Yes, it’s official!

The Museum stepped up and purchased the McRae property – securing the public access trails and holding the responsibility of the conservation covenant as created by the late Stan and Maxine McRae.

At a special meeting of the membership on November 26, 2020, we overwhelmingly approved the purchase of this precious 19-acre parcel of land on South Road, between the Museum and Agi Hall.

It was a leap of faith for us, a non-profit community charity that isn’t in the business of land acquisition! And this is where we would like your support.

Please read on about this momentous commitment.
We are asking for your help. We really need it.

This is a generational opportunity for our island community to. . .

  • Help us be the stewards of the land held in a conservation covenant. Over 95 % or 18-acres is a protected nature reserve.
  • Officially secure the network of walking trails for public use.
  • Provide more space for the Museum. Hugging our current site, approximately one acre of this parcel has the potential to be sensitively developed for needed and long-overdue expansion of our facilities: a proper community archives, more indoor and outdoor exhibit space, a meeting/presentation room, potential for collaborative spaces with other community organizations . . .

There are so many community-benefits. And like the Clinic, the Skatepark, Gabriola Commons, Elder Cedar Nature Reserve, and other remarkable causes for which we all helped realize in decades past, the McRae property needs many Gabriolans to make it happen.

The purchase agreement means the Museum is taking on a mortgage of just over $300,000. And with our organization’s mission and small annual operating budget to run the Museum building and programs, we simply do not have the cash to pay this off — without the help of friends like you.

Even before the news got out, and the rumours were flying that the Museum had made an offer to purchase, we were already receiving leading donations. It’s been so inspiring!

Community members are coming forward to match gifts and challenge their friends to donate.
Please see our campaign updates page on the museum’s website for the latest tally of donations towards our goal.

Coastal Community Credit Union is supporting the museum with a $250,000 mortgage, and an anonymous supporter is lending us the additional $45,000 needed to make this all happen on such short notice.

We really want to retire the mortgage as soon as possible.

And on the immediate horizon we want to paydown at least 25% or 75,000 by April, 2021.

Any amount you can give now helps us tremendously!

$25, $50 or more . . . or consider becoming a regular monthly donor. (Charity tax receipts issued for amounts over $20)

Either mail a cheque or easily donate through the Museum’s secure online portal CanadaHelps.

Make a donation

We hope you are as excited about what this means for Gabriola and your Museum. In the weeks and months ahead, we will keep you updated about this campaign and plans for the future.

Let’s make 2021 “The Year of the Museum”.

Help us secure this property for all-time.

On behalf of all your Museum friends, thank you for getting involved and giving what you can.

FAQs about the McRae Fundraising Campaign

1)   Is my donation charitable?
Yes, the GHMS is a non -profit chartered society in BC and a registered charity. We issue CRA tax receipts for all donations $20 and over.

2)  Why do you have to raise $75,000 by April 2021?
This is a fundraising target we set to help us progress to the end goal of completely paying off the mortgage as quickly as possible. Our closing date is April 1, 2021. We want to have a healthy percentage of equity by then.

3)  Do you think the mortgage can be paid off in a year or two?
The GHMS will be committed to a five-year term for the mortgage held by the Coastal Community Credit Union. Our objective is to pay off the mortgage completely by the time this term is up.

4)  What if the Museum is not successful in raising all the money?
When it comes to Gabriolans answering the calls for help with so many causes over the years, we have seen success after success. The Clinic, The Commons, Hope Centre, Skatepark, the Community Hall, etc. Knowing this community and the profile of this property, we have every reason to be confident we will be successful.

Should we fall short of our targets, Plan B would be to renew our mortgage term and sustain payments with the help of monthly donors willing to help pay down the mortgage. Also, there are other finance, co-ownership, and granting options we could pursue, should it ever become necessary. But we will prevail!

5)  About 95% of the property is held in a conservation covenant. Is the Museum now going to act as a Land Trust?
Our immediate concern was getting this property secured for community benefit. We are not a Land Trust, and once the GHMS holds legal title, we will be working closely with the covenant holder, The Nature Conservancy of BC, and the Gabriola Land & Trails Trust to maintain the public trails and manage, honour and protect the ecological integrity of the portion that is a conservation covenant.

6)  Why are you calling 2021 “The Year of the Museum”?
Your community museum has now been operating for 25 years. We have managed on a shoestring operating budget, thanks to overwhelming support from our volunteers and local businesses that have contributed many thousands of dollars of materials and time in-kind.

As we look strategically at how we can best serve the community in the coming years, we see our facility is in dire need of maintenance, the public washroom needs repairs, and we’ve outgrown our interior space for exhibits. The community’s archives are not properly stored nor easily accessible.

With the McRae Property secured we are looking at how we can best meet the needs of our community. The property gives us increased capital asset equity and some land as breathing room for future plans.

In 2021, we will be sharing our building enhancement plans with Gabriolans, and seeking the necessary infrastructure/capital grants from government programs and other funders and community leaders. It’s timely and needed and so it is going to be a big year for your Museum.

7)  What exactly are the future capital building plans for the Museum. Are you going to build on this protected land?
No. 95% of the property is protected as a nature reserve in a conservation covenant. This is vitally important.

However, hugging our current site, approximately one acre of the McRae parcel has the potential to be sensitively developed for needed and long-overdue expansion of our facilities: a proper community archives, more indoor and outdoor exhibit space, a meeting/presentation room, potential for collaborative spaces with other community organizations.

Ways to Support Our Campaign

1)  Please give what you can in the form of an annual or one-time cash donation or by becoming a monthly donor. That helps us greatly in budgeting the mortgage payments. We want to paydown the mortgage and increase our equity as quickly as possible.

Our secure online donations portal via is perhaps the easiest way to give.

2)  As we move ahead to the Next Phase with our building renovation and expansion plans, we will be asking for donations of time and materials to help stretch the infrastructure grants we will pursue. There will be more news and developments regarding this phase in the months ahead.

3)  Levels of Support:

  • Friends of the Museum — gifts up to $500
  • Patrons of the Museum— gifts from $ 501 – 3,000
  • Champions of the Museum — gifts over $3,000
  • Legacy Leaders — gifts over $10,000

4)  Recognition
We thank and recognize all our donors and members in our communications materials.

For donations of $3,000 or more, if you wish, we will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan for recognition and acknowledgement.