The B.C. Historical Federation has cancelled its 2020 conference.
The annual event was to be held in Cloverdale with the majority of events taking place at the Museum of Surrey.
“In light of the evolving public health situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the British Columbia Historical Federation, in consultation with the Surrey Historical Society, has cancelled our June 5-7, 2020 conference,” reads a notice on the BCHF website.
Michael Gibbs, president of the Surrey Historical Society (SHS), said he was disappointed with the announcement, but added that he thought it was inevitable.
“With the public health crisis on our hands, there was no other choice,” Gibbs said. “There is just too much uncertainty (ahead).”
Gibbs said the SHS met before the BCHF made their decision.
“We had an Internet video call and discussed things,” he added. “We took a vote and we fully backed cancellation over postponement.”
Gibbs said the SHS didn’t want people worrying about whether or not they had to plan for a conference while a global health crisis raged.
“We wanted them to worry about themselves,” he said. “We didn’t want people hanging on tenterhooks.”
Gibbs said despite the cancellation, there is a chance Cloverdale will still host the BCHF’s yearly conference.
“We asked them to consider us for next year and they agreed. So we may yet host the conference.”
Whether or not Cloverdale will host next year’s event won’t be decided until the fall.
As for the 2020 conference, the BCHF noted any registrants that have already paid the fees will be issued a full refund.
The BCHF said despite the conference cancellation, it will still hand out its annual book awards, scholarships, and Centennial Legacy project funds in June. The BCHF said it will announce the winners and recipients on their website, via social media, and in press releases.
“More important than awards or conferences is the health of our members and our responsibility as citizens to care for one another,” the BCHF notice said. “We know volunteers in historical societies across the province are community leaders…. We urge you to stay informed and lean on the community networks that are a part of your historical society to help ensure community wellness.”
The BCHF said it will hold a virtual AGM this fall. Among other things, it’s then they will decide on the location for their 2021 history conference.