Explore the archives and our community history with an Oak Bay Archives photograph project that aims to stir conversation.
Then and Now is inspired by a project archivist Caroline Duncan saw in Ketchikan, Alaska.
It explored the traditional, an archives photo juxtaposed with a modern image, and took it one step further. The project features a more in-depth look at the community and it’s growth and changes in perspective, Duncan said.
For example a photo of a father and son in the family grocery store from a generation before, displayed with the new image of that same son, with his daughter in the family grocery store.
“Anytime we reflect on our history and how Oak Bay has evolved to now, is a good thing. It provides perspective an a better understanding of our community,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen, excited about the project to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. “To understand your future you have to understand your past and how we got here.”
That’s part of the goal for the archives.
Residents can peruse the more than 1,000 photos online at the Oak Bay Archives or old family albums pulled from dusty bookshelves or attics to find inspiration.
Residents will sift through family photos and archive photos learning and thinking about their community in the past and present.
“When you start looking at these old photos you get a sense of how our community was in past decades,” Jensen said. “That will also give you a sense of where you want our community to go in the next decades.”
The finished project in Alaska was compiled into a community web display that stretched across a gallery. The local archives will display a selection of the images and stories in municipal hall come fall, followed by a showcase at the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library in December to end Canada’s 150th year. It will provide archives a selection of “now” images to create a snapshot of Oak Bay in 2017 for Canada’s 150th.
“It’s an opportunity to have a conversation about Oak Bay in the past,” Duncan said. “Another outcome is people will really explore the 1000-plus images at Oak Bay Archives and really think about the history and Oak Bay today.”
Duncan got the ball rolling with her images on the poster seen around town. She found an archive image of Sealand of the Pacific featuring a trainer and orca; and sets it beside a modern seal feeding frenzy at Oak Bay Marina.