Flash Back Fridays
RESTORING STRATHCONA LODGE 1959 & 1960
Jim recruited the biggest and strongest young men that he could find: Cam Christensen, John Godfrey and Godfrey Norrgard. They were digging under the old log Lodge with a jackhammer in order to put the building on a foundation and jack it up high enough to allow for a full lower floor. Fred Burman, a log builder from Rock Bay, carefully fitted peeled logs together all around the perimeter of the lower floor. We went to the bank and bor- rowed $3,000 to al- low us to build two very large upstairs and downstairs fireplaces with heatilators. We hired three young Italian stone masons. They insisted on living on the job with someone, me of course, cooking for them. We all set up housekeeping. We had no water or plumbing and it was winter. The Italians lasted one night.
It was so cold that they decided to commute. We stayed. What choice did we have? We had moved all our stuff there. Every night Jim would hang a large canvas wall up where the fireplaces were open to the great outdoors. The Italians did a great job on the two enormous fireplaces. The one upstairs in the main Lounge was made of rounded beach rock and took a four-foot log while the one downstairs was open on the corner and made of split rock Both had big raised hearths that you could sit on.
WE WERE DETERMINED TO DO A GOOD JOB
We hired a landscape architect, Clive Justice, who designed a plan for our property (ten acres at that time). We had acquired a big float made of cedar logs, which became our boat dock and some old, but well built, logger’s bunkhouses. These items came from what had been the Baikie’s floating logging camp when they were work- ing on the clearing project. These long wooden structures were well built with first grade fir but were necessarily an ugly shape as they had been designed to drag around from camp to camp on big skids made of cedar logs. These were the days before trailers were popular. Clive and his assistant designed porches and better windows for the cabins. We actually got many of our windows from the buildings used to house the men who were drilling the underwater tunnel and doing other preparation work before blowing up Ripple Rock at Seymour Narrows. This area around Ripple Rock was described as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world” by Captain George Vancouver in the late 1700s and had claimed many vessels and lives until it was successfully blown up on April 5, 1958. The Ripple Rock explosion was the largest non-nuclear explosion in the world up to that time.
Other than the washhouse, which was burned by a young arsonist from Tahsis, and one of the duplexes that burned down years ago due to a faulty hot water tank, we still have these same cabins spread out along the waterfront. We were never able to stop the flat roof porch extensions from leaking (forget a flat roof in this climate), so along with better roof lines and proper foundations (the big cedar skids rotted eventually), we have been con- tinuously upgrading these cabins. They look better each year because we have kiwi and other plants growing behind them. They are popular with tourists, partly because of their location on the waterfront and because they appeal to those who like the simpler designs of earlier days.
Eventually the Boulding family ended up living for a few years in the old cookhouse, also on skid logs. Clive Justice had designed a deck completely around the building which gave our growing family a place to play and ride their bikes on bad weather days. We later purchased a building from B.C. Hydro (it was eventually torn down but we saved the good parts) and two small but well built buildings from Parks. All part of doing more with less!