Campbell River / Elk Falls

Next, we are off to Campbell River. I wasn’t expecting that there would be so much to do but I was wrong. First up, was a walk on the ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’. The Discovery Pier extends 150 ft from shore and is 600 ft long. It is really a fisher’s delight since it has all the comforts you need to spend the whole day fishing including seats, built-in rod holders, bait stands, fish cleaning tables, covered areas, picnic tables and, of course, a snack stand where you can even rent a rod and tackle.

Here I am regretting leaving my rod in the truck.

From here, we visited the Campbell River Museum. Museums are very interesting but this one stood out from most others that I have visited.

This contemporary sculpture by Laichwiltach artist Max Chickite entitled Raven Transforming stands outside the museum.

Although we were not allowed to take pictures throughout the museum, there are videos that are shown in the museum and on youtube.  The most riveting and uplifting exhibits at the Museum at Campbell River were those that explore the impacts of colonization through the experiences of one indigenous family, and one artist, Kwakwaka’wakw artist and Hereditary Chief G̱ixkastallasame-gi, or Cecil Dawson.

For Cecil Dawson, the cooperation and support from the museum has allowed the indigenous people to preserve their culture, songs, dances and keep the history of his family alive for future generations. They were under attack by the Government of Canada through actions such as the Potlatch Ban and the Residential Schools. Museums played a role in this process of colonization, and they have an important role to play in reconciling that past.  One of the captions on the wall of the museum was “Seeing our artifacts in a museum is like visiting a relative in prison’.

The exhibition of Dawson’s work was developed collaboratively to bring together old family pieces of regalia that have been held in museum collections, both in Campbell River and in Vancouver at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. It was heart-warming to learn that the Museum at Campbell River made many of their masks and artifacts available to be used to perform their traditional dances and ceremonies.  One of the curators said, “these belong to your people – we will keep them safe for you in the museum.”

These are some photos taken along our walk to Tyee Point.

The development of the Tyee Plaza was a heavily contested one in 1955. This development required re-claiming the waterfront next to the downtown shopping area (today’s Shoppers Row) by filling in the bay. After multiple community plebiscites, village commission rulings, and law suits filed for slander, the developer went directly to the federal and provincial governments to get the go-ahead for the project, by-passing the village completely.

The Museum also shows a film about the largest non-nuclear explosion in history when 1,400 tons of dynamite blasted away a marine hazard known as Ripple Rock in April 1958 in Seymour Narrows, near Campbell River. Ripple Rock was responsible for numerous shipwrecks and lost lives. After two and a half years of preparation, the hazard was removed in a spectacular eruption of rock and water 300 metres (1,000 ft) high.

On our way to the Miller Creek Recreation Site, we stopped at the Elk Falls Provincial Park and Protected Area and walked the 60-metre long Suspension Bridge.

The dam that was built at Elk Falls, interfered with the spawning for Steelhead and Salmon having disrupted natural flow of gravel to the riverbed. To resolve this, they used helicopters to dump gravel into the riverbed. However, when the suspension bridge was built (as an ‘attraction’), it was no longer safe to use helicopters. So now, they dump gravel into the riverbed by a cable system.

The photo on the left shows the gravel being dumped and the photo on the right shows where it lands. (you can see the sandy patch in the middle just under the cable.)

This is our view from our camper at Miller Creek.

Although Vancouver Island is not that big, there are so many interesting and exciting things to see yet. So, there is more to come! Stay tuned!

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