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Shovels hit the ground on June 3 for Shawnigan Lake Museum’s Project Impact

Shawnigan Lake Historical Society will host its groundbreaking ceremony on June 3, all are welcome
Shawnigan Lake Historical Society board chair Michael Battler and executive director Lori Treloar proudly hold up the permit they received from the CVRD which will allow them to finally dig into the expansion work at Shawnigan Lake Museum. All are welcome to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on site on June 3, 2023. (Courtesy of Lori Treloar)

After years of patience, planning, and COVID restrictions the Shawnigan Lake Historical Society is excited to finally dig into its expansion of the Shawnigan Lake Museum with Project Impact, which will triple the size of the building. Shovels will hit the ground on June 3 as the society hosts its groundbreaking ceremony on site at 1:30 p.m.

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau and CVRD Board Chair Aaron Stone will be speakers at the event.

“We are thrilled to finally start the project,” said executive director Lori Treloar. “The Society has been working on this seriously since we were given a $100,000 donation in late 2016. Ironically, the Society tried to expand the building in the 1980s but it did not happen. The current space is not accessibility friendly and severely limits what we would like to offer the community. We have raised roughly $2.2 million over the last several years, which is a lot, but we have had a few setbacks, COVID being one, which created delays and increased costs. We are very grateful to the funders and our donors for making this project a reality, we will need to continue to raise funds, but are certain that this project will have a significant positive impact for our community.”

READ MORE: Shawnigan Lake Museum gets $1,078,000 for expansion project

Project Impact is a community supported capital expansion project that will soon be tripling the size of the Shawnigan Lake Museum from 2,100 sq. ft. to over 6,000 sq. ft. This expansion will not only position the museum as the cultural hub of the community, but it will grow tourism exponentially in the area. The completed project will also provide space to invite community members and visitors to events and workshops led by the storytellers of the community.

“The expansion will triple the size of the current building, but it will add more community space rather than more exhibit space,” said Treloar. “There is very limited space, at the moment. This expansion will allow us to hold events, increase school and community programming and provide artifact and archival storage.”

There will also be meeting spaces, accessible washrooms that will be entered from the outside of the building and maintained by the CVRD as public washrooms, and a number of new exhibits.

Not only will the museum expansion create job opportunities during, and post-construction it will also generate a myriad of roles within the museum, both volunteer and paid.

Located in the heart of Shawnigan Lake, the historical society was incorporated in 1977, and first opened the museum in the original firehall in 1983. To assist in bringing this dream of expansion to fruition, the historical society has received some of its funding through Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Rural and Northern Communities (RNC) Program; Legacy Fund; ICET; CVRD, and private donations.

“The expansion will allow the museum to take the past into the future,” said Treloar. “The expanded building will provide us with more opportunities to connect with the community and visitors. We will have space to collaborate with other groups within the community as well. The expansion will infuse energy into Shawnigan Village and we anticipate that it will help attract more visitors and tourists.”

The aim is to complete the expansion by June of 2024.

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