Fair invites public to take a step back in time

Fossil Fair runs this weekend at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

Victoria Palaeontology Society chair Tom Cockburn shows his grandson Cayden a model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex claw. The claw will be one of the exhibits on display at the Fossil Fair this weekend at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Ancient history will be displayed in living colour this weekend at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

Local residents can catch a glimpse of life millions of years ago when the Victoria Palaeontology Society holds its 21st Fossil Fair Saturday and Sunday at Swan Lake.

“There will be displays of the various different types of marine animals that lived around this area. We’ll also have some dinosaur bones, which kids always like,” said Tom Cockburn, chair of the Victoria Palaeontology Society.

He said there will be a real femur bone measuring almost three feet long from a hadrosaur, as well as replicas of things such as teeth from a T-Rex.

While the displays will look at some of the marine life found in local waters as well as the palm forests and other plant life found on Vancouver Island during the Cretaceous period, he said the dinosaur bones come from Alberta or the U.S.

“There is one bone that was found one of the [Gulf] Islands, we’re not saying which one because we don’t want hordes of people there tearing the place apart,” said Cockburn, adding that bone can now be found in the Royal B.C. Museum. “It is the only authenticated dinosaur bone from this area.”

The Fossil Fair will display a rich and diverse variety of ancient fossil animals and plants from the Cambrian (550 million years ago) to the end of the last Ice Age (10,000 years ago). The fossils include dinosaur bones, ammonites, trilobites, corals, mollusks, insects, giant palm leaves and microscopic fossils. The public is also invited to bring in fossils for identification.

Cockburn said there’s plenty of hands-on material, as well as numerous activities for children including a fossil scavenger hunt, fossil colouring, rubbings and items to look at through microscopes. He says the Fossil Fair is sure to have something of interest for all ages.

“We get people who come and say I just brought the kids to look at this stuff. Then the parents start asking all these questions,” said Cockburn. “The kids are ready to go out and feed the ducks and the parents are still looking at stuff.”

The Fossil Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the sanctuary, 3872 Swan Lake Rd. Admission is by donation.

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