Thursday, 25 August 2016

Homesteading History on the BC Coast

The BC Coast is not just rich in First Nations history, it is also rich in homesteading history. Throughout the last two centuries as resource workers and other groups made their way to the coast small groups, individuals and families took up residence throughout the coast, including on the many islands between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

It is not uncommon to come across relics from homesteading in the middle of what looks like untouched forest or grassland. From broken fencelines to house foundations and even old tools, evidence is abundant when you start to look. In particular on the north end of Vancouver Island, it is easy to stumble across pieces of machinery and household items from the early 1900s. Apparently at one time 1000 people lived in an area where only a handful of people now live at the Cape Scott area of Vancouver Island.

Another visual reminder of this past history is the abundance of fruit trees scattered throughout the region, from old orchards that have been reclaimed by the surrounding wild. Going for walks in parks and along beach fronts it is not uncommon to find a gnarled old plum or apple tree, still producing fruit. Along with the fruit trees it is possible to also find overgrown domestic plants that survived long after the homestead itself has disappeared. Rhododendrons and holly bushes are common ones to come across.

People have come and gone for various reasons. A number of Scandinavian groups came in the early 1900s to places such as Cape Scott and Sointula on Malcolm Island, looking to establish a new type of community. Many of the homesteaders in the Discovery Islands were families of the local resource workers whose livelihoods depending on the fishing, mining and forestry industries. Then in the 60s there was another wave of homesteading as the hippy generation found the mild weather of the coast perfect for their communes and back-to-the-earth ideals.

As larger communities grew on the coast and on Vancouver Island especially, many of the homesteader families moved away from the more remote areas to the convenience and steady jobs that towns could offer. Now it seems the homesteading movement is gathering interest and attention, and so more people are coming to the coast to once again connect with those more remote areas.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Kyuquot

Kyuquot is a west coast village well known as a fishing destination and rich in First Nations and homesteader history. Kyuquot Sound is one of five major waterways on the west coast of Vancouver Island, north of Gold River, where the fishing is exciting and the scenery breath-taking. It is a place to experience the true west coast. 

The small village of Kyuquot is on Walter's Island in a sheltered bay. It is home to a general store, a government dock and even a seasonal restaurant. Some of the local residents are third generation of families who settled in the area. Most visitors come for the fishing, but there are also opportunities for other marine adventures, such as whale watching and kayaking.

Kyuquot is accessible by water or air only. Fair Harbour is the closest drive-to community, and that is a three and a half hour drive from Campbell River, mostly on gravel roads. It is a 30 minute boat ride and water taxi can be arranged ahead of time. One can also fly in from Gold River, or take the passenger boat from Gold River (MV Uchuck III).

The region has a true west coast history, with high First Nations significance (there is a First Nations village on Walters Island as well, pictured below), fur trading, whaling, forestry and fishing all as part of the development and story.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Non Residents and Real Estate

The coast of British Columbia is known as one of the most beautiful places on earth, offering a natural wilderness and sense of adventure not to be found in many other places. With quick access from urban centres to the more remote areas of the coast, BC is a unique offering. It is no surprise then that it appeals to people from all over the world. Whether it is a visitor who wants to have a place to retreat to once a year or someone who is seriously thinking about relocating for a different lifestyle, the coast draws people from all over the world.

Every country has its own way of dealing with non-resident buyers, and so it is important that someone coming from outside Canada and wanting to buy property educated themselves on the requirements and rules.The BC Real Estate Association has a good overview here.

For people looking to make a more permanent move to Canada, then the place to start is the Government of Canada and their requirements for immigration.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Cathedral Grove and the Trees

Vancouver Island has so much forest, we sometimes forget to look more closely at the amazing trees in these forests. Sight-seeing gets taken up by the amazing water features of the island, while we drive past acres and acres of forest.

Cathedral Grove, or as it's more formally known MacMillan Provincial Park, is found on Highway 4 on the way to Port Alberni. This small provincial park celebrates Vancouver Island forests, both their eco-systems and their history. In a very small space that is bisected by a busy road, one is quickly overwhelmed by the majesty of the trees.

largest tree in the park

rain forest moss

tall, tall trees

If the forest seems vaguely familiar, it is because scenes from Star Wars Return of the Jedi were filmed here. 

Cathedral Grove is worth a stop, even if you live on the island and think you know trees. It's worth the reminder that these forests of ours are something special.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Marine Parks on the Coast of British Columbia

The coast of BC has over 40 designated marine parks. These are parks that include both water and land areas but are generally accessible by float plane or boat only (with some exceptions). Many of them allow wilderness camping but only a few offer even basic services (an outhouse, water, campsites).
Rebecca Spit Marine Park, accessible by road as well as boat on Quadra Island.
These marine parks run along the entire coast of BC and among the numerous islands that dot the coast. They are an attraction for boaters, kayakers, hikers and many others. The largest marine park on the coast is the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, off the NE coast of Vancouver Island, which consists of dozens of small islands and the waters around them. This park is very popular with kayakers and people whale watching.

Marine parks often provide a welcome refuge for people traveling along the coast, and are common meet-up spots for boaters.  Desolation Sound Marine Park, along the central coast, is very popular with boaters due to its protected waters, easy access to the Discovery Islands and its beautiful beaches.
private properties within Desolation Sound Marine Park

Some of the remote and recreational properties we have listed through the BC Oceanfront office either border or are very near to marine parks. A select few are even lucky enough to be private property within a marine park - very rare.
flying over Surge Narrows Marine Park

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Campbell River Carving Competition 2016

The annual Chainsaw Carving competition was at the end of June. This is a great draw for locals and tourists alike, and attracts chainsaw carvers from across the province and even a few from out of province. The carvers spend five days working the logs provided and turning them into works of art. These pieces are then judged. While some are moved quickly after the competition (already sold or spoken for) others are left in place at Frank James Park through the summer.

The competition includes categories from Novice to Professional, and there are also some consultants on hand to assist. Observers can wander through and watch the carvings in progress.

The competition is well known in the carving community and is a draw for tourists coming to spend Canada Day in our community (the competition usually ends just before Canada Day so that the carvings are in place for the festivities). The Transformations on the Shore, as it is officially known, is a perfect example of this island's communities - a mix of resource-base and the arts celebrating both our logging legacy and our artistic heritage.

To see all the action, check out the Shoreline Arts page.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

BCO Coastal Gems: Knight Inlet

Knight Inlet is a majestic body of water on the coast of BC. The largest of the major southern BC inlets, it has become well known for magnificent Grizzly Bear watching. The spectacular landscape and easy access from Johnstone Strait and Vancouver Island make this body of water attractive to sight seers, fishermen and whale watchers.

The inlet is 125km long and averages 2.5km in width. It produces strong turbulence and outflow winds, affecting conditions in Queen Charlotte Strait at its mouth.

Properties in this region are accessed by boat or float plane. It is home to wilderness lodges and fishing resorts, most of them floating.

Knight Inlet is a place that takes your breath away and leaves you feeling in awe of the raw wilderness that shapes so much of coastal BC.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!