Cultural Seeker Itinerary
By Erika Anderson of the Campbell River Museum .
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
I love exploring the local culture and heritage when I travel. I’ve always been drawn to stories and storytellers, and culture and heritage are by their nature-rich with stories. Each place, each person is the result of a series of events, reaching back into history. In my work at the Museum at Campbell River, I believe in our vision that our past informs our future, and in our exhibits, we have helped others to share their stories in a way that is experiential for our visitors, in hopes that those that walk through our doors leave with the feeling they have seen the world through another’s eyes. The Museum also offers historic boat tours in the summer where they take you out on the water with a guide who shares the local history of some of the more remote coastal places.
One of my favourite places in Campbell River is the serene gardens at the Haig-Brown Heritage House. The house operates as a Bed & Breakfast, which is the ultimate experience for the Campbell River culture seeker, but regardless of if you stay there, the gardens can be visited. The constant murmur of the river was one of the inspirations for many of the books written in the house by author Roderick Haig-Brown. His international recognition not only for his writing and as a fisherman, but also for his early work as a vocal conservationist are a reminder that people who come to this community leave changed by the majestic wilderness that surrounds us. Take the time to visit a place like Lady Falls, approximately 1hr drive west of Campbell River, and you can’t help but be inspired. The Anglers Dining Room at Dolphins Resort also pays homage to our past, and to the recreational fishermen who have flocked here for over 100 years. Anywhere you look you can see it – the past weaving the threads that led to today.
To learn some of the ways that others in this community have been inspired by the culture and heritage, and the way they have been informed by this place, there are tours offered by the Homalco Cultural and Wildlife Tours, or by Corilair. Seeing the region from the air gives a fresh perspective as you move from the cozy surroundings of the rainforest to the expansive horizons of islands and sea. When paired with your visit to the Museum, the lifestyles of the people that called those remote reaches of the coast home take on new depth. The Homalco Cultural and Wildlife Tours take you deep into the Homalco traditional territory in Bute Inlet. Pairing wildlife viewing with teachings about their culture and home, these trips will fully immerse you in a cultural experience that you will not forget.
Hopefully this has inspired you to come and to listen. To take in the stories of this place, to breathe in the generations that led to the people and places you have met. Reflection is a part of becoming a storyteller. Many locals find time by the sea helps them process their thoughts. The Spit has long been the focal point for gathering at what is now called the Campbell River. Not always called the “Spit” its original name was ƛ̓əmataʔakʷ, and it was the site of a large fortified village. Surrounded by water, the sea to one side, the estuary to the other, today the Spit is now home to Thunderbird RV Park, owned and run by the Wei Wai Kum Nation. Thunderbird RV Park allows you to stay at the Spit where you can watch spectacular sunsets, hear the sounds of migratory birds, and smell the salt in the air. The Wei Wai Kum also run the House of Treasures Gift Shop, right at the entrance to the Spit, where the work of local artists reflect their stories.