Humans of Campbell River: Cody Assu

Humans of Campbell River is a collaboration between Destination Campbell River and Bluetree Photography. Showcasing the stories of those who call our coastal community home. Each week we deep dive into a new story and the connections between people and place. This week we’re sharing the story of Cody Assu. 

My name is Cody Assu and this is my story.

I belong to the Ligwiłda’xw people (We Wai Kai) and The Haida nation. I was raised on my father’s traditional territory of Quinsam (We Wai Kai) where I still reside today. During my childhood, I would visit my mother’s traditional homelands in Haida Gwaii to spend time with my Nanaay (Pauline Jones) and several aunties, uncles and cousins. I am fortunate to have family in Haida Gwaii that continue to speak our traditional language and practice our culture to this day. Our collective family looks to continue to share those experiences with our son, nieces and nephews.

During my childhood, I was active in sports such as lacrosse, hockey and football. I am looking forward to the moments, I can share these experience with my family as I shared with my parents.

Humans of Campbell River Cody Assu

I was never the loudest child growing up, I always had my sisters to translate my grunts and I took that quietness into high school. Some could say, I am still a man of few words. My only extrovert quality was teasing my younger brother (Theo) until he realized he was taller and faster than me. This probably happens to most siblings. Today, the only extrovert quality I have is my wife who owns West Coast Wildflowers and the dance videos we do together.

When I was 19, I moved to Vancouver with my sisters (Lesley and Kristy) It was nothing fancy, we lived in a small apartment. I was young and uncertain of a career path, I did small jobs to make rent. Some of these jobs included construction, moving company, obtained my retailers license and one time my sister roped me into working on her film set. The first day on the film set, I knew this is definitely not what I wanted to do. After all these odd jobs, I leaned into commercial fishing on my family’s boat called the Haida Girl and never looked back.


 Most of my twenties were spent on the ocean and I would not change a moment. I fished many different fisheries, built many relationships with other fisherman and heard twice the amount of fishing stories. As I said in my last post, I am a man of few words.

After years of fishing, I met my wife (Alissa Assu). We said our vows in October during the heaviest storm in Campbell River. It was a week with cancelled ferries and airplanes. In the final hours of our wedding, we had to change our venue from a backyard wedding to being the last wedding held at the gold course before it became the Campbell River Golf & Country Club.

Luck would have it, the day after our wedding we had to go fishing. Before we left, Murray Porter played the piano for my family and I while we opened our presents. The most used wedding present we continue to use is a cooking pot from my aunt and uncle (Bill and Lou Henderson). Gifts were done and my wife joined us on the boat for an opening. It was an experience. It was the first time since operating the Haida Girl that I loaded up the boat. That was the was the second best wedding gift.

Humans of Campbell River

ctober 25, 2018, my wife and I welcomed our son Ember Assu at BC Children’s Hospital. He was born 27 weeks and weighted 1 pound.

From September to February we lived in a sandman hotel and our family spent north of 160 days in hospital.

It’s no surprise that our family is grateful to doctors and nurses everywhere. And the supports we received like Cameryn’s cause

Both Ember and my wife received a lot of blood transfusions during the pregnancy and in the NICU. Because of that, I have become a lifelong blood donor. Whenever we travel to Vancouver for appointments at BC Children’s I book an appointment across the street to donate blood. If you didn’t know, they give you a lot of snacks.

As some would say, it’s one and done for us.


Since Ember’s birth, our lives have changed dramatically. The first part of his life, we went back and forth to BC Children’s. Now, we spend most of the time collecting rocks at the beach or strolling around his aunties farm with his cousins. 

If you have been following my story, I have talked a lot about fishing and my family. As my wife likes to say, it fills my cup and brings me the most joy in my life. And that’s what I have tried to do most of my life. Don’t do things that don’t make sense and do more of the things that are fun and have good snacks. I just happened to be grateful that most of these things are spending time with family and found a career that I love. 

Speaking of fishing, I am leaving Campbell River today and heading to fishing for halibut near Haida Gwaii. For some of you, I might see you at local farmer markets this summer representing my new business that I co-own with my wife – Bear Essential Oils. 

Also, if someone feels like donating their time for a dance video at West Coast Wildflowers. My feet could use a rest. 

Local stories of our coastal town.
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