of nature in the city!
The historic Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary (VHMBS) turns 100 years old on October 27, 2023! To celebrate this important centennial, a coalition of conservation groups will host events from October 26 – 28, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary (VHMBS) and nature in the city. The celebration will nurture connections, express gratitude, educate, and inspire. A conservation and education fund is being established to provide funding for nature education for youth as well as continued restoration and conservation throughout the Sanctuary.
The Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary lies in the land of the lək̓ʷəŋən People, known today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations. lək̓ʷəŋən means “place to smoke herring” – First Nations hunted and gathered in this abundant region for thousands of years. When settlers arrived, over-hunting of birds, like the Pacific Black Brant, threatened their populations. Established in 1923 to control hunting, this migratory bird sanctuary provides critical habitat and is home to valuable wildlife including birds, fish, mammals, mollusks, crustaceans, plants, and other organisms including several federally-designated species at risk. Despite its location next to a busy urban area, it remains an important roosting and overwintering site for a large number of migratory bird species that use this vital habitat seasonally or year-round.
Protecting these historic ecosystems
The sanctuary provides critical habitat for many species of coastal and marine plants and animals, including several federally designated Species at Risk. It is home to dozens of rare plants, such as Victoria’s Owl-clover, as well as the now-rare Garry Oak forest and its associated ecosystems.