Melissa March Exhibits at Haig-Brown Festival

Cutthroat Trout

Melissa March’s oil paintings of fish are as dramatic and arresting as they are beautiful.  Her love of fish and nature shines through her work, and as such, her paintings fit in very well with the other displays that will be at the Haig-Brown Festival this year.

Although she once received a Fine Arts scholarship after completing high school, Melissa chose to travel rather than attend a post secondary institution in pursuit of the study of art.  She is largely self taught as a painter, and has been drawing ever since she can remember.  She attributes her interest in painting to the influences of her family, who all participate in creative activities like carving and sewing.  They also contributed to her love of the outdoors.  In fact, it came as no surprise to her family, that fish would be her favourite subject to paint.  “They (fish) live in a mysterious world”, she says, “and unless you really look, you never know anything about it – it is a big part of the intrigue.”

Melissa in her studio

While exhibiting at ‘Art in Bloom’ at Kitty Coleman Woodlands in Courtenay, she was approached by Erin Nowack from Greenways Land Trust, who suggested that she participate in the Haig-Brown Festival.  Since coming to Campbell River from Vancouver three years ago, Melissa has found that the festival has become her favourite event to attend, and she feels honoured to be involved.  “It is a fitting venue for what I believe in”, she explains, referring to Festival’s celebration of the natural environment with love of fish and fishing.

The festival, taking place on Sunday, September 26 from noon to 4pm at the Haig-Brown Heritage Property also features Haig-Brown readings, fly casting and tying, river rafting, property tours, children’s crafts and games, music and more.  See the website for a complete list.

To see more of Melissa’s paintings, go to

One Hundred Years of Education in Campbell River

First school house at Cedar and 9th Ave

One hundred years ago, in 1910, there was no school in Campbell River, but there was a classroom.  Pupils came to the Willows Hotel Annex to be taught by Harold Campbell, who later became Deputy Minister of Education in BC.  As seven students were required before a school could be opened, a four year old (Arnold McDonald) was included to artificially inflate the numbers.  Since only five children attended regularly though, instruction was given for just two months before the ‘school’ was closed and Campbell was sent to teach elsewhere.  However, shortly afterwards, the classroom reopened and the number of students rose to 16, prompting the building of the first school house, the Campbell River School, situated at the corner of Cedar and 9th Avenue.  The photo at right is of a class from 1921-22.   The Campbell River School  accommodated students for the next 10 years, until the Elm Street School was built.

Elm Street School circa 1945

In 1945, School District 72 was created as a result of consolidations recommended by a report of the Royal Commission.To celebrate 100 years since schooling first began in Campbell River, a reunion is being planned for September 9 and 10 to include students attending from 1939 to 1959.

For a complete history of early education in Campbell River, visit the archives where the Museum has a copy of ‘The Schoolhouse on the Hill – The Story of a Coastal Community’s First School’ by Dr. Thomas Fleming (written in 1987).


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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