Flash Back Fridays

A BRAND NEW KIND OF EXPERIENCE

By Michael Harker, Comox Free Press, March 17, 1978

Efficient use of space has been a key component of operations at the Lodge. For example, the whale room in the Outdoor Centre

has been used for a variety of activities. One of the more outlandish ones was canoe building. A newspaper article from the time displayed a picture of a canoe undergoing its finishing touches in what is now the dining room for the Lodge. During this busy time student groups were regularly visiting the Lodge. Many were affiliated with schools such as Mount Douglas High School and Lester Pearson College, but some came through other programs such as the federally-funded Katimavik. Everybody was “involved in a diversity of activities and projects geared towards teaching them self-sufficiency and reliance in a rural or wilderness setting.”

After dinner on Friday night while waiting for the groups from Victoria to arrive, one fellow showed slides to the rest of the staff of a mountaineering expedition he had been on into the Mount Waddington area of the Coast Range. This was viewed with great interest as the biggest trip of this kind offered by Strathcona is going into this same area to climb.

The morning I spent with one of the many Mount Douglas groups, who had divided themselves up into areas of personal interest, and went up to some bluffs above the Lodge to learn some basic rock climbing techniques. Other groups spent time learning heritage skills, such as the building of an outdoor bread oven using only cement, wire, and newspaper in its construction.

That afternoon I headed home, and after only a day at Strathcona I realized I had experienced only a very small portion of what life there is all about.

The author summed up the status of the Lodge in 1972: “Basically, Strathcona Park Lodge is a growing group of buildings and community of peo- ple on a piece of lake shore land in central Vancouver Island moving towards their concept of a Rural Resource Village.”