Category Archives: History at Strathcona Park Lodge

Started in 1959 Strathcona Park Lodge has a unique history. Find old videos, pamphlets, articles…etc

Flash Back Fridays

FRANKIE TACKER and JON LIND 1971

In the summer of 1971 Frankie and Jon wandered into the spacious fireplace room of the Lodge. They were hitchhiking up from California and were waiting for the man giving them a ride to fill up with gas at the Strathcona pumps. It took a while in those days, so Jon sat down to play the piano and sing. Jim happened to hear him and was impressed. Jim talked Jon, a Mannes College of Music graduate, into staying, telling him that he could entertain the Lodge guests. He had to find a job for Frankie too.

Front deck of the Lodge

Front deck of the Lodge

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Flash Back Fridays

THE CAMPBELL RIVER COURIER— Wednesday, May 21, 1971

30 students from Campbell River took part in an” “Environmental GrooveIn” at StrathconaLodge last weekend. The students from the Junior and Senior High Schools were taking part in a supervised social/educational experience that included a student teacher conference to plan the 1971-72 Grade 10 environmental curriculum. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

DANUSIA KANACHOWSKI 1970

Danusia Kanachowski and Judy Smith

Danusia Kanachowski and Judy Smith

I have very fond memories of my times at Strathcona. I first went to the Lodge with the humanities program (teacher, Peter Croft) from Woodlands School in Nanaimo. A number of us in the program were quite taken with the Lodge and learning about being in the outdoors so we came up as a school group a number of times over the two years we were in the program. I also went up a number of times on my own to just hang out with Annie, Jamie and others during the following few years often meeting up with them at the apartment in Campbell River and driving out to the Lodge together. I remember that on one of our school trips, a hike up Elk Mountain with Annie and Roger Podalski, one of the students on the trip became hypothermic.

Annie and I built fibreglass kayaks together at Jericho with the help of Brian and Mark Creer. Mine was stolen a couple of years later when I lived in East Vancouver, going to Simon Frazer University (SFU). Read more

Flash Back Fridays

LIQUOR LICENCE

C. .K. Mirror
Regional District of Comox-Strathcona
4695 Headquarters Road, Courtenay, B.C. V9N 5W3

Dear Sir or Madam, There seems to be some misunderstanding about Strathcona Lodge.

A group of hikers enjoy the view facing south down the lake

A group of hikers enjoy the view facing south down the lake

At a recent meeting the Regional Board turned down an application by Strathcona Lodge for a liquor licence. According to a newspaper report the licence was refused for two reasons – that we are presently an educational institution and deal only with young people, and that we would become a “watering hole. ” There was also a remark about our receiving government money. Perhaps I can correct the misunderstanding by describing our history and explaining our present operation.

My husband and I started our business in 1958 with a small lodge that we ran during the summer; we taught high school during the school ear. In 1963 we expanded and obtained a liquor license for our dining room and coffee shop. We never sold much liquor, nor did we try to. Unfortunately our main lodge burned down in 1973. By this time we were running outdoor education programs. As our tourist facilities were, for the most part, destroyed we then concentrated on the outdoor education part of the operation. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

BOB SUTHERLAND 1974

Bob graduated from the University of Toronto in 1972 as a biologist and worked as an environmental assessment biologist in Ontario, until he met Paul Bragstad who convinced him to go meet Jim and “give them a hand”. Bob was a “can do” style of the Happy Warrior. He had a choice bunk: in with Toby Hay, or build himself a cabin. He built the upper dome. The lower dome was built by a Friends World College kid from Massachusetts and was constructed with standard two by four technologies. Bob had learned that an engineer named Jim Bohlen on Denman Island was developing a style of dome that truly reflected Buckminster Fuller’s ideas. Called the ‘icosocabin’, the new style of dome was actually several facets held together by system of nodes. Bob solved the nodes problem by using the strapping used in lumber yards to hold together the bundles of lumber. The dome is still prime staff accommodation. Bob became a senior kayak guide for Eco -Summer and for 18 years led trips all over the world including: Bahamas, Tonga, Mexico, the Canadian Arctic, Terra Del Fuego, Australia, the Queen Charlottes, and the West Coast of Vancouver Island. On April 2nd, 1983 Bob married Marie and they have three kids of their own as well as being the foster parents to many children from difficult circumstances. Bob and Marie are famous on Quadra Island because they choose to foster the kids no one else wants: kids with fetal alcohol. Two years ago there was a fuss with the Ministry of Children and Families. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

GEOFF EVANS 1974

I went through the usual college stuff to obtain a teaching diploma and taught Phys. Ed. at an all-boys school in Plymouth, England for three years. Following that I worked at the Out- ward Bound Mountain School in the Lake District for two years. This was followed by my “wandering” years where I traveled and worked at the Minnesota O.B. School during the summers and returned to the U.K. in the fall. I was eventually asked to stay as Assistant Director with the goal of establishing a year round program and this I did until I received a letter requesting me to register for the “draft”. This annoyed me as I had already served my two years in the RAF when I was 18!!! So I returned to the U.K with family in tow. All of this took place between1959 and 1970. In 1971 I was offered the directorship of the recently opened Outward Bound (O.B.) School in Keremeos B.C. which I took on and I stayed there until 1974. That was the year that we all met the government people in Victoria. Anyway that began my association with the Lodge. As you probably know I started my own whitewater kayaking school in 1976 and Barb and I ran it until 1998 when I lost my depth perception due to an eye injury. We still kayak. Both Barb and I are partly bionic, having had new hips but we are still able to get out and about. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION COURSES OFFERED TEACHERS AT STRATHCONA PARK LODGE 1974

In early 1974 a very unfortunate event that happened when a group of school children and their teachers set out to paddle down the Willow River near Kamloops, B.C. and many were drowned. First, Jim and Elizabeth met with the Deputy Minister of Education. Later, Jim, Alice Culbert and Geoff Evans met with Eileen Dailly in her office and told her of the need to train teachers in Outdoor Education so that such an accident would be unlikely to happen again.

Standing proud in front of the front entrance of Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Cetre

Eileen was the Minister of Education with the NDP, a left wing party then in power. Eileen’s list of accomplishments while in office is long, but among the highlights are the introduction of mandatory kindergartens in the province, the abolishment of capital punishment in B.C. schools, and the creation of the first Native School District. From my point of view, a highlight of her career also included her decision to educate teachers with large scale programs to be run at Strathcona Lodge that following summer. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

DOUG DOBYNS 1973

I worked up at the Lodge first in 1973 and had to leave to go back to Swe- den. You offered me a job and I was able to immigrate in March 1974. I worked mostly through that year and parts of the next two. I took off to go on the First Whale Voyage with Greenpeace, and again to work on the United Nations Conference on Human Habitat.

One of the things I remember best was going out to the West Coast to do a Survival Trip with Jim. We were accompanying some graduate students from SFU. It was around Easter and we ate shellfish, seaweed, and nettles. But the students lived mostly on schnapps and other sweet booze. It was stormy and we had to get the 24 foot boat into the kelp line. Jim and I had a good time watching the kids get wasted and stand around under a tarp, while we went out and collected enough food to have something to eat. I was running the Zodiac and had one ofthe best times of my life. Another time Jim went down tothe Comox Air Base to join a protest against the nuclear weapons that the Americans had stored there. Rosemary Brown was the featured speaker and we must have had two hundred in the crowd. Rosemary was an articulate black woman and for years a member of the B.C. legislature as a New Democrat. Like Eileen Dailly, she was ahead of her time and the strongest advocate in government for women. The military stood on their side of the fence and threw eggs and tomatoes at us, and Rosemary did not break stride in her talk. Jim didn’t get mad. On the way back Jim and I had some good talks – peace and ecology and all that. My kind of thing. Read more