Museum Address:

505 South Road,
Gabriola Island, BC V0R 1X0
250-247-9987 | email: Gabriola Museum

Museum Hours:

Season Opening May 17, 2015

Closed for the winter.
Email for an appointment

This poem, written and read by Naomi Beth Wakan on the occasion of the Gabriola Museum’s fundraiser at the Golf Club, crystallizes the mission of the Museum to tell the story of the island by preserving and sharing its cultural and natural heritage and to engage the community in reflection and dialogue around themes and issues impacting the present and the future.

Who cares?

Who cares?
Who cares that
First Nations summer camped
on the narrows?
Or that, when white settlers
came to this island
they took native wives as
partners in their ventures?

Who cares
that families cleared
crown grant land and
built their homesteads,
and planted crops
so that they could provide
and flourish?

Who cares that
it took five hours to row
to Nanaimo bringing
fruit and veg and lambs and pigs
to sustain the miners there?

Who cares that
the only teacher on the island
rowed to Victoria with
three of his students for their exams
and rowed back.
four teachers at the oars?

Who cares that
the islanders cut millstones,
and baked bricks and
built ships so that
fathers could sustain their families?
And that their wives baked and preserved
and scrubbed and helped in the fields
alongside their men, equal energy
in those pioneering days?

Who cares that
canoes and rowboats
moved to sailboats,
moved to gas boats,
moved to ferries
for the comings and goings of the island?

The museum cares
for it knows for sure
that if we don't well heed
our island's past,
we cannot well guide
our island's future.

Naomi Beth Wakan, Inaugural Poet Laureate of Nanaimo