Roderick Haig-Brown’s three daughters, Valerie, Mary and Celia, along with Campbell River mayor Andy Adams, MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones and executive director of the Museum at Campbell River Sandra Parrish unveil the plaque commemorating Roderick Haig-Brown being named a Person of National Historic Significance at this year’s Haig-Brown Fall Festival. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Roderick Haig-Brown named Person of National Historic Significance

Haig-Brown ‘expressed a deep understanding of the complex relationship between humanity and nature’

Campbell River’s Roderick Haig-Brown’s name is now on a list of prominent Canadians alongside the likes of Louis Riel and Terry Fox.

At a ceremony this weekend during the annual Haig-Brown Fall Festival on the banks of the Campbell River, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada unveiled a plaque naming Haig-Brown a Person of National Historic Significance.

Harold Kalman, the B.C. representative on the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada says the honour of being designated a Person of National Historic Significance is a great one and calls Haig-Brown, “a prolific author and conservationist who expressed a deep understanding of the complex relationship between humanity and nature – and he achieved this at a time when rapid resource development was beginning in B.C.”

“I think we can all agree, without a doubt, that Roderick Haig-Brown was a valuable part of Canada and we are very fortunate that he made this his home,” says Museum at Campbell River executive director Sandra Parrish. The museum was the organization who initially put Haig-Brown forward for consideration back in 2011. “His legacy of environmental and social stewardship permeated his writings and made his voice a very influential one in the early conservation movement in Canada.”

The announcement itself was made by MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones on behalf of the Government of Canada.

“It’s a privilege to be here today on behalf of the Minister of the Environment and Climate change, the honourable Catherine McKenna, to recognize the national and historic significance of Roderick Langmere Haig-Brown’s contribution to Canada as a fly fisher, a writer, a conservationist, a political activist, a magistrate, a husband and a father,” Goldsmith Jones says.

Roderick’s daughter Celia says in thinking about her father being awarded this honour, she and her siblings “thought about our father’s commitment to caring for the land and rivers who had adopted him. A man before his time, he understood about interrelationships – that we are one with the land and rivers. Long before conservation had much currency in the eyes of industry and government, he forced attention to the issues. We are particularly proud of his significance as a thorn in the side of development and the governments of the time. Often a lonely voice, his successful work to stop the damming of the Fraser and his refusal to cease action when when his fight for the Campbell was only partially successful are examples and a legacy for us all.”

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