Gabriola: Together We Triumph  |  Official Partner

Gabriola Island Pandemic Stories

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In early 2020, the world began grappling with COVID-19, leading to a pandemic declaration and a fundamental change in our daily lives.

In just a few months, the global health crisis made the familiar strange in unprecedented ways in our homes, community, gathering places and all public spaces. The pandemic is not over, but this community has succeeded remarkably by tackling all the unknowns, making things work, and finding new ways to adjust and stay connected.

The Gabriola Museum and Historical Society (GHMS) will document stories, memories, and accounts of Gabriolans’ everyday experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic on Gabriola Island.

The project will result in a free Gabriola Island Pandemic Stories commemorative book to be distributed to every household on Gabriola Island. Our community’s stories will be open for viewing online and in an exhibit at the museum that will open in spring 2023.

In many ways, we are already shaping the pandemic narratives that we will tell in the future through nationwide stories, community stories, family stories, and individual stories. Sharing, remembering, and documenting helps us understand our strengths and weaknesses. Our ability to triumph comes with the recognition that we can’t have success without sorrow, despair, angst, and all that comes with facing uncertainty in the darkest days.

All these experiences (personal and community), pivots, and events/happenings will be woven to create our community’s collective memory of a unique time in a special place.

What kind of stories are we interested in?

The museum is interested in collecting a variety of different experiences, reflections, accounts, events, and material objects.

We want stories of bread-making, mask-making, hand sanitizer-making, art-making, COVID haircuts, zoom stories, drive-by birthday celebrations, zoom turkey dinners, plays, meetings, concerts, and game nights. We want stories about the hearts at the end of driveways, the noise-making to honour our healthcare workers, the line-dancing videos, the supportive and neighbourly care, images and stories of your personal sanctuary and bubble, and the innovative pivots on Gabriola that helped keep businesses and organizations running, supporting our community events afloat, and kept our spirits high even in all the lows.

We want to hear about the frontline worker experience, healthcare and emergency workers and volunteers, elders/seniors, students, high school graduates, parents, and teachers. We want to document recreational experiences and a new lexicon of words (So many that we may need a COVID-19 dictionary!). We want to see your pandemic fashions (both the extravagant and whatever was outside of the webcam frame), your pair of Bonnie Henry Fluevog shoes, or maybe just a simple thank-you note to someone who helped you when you needed it the most.

If you are not sure if your idea would fit in with the spirit of the project, please send April an email at museum@gabriolatriumph.ca

Share Stories, Photos or Videos

Get involved in Gabriola Island Pandemic Stories. The Gabriola Historical and Museum Society will be accepting submissions until November 15, 2022.

1. Upload Instructions

Up to 8 images can be submitted.

Images must be original images you have taken. If there are people in the photo, you must have permission from them to include them as a submission to the Gabriola Island Pandemic Stories project.

Provide a short description of each photograph (50 character max).

All styles of writing are accepted. Up to two written submissions will be considered but not guaranteed that both will be published. Word count: 10-300 words.

We will accept videos from events during the pandemic, videos that record a personal reflection, videos that share memories or moments from the pandemic, or videos that express your experience living on Gabriola during the pandemic.

Videos must be original: meaning you have created them. If there are people in the video, you must have permission from them to include them as a submission to the Gabriola Island Pandemic Stories project. Exceptions would be if the video were created for a public audience and shared on social media or YouTube (we assume you already had permission to make the video available for a general audience).

Length: 30 seconds to -4 minutes.

Format: You can send a link to a video that is hosted on YouTube, Vimeo, or other social media, or upload a file. Horizontal (landscape) video format is better, but in some cases, we will accept vertical format (portrait) videos.

If you upload a video, be sure to name your video file with your full name and video subject e.g. “Henry-John- 7pm cheer”.

10- 30 words. A thank you to someone or a group on Gabriola that helped you, or you appreciate their efforts and work during the pandemic.

If you have an idea for other forms of media that can’t be submitted using the website submission page, please provide a short description of your concept and its story. April will contact you within 48 hours to discuss the idea.

Contact April at if you would like to do an interview. We can do video/audio interview, just audio, or you can be sent a short list of questions. April will contact you within 48 hours and set-up a time to do an interview.

2. Add Your Information

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tell your story?

We are delighted to collect as many different media as there are forms of expression. Maybe you like to tell your story through a comic, painting, quilt block, collage, zine page, printmaking, narrative prose, poetry, song, videos, stop motion animation, photographs (photo essay), or traditional story-sharing interview. If you have an idea and want to know if we can accommodate it, please get in touch with April at museum@gabriolatriump.ca.

Can my submission remain anonymous?

If someone wants to share a story or reflection and remain anonymous, we can find innovative, respectful and artful ways to do that. There are many ways to tell a story and share experiences; the project is about creating a safe space for people to share their stories. Ethical codes of practice are in place and will always be respected.

Is there a consent and release form?

When you submit your project contribution, you will be asked to sign a consent and release form. This form permits us to publish your submission in print and digital.

Will my entire submission be published?

Possibly. We won’t know until we have collected all submissions. We will consult with you before making editorial decisions if we can’t publish all or only a portion. Below you will find guidelines and word counts for submissions, but there could be some wiggle room depending on space. We aim to share as many experiences, reflections, testimonies etc., as possible.

Will all submissions be included?

We will do our best. However, if your submission does not speak to the project’s spirit, we reserve the right not to publish it. If you are unsure whether your idea would fit within the project’s spirit, please email April at museum@gabriolatriumph.ca

Quick Jump

Click to visit other partner areas:

Gabriola Arts Council

Gabriola Museum

Gabriola Agricultural Co-op

People for a Healthy Community & Gabriola Elementary School

Coming soon...

Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce