Leo (cougar), Marion, Pansy, Pearl and Girlie (cougar), c. 1937/38. Unknown commercial photographer, courtesy of the Museum of Campbell River

Cougar Companions: A unique tale launches at Museum at Campbell River

Bet you didn’t know there was a family in Bute Inlet who had cougars as pets, did you?

Bet you didn’t know there was a family in Bute Inlet who had cougars as pets, did you?

Well, Cortes Island author and professor emeritus at UBC Judith Williams is coming to town this weekend to tell you all about it. She chronicled the story of the Schnarr family for her book, Raincoast Chronicles 24: Cougar Companions, Bute Inlet Country and the Legendary Schnarrs, which will launch at the Museum at Campbell River today at 2 p.m.

The book launch will be accompanied by an illustrated talk based on the book, which examines the history of Bute Inlet and traces the remarkable story of the Schnarr family.

Williams’ presentation, which will be followed by a book signing, features photos from the book as well as the Museum at Campbell River’s extensive archival collection.

Raincoast Chronicles 24 is an impeccably researched and richly illustrated history of Bute Inlet’s pioneering residents, including August Schnarr and his family. Schnarr, a trapper and a logger in the region from 1910 until the 1960s, was also an amateur photographer who faithfully took a Kodak camera on his many expeditions and used it to capture experiences on the family homestead.

To create this fascinating history of these pivotal pioneers, Williams went on research trips to Bute Inlet and the Homathko Valley, conducted interviews and delved into oral history and old diaries. She also used Schnarr’s extensive collection of photos showing life on the remote B.C. coast — including those of floathouses, log booms, steam donkeys, residents with giant fish catches, boats and pictures documenting Schnarr’s daughters with their pet cougars.

Admission to the launch and slide show is $7 and everyone is welcome. The Museum at Campbell River is located at 470 Island Highway. For more information, please call 250-287-3103 or visit crmuseum.ca

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