A little history

SVIMS launched in early 1994.  Eighty people who attended the third annual mushroom display at the Royal BC Museum on October 24, 1993, had signed a sheet saying that they were interested in forming a club.  Hannah Nadel, Shannon Berch, Brenda Callan, AdoIf and Oluna Ceska, Gilles Patenaude, and Richard Winder met at Hannah’s cottage in December, 1993, to sketch out the format for the new club.

The founding of SVIMS followed the pattern set by its sister club, the Vancouver Mycological Society. Both groups started out as mushrooms shows that morphed to clubs with regular meetings and speakers. VMS, though, was founded in 1978, sixteen years before SVIMS.  VMS’s Paul Kroeger came over in February for the first meeting of the Victoria club to talk about the experiences of the Vancouver club, setting a tradition of annual Kroeger talks that would continue, with perhaps one or two small gaps, at each SVIMS February meeting.  Paul has written an interesting history of the Vancouver Mycological Society that was published in a special edition of the VMS Mycofile.

In the early years of SVIMS, many of the meetings had no prearranged speakers.  At these sessions, called “mushroom manias,” members brought in mushrooms and talked about them. Eventually, speakers from further afield began to be invited. A mostly complete list of SVIMS speakers has been reconstructed from old newsletters.

The first of the annual SVIMS calendars appeared in 2004. The first of the annual Chinese mushroom dinners was in 2005. The Cowichan forays have been going on since the early days of the club. The first record of the Annual Mushroom show at Swan Lake was 2000.  In 2014, more than a thousand people came to the show (prompting, by the crowding at the tables, the move to the current location at the Cordova Bay 55+ Association). For those interested in other historical matters, the January 2014 issue of Fungifama was a 20th anniversary issue and it has some reflections on the history of SVIMS.

SVIMS has had 12 presidents, with one person (Richard Winder) serving two different terms. Past presidents have been:

    • 1994-96 Hannah Nadel
    • 1997-99 Richard Winder
    • 2000 Bryce Kendrick
    • 2001-02 John Dennis
    • 2003-04 Christine Roberts
    • 2005-07 Christian Friedinger
    • 2008-09 Shannon Berch
    • 2010 Richard Winder
    • 2011-12 Jean Johnson
    • 2012 Kevin Trim
    • 2012-15 Lee Smith
    • 2016-17 Bruce Pendergast
    • 2018-2019 Andy MacKinnon
    • 2020 to 2022 David Walde
    • 2023 to present Melanie Hesz

Dozens of clubs belong, as SVIMS does, to an overarching organization called the North American Mycological Association. NAMA publishes a newsletter, The Mycophile.