Events & Presentations

Family Day 2022 – Reaching Out

Date(s) - 01/02/2022 - 28/02/2022
12:00 am

Our families are all shapes and sizes: people we have grown up with, people we have chosen, and people who have made impacts on our lives. The Nanaimo Museum is celebrating Family Day this year by encouraging our community to send a letter by mail or email to someone important to them.

Send your letter by mail or email, using our Google Docs template to type your letter directly on the computer to then email, or print the template to handwrite your message. 

Reaching Out is a virtual program – everything is right on this page! You can find a letter template, tips for how to write a letter, a historical BC handwriting standard, and even some local letters, sent to or from Nanaimoites in the past. Use the links below to jump to specific sections on this page more easily!

Letter Templates

Choose the Google Document template to edit online before printing or emailing, or download the PDF version for printing.  

Translations are available! A big thank you to the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society for collaborating with us to present Reaching Out in multiple languages.

To use the Google Doc template: 

  • Sign into a Google account on your browser 
  • Click the link to the template, then select “Use Template”  
  • To email your letter, type your message onto the template, then click “Save As”. Name your file however you’d like and save to your downloads. You can now attach your letter to your email 
  • To mail your letter, type your message onto the template then print, OR print the template blank and handwrite your message 

To use the PDF template: 

  • Click the link to download the PDF 
  • Print the template and handwrite your message 
  • Mail your letter!


Google Doc | PDF


Cette année, le Musée Nanaimo célèbre le Jour de la Famille en vous encourageant à envoyer une lettre à quelqu’un(e) important(e), par poste ou par courriel. 

Prenez-vous le temps et les nouvelles de vos familles et amis en personnalisant un modèle de lettre avec votre propre message. C’est aussi facile que cliquer sur lien suivant et sélectionner “Use Template”. Ensuite, vous pourriez enregistrer sous un autre nom, faire une copie et ajuster, ou imprimer la lettre. Ou, vous pourriez vous inscrire au-dessous pour un kit de lettre timbrée. 

Google DocPDF


나나이모 박물관에서는 올해 패밀리데이를 내는 새로운 방법을 제안합니다. 

보고싶고, 만나고싶은 가족에게 편지나 이메일로 안부를전하는 방법을 제안합니다. 아래 링크를 클릭하시면 미리준비된 편지초안이 나옵니다. 그대로 쓰실수도있고, 원하시는대로 편집, 인쇄도 가능합니다. 아니면 아래에 등록하시면 미리 인쇄된 편지초안 박물관 gift shop에서 직접 받으실수도 있습니다. 

Google Doc | PDF




Google Doc | PDF


Ipinagdiriwang ng Nanaimo Museum ang Family Day ngayong taon sa pamamagitan ng paghihikayat sa ating komunidad na magpadala ng sulat o email sa isang taong mahalaga sa kanila. 

Maglaan ng kaunting panahon upang mangumusta at mag-check in sa iyong pamilya gamit ang aming template upang mai-personalize ang iyong sariling mensahe. I-click lamang ang link sa ibaba at piliin ang ‘Use Template’. Maaari mong i-save as, kopyahin at i-edit, o i-print ang lihamMaaari ka ring magparehistro sa ibaba upang makakuha ng letter kit na pre-stamped.

Google Doc | PDF

Parts of a Letter 

Here are some tips on what to write in your letter, and how to address your envelope!  

Most letters have:

  • a heading (return address and date) 
  • a greeting (Dear) 
  • a body (the main part of the letter) 
  • a closing (Sincerely, With love, etc.) 
  • and your signature 

The template shows you where the parts of the letter belong. Try it out! 

Wondering what to write in your letter? Let your loved ones know about what you’re doing, local places you’re visiting, hobbies you’ve picked up, and your fun experience visiting the Nanaimo Museum 😉 . If you’d like a response to your letter, ask about what they’re up to and how they’re doing. 

An important part of mailing your letter is the addressing the envelope.

On the front of your envelope, you will need: 

  • The address of your recipient in the centre
  • The return address (your own address) in the top left hand corner
  • A stamp in the top right hand corner.

You can also decorate your envelope to add a personal touch! Just make sure the addresses are clear and the stamp is uncovered.

Check out the Canada Post website for how to address mail properly HERE 

For example: 


 The MacLean Method of Handwriting

Thinking of writing your letter out by hand? Try doing so using the MacLean Method of Handwriting! 

The MacLean Method of Handwriting was developed in Victoria in 1921 by elementary school principal H.B. MacLean. At the time, the teachers in his school were complaining of students’ messy writing. The new standardized method of writing ensured legibility and was used across Canada in seven different provinces.  

The practice of cursive handwriting has declined and has since been removed from most school curriculums. While it may be mentioned or introduced, it is not mandatory for the majority of students in Canada to know how to write in script.  

The image is a page from a MacLean Method of Handwriting workbook. Do you remember learning how to handwrite using this method?  

Check out our social media posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see more images from MacLean Method workbooks.

To Nanaimo, With Love  

Before the Internet and emails, Nanaimoites wrote letters to connect with each other, and with people around the world! Here are some examples, courtesy of Nanaimo Archives 

In this letter, William “Bud” Bray writes to his mother in Nanaimo from Edmonton, updating her on his new, warmer, living arrangements. William would later return to live in Nanaimo. 

When you haven’t seen your family for some time you may have a lot to share with them. This is true for Nanaimo resident Sarah Wright when she wrote to her cousins using a method called cross-hatching or cross-writing on the last page, where she ran out of room. Writing like this became popular in the 1800s in order to save paper and postage costs.  Can you read her P.S.? 

Sarah Wright to her cousins "My Dear Cousins, I have been thinking of visiting you for a length of time, but kept putting it off with the idea it was your turn to visit me. We were sad to hear of the death of Tommy Wright."      Sarah Wrights letter to cousins, in which she ran out of room and wrote across the last page, in a method called "cross-hatching".

Alice and Arthur Leighton were Nanaimo residents, but in 1916, Arthur left for Europe to fight in World War I, and Alice was in the process of moving to England to be closer to him. She caught a ride on one of the few passenger ships across the Atlantic in 1916. Over the years, they regularly  wrote sweet letters to each other, with affectionate nicknames like “Dear Heart” “Little Pal” “Arfy” “Darling heart” and “Girlie.” You’ll be glad to know that there is a happy ending to this story: Arthur survived the war and was “struck of strength” in 1919 after general demobilisation of the Canadian troops. Alice and Arthur resettled in Nanaimo after the war.

Arthur to Alice Leighton: "My Darling Heart, I wonder where you are and what you are doing? Somehow when one is travelling, time seems very long. It seems like a week, instead of only two days, since I left you and yet your sweet smiling face is so vivid in my mind as if I were still looking from the train at Vancouver. You are a brave little pal, Dearie, and so were the others who are being left behind. If the 72nd men are as brave as their womenfolk, no one will need to complain."     Alice to her husband Arthur: "Dear heart I do envy the wives here going about with their husbands. They look so happy. This is a great week end place. On Saturday and yesterday it was absolutely full but to-day they have melted away. I havent seen Charlie Duggan I dont think he can be here. Good night dearest heart with love and kisses from your little pal, Alice Leighton"

A letter to John Doole from his sister, Lizzie, in Ireland. She asks about his “brave” new stock of pigs!

Letter to John Doole from sister Lizzie in Ireland: "Dear Johnny, We received your letter a very short time ago and we are very glad to hear from you once more. We see by it you are commenced farming again you have got a brave stock of pigs for a start"


Thank you for participating in Reaching Out! Happy Family Day!

Family Day 2022 - Reaching Out Map Unavailable
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