Cars drive through the floodwaters past Bill’s Second Hand Store in downtown Campbellton, December 1948. Museum at Campbell River photo

Extreme weather has always been part of life in the Cambpell River region

A Look Back into the History of the Campbell River Area

By Beth Boyce,

Museum at Campbell River

We’ve all grown up hearing the stories, “In my day we had to walk so many miles to school in the snow and the rain and it was uphill both ways…” and we’ve all rolled our eyes at our elders thinking there was no way it could really have been as bad as they said.

But as I’ve been looking through our old community newspapers, I’ve seen for myself that there was a lot of snow, and the river flooded Campbellton on a semi-regular basis. Children here didn’t just have to walk to school, before the bridge was built over the river, some of them had to row!

The pictures that appeared in the Courier-Islander paper, taken by Godfrey and May Baldwin, show a pick-up truck driving through nearly a meter of water, and people out in their rowboats checking on their neighbors’ homes. Other images show children skating on a frozen pond at Hudson’s farm, and people shovelling huge volumes of snow off of their roofs to prevent collapse.

Another regular concern which came up again and again, and whose pictures defy belief, was the congestion of driftwood behind the breakwater causing huge hazards for anyone trying to manoeuver their boats in and out of the marina.

Every fall and winter we continue to get fierce, newsworthy storms, and the past was no exception. The Baldwins captured many images of driftwood and rocks pushed up onto the highway and surrounding the Cenotaph causing significant damage.

To see more newsworthy images from our community’s past, come see the Museum’s next temporary exhibition Cover Stories: Photographs by Godfrey and May Baldwin, opening on Jan. 11, 2020.


Two years later, Bill Carlyle shovels the snow off his Second Hand Store in Campbellton after a heavy dump of the white stuff in January 1950. Museum at Campbell River photo

Neighbors in rowboats checking in on the Campbell River Lodge, flooded in December 1948. Museum at Campbell River photo