Bill Henderson – Master Carver

Bill Henderson of the Wei Wai Kum Band of Campbell River is one of the most successful master carvers of his time,  and has established an international reputation with collectors of First Nation’s art.  He has been commissioned to carve several traditional totem poles to commemorate important Kwakwaka’wakw people and events, and creates dancing masks, paddles, bowls and plaques.  In 1983, he presented the town of Ishikari, Japan with one of his totem poles as a gift from its sister city, Campbell River.

Henderson began carving with his father, the late Sam Henderson, when he was seven years old.  Sam Henderson was not only an eminent Nak’waxda’xw carver, but also a devoted protector of ancient cultural traditions.  May Quocksistala Henderson,  Bill’s mother, was a high ranking woman of the Campbell River Band.  He also credits the great Kwakwaka’wakw master carvers Mungo Martin and Henry Hunt as major influences on his own work.  He distinctively carries on the Henderson legacy and passes on his knowledge and skills graciously to many of his nephews.

Henderson says that “the woods and waters of the [Kwakwaka’wakw] homeland are rich in animals and I have worked to capture the natural and supernatural figures in many of my masks”.  Pictured here is his Owl Mask, and the vibrant colours and strong lines speak clearly of Henderson’s skill and interpretation.

The Shop at the Campbell River Museum specializes in First Nations Art and carvings like the work of Bill Henderson.  Come in for a visit!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Connect with us here:

Campbell River Museum on Facebook
Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel
Campbell River Museum on Flickr
Campbell River Museum on Twitter

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca

Jorge “Two Eagles” Lewis – Traditional Drum Making

Jorge Lewis is a First Nations artist from the Snuneymuxw nation of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, who specializes in drum making.  Jorge is a descendent of powerful Shamans, mask dancers and chiefs.  He was taught the craft of drum making by Bill Garton, a Lakota sundancer, pipe carrier and spiritual seeker.

Drums are used in sweat lodges, singing circles, or to accompany a singer.  Jorge believes that drumming is a tool which assists us in getting centred spiritually, and it connects us with the inner self and with all that is around us. His love for life is evident in his work, and he lives and breathes his spiritual culture through his art work.  He has resided in Campbell River for the past 34 years.

The Hummingbird drum pictured here is available in the Museum Shop, along with other examples of First Nations artwork.  Call the Museum for more information 250-287-3103.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Connect with us here:

Campbell River Museum on Facebook
Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel
Campbell River Museum on Flickr
Campbell River Museum on Twitter

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca

Hazardous Rock Obliterated in Blast

Fifty-two years ago on April 5, 1958, an event in Campbell River BC was broadcast across the country and remains a one of a kind occurrence to this day.  What was it?  The largest non-nuclear explosion in the world, the blasting of the Ripple Rock, now declared an event of National Historic Significance.

The infamous rock was located 16 kilometres northeast of Campbell River in the Discovery Passage that separates Vancouver Island from Quadra Island. On the day of the blast, ships and planes were diverted, and the area within five kilometres of the site was evacuated. At 9:31am, the plunger was pushed and Ripple Rock exploded with a “cataclysmic crash.” The blast blew about 700,000 tons of rock and water 300 metres into the air, and created waves several metres high, but there was little or no environmental damage and no injuries were incurred.

This year, the Museum at Campbell River and the Ripple Rock Pub in Willow Point are joining forces to mark this special day.  Patrons of the pub will receive a Two for One Pass to the Museum, and anyone who spends more than $10 in the Museum Shop gets a free Ripple Rock T-Shirt!!

Come visit us over the weekend (we are also open Monday, April 5) to view ‘The Devil Beneath the Sea’ and ‘Remembering Ripple Rock’ in the lobby of the Museum.  The Shop has special items on sale to commemorate the anniversary, like the limited edition ‘Ripple Chips’.

Check the Museum  website http://crmuseum.ca/exhibits/ripplerock.html for more details on the Ripple Rock story.

‘Into the Wild’ – New temporary exhibit of Strathcona Provincial Park in 1910

‘Into the Wild – The 1910 Ellison Expedition and BC’s First Park’ is a new temporary exhibit at the Museum celebrating the 100th anniversary of the journey that culminated one year later in the creation of British Columbia’s first Provincial Park – the 429,000 acre Strathcona Park.   The exhibit draws on archival photographs and passages from a journal kept by one of the Ellison expedition members, Harry Johnson and chronicles their journey along a watershed now much altered.

The expedition, a 36 day trek that was essentially a reconnaissance mission, was undertaken by a group of twenty two men and one woman, who  travelled by canoe and on foot along the Campbell River watershed to Buttle Lake. After a nine day detour to climb Crown Mountain, the party headed overland, making the traverse through a rugged mountain pass to Great Central Lake, then finishing their journey in Port Alberni.

They left Victoria on July 5, 1910, boarding the steamship the “Queen City”, and sailed to Vancouver for supplies.  Among those participating were some notables, like Reverend William Washington Bolton, Headmaster of Victoria’s University School for Boys, who had made an exploratory journey of Vancouver Island in 1894,  (Beyond Nootka – Lindsay Elms), and the Honourable Price Ellison, Minister of Lands and leader of the expedition.  They arrived in Campbell River on July 7, 1910 and stayed at the Willow’s Hotel, with which they were very impressed, not expecting to find such fine accommodation in such an isolated community.  Some of the rooms actually had running water!

 “Campbell River was a very small and quiet place in those days, but very lively on week-ends as there was a large logging camp located near the mouth of the river, and the Willows Hotel with a big barroom open for business six days a week”…This is the best place on the Pacific Coast for Tyee salmon fishing”.

Getting to the Buttle Lake area at that time was very different from how it is today.  A wagon was able to take the group along the newly formed road to McIvor Lake for a distance of six miles (9.6 km).  There they camped before continuing on their journey up the Campbell River.  The inimitable Lord Bacon, an eccentric character who lived alone at Buttle Lake with his dog ‘Man’,  had  joined them in Campbell River as their guide, and entertained them that evening.

“While waiting for supper we have our first talk with one of the leading figures of the expedition, Lord Hugh Nathan Bacon, one time of ___ Scotland, now Lord of Vancouver Island; and make the acquaintance of his sole partner, “Man”, a little fox-terrier. We find very soon that the Lord is no ordinary person. He spends his time in the princely fastnesses of his forest-home back in the Buttle Lake region, and comes down to the settlements only when the silence of the forests palls on him and he feels it his duty to come down and straighten out the rabble of the ordinary workaday world. He takes a fore-place in the hotel bar and tells the loggers they are a pack of drunkards and under the persuasive influence of good old Scotch recites Kipling to them to tell them what they may expect in the next world”.

They paddled up the Campbell River and through the small Lower Campbell and Upper Campbell Lakes, fording rapids and portaging, combating mosquitoes and camping on islands in the middle of the river that are under water today.  They did take time to enjoy the scenery however, as this description of a sunset at Lower Campbell Lake illustrates.

“The sky is clear except for a few clusters of clouds in the west, and there is one of the most gorgeous possible sunsets.  The clouds change from gold to red and wine.  The peaks are blue, then pink, then lavender, and the forests all about and up the mountain sides are every delicate shade.  The water about us too takes on all sorts of shades of light and dark blue, green, yellow and pink.  The changing colours last until 9:45 and we continue our fishing until then just to watch them.”

Upon reaching the Elk River, they took a detour west towards Crown Mountain, as ascending this mountain was a pertinent objective on their itinerary, being a landmark to mariner’s on the West Coast.  Nine members of the group (including the author, Price Ellison and his daughter Myra) were elected to make the ascent.

Once this was accomplished, they continued on their journey through the Buttle Lake area and on to the traverse across to Great Central Lake.  While their journey was roughing it in many ways, they didn’t suffer when it came to the food.

“Pete (the cook) rewards us for our noontime fast by offering us vermicelli soup, lobster pates, mutton (canned) a la Spanish etc, and plum pudding with proper sauce – not bad for the woods!”

They arrived in ‘Alberni’ August 11th, and were officially out of the woods. Telegrams were sent to the Premier McBride and to the expedition member’s families to inform them of their safe arrival. From there went by road to Nanaimo, and the trip was almost at an end.

“Lunch at the hotel, (August 13) a walk about the streets of Nanaimo, more rain.  Then we board the afternoon train of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway, and are in Victoria at the Empress in time for dinner.”

This expedition will be replicated this year in July by local mountaineer Philip Stone and several participants (see http://www.wildisle.ca/strathcona-park/expedition/)

All the above excerpts in quotations are taken from the ‘Journal of BC Exploratory Survey Trip into the Buttle’s Lake region by Harry McC. Johnston.’  The journal can be found in the Museum archives and is a rare treasure – full of wonderful descriptions and humour.  It is strictly a reference item, and is not available for reproduction.  Many archival photos of the Park are also available in the Archives, open Tuesday – Sunday 1-4pm or by appointment – 250-287-3013.

The Days of the Deep Freeze and Local Winter Sports

Having the Olympics here in BC this winter has everyone thinking about winter sports.  While winter sports enthusiasts can visit Mt. Washington or Mt. Cain to partake in snow related activities, there was a time when there was plenty of snow right here at ground level in the Campbell River area.

Granite Bay Winter Scene

Granite Bay Winter Scene

With the milder winters we have been experiencing recently, it is hard to believe that it was once cold enough for local lakes, and even salt water to freeze.  Susan McEwen recalls the days when Echo Lake (15km west of Campbell River) would freeze over.  “I remember about 14 years ago taking my young children to Echo Lake to go ice skating,” she said, “it is such a treat to be able to do things like that outside.”

Pictured here is a photo of skaters at Granite Bay on Quadra Island taken when the salt water actually froze over.  A long time ago, it could get very cold in this area.  Cecil ‘Cougar’ Smith spent his childhood in the Black Creek area in the early 1900s, and recalled a winter when the temperature remained at 12 degrees F below zero.  All the cattle died from the cold and lack of food, and they were unable even to go ice fishing in the frozen lake nearby as they couldn’t hack through the ice that was at least three feet thick.

Before Mt. Washington ski resort opened in 1979, Forbidden Plateau was the john-painterbeverly-mckay-fp-optimizedplace to go downhill skiing (see photo left of John Painter and Beverly McKay 1950).  Forbidden Plateau Lodge was built in 1934 by Clinton S. Wood, at the top of the Comox Logging Company abandoned railway grade.  Shortly afterwards, Coach Line excursions started taking people there to ski. By 1972, there were two tow lifts and a new chair lift (the only one on Vancouver Island at the time), a rental shop and recreation house. In the late 1970s, Jim Boulding of Strathcona Park Lodge had visions of creating a ski hill on the other side of Strathcona Provincial Park near Buttle Lake, and used to fly friends in by helicopter to enjoy the perfect conditions.  However, just when it looked like the project would go through, suddenly there wasn’t enough consistent snowfall to support it, which happened to be the same difficulty faced at Forbidden Plateau.

During winters when snow was plentiful, cross country skiing was a popular family sport.  Jessica Madsen remembers going up past General Hill to find skiing spots in the mid 1980s.  They would ski near John Hart Dam, or sometimes night ski at the Sequoia Springs golf course on Petersen Road.

Tobogganing was another activity that could be enjoyed at night. Young people had great fun with their wooden toboggans and sleds on the sloping hills of Campbell River in the 1960s before the town was fully developed.  “We used to bring Coleman lamps and hang them from the trees at night,” Linda Hogarth told me.  “We tobogganed over by where Alder Clinic is today.”

Now it is necessary to go to higher elevations to find snow, and skating is done indoors at local arenas.  While the mild weather makes for better driving conditions, there are still those who fondly remember the days when winter sports were right at their doorstep.

The Museum at Campbell River Archives contains a wealth of old photos of true winter weather, and there are several articles about Forbidden Plateau and its history and development in the vertical files.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, just ask for help!  The archives are open Tuesday to Friday, 1-4pm or by appointment, 250-287-3103.

Railway Logging and a Fascination with Trains.

Railway logging became an essential part of the logging industry on Vancouver Island from the 1900s right through to the 1950s.  It developed out of the need to access stands of timber further inland after the timber closer to shore had already been harvested, and timber was too far away from the coast for horse and oxen to haul it.   Initially it was smaller and midsized companies that ventured into railway logging.  “Few people realize just how many logging railroads there were.  After 1930, it was pretty well just the big outfits that had them, but before that they were all over the coast, with the greatest number on Vancouver Island.” (‘Raincoast Chronicles First Five’, Howard White).

“The late 1920s were truly the boom years of the coastal logging railroads; all along the coast and in a few interior locations, the hills echoed to the sound of the whistles of the locomotives.  Many companies were ordering new locomotives and equipment and the manufacturers were producing an expanded range of improved machines to increase the efficiency of the logging railroads.” (‘Logging By Rail, the British Columbia Story’, Robert D. Turner)

International Timber Company in Campbell River had one of the largest logging railroads on Vancouver Island in the 1920s and these the assets were taken over by Elk River Timber Co in 1930.  One of Elk River Timber’s major camps was Camp 8, 15km west of Campbell River at Echo Lake.        (see map)camp-8-map-crpd-copy-optimized

 

 

Bloedel, Stewart and Welch had a large and very impressive operation at Menzies Bay, and their railways ran from there inland to the forest lands around Campbell Lake.   Camp 5, built in 1942 on the shore of Brewster Lake,  was a railway logging camp.  It housed about 500 people, including 40 families.  Going even further inland, (about 45 km west from Menzies Bay) Camp 9 was located on the north shore of Upper Campbell Lake, but this disappeared when the lake was flooded by BC Hydro in 1954.

Some self sufficient camps actually evolved into communities – like Camp 5 at Brewster Lake, Rock Bay and Nimpkish Camp.  These more permanent settlements were abandoned once the timber was gone.   Woss Camp (between Sayward and Port McNeill) was the last company owned railroad logging camp in British Columbia.

Maintenance on the locomotives in the woods presented many problems to the crews. The responsibility fell to the train crews to bring their equipment into camp.  Men took pride in their locomotives and in their ability to maintain them.

The use of trucks as feeders for the railroads in the west coast forests was only just beginning in the late 1920s.  By the 1930s, only the larger companies kept trains running, and by 1950, trucks had replaced railroads in most areas.  Trains could only operate in valley bottoms, and once the timber there was gone, trucks were needed to haul lumber out of the steeper grades.  Truck logging became increasingly popular and this also spelled the demise of camp life, as men could easily commute to Campbell River on the roads built for logging trucks.  Although much of the rail lines were pulled up and the bridges dismantled, parts of the line are still visible at Goose Neck Lake and Rock Bay.

Railways and trains still hold great fascination for many, as evidenced by the well attended event the Museum holds every year at the end of January –  ‘Tracks & Trains’, put on by the North Island Model Railroaders.  ‘Logging By Rail’ is available for purchase in the Museum gift shop, and the Archives contain several good books on railway logging like Ken Drushka’s ‘Working in the Woods’ and ‘Raincoast Chroncles First Five’ by Howard White.  Among the archival photo collection are great photos from the days of railway logging, like the one you see here of Spoolie Kusha and Jack Payne.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

p8260145_grouse_mask

Grouse Mask by Campbell River artist Raymond Shaw of Kwakiutl heritage. This stunning mask is carved in yellow cedar with cedar bark decoration. Total dimensions including cedar accents, 20” by 12”…buy it now just in time for Christmas!

Find a great selection Museum Gift Shop Products online at Wagsta.com…Click Here

Connect with us here:

Campbell River Museum on Facebook
Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel
Campbell River Museum on Flickr
Campbell River Museum on Twitter

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca


Floods in Campbell River, Past and Present

In recent weeks, the combination of heavy rainfall, high tides and snowmelt has created fears that we might see flooding, particularly in the Campbellton area, although Oyster River and Oyster Bay have been hard hit in the past too.  Just three years ago, a wild storm with high waves caused hydro outages and flooding across the Island Highway at Oyster Bay, closing off the road.  While we can still experience some level of flooding, we will likely never see the high levels reached in the past, before BC Hydro harnessed some of the power of the Campbell River.

Before the John Hart Dam was built, areas beside the raging Campbell River could be particularly hard hit by high tides and the rising waters of the river.  In 1935 (see photo) and 1939, significant flooding occurred in the Campbellton Flats after snow from a heavy snowfall melted.  During the 1939 flood, waters reached the second step of the Quinsam Hotel, and an 80 ft cedar tree rushing down the river almost destroyed the bridge.  That same year, there was a washout at the Oyster River and a barn had floated across the road, effectively blocking traffic.  Even after the dam was built, Campbell River experienced torrential rains in 1968 that took out two main water lines and this time, the Quinsam Bridge was wiped out.

Although this year the Seawalk was covered with debris after high tides and a recent storm, the rains abated in time to avoid flooding in Campbellton. Even with BC Hydro diverting water from the Upper Campbell into Elk Falls, the Campbell River did not overflow its banks.

If you are looking for information on any past events concerning the Campbell River area, the Archives at the Museum contains a wealth of information in the form of  newspaper clippings, photos, videos and books (some resource and some available for lending).  Our knowledgeable staff are pleased to help you find what you are looking for.  Archive hours are Tuesday to Friday 1-4pm or by appointment – 250-287-3103.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

p8260145_grouse_mask

Grouse Mask by Campbell River artist Raymond Shaw of Kwakiutl heritage. This stunning mask is carved in yellow cedar with cedar bark decoration. Total dimensions including cedar accents, 20” by 12”…buy it now just in time for Christmas!

Find a great selection Museum Gift Shop Products online at Wagsta.com…Click Here

Connect with us here:

Campbell River Museum on Facebook
Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel
Campbell River Museum on Flickr
Campbell River Museum on Twitter

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca


A Piece of Campbell River History Closes Its Doors

A piece of Campbell River history has closed its doors.  The Super Valu grocery store (see last building at end of row) was one of the first businesses to open in the Tyee Plaza in August of 1962, and served the community for 47 years, until the end of December 2009. Due to its seaside location, the store used to service boaters who were tied up at the Quadra ferry dock in the early years, and in later years supplied many of the logging camps.  A small business with a community focus, it offered years of friendly service and the convenience of shopping in the downtown core.  It is sure to be missed by many!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

p8260145_grouse_mask

Grouse Mask by Campbell River artist Raymond Shaw of Kwakiutl heritage. This stunning mask is carved in yellow cedar with cedar bark decoration. Total dimensions including cedar accents, 20” by 12”…buy it now just in time for Christmas!

Find a great selection Museum Gift Shop Products online at Wagsta.com…Click Here

Connect with us here:

Campbell River Museum on Facebook
Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel
Campbell River Museum on Flickr
Campbell River Museum on Twitter

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca


Harry Thurston, Haig-Brown House writer in res

Welcome to our new Haig-Brown House writer in residence who arrived on Monday, with his wife Cathy and elderly cat Elsa. Harry is self described as a dedicated fly fisher, conservationist and natural historian, and a long admirer of Roderick Haig-Brown’s writings. For the last 25 years Harry has been a full time writer, an author of 9 non-fiction books, 3 books of poetry, a feature writer for more than 30 leading magazines, including Audubon, National Geographic, a contributing editor to Equinox and Harrowsmith and has won several national awards.

What a privilege it is to have a writer of this caliber, live in our community until the end of March. In addition to living in the Haig-Brown House along our Heritage River as a muse to his writings, he will will be giving a talk at the Museum in the new year, and he will be available for consultations with local writers, who can make appointments through the HBH phone # 286-6646 or email: harrythurston@seaside.ns.ca

We would like to thank the Rotary Club of Cambell River, the Haig-Brown Institute, and of course the City of Campbell River in it’s support of the HBH which enabled us to continue with the program. Check out Stillwater Books and Art for some of Mr. Thurson’s books and watch for upcoming Museum programs with Harry Thurston at the Museum.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out a number of Museum video productions at the Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel.

We also have a growing photo album on Flickr…worth the visit.

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca

Leaving To Serve In The War

This photo has been identified as men being sent to train for the Signal Corps during World War II.  If you have any information about this photo, we would be interested in hearing from you.  On Remembrance Day, November 11, Campbell River honours those who were killed in action during both wars by placing wreaths on the cenotaph that bears their names, now located in Spirit Square. The war years were, incidentally, a boom time for the logging industry in Campbell River and as a number of men left to join the forces, there was a shortage of manpower.  Those who were working in the logging industry were exempt from serving in the military.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Check out a number of Museum video productions at the Campbell River Museum YouTube Channel.

We also have a growing photo album on Flickr…worth the visit.

The Campbell River Museum maintains collections and archives from Campbell River’s wide and diverse history, culture and community.  For more information about your local Campbell River Museum, call 250-287-3103 or visit www.crmuseum.ca