Temporary exhibit located at the Town Centre Mall by the back entrance to Save On Foods.
Thank you to Drew Blaney and Jason Addy for their contributions.
The shared landscape behind Powell River holds many stories, much of it un-documented but remembered collectively by many. For thousands of years, members of ɬəʔamɛn (Tla’amin), shíshálh (Sechelt), Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) and the Klahoose First Nations, have travelled and scaled up the peaks behind Powell River.
In the ɬəʔamɛn Flood Story, Beartooth Mountain was used as an anchor point to tie canoes with long and strong cedar rope. Families that tied themselves to the mountain survived the great flood, where water levels rose so high, that only the highest mountains were not covered. These people are some of the ancestors of the Tla’amin people. To this day, you can still find cedar rope on Beartooth Mountain.
The head of Powell Lake is also where many trails that formed part of a trading route through the mountains are located. Obsidian from quarries at Anahim Lake and Mount Garibaldi, as well as sturgeon, was traded for dried herring, dried clam and dried salmon. The sea would have further acted as a conduit for these exchanges.
ɬəʔamɛn, Xwémalhkwu, and Klahoose First Nations were also master goat hunters. It was one of the hardest paths to choose because of its physical requirements. A goat hunter needed to be stealthy, quiet, strong, and possess an incredible amount of stamina to climb the highest mountains and hunt goats from above. The meat of a mountain goat was not only processed, but the hair was a prized possession for weaving blankets and clothing. The ɬəʔamɛn Nation traded this goat hair with the Snuneymuxw (Nanaimo) and Cowichan First Nations in exchange for Coast Salish Wooly Dog hair.
For time immemorial, the ɬəʔamɛn Nation have travelled over the Coast Mountains: they are the first mountaineers of the qathet area.
Percival Robert “P.R.” Lockie | 1900 - 1976
First ascents of peaks in the mountains behind Powell River start being documented and recorded in the 1930’s. Among one of the most well-known local mountaineers at that time, was P.R. Lockie. Arriving in Canada during the Depression in the 1920’s from England, Lockie worked for the Powell River Company in the Engineering Department and also became the Physical Director, organizing sport activities for the community.
Lockie was one of the leaders of the annual Snow Surveys every spring, and it is at this time that he photographed many peaks in the Powell Lake region. Every kid in town knew him; he taught swimming lessons at Willingdon Beach and was somewhat of a local legend to the youngsters.
“It would be difficult to find a more efficient or suitable surveyor than P.R. Lockie. He is an outdoor enthusiast, has climbed every hill and peak within fifty miles of Powell River, and hunted and fished every stream or mountain lake in the watershed.” (March-April 1954 Digester)
P.R. Lockie was also an active member of the B.C. Mountaineering Club. He attended annual events and camps in the Canadian Rockies; his photographs of the Rocky Mountains are now part of the collections at the Whyte Museum in Banff, AB.
Lockie was drawn to the great outdoors and utilized every opportunity to explore the mountains. He was hiking, climbing and snowshoeing in Powell River well into his 60’s.
Albert Adams | 1904 - 1993
Albert and P.R. Lockie climbed many of the peaks behind Powell River together. “Their idea of a good time is to sneak a week-end off and climb Bear Tooth or other favorite haunts of the agile mountain goat. A couple of weeks’ growth of whiskers, and both would look like goats, so intimate are they with the crags and crevices of Powell River topography.” (August 1941 Digester).
Albert was born in the United States and came to Powell River as a young boy along with his family in the mid 1910’s. He started working for the Powell River Company at 18 years old in the cutter room and assisted with the annual snow surveys.
Albert was an avid outdoorsman: he was a skilled fisherman as well as huntsman and was nicknamed “the mighty goat hunter.” He is believed to have climbed Lockie’s Table 75 times: upon his death, his friends took his ashes and scattered them at the top of the mountain, joining his friend Lockie, whose ashes were also scattered there.
Oswald “Ozzie” J. Stevenson | 1890 - 1955
Another avid climber and photographer of the qathet mountains, was Powell River Company Staff Photographer: Oswald – known as Ozzie, Stevenson.
Ozzie arrived in Powell River in 1911 from Hamilton, Ontario. He first worked as a photographer with Maud Lane, from Lane Studios, which he eventually took over in 1938 and renamed Powell River Studios. Ozzie also became a writer for the Digester – the P.R. Co.’s monthly publication.
“Why does a man climb a mountain?...More than anything else, the underlying urge to explore new country is probably responsible, and the mountain stand, patient in their majesty, with countless untrod slopes hanging in the blue haze; enticing, inviting, and daring him to venture” (O.J. Stevenson, October 1939 Digester).
Oswald served for three years with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. He went on many reconnaissance missions from 1943 to 1945, putting his photographic skills to use.
Oswald was part of what was referred as “Powell River’s Mountain-Climbing Brigade” along with P.R. Lockie, Albert Adams, and R.H. Simmons. He was one of the leading mountain climbers in the area, always with a camera in hand.