Flash Back Fridays

TOURISM BEGINNINGS 1961

I tell people that we stumbled into the tourist business. The local people referred to us as ‘just a couple of kids’. We had never really been tourists so knew very little about the business.

Mr. Bradbury with toddler Liz

Mr. Bradbury with toddler Liz

In 1961 Jim was commuting to town to teach and I was pregnant with Jamie. We had a British American oil can, (which was emptied periodically), with a toilet seat on top, in a small shed just outside the back door. I had a young man staying at the Lodge to help me with the place. It was easy to find American fishermen and explorers in B.C. in those days. They were usually in the most isolated spots, like where we were located. Believe it or not, a middle-aged man known as Senator Hollister stopped by and asked if he could stay with us. He did not mind our rustic outhouse. It turned out that he was probably one of the richest guests that we ever had. Apparently he owned 13 miles of California sea-coast. He was also our first tourist. How could we say no? We needed the money. I believe that Jim took him fishing.

Eventually, thanks to Mrs. Painter, from the well-known Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, we had some boats that belonged to her and her husband parked on our property . This allowed her guests to go trout fishing. She was a huge help to us in many ways, particularly as a mentor. A year or so later she sent us a retired engineer, Mr. Bradbury from the Barbados who stayed for three months. He also liked to fish but he used to buy his scotch and his cigarettes by the case. It is amazing that he did not burn the place down. His room had to be kept at a tropical temperature. By then we had plumbing. Mr. Ariss and his son Garth did our plumbing, not an easy job when you have logs for walls. Communication was difficult because we did not have anything except mail and the impossibly expensive radio phone. I remember on one occasion that we accidentally overbooked. One of the rooms downstairs was completely unfinished. I think the paint in the bathroom was still wet when the guests arrived. Another time two doctors came to fish after being at a conference in Vancouver. One was crippled and could not walk. He was having a bath and a mouse dropped in from the ceiling and was swimming in the bathtub. He somehow made it into his bedroom under his own steam. The other doctor came upstairs proclaiming a miracle, saying that his friend had walked.