By Vanessa Broadbent
Visitors to the Kilby Historic Site will now have the option to learn about the site’s history in English or in French.
The site has updated their visitor guides and also created a French version.
“They’re little booklets,” sales and marketing manager Jo-Anne Leon explained. “It’s what we give our customers when they pay admission to come on the sight.”
While Kilby previously had visitor guides, Leon explained that the new ones are bilingual, but also include more historical information and photographs.
“Before they were just in English and they didn’t have very many archival images,” she said. “We’ve been able to go through colour archives and find some really lovely pictures. It just helps the visitor to experience Kilby in a different way because they get to see how the farm looked back in the 1920s through the archival images.”
The Kilby Historic Site received a $5,000 grant from the Canada-British Columbia Official Languages Agreement of French-Language Services, a federal and provincial initiative that started in 2013, which enabled them to create the new guides.
The agreement serves to “provide a multi-year collaboration framework between Canada and British Columbia to support the planning and delivery of French-language provincial services aimed at contributing to the development and enhancing the vitality of the Francophone of British Columbia,” as explained in the agreement.
This includes funding various French language projects, such as Kilby’s visitor guides, throughout the province.
“It’s a way of enhancing the visitor experience through a funded grant because we don’t have the money to do it ourselves as a non-profit,” Leon said. “We’re always looking for ways of improving a visitor’s experience … Basically, it was just an opportunity to enable the site to have an enhanced experience through a fully funded program.”
The guides aren’t Kilby’s first French initiative with the Canada British Columbia official language agreement.
“Last year we actually did some French English nature didactic down at the campground,” Leon said. “This is actually the second time that we’ve worked with this group of funders.”
While Kilby has only recently begun using the new visitor guides, Leon said that they have already gained positive feedback.
“People really enjoy the visitor guide,” she said. “It’s a high quality little booklet and they find it a nice souvenir to take away.”