communities and situate history as a foundational or key element

We feel that Point Ellice House is an ideal site for local history to be exhibited, discussed, and researched. We believe that Point Ellice House reflects the history of BC and can serve as Victoria’s museum – a site for encountering stories about the communities around us.

We believe that public history plays a vital role in truth and reconciliation. Point Ellice House is deeply enmeshed with the colonial history of Victoria and British Columbia and we will work with First Nations and Indigenous-serving organizations to develop educational opportunities and dialogue regarding the history and legacy of colonization.

We value the location of Point Ellice House within the Rock Bay and Burnside Gorge neighbourhoods. We believe that building relationships and partnerships with our diverse neighbours will serve the future of this rapidly changing area.

Who is involved with the Vancouver Island Local History Society?

We are a non-profit society. A board of directors oversees governance of the society. A full-time executive director (ED) is responsible for day to day operations of the site and its programming.


Dr. Patrick Dunae is Professor Emeritus in History at Vancouver Island University and an Adjunct Associate Professor in History at the University of Victoria. Patrick is the editor of, a digital archive of historical records pertaining to Vancouver Island. In 2012, he created a geographical information system (GIS) of heritage properties in Victoria’s Burnside Neighbourhood. The project was funded by the City of Victoria and developed in conjunction with the Burnside Gorge Community Association. Patrick has served on the City of Victoria’s Heritage Advisory Panel and was a member of an Engagement Advisory Group established to assist in developing an official neighbourhood plan for Burnside. He is the principal of Clio Media, a business devoted to research, communications, and consulting in public history.

Vice President

Dr. Misao Dean is a Professor in the English Department at the University of Victoria. She has authored five books on early Canadian literature and culture. Misao has published peer reviewed articles on BC authors such Emily Carr, Martin Allerdale Grainger, and Ethel Wilson, and on Point Ellice House itself. She currently teaches a graduate seminar in Literatures of the West Coast, and undergraduate courses in British Columbia Literature.


Colleen Hobson has nearly 25 years experience working in the not for profit community in Greater Victoria. As the former Executive Director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place, Colleen was responsible for the financial health of the organization and all other aspects of that society including human resources, program development/evaluation and strategic planning. Colleen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Social Work, both from the University of Victoria.


Corinne Hilton Bains has worked for the past decade at Saanich Neighbourhood Place where she currently serves as the Manager of Children’s Programs. In this role, Corinne works with local agencies, community groups, and municipal and provincial offices to coordinate and oversee a number of projects and contracts, ranging from a community playground renovation to the construction of a childcare services building. Her range of experience includes managing staff, volunteers, and students, as well as crafting policy, participating in grant writing, and acting as a project consultant.

Director at Large

Aimee Greenaway has over 12 years experience working in museums on Vancouver Island. Curator at the Nanaimo Museum since 2014, Aimee’s primary areas of responsibility are exhibit development, oversight of public programming, managing a diverse artifact collection that includes household objects, cultural belongings, an 1890s heritage house, and a Hudson’s Bay Company fort. Aimee serves on the Board of the Friends of the BC Archives, is a member of the BC Museums Association’s publication committee and is BC History magazine’s Book Review Editor. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education (Vancouver Island University), BC Teaching certificate and Collections Management certificate (University of Victoria).

Director at Large

Dr Yasmin Amaratunga Railton (PhD, Courtauld Institute of Art, London; MA, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London) is an international curator and art historian specialising in the art market and Contemporary Art. She has over ten years’ experience working in blue chip Post-war & Contemporary galleries and auction houses as a Research Specialist. She has been faculty and a consultant for Sotheby’s Institute of Art since 2013 and lectures extensively internationally to both academic and collector groups. Bridging art business, history of art, and conservation, her interdisciplinary research focuses on the value of contemporary art within the art market and public museums.

Executive Director

Dr. Kelly Black is the past Manager of Operations at Point Ellice House and he has been involved in public history, heritage conservation, and non-profit management for over 10 years. Kelly previously served on the City of Victoria’s Heritage Advisory Panel; he is also an Adjunct Professor of History at Vancouver Island University, as well as the current President of the Friends of the British Columbia Archives. Kelly completed his PhD in Canadian Studies and Political Economy (Carleton University) and his research interests include Settler-Indigenous relations and local/public history.

Are you accepting volunteer applications?

We are seeking volunteers for a number of areas! Sign up for our email updates by clicking here or check our volunteer page by clicking here

Are you hiring?

Job opportunities at Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens can be found by visiting our employment opportunities page, click here.

Do you serve afternoon tea?

No. As of March 2019 Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens is under new management. Regular tea and food service are not offered.

Can I rent space at Point Ellice House?

The Point Ellice House lawn is ideal for weddings and other celebrations. The site can accommodate up to 125 persons. Bookings are available for any day of the week. Rental includes non-exclusive use of our Gorge Waterway dock, site power, access to 10 small tables and 20 chairs, and non-exclusive use of our two Visitor Centre washrooms (including an accessible washroom). The historic home and Visitor Centre exhibit space are not available for rentals. Exclusive rates are also available.

Further details can be found by clicking here: Point Ellice House_Site Rental_Rates_2020 (link to PDF).

Is Point Ellice House accessible for persons with disabilities?

Point Ellice House is a one storey building with ramps at the entrance and exit – it is accessible to persons with mobility aids. The narrowest doorway inside the house, between the north hall and servery, is 29 inches wide. Other doorways in the house range between 30 and 31.5 inches.

The Visitor Centre building is accessible to persons with mobility aids. All doors in the visitor centre have lever handles.

The gardens and lawn are accessible via a hard-packed gravel path.

An accessible washroom is located inside the Visitor Centre. This washroom has a baby change table. There is one accessible parking stall located beside the Visitor Centre main entrance.

The Visitor Centre loft and the dock are not wheelchair accessible.

We welcome service animals and support persons. Support animals/persons are not charged a fee for entry.

Is parking available for large groups?

Parking is available for fifteen cars, including one accessible stall. A limited number of street parking spots are available. Public transit, carpooling, taxi service, or water taxi service is advised for large groups.

What is the admission rate for the gardens and grounds?

The gardens and grounds are free to enter and open to the public during our operating hours.

Can I bring my pet?

Except for service/support animals, pets are not permitted at Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens.

F.A.Q. about our Reopening

Information to Plan Your Visit