Arts & Culture
Campbell River is living history and culture filled with pioneer heritage sites, awe-inspiring natural beauty and a booming fishing industry.
Spend a self-guided day in Campbell River visiting the Campbell River Museum with its many fine exhibits, Maritime Heritage Centre where the restored BCP45 resides, and reading the historical markers that line the streets in the downtown core.
Campbell River Carving Shed hosts the majestic backdrop of Discovery Passage frames the Village of Cape Mudge on Quadra Island, home to Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre. Established in 1979, Nuyumbalees was the first museum of its kind in Canada, designed specifically to house the Sacred Potlatch Collection. This unique grouping of masks, ceremonial items and regalia was repatriated from the federal government. Visitors can view over 250 items removed during the Anti-Potlatch era (1884-1951), as well as stone tools displays, pre-contact basketry, and historic Totem and Welcome Poles located in our Carving Shed. At the Ah Wah Qwa Dzas guests will see several petroglyph, more than 2500 years old. Traditional Salmon BBQ dinner & dance performances held May – Sept (reservations are required). Gift Shop and Tours are available throughout the year.
Understand why Campbell River is called the Salmon Capital of the world with exciting and adventurous opportunities to catch 30lb salmon. Visit the Haig-Brown Heritage Site and learn about Roderick Haig-Brown, who was a man ahead of his time in his concern for the environment and became an active spokesperson for the principles of conservation, particularly regarding rivers and salmon.
Take an exciting and active adventure as you ply the waters of Nootka Sound on the historical Uchuck III. Her current name means Healing Waters in the Nootkan language, and she was built originally in Oregon as an American Mine Sweeper in 1942, but was eventually refitted to accommodate 100 passengers and up to 100 tons of freight (cargo). This sturdy work horse has been serving the Sound for over 50 years by delivering cargo and passengers to the remote logging camps and settlements.
Connect with local artists and immerse yourself in the multicultural history that helps to influence the region’s art scene. Heritage and art often go hand in hand and much of the region’s art is a reflection of elements of the past with an entrepreneurial and innovative twist. The art here, uses many different forms of media including glass, ceramic, wood, shells, soapstone, plaster, and traditional metals such as copper.
Some artists practice the crafts of their cultural heritage, such as jewelry making, while others are using their talents and imaginations to explore new avenues. From masks and pottery to custom guitars, there is something for every person to connect with. Campbell River embraces its art community and proudly displays both purchased and donated artwork for culture seeking visitors to explore and appreciate.
A history lesson
The cultural history of Campbell River and Region is one of exploration, discovery, extreme fortitude, pioneering, entrepreneurship, and independence. The people of the region are proud of their heritage and the relics of the past can be found within them as the cultural stories and traditions have been passed on for generations. There are many great opportunities to explore the regions diverse and rich history. The region provides flexible, authentic and must see opportunities for genuine historic exploration.
The Region boasts the names of the 18th century British and Spanish explorers and their ships that plied the waters looking for the Northwest Passage. A self-guided map is a treasure hunt for those with a penchant for European history. Visit Yuquot, otherwise known as Friendly Cove, to learn more about Captain James Cook who arrived in 1778 on H.M.S. Resolution and traded furs with Chief Maquinna and the Mowachaht people. Between 1778 and 1795 Nootka Sound became one of the most famous points on the West Coast of North America.
Discover the history of the hardy and industrious people of the 1900s that settled in the rugged landscape of the central north island alongside the First Nations. Relive the boom and bust era of the gold rush in Zeballos through the collection of stories and artifacts found in the Zeballos Heritage Museum and in the encroaching rain forest around the community. Watch the video about the site of the largest non-nuclear explosion in history when 1,400 tons of dynamite blasted away a boat-hull-eating hazard known as Ripple Rock that was in the centre of busy Seymour Narrows, the area’s busiest marine traffic route.