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Branch in James Bay 2018-01-24T14:33:15+00:00

 sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch

Opening spring 2018


385 Menzies Street, Victoria, BC  V8V 0C2

The new library branch in James Bay will be opening in early 2018!

About the Name

Victoria City Council selected the following as the name of the branch: sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw James Bay Branch.

Pronounced s-hweng hw-ung tongue-oo-hw, sxʷeŋ’xʷəŋ taŋ’exw is the Lekwungen name for James Bay.

Listen to the pronunciation by Songhees Nation Elder Dr. Elmer Seniemten George.

WAV File:

MP3 File:

To select the branch name, the City of Victoria held a Name That Library campaign, which received more than 600 submissions. The greatest support was for a First Nations name. City Council consulted with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations on the name.

In addition to naming the branch, City Council also named the two meeting rooms: the Dr. Elmer Seniemten George M.S.M. Community Room (pronounced Sen-eem-ten) and the Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room (pronounced Wis-ter). See More Information below to learn more about these two extraordinary individuals.

About the Branch

  • Approximately 7,150 square feet

  • Wi-Fi-enabled outdoor reading space

  • Laptop bar and mobile charging station

  • Street and underground parking; accessible by bus

  • Teen area

  • Varied seating options including lounge reading chairs, bistro seating, high tables and chairs

  • Access to Capital Park green space and courtyard with view of Legislative buildings

  • Striking modern design and décor

  • Abundant natural light from large windows

  • Community living room space

  • Family-friendly children’s area

  • Flexible mobile shelving to adapt to community needs

  • Situated within Capital Park Development, which includes the Red Barn Market, office spaces and housing (rental and condominium)

More Information

Victoria City Council named the branch’s two meeting rooms after two extraordinary individuals in the community:

About Dr. Elmer Seniemten George

Dr. Elmer Seniemten George is a Songhees Elder, who is one of the few remaining fluent speakers of Lekwungen, a dialect of the Northern Straits Salish Peoples. He stewards the survival not only of the language, but also of the traditional teachings and culture embedded in the words. In 2016, Elder Elmer Seniemten George received an honorary degree from Royal Roads University. In 2017, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) from the Governor General of Canada for his work with Elder John Elliott in translating the Douglas Treaties of the mid-1850s into the SENĆOŦEN First Nations languages. This work has shed light on the lack of understanding that existed when the treaties were first signed and has provided a foundation for reconciliation. The Songhees and Esquimalt Nations submitted Dr. Elmer Seniemten George’s name for consideration in the City of Victoria’s Name That Library campaign.

About Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs was a James Bay resident and local merchant who served as a Victoria City Councillor from 1866 to 1869. In 2016, the City of Victoria declared November 19 “Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Day” in honour of Gibbs becoming the first black person elected to public office in British Columbia the same day in 1866. The BC Black History Awareness Society and members of the community submitted his name for consideration in the City of Victoria’s Name That Library campaign.

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Peek-a-boo! Here’s a quote to brighten your day:

“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Hermione Granger