Visitors to the Military Museums of Calgary have the opportunity to experience a selection of uniforms from the First World War as Victor Taboika agreed to loan his personal collection to the organization.

The 100 items that comprise the Victor Taboika exhibit, which opened to the public in May 2016, are the fruits of the Calgarian’s interest in the military, a curiosity that began at an early age. 

“When I was 12 years of age, I had an uncle, George Dunforth, who I used to go and see and he would regale me with stories of the First World War,” recalled Taboika. “He was in the Canadian field artillery and he received a medal at that time and I was very interested in that.”

Taboika’s finds great appeal in the items that members of the military would use on a daily basis.

“That's the part that has to do with the people,” explained Taboika. “What they're wearing, what they're using, and how they're operating back then.”

“You get a much different feel than when you're just reading texts of the grand strategy of war.”

Patti O'Connor, a director on the board of the Military Museums Foundation, says Taboika's collection is a wonderful addition for visitors and fulfills a number of the foundation’s goals.

“The Military Museum Foundation's mandate is remember, preserve and educate,” said O’Connor, “Remember the Canadians that we've lost during the wars, preserve the artifacts and Victor's collection is the epitome of a collection for World War One.”

O’Connor adds the exhibit will help educate the thousands of school-aged students who visit the Military Museums each year. “I can't thank him enough for doing what he's done for us.”

Taboika takes great pride in a specific piece of his collection; Sam Steele’s working army hat. “He's the only Canadian who could tie the march west, the Northwest Rebellion, the gold rush, the Boer War and the First World War all in one person.”

For sharing his collection to honour the contributions of Canadian who served in the Great War, Victor Taboika is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.