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Campbell River History, British Columbia

Before the Europeans came to this area the Native Americans were the first inhabitants of Campbell River. These people lived here in close harmony with nature. The salmon fish had a great importance for the natives and it became more than just food. The natives fished the salmon-K'u ta'la-, which has great spiritual significance.

The European explorers arrived in this area in 1500s.  In 1792, Captain Vancouver discovered a village of about 350 people. These people were known as Salish speaking tribes and resided in the quadrangular houses with multiple people in each house. Campbell was named after Dr. Samuel Campbell.

The settlers began arriving in this area in the late 1700s. The city is also known as the Salmon Capitol of the World. The Tyee Club of British Columbia was formed in 1924 by sportsman. In the 19th century, The Lekwiltok settled in this area. In the second half of the 1900s, Campbell River witnessed an economic boom.

Campbell River area gained much popularity as a sport fishing destination. In the mid 1900s, forestry, mining, agriculture and dairy industries were developed in this area. In 1911, The Strathcona Provincial Park was established to protect the natural landscapes and surrounding areas. In the following years, many recreational parks and salmon stream projects were started. Many theme parks, cultural programs, museums and landscapes invited tourists from all over the world.

Haig-Brown was a very popular writer and conservationist who had great respect for nature, salmon, waterways and fishes. Haig-Brown family’s home is still situated in Campbell River. Campbell River has become the fishing icon of Canada.

 In 1920, June Painter opened some rustic cabins on the Campbell River. In the later years, the operation was moved to the oceanfront. June Painter worked successfully for many years. In 1995, fire destroyed the historical lodges of June Painter but after some years, Painter’s lodges were rebuilt.

This renowned resort continued to welcome many Hollywood celebrities for many years. Until 1958, a treacherous rock lurked north of Campbell River. Many unsuccessful attempts were made to remove the rock. During the 1950s, engineers devised the way to make a tunnel and install the explosives. In 1958, the largest man made non-nuclear blast occurred and within seconds tons of rocks and water shot into the sky.At the Campbell River museum, you can see the drama of Ripple Rock blast.


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