Through the Island’s mountainous heart

In August 1910 an expedition through the mountainous heart of Vancouver Island returned to Victoria and filed a glowing report to the provincial cabinet.

  • Feb. 10, 2011 2:00 p.m.

The 1910 Ellison expedition makes its way down Buttle Lake.

In August 1910 an expedition through the mountainous heart of Vancouver Island returned to Victoria and filed a glowing report to the provincial cabinet.

The resulting legislation passed in March 1911 was the birth of Strathcona Park, the first of BC’s Provincial Parks. In July and August, 2010, a group of British Columbians from all walks of life, retraced that expedition to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of BC Parks.

On Saturday, Feb. 19, from 1-3 p.m., the Museum at Campbell River will host Philip Stone, leader of the Strathcona Centennial Expedition. Stone will tell the story of this grand adventure with slides and a documentary video on the expedition. Journeying from Campbell River by canoe up the lakes to Strathcona Park, the Strathcona Centennial Expedition climbed to the summit of Crown Mountain on July 29, 2010 exactly 100 years to the day that the Hon. Price Ellison and his pioneering party had in 1910.

Continuing through Strathcona Park, the expedition covered around 300 km, finishing in Port Alberni, over a total of three weeks.

There were many highlights along the way but an outstanding moment occurred as the 2010 expedition party returned from their ascent of Crown Mountain. 

“We were already elated from a safe and successful climb to the top of Crown Mountain,” said expedition leader Philip Stone. “Just as we scrambled down the last bluff to our base-camp we stumbled upon Price Ellison’s camp from 1910. It was remarkable and unmistakable. Ellison’s nephew had written in his journal about the food they had taken along including: sardines and a tin of butter, and there were the rusty cans lying right there in the heather!”

Reading and referring to Harry McClure Johnson’s journal and Frank Ward’s photographs from 1910 helped bridge the gap across 100 years, keeping the 2010 party en route and inspired.

The link was made all the stronger by the presence of Ellison’s great-grandson Murray Sovereign who joined the expedition for the Crown Mountain climb and his cousins who made the trip from the Okanagan to meet the group at Buttle Lake.

BC Parks are planning events and celebrations throughout British Columbia in 2011 to mark a century of Provincial Parks.

Campbell River has a unique connection to this important chapter of B.C. history as the main gateway to Strathcona, the first of our parks and departure point for both the 1910 Discovery and 2010 Centennial expeditions.

The cost for the talk is $6. Call the Museum at 287-3103 to register.

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