Discover the Awesome Oceans
Explore the awesome oceans this summer! Every year the Maritime Discovery Centre brings into focus different stories related to the area’s rich maritime history. This year we offer an exciting lineup of exhibits in the lighthouse building and the Ken Hutcheson Gallery:
The Ocean of Discovery - Who was Don Pedro de Alberni, and how did a community and inlet end up with his name? Why did Nootka Sound play such an important role in the late 1700s? Find out as you learn about early Spanish exploration of the Pacific Northwest, and the arrival of Don Pedro de Alberni. The exhibit continues with a look at the various ships named Alberni. From tug boats to ferries, these boat names are evidence of the legacy left by a Spanish army officer.
The Ocean of Danger & Science – The 1964 earthquake that struck Alaska made international headlines in its day. But residents of Vancouver Island’s west coast didn’t realize that they would soon be sharing that spot in the limelight. Shortly after midnight on Good Friday, a powerful tsunami funneled through the Alberni Inlet. At 16 feet high, travelling 240 miles per hour, the tsunami destroyed everything in its path, flooding streets, tearing apart log booms and lifting houses from their foundations. Photos, maps and video clips enhance our understanding of the worst natural disaster to affect the valley to date.
The Ocean of Trade & Commerce – Visit the lighthouse building to find out why this rich trading area of the coast was known as “The Graveyard of the Pacific” and why the west coast trail was built. Learn about the heroic deeds of Minnie Patterson, lighthouse keeper’s wife at Cape Beale, and the development of the coastal lighthouse system. Explore the role of a lighthouse keeper from past to present, as well as how new technologies have affected the evolution of lighthouse keeping.
You can see the Awesome Oceans at Maritime Discovery Centre seven days a week, from 10am – 5pm; admission is by donation. The lighthouse building also features a children’s play area, and friendly staff are on hand to guide you through the exhibits.