Valerie Green lives and breathes the culture and history of Saanich. “I’ve lived here since 1968,” she says, “I guess I’m an old-timer now.”
For many years she served in leadership roles on municipal initiatives, including the Saanich Heritage and Legacy Foundations as well as the Saanich Arts, Heritage and Culture committee. She is passionate about history and how bringing the past to life contributes to a strong sense of community spirit.
Originally from England, Green initially moved to Saanich expecting to stay for one year. “I was visiting cousins here, and I met my future husband during that year,” she recalls. “I loved this place right away. It’s a very good place to live and to raise children.”
Green is a prominent historian who has published 17 books. Her upcoming work, 50 Conversations from the Past, profiles notable people from British Columbia’s history, including prominent Saanich residents such as the Yale and Vantreight families. “It involves famous people throughout the province in imaginary conversations,“ she explains. “As if I were a reporter talking to them.”
Green has seen a number of changes in Saanich over the years. “I think it’s become more community-minded,” she says, noting that a number of recreation centres, parks and bike trails did not exist decades ago.
With her work as an historian, Green remains focused on the future and is heartened by the response her research generates with local youth. “I am amazed at how many young people are interested in history. It’s really inspiring for me.”
The connection between preserving the past and building a bright future for the next generation is important for the municipality, notes Saanich Coun. Vicky Sanders. “Art, culture and heritage enrich Saanich and are woven into the fabric of our municipality,” she says. “We all have busy lives, busy families and priorities, but taking time to recognize what makes Saanich special is something that’s very important to me.”
With this in mind, the municipality has created a new awards program to recognize outstanding contributions by individuals, organizations and businesses to the cultural life of Saanich. “It is our hope that by honouring these individuals and groups, we will continue to shape how art, culture and heritage is celebrated in Saanich for years to come,” says Sanders.
Nominations for the inaugural Saanich Arts, Culture and Heritage Awards will be accepted until Oct. 14. For more information, please visit: saanich.ca/arts.