Posted by: aphconference | 25/10/2010

16 Tips That’ll Make The Most of Your Next Conference

Photo: Alan Campbell

Thanks to APH member and personal history blogger Dan Curtis for permission to reprint this post.

I’m excited about participating in the Association of Personal Historians “Voices of the Elders” conference in Victoria, B.C. from November 3rd. to 7th. If you’re at all interested in life stories and family history, this is the conference to attend.

Going to a conference is a major commitment of time and money. You want to make the most of it. Here are some tips that will help. Read More…

Posted by: aphconference | 20/10/2010

A Brief History of the Crystal Garden

Three conference events — Friday’s business meeting luncheon, Saturday afternoon’s Town Square and Saturday night’s unforgettable evening with Leon Bibb and Bill Sample — will be held at the Crystal Garden, the 85-year-old brick building across Douglas Street from the Conference Centre and the Fairmont Empress.

Tarzan used to swim at the Crystal Gardens.

Actually, it was a few years later that Johnny Weismuller took on the role of the jungle hero in the popular movie series. But having won three gold medals in swimming events at the 1924 Paris Olympics, Weismuller was already world famous when he broke the 100 yard indoor record at Victoria’s brand new swimming pool. Read More…

Posted by: aphconference | 08/10/2010

Walking (and Jogging) the Waterfront


Sunset off Dallas Road | Photo: Mike Nelson Pedde


Like to get your regular exercise? The conference is ideally located for enjoying your daily dose of aerobics in the fresh, sea air.

Starting from the Empress Hotel, cross the street and take the stairway down to the waterfront. Turn right (north) and follow the walkway over boardwalk and past marinas until it takes you back up to street level near the landmark Johnson Street Bridge. Cross the bridge (you’re now heading more-or-less west) and follow the walkway down in front of the Ocean Pointe Resort and along the shoreline for about 4 km (2.5 miles) to West Bay Marina. Read More…

Posted by: aphconference | 28/09/2010

Breakfast with Politicians


Parliament Buildings, Victoria | Photo: Tourism Victoria / Deanne Gillespie


Legislative Dining Room, Parliament Buildings, 821 Government Street, 250-389-2727

Open Monday – Friday, 7 – 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., 5:30 – 9 p.m.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner


Entering the Parliament Buildings, kittycorner from the Empress across Government Street, seemed daunting at first. We were asked for photo identification! But one of my group didn’t have hers, and the smiling gentleman allowed us in anyway.

We were given directions to the dining room and entered the historic marbled and columned hallways with curiosity. The dining room itself, where provincial politicians eat alongside the electorate, is cozy and traditional. We were made to feel welcome and comfortable at a lovely corner table.

The coffee was so delicious that my brother-in-law groaned while he sipped his. We must have appeared hungry, because our server took our order quickly. The breakfast eggs must have been organic, from free range hens, because they were sitting up and smiling at me, and tasty as can be! Fresh fruit was plentiful.

Breakfast at the Ledge was exceptional in quality and value. The coffee kept coming, the service was royal and the bill was reasonable. This will be a long-remembered, yummy breakfast.

Public access is limited at lunch time while the Legislative Assembly is sitting. If you are thinking of going for lunch or dinner, it’s a good idea to phone ahead to check hours and availability. Reservations accepted.

For information about touring the Parliament Buildings, click here.

APH Member Nancy Gray Hemstock

Posted by: aphconference | 23/08/2010

The Introvert’s Survival Guide to Conferences

Clover Point, Dallas Road, Victoria | Photo: wolfnowl

Thanks to APH member and personal history blogger Dan Curtis for permission to reprint this post. See also Dan’s previous post, 20 Reasons Why You Need to Attend the 2010 APH Conference

I love people, but I must admit I can’t be around them continually. It drains me. Hello, my name is Dan and I’m an introvert.

I previously wrote Attention Introverts! You Can Market Successfully. Now I’d like to turn my attention to another challenge for introverts — conferences. If the thought of spending days submerged in a sea of people is daunting, don’t despair. This article is for you.

Believe me, you can be introverted and still enjoy a conference. The Association of Personal Historians conference in Victoria this November is going to be a blast! Not to be missed. I’ll be there, armed with my Introvert’s Survival Guide. Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years.

  • Make space for downtime. By all means, attend all the workshops and keynote events that look interesting. But don’t fill your day with wall-to-wall events. Escape to your hotel room for an hour to read, nap, or just stare into space. I find going for a walk outside helps recharge my batteries.
  • Avoid a hotel roommate. The last thing you need is to have the stress of dealing with a roommate when you just want to relax. If you’re budget minded and plan to share, here’s my advice. Make every effort to find a fellow introvert. Or failing that, at least someone you know who can respect your need for quiet.
  • Exit conversations gracefully. It might be at a coffee break, meal, or in the hallway, but there’ll be times you need to escape from yet another conversation. Make sure you have a few handy exit lines to draw on such as “I’m sorry, but I need some time to freshen up before the next workshop.” “I’m sorry, but I have a call I need to make.” “I promised to meet up with someone and I need to find them. You’ll have to excuse me.”
  • Make meaningful connections. I find I’m at my best one-on-one. I make it a point to prepare a list of a few key people I want to see at a conference. Then I set up appointments with those individuals to meet over a coffee or drinks.
  • Have a conference “extrovert” buddy. This can be a friend, colleague, or someone you meet at the conference. Extroverts love meeting new people and can be the perfect partner at mixers and parties. They’ll introduce you to all kinds of people. No need to stand in the shadows!
  • Consider an “off site” spot or room service for a meal. I’m not one to enjoy my breakfast with a cast of hundreds. When I can, I look for a nearby cheap and cheerful café to get away from the crowds. Treat yourself to the occasional meal out or room service. It’ll do wonders for your soul.
Posted by: aphconference | 16/08/2010

A Guide to Victoria Craft Beer

Photo: Jason Rogers

Victoria is known as the “City of Gardens,” and, perhaps, is even more renowned as home to the Butchart Gardens. The city could equally well be known as the City of Beers. Greater Victoria has more breweries per capita than any other city in Canada. There are four microbreweries and three brewpubs, with one more under construction. Many other pubs offer a good choice of beers, and several specialty liquor stores carry a very good selection of bottled beer.

Vancouver Island Brewing is the oldest and largest of Victoria’s microbreweries. Although perhaps a bit conservative in beer styles, this brewery produces well-crafted unpasteurized beers. Hermann’s Dark Lager was one of their original beers and has a solid following. Piper’s Pale Ale, Vancouver Island Lager and Spyhopper Honey Brown are their other regular offerings. Sea Dog Amber Ale was released to commemorate the Canadian Navy’s centenary this year. They also brew the notable Hermannator, a strong ice beer, available in November and December. Guided tours are available; contact the brewery for details. Read More…

Posted by: aphconference | 10/08/2010

The Parade of Ships

Parade of Ships, Victoria Inner Harbour | Photo: Pattie Whitehouse

Personal histories are presented in books, videos, audio recordings and sometimes in unexpected media such as quilts. Can you imagine a life story captured on a 6 inch by 15 inch metal plaque? You will have that opportunity across the street from the Empress, our convention hotel.

The stone wall on Government Street overlooking the Inner Harbour has a series of plaques honouring ships, tugs and the men who sailed them. On the right are plaques recognizing various vessels and their roles in Victoria’s history. Those on the left recognize individuals’ contributions to the maritime community — and leave one scripting in imagination the details not included on the small piece of metal.

Here is a tiny sampling of my favourites.

Yacht Belvedere

John Bachstoge           Sven Johansson

Expedition Leader               Captain

Departed for Northwest Passage 1983

Arriving Greenland 1988

New York 1989

Tablet placed by the crews

Doesn’t that leave you wondering where and how the ship’s company, and the yacht, spent the five years between departure from Victoria and arrival in Greenland? A personal historian would have asked those questions. Seems as though the crew were on good terms with the Captain and Expedition Leader when they arrived in New York.

Harold Barrington Elworthy

1901 – 1975

Native Son of Victoria

Founder of Island Tugs and Barge

Pioneering local, coastwise, and deepsea Towing and Salvage

Philanthropist and Leader in Civic and Maritime Affairs

Sponsored by: Princess Mary Restaurant Ltd

What, if any, connection did Harold Elworthy have with the Princess Mary Restaurant? Imagine all the stories he could have told a personal historian about rescues — those that went right and those that didn’t.

The hanging judge's arrival | Photo: Pattie Whitehouse

On the ocean side of the plinth supporting the statue of British explorer Capt. James Cook, which stands before the stone wall, is a plaque explaining The Parade of Ships: “These plaques commemorate famous vessels in the history of Victoria and pay tribute to pioneers they brought to this new land, the men and women who fought the good fight and built Victoria and British Columbia.” It was presented by Horace J. Sims during Victoria’s centennial year, 1992. The personal historian wonders who Horace Sims was and how he was involved with this unusual historical display.

APH Member Joy Miller

Posted by: aphconference | 02/08/2010

See Victoria on Foot

Carr House, James Bay | Photo: Tourism Victoria/Barry Behnke

Victoria is a very walkable city, and our conference hotel is right in its heart. There is no better way to learn about Victoria and its heritage than by taking a walking tour. APH is offering three custom-designed walking tours, each led by historian John Adams, as optional activities.

The Victoria’s Heritage tour (Thursday, Nov. 4, 10:30 a.m.) features the people who built the Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings, those who worked the harbour and denizens of the old red light district and Chinatown. You will hear stories of intrigue, love and murder, opium smuggling and rum running. Learn about the early resident who introduced Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd, and about another who later ran with Billy the Kid. Read More…

Posted by: aphconference | 06/07/2010

More Ways to Get to Victoria from Washington State

M.V.Coho entering Victoria Harbour | Photo: Kam Abbott

As an alternative to flying into Victoria, I’ve suggested taking a B.C. Ferry from Vancouver Airport to Victoria or the Victoria Clipper from downtown Seattle to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. These trips make the most of your conference travel experience by introducing you to the magnificent scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

There’s yet another way to travel from Washington State to Victoria. The M.V. Coho has had a 50-year tradition of sailing daily between Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula and downtown Victoria. (Port Angeles has achieved recent fame as one of the filming sites for the Twilight movies.)

Getting from Seattle to Port Angeles is about a 3-hour drive. For directions click here.

In November there are two daily sailings to Victoria, at 8:20 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Fares are USD$55.00 for one passenger and vehicle. For more information click here.

The voyage across Juan de Fuca Strait takes 90 minutes and gives you unparalleled views of the Olympic Mountains and the Sooke Hills of southern Vancouver Island. The Victoria terminal is just a couple of blocks from the Empress Hotel. For those of you driving from Oregon or Washington State, you might want to try the M.V. Coho.

APH Member Dan Curtis

Posted by: aphconference | 02/07/2010

Conserving the Voice of a Culture

Rob BuddRob Budd is our keynote speaker for Saturday morning at the conference. His presentation will be about his work with one of the world’s largest collections of oral history. In this guest blog, he writes about the importance of his work in audio preservation.

In cold basements, dry attics and humid kitchen cupboards across the country sit old reel-to-reel tape recordings gathering dust, becoming brittle, sometimes even developing mould. Some of them document the history of a culture; and if they are not preserved, the heritage of a people disappears with them. Read More…

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