On a bright, clear, sunny summer morning in July 2010 a group of 13 intrepid adventurers scrambled onto the 6,000 foot summit of Crown Mountain, high in the wilderness of Strathcona Park.
They had come from various walks of life, some experienced mountaineers and others on their first-ever climb. What united them all was a desire to celebrate the creation of Strathcona, the first of British Columbia’s Provincial Parks.
The Strathcona Centennial Expedition travelled for three weeks in July and August 2010 across Vancouver Island from Campbell River to Port Alberni, over 300 kilometres through the heart of Strathcona Park. They journeyed by canoe and on foot via the rugged valleys and mountains, retracing the steps of the father of BC Parks, Price Ellison.
Ellison was a rancher from the Okanagan, MLA and Minister in the Government of Sir Richard McBride. In the summer of 1910 Ellison and a party of 23 had completed this very same journey to assess the suitability of the Strathcona Reserve for park status.
Ellison was so impressed by what he saw and experienced that he wrote a glowing account to McBride’s cabinet.
In March 1911 legislation was passed enacting the Strathcona Act, creating B.C.’s first park.
In Ellison’s party was his nephew Harry McClure-Johnson who was the expedition’s official scribe. Johnson detailed the whole adventure from Victoria via steamship to Campbell River and their epic traverse across the lakes and mountains to Port Alberni.
For a hundred years this beautifully written account of an important chapter in B.C.’s history has been cared for in museum archives along with a collection of photographs by Frank Ward taken along the expedition route.
Now, alongside a twin journal from the 2010 Strathcona Centennial Expedition, Johnson’s words and Ward’s photographs have been published for the first time.
Quadra Island author and expedition leader Philip Stone has brought these two volumes to life.
Weaving the colourful descriptions of the characters and the unforgiving but spectacular landscape, with the expedition photographs, Stone has crafted two books that tell two stories spanning a hundred years.
Strathcona 1910 Discovery Expedition and Strathcona 2010 Centennial Expedition are both engaging reads, dramatically illustrated by photos from each of the expeditions. They are perfect for those that cherish our parks and history.
The books along with a documentary film DVD are available now from Wild Isle Publications.
For more information and to purchase online visit www.wildisle.ca