Stories of Esquimalt’s history told in new book

One hundred years' worth of stories, and more, detailed in historian's latest offering

Sherri Robinson has worked on her latest literary work for so long, she has to pause a moment to calculate the years.

“It began … 2002,” the long-time Esquimalt resident says with a laugh. “What I started in 2002 was the researching.”

When Esquimalt turned 90 years old that year, Robinson knew she wanted to do something special to mark the township’s 100 years as an incorporated municipality.

After years of effort, she’ll publicly unveil Esquimalt Centennial, 1912 to 2012, during Buccaneer Days, happening on Saturday and Sunday (June 9 and 10).

Given the amount of research involved, the author and historian could easily have written more than 144 pages. The book covers the military, heritage buildings, public figures, sports, schools, churches, pubs, parks – even municipal bylaws.

Though the title of the hard-bound, sewn book suggests a 100-year history, Robinson says she couldn’t leave out the years leading up to 1912.

“I couldn’t do that, because you have to build your stories through the past, and that’s what I have done,” says Robinson, a volunteer at the Esquimalt archives and member of the Centennial Celebrations select committee. “It just overlaps and flows into everything.”

Though detailed, the book “is not the definitive history on Esquimalt. It is stories (drawn from) the history of Esquimalt,” she says.

Robinson, author of Streets and Roads, A History (1995), put some little-known aspects of Esquimalt’s past in the new book, including details about garden nurseries in the township.

“I think, on the scheme of things across the country, that our history is the most unique of any other place in Canada. I can’t think of any other place that was entirely expropriated by the government, and didn’t get absorbed into something else, or disappear completely.”

She’s referring to the expropriation of the village of Esquimalt in 1941, when families and businesses were forced to move from where HMC Dockyard is today.

It offers a lesson in resiliency.

“The families of some of those dockyard inhabitants are still here,” Robinson says.

She will be selling the book inside the Archie Browning Sports Centre during the community fair this weekend.

The book costs $30, and proceeds from sales will help fund centennial celebrations. The literary work can also be purchased at the municipal hall, 1229 Esquimalt Rd., and the archives, at 1149A Esquimalt Rd.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Just Posted

The Victoria Royals will return to the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign when they open next season against the Vancouver Giants on Oct. 2. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fans expected in the Save-On stands for Victoria Royals’ Oct. 2 home opener

It’ll be the first Western Hockey League action at the arena since March 2020

Police are looking for witnesses and video footage after a crash on June 18. (Photo courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
West Shore RCMP looking for videos related to Corvette crash

Driver believed to have fled the scene of View Royal crash

The Pat Bay Highway was closed for several hours Monday morning after a drug-impaired driver crashed into two hydro poles. (Black Press Media file photo)
UPDATE: Pat Bay closure caused by drug-impaired driver

Man struck two hydro poles, closing a section of the Pat Bay Monday morning

The City of Victoria is once again offering $50,000 for selected neighbourhood enhancement projects, through its participatory budgeting program. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria neighbourhoods can earn city funding for projects

Up to $50,000 available for initiatives that enhance, enrich neighbourhoods

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Greater Victoria with unusually high temperatures expected Monday and this coming weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria’s first week of summer will be a scorcher

Special weather statement issued Monday by Environment Canada

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctos urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Coquihalla to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation is providing $1 million in funding to upgrade 3 rest areas

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

By the end of life, the average North American has eaten the weight of a family sedan in sugar. (Pixabay.com)
FITNESS: Living the sweet life without too much sugar

Simple choices can have a major impact on your health

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read