Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre’s founding member is moving on

Angus Matthews will leave the Sidney aquarium by years end.

Angus Matthews is leaving the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney after seven years.

After seven years at the helm of one of the Saanich Peninsula’s biggest attractions, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre’s (SODC) founding executive director is moving on.

Angus Matthews, who has been with the Centre since before it opened in 2009, will leave his post effective Dec. 31 and says he’s looking forward to what the future will bring, although he currently has no concrete plans on what’s next.

“I’m definitely going to miss it,” said Matthews of the SODC, “but I’m a project starter type of person and I have seen this project through from the beginning. I’ve always believed that people should be open to opportunity whether it’s in business or in life generally and I’m ready to take the leap into the unknown.”

Matthews began with the SODC before it was even a concrete idea in 2005.

“I started with a one-month contract where I was to look into the idea of having an aquarium-type attraction in the ocean front hotel that was being developed,” he explained.

“At that point there was a society which was a blend of board members from the Marine Ecology Centre and the Whale Museum and they had no plan, no concept, no money and a building that was still under construction. It was really all based on a hope and a prayer,” he laughed.

In January of 2006, Matthews was appointed executive director and the project began to take shape.

“We started with $14,000 and in a 36-month period we fundraised $5 million and were able to build the Centre as it exists now,” Matthews said. “It was pretty amazing and the timing was great. We’ve now seen over 465,000 visitors to the Centre and we are this amazing presence on the waterfront. I’m so proud of the staff and volunteers we have.”

Matthews also credits the Town of Sidney’s support of the Pier Hotel project and the Mary Winspear Centre’s establishment in Sidney as reasons why the SODC has seen such great success.

“The partnership between the Town and Grant Rogers with the Pier was key as well as the construction of the Mary Winspear Centre years prior because that Centre proved to Sidney it was better than it thought it was. It gave the town wonderful confidence and I’ve always thought the two have the same roots behind the whole idea of pride in our community and community building.”

Matthews had been instrumental in planning future projects for the SODC, including the notion of establishing the Salish Sea Institute — a project which would have seen three field stations set up to better understand the Salish Sea and its creatures. He said projects like those will now be left up to the board and new executive director to pursue if they see fit.

Matthews is now looking to the Centre’s board to decide on who will take the wheel looking to 2014 and beyond.

“The board has a search process in place and I’m sure someone will come along who can add new aspects and features to the Centre. I think it’s so important that organizations evolve and a change in leadership is one way they do.”

“We’re thankful for the tremendous leadership that Angus provided and wish him the best in the next phase of his career. We’ve been fortunate to have had him at the helm for so long,” said Nancy Barbour, the board’s Chair.

“His vision, passion and energy have led the Centre to its enviable position as the premier marine education facility on the island and one of its top attractions. It will be difficult to replace him.”

The Centre is accepting applications for the executive director position until Nov. 15 and hopes to have the vacancy filled before the new year.

Just Posted

More Peninsula councillors declare their 2018 intentions

Carl Jensen and Chris Graham, both of Central Saanich, have said they will run again.

Woodwynn Farms to be shut down and sold

The rehabilitation program at Woodwynn Farms is being shut down. According to… Continue reading

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Peninsula scientist lauded for Arctic research

Scientist Eddy Carmack, an oceanographer and Central Saanich resident, is in Norway… Continue reading

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Most Read