Heritage festival offers glimpse of the past

Point Ellice house hosts a party on Sunday

Volunteer site co-ordinator Gail Simpson holds a cup of raspberries

Volunteer site co-ordinator Gail Simpson holds a cup of raspberries

One of Victoria’s most undiscovered jewels is celebrating a milestone.

Point Ellice House is 150 years old, and to mark the occasion, volunteers and staff are hosting a heritage festival at the historical house and gardens on Sunday.

The national historic site is visited by upwards of 6,000 tourists each year, but many Greater Victoria residents have not yet discovered the 1861 jewel, owned by three generations of O’Reillys, said volunteer site co-ordinator Gail Simpson

“Certainly locals are not as aware of it,” Simpson said. “But we’re turning that around.”

Raising the museum’s profile closer to home is one of the objectives of the Point Ellice House Preservation Society.

“If they fell in love with it the way we love it, then when Aunt Martha comes to visit, it would be the first thing that they think of – ‘Oh, let’s take her there for lunch,’” Simpson said.

The house is able to stay open and undergo preservation work – it’s now receiving a fresh coat of exterior paint – because of museum admission fees and its afternoon tea service. The heritage festival will also be an important fundraiser.

The event will feature costumed volunteers, light refreshments and history experts, who will be available to answer questions. There will also be performances by the Victoria Summer Choir, Morris dancers and band All In Good Time.

“We’re just so glad to see the dear old house getting addressed because some of the woodwork, which happens over time, is really needing to be restored,” Simpson said.

The festival happens Aug. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Point Ellice House, 2616 Pleasant St. The cost is $20 for two adults. Children under six are free and children six to 12 are $6. Families of two adults and two children pay $25.

For details, please visit www.point ellicehouse.ca, call 250-380-6506 or email ellicehouse@gmail.com.

emccracken@vicnews.com