by Christine Dickinson, Deborah Griffiths, Judy Hagen & Catherine Siba
The spectacular landscapes in and surrounding the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island have long shaped the lives of the valley’s diverse inhabitants. From expansive shorelines to snowy mountain peaks, the region contains a wide variety of attractions to lure people over their thresholds for sustenance, recreation and survival, including such landmarks as Forbidden Plateau, Paradise Meadows, Comox Glacier, Mt. Washington and Miracle Beach.
Step into Wilderness features never-before-seen photos from the Courtenay and District Museum collection, showcasing the growing community’s varied interactions with the wilderness they inhabit, from early hiking and skiing expeditions to encounters with wildlife, afternoon tea in the wilderness, beach races and early outdoor activity clubs. The collection also explores the ways in which inhabitants have altered the landscape, including K’omoks Bay fish traps and stump blasting to clear fields. These unique and arresting photos are complemented by equally engaging accounts of individuals surviving and thriving in the midst of natural beauty and great devastation, including survivors of the great fire of 1922 and pioneer skiers on Forbidden Plateau during the Great Depression.
More than a volume of beautiful photos, this collection illustrates a community’s evolving relationship with the natural wonders surrounding it, as well as the emergence of outdoor exploration on Vancouver Island.