Exhibit Commemorating lives impacted by COVID in long term care coming to Nanaimo Harbourfront library

July 21, 2022


A travelling exhibit commemorating seven lives impacted by COVID-19 is coming to the Nanaimo Harbourfront branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL). From July 28 to September 16, visitors to the downtown Nanaimo library can experience COVID in the House of Old and learn about seven Canadians who either died or were severely impacted by COVID-19 while living in long-term care.  

“This exhibit aims to give a voice to the thousands of Canadians living in long-term care who were silenced and suffered through the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Professor Megan Davies, health historian at York University and the exhibit’s creator. “Thousands of vulnerable Canadians lost their lives to this virus and countless more were left isolated, terrified, and effectively trapped not only by the virus itself, but by a system that let them down.” 

The exhibit’s website describes COVID in the House of Old as follows: “Seven wooden storytelling chairs sit at the heart of the COVID in the House of Old exhibit, speaking to seven lives indelibly altered by the pandemic’s spread through long-term care. Each individual, represented by a chair, stands in place for hundreds or thousands of Canadians who faced similar circumstances.” 

The exhibit opens at the Harbourfront branch on Thursday, July 28 at 6pm with a live discussion with Professor Davies, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Lisa Marie Barron, VIU Nursing Professors Piera Jung and Marti Harder, and Connie Paul, a Registered Nurse with Snuneymuxw First Nation.  Visitors should note that the exhibit deals with illness, suffering and death.  

“I had the opportunity to see this exhibit for myself and I knew we had to bring it to VIRL,” says Dalia Levy, Librarian at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library. “As difficult as these stories are to hear, they have the potential to affect change and to highlight significant inequities and gaps that exist within our health and social systems. I am so thankful that Professor Davies and the other speakers are taking time to speak directly about these important but often overlooked issues. If you happen to be in Nanaimo for the opening or any time the exhibit is running, I encourage you to come and experience it for yourself.” 

More information about the opening event and the exhibit, including a link to the COVID in the House of Old website, is available at https://virl.bc.ca/event/exhibit-opening-covid-in-the-house-of-old/ 

Media Contact
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications
Vancouver Island Regional Library