Lotus Land

British Columbia Canada

West Coast: Supernatural Beauty

    Updated April 11, 2017

    British Columbia name comes from the fact that the Columbia River begins at Columbia Lake in the East Kootenays, formerly "British" Canada and flows South of the 49th Parallel, the longest undefended border in the world, through Washington and Oregon and into the Pacific Ocean at Astoria. Now in 2017 this border is allowing America's rejects into Canada, many of them criminals escaping deportation. People who want to immigrate often claim refugee status when they are just migrants. Many are running from the law and or cannot be vetted, meaning they could be anything. The family arrived in Canada from Finland in the 50's after Russia took our homes in Finnish Karelia in 1944. This was an illegal annexation of 10% of Finland based on agreements made, by which Russia received help from the west to beat Hitler. Stalin took the opportunity to expand his country on D-Day instead of the agreed attack from the East against Germany. Karelia, the beautiful large Eastern province of Finland that shared with Russia Europe's largest lake, Lake Ladoga, is supposed to be an extension of Finland but it was divided by the Czars beginning in the 13th Century so Finland willingly became part of Sweden to avoid the cruel Russian army that kept killing and capturing Finnish slaves. After spending two years in a Sudbury suburb of Long Lake, they packed up and left for the West Coast, taking their time and enjoying the experience. Another family was doing the same thing and they became friends. After traveling west through the Rocky Mountains they arrived on the shores of the Pacific - Vancouver. Two years later, the great island there welcomed them. Victoria BC, a beautiful capital city of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, was my new home. It is the most "British" city in Canada. High Tea is an event there. The island was like a jewel in the Pacific Ocean, which they had just discovered.
    Frida Kostian - was a Finnish woman who painted rocks that she gathered on Vancouver Island at Jordan River, about 40 miles north of Victoria BC. She was a friend of the family. What a life; she rented a beach cabin on the west coast where the rocks were ground flat by the waves and sand. Then she drove around BC selling them to tourist shops. She sold all she made, creating her designs even using various things such as recycled leather pieces...BC Ferries take you to the Islands off the BC coast.

    Inside BC Ferry

    Vancouver Island
    Victoria is Capital City of BC

    Sailing Inside Passage On BC Ferries

    Sailing Around Vancouver Island

    Gulf Islands: Between Vancouver Island And Mainland

    BC Ferries Vacations  Trip Advisor  BC Ferries Fleet!

    There's a poem called the "Lotus Eaters" and maybe the physical beauty of this Island acts like those Lotus plants. Metaphorically speaking, some eventually discovered the "lotus plant", that infamous little tempter of travelers. It seemed good to eat, so they ate. But soon they noticed that they did not want to leave. They were content as cows in a field and forgot all about their homes. All they wanted to do was eat of the fruit, day after day forever more. Long after their old folk had passed away they were there, munching. Oblivious of everything but the lotus, which they loved. Some tasted it and spit it out just in time, before they got hooked on it. But there were some who just dreamed of one day going home. You are welcome in BC if you love Canada and the people and want to blend in. But if you want to change us, (as in Europe 2017) you might find some other country more welcoming. We love our Canada just as it is, which is why it is so appealing, and we hope you will honor that. Immigrants have come from all corners of the world, especially Philippines, South Asia and China.

    The Beauty of This "Lotus" Land

    Canada is a great country. It is beautiful. The people are nice. The rest, well, you have to come here and see. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are beautiful beyond description. The author has cruised the coast's mist shrouded islands and inlets, watched the Killer Whales play, the pounding of the waves against the rugged cliffs and walked hundreds of kilometers of rocky and sand beaches. Most people don't even know they exist, thankfully, because they are largely untouched by the hand of man.

    The hundreds of islands nestled between Vancouver Island and the mountainous mainland create a truly supernatural environment to live and play in for those who like water. There is nothing like an island, a totally calm ocean around it, the slight movement of the tide, stillness, quietness, just the occasional cry of a distant gull or the explosion of air from a Killer Whale or seal's nostrils to bring you back. The glide-by of a majestic Bald Eagle. The pine studded shoreline zig-zagging along amongst the inter tidal goose-necked barnacles, crabs, tidal pools and kelp beds. It is a marine biologists dream, and one reason I decided to study biology and become a naturalist and conservationist. No, I am not a fanatic but common sense is the key.

    An hour or two by boat and you are at Molly's Reach, which is on the mainland but accessible only by boat, where the TV serial "Beachcombers" was filmed, and where this writer worked for a few months. There aren't too many places on earth that can compare with it. Nothing wrong with the land - Antti could have chosen many worse places on earth.

    The Queen Charlotte Islands! Now they are called by the native name Haida Gwaii. Yes! The beauty of these islands, three hundred kilometers north of Vancouver Island, inhabited by the famous Haida people, is amazing and the people are friendly. One of our boys married a beautiful native girl. Thanks to my summer work while a biology student at UVic, I spent a whole summer there in the 70's as a Ministry of Highways engineering aid doing asphalt paving road work. After university I decided to study and pass exams to do construction engineering, being in charge of contract work, which I did all over the province. Everywhere I went, there were native people. Some didn't like us, but most were friendly, in fact up in Iskut (on the way to the Yukon) on the Cassiar Highway 37 they picked some Caribou Weed, a traditional native medicine, for me. We provided work for them so they were happy. Into Sandspit with turboprop and out from Masset with a Grumman Goose to Sandspit, back to YVR Vancouver (No. 1 in North America, No. 13 in the World) Vancourver Airport and Victoria by turboprop. That's how it was in the 1970's.

    The Haida People

    Chief Of The Undersea World, by Bill Reid

    The Haida are a highly developed West coast native people, a fact which is evident in their art perhaps best exemplified by the late Bill Reid's world famous carvings. Queen Charlotte City and Skidegate are in a natural harbour located in the hub of the Charlottes, and Masset is at the north end where there are hundreds of miles of wide sandy beaches to rival any in the world. The sea, dunes and an ancient cedar rain forest make the Charlottes (Haida Gwaii) just fantastic. There is a real genuine friendliness there amongst the islanders.

    Venture To Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)

    In the fall of 2004, I was summoned to the Charlottes once more, having drunk from St. Mary's well on my previous visit. The legend goes that he who drinks from this well will return to the Islands. I can attest to the fact that the legend is accurate. This visit is no less amazing than the first, with the exception that I was sorry to see the development near the north beach. Back in the 1970's there was just nature, and I thought that it would always be that way. Now civilization has encroached a little! But the beach is still there, just as long and beautiful. Surfers were there in their wet suits, surfing, and I happen to be pointing my video camera toward the ocean waves when suddenly a surfer appeared in my view finder, and I was able to follow him to the end of his ride. The islands are a beachcombers dream come true, especially the North Beach.
    Memories of Skidegate and Masset! The Haida

    Native Art

    I took a walk in our local mall in White Rock and took some photos at the local native art gallery. You can find out more about this type of collectible native art from Cheryl's Trading Post. The store is packed with BC and native art from far and wide, from the Arctic Ocean to South America. More pictures coming...
    The native people of southern BC are the Coast Salish, a group of ethnically and linguistically related indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, living in British Columbia, Canada and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. They speak one of the Coast Salish languages. Nuxalk (Bella Coola) nation are usually included in the group, although their language is more closely related to Interior Salish languages. The Coast Salish are a loose grouping of many tribes with numerous distinct cultures and languages. Territory claimed by Coast Salish peoples spans from the northern limit of the Gulf of Georgia on the inside of Vancouver Island and covering most of southern Vancouver Island, all of the Lower Mainland and most of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula (except for territories of now-extinct Chemakum people). Their traditional territories coincide with modern major metropolitan areas, namely Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. The Tillamook or Nehalem around Tillamook, Oregon are the southernmost of the Coast Salish peoples. The Coast Salish cultures differ considerably from those of their northern neighbors. It is one of the few indigenous cultures along the coast with a patrilineal rather than matrilineal kinship system, with inheritance and descent passed through the male line. According to a 2013 estimate, the population of Coast Salish numbers at least 56,590 people, made up of 28,406 Status "First Nations" people registered to Coast Salish bands in British Columbia, and 28,284 enrolled members of federally recognized Coast Salish tribes in Washington State.
    The University of Victoria, where I graduated receiving my undergraduate degree in Biology, has a very good linguistic department and they have been doing great work on preserving the language.
    Salish Language

    Sointula: The Finnish Utopia in the Pacific

    Sointula, (place of harmony) which is located on Malcolm Island, was established in 1901 by Finnish socialists who hoped to create a utopia, but discovered in one year what it took the Russians 70 years - it doesn't work without the right kind of solid governing principles. They were dreamers. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of dreaming to be sure. But sometimes dreaming leads to destruction. Communes work with strict religious groups who have a code of behavior based on an old proven formula - the Bible. This group had decided to become the atheistic, socialist Kalevan Kansa headed by Matti Kurikka, which worshiped nature, with some modern socialist ideas thrown in. But not everyone wanted to behave. Some of these socialists thought that this new freedom meant they could do whatever they wished, including helping themselves to the women. Instead of harmony, they got discord, and failure in their corporate business deals. Financially they went broke when they hired a consultant to put in a bid for a bridge construction job in Vancouver, and he grossly underbid. The dreamers' choices were idealistic rather than realistic, which led them down the wrong path. After the breakup of the commune, and return to some sort of reality, Sointula prospered in fishing and logging and the community developed around the Co-op which looked after the financial daily affairs of the community among other things. It was like a city hall, bank and store rolled into one.

    BC Ferry To Sointula

    Dreams of Sointula

    Stalin, The Pie-Eyed Piper of Russia

    The utopia they came after did not materialize. Some did not give up the dream of a utopia though, and responded to Stalin's call. Capitalism was in trouble in the late 20's and 30's, and many Finnish leftists even in America believed in their own propaganda, that the Soviet system was utopia. Karelia fever was on. Many Canadian and American Finns went to East Karelia in the Soviet Union, where they found poverty, not utopia. Their worldly belongings were taken away and they found that Russian (ethnic Finnish) Karelia was like arriving at the "Hotel California" - you could check in, but you could never leave. They had made the biggest mistake in their lives, which most forfeited. Some got out if they turned around and left right away. At least 6,000 men were shot and their women and children were sent elsewhere, the purpose being that Karelia would be ethnically cleansed. They were never heard from again, it is confirmed now almost daily, that most were shot in Stalin's purges in the 30's.

    The Communist ideal has been proven to be a lie, so why people still insist on going after it, is beyond me, and it became apparent that kids have been brainwashed in universities by Marxist professors. These are Globalist people working to change our world into a border-less mass. Haven't we done enough damage to the world already? Why ruin it more, but that is what our kids have been taught in schools and universities, by professors that never had to live under such systems. They always sound good, but the end is destruction. Events of 2014-17 have proven, especially in Europe, that the scheme will never work. Justin Trudeau is a Marxist-Globalist, and he has the potential to ruin our country, at the moment with Middle Eastern "refugees." How can they be when many are going back home because they don't like our countries, meaning Europe, which is similar in culture to Canada and US. Real refugees are families, not a hundred thousand single men streaming into Europe. I know what refugees look like. They are mostly women, children, and grandparents. The men are fighting the enemy not running away. That's how it was in my native Finland. A refugee will not just abandon his family. A proper young man will stay and protect his family, join the army or whatever it takes. I would think these masses of military aged men have something else on their minds. Perhaps it's an invasion. In any case there is something not right about it and Merkel should not have put out the call for all of the Middle East to come to Germany! Many hate us because of religion.

    Politics and politicians are what ruin the whole world, regardless of banner: religion, communism, or anything else, and will continue to do so until humans take the next step in their social development - rejecting violence, accepting honesty, goodwill, love as paramount, and demanding and recognizing only truth. By going communist, they put themselves into an endless house of horrors, a never ending retrograde limbo of poverty and slavery to the state, which is why I am so opposed to teaching our kids that Marxism is good and related lies. Why does the human mind still do it? Why does it reject the evidence of the eyes and ears - the cries of hundreds of millions of people slaughtered in the name of a totally and completely inferior, corrupt system? It is like Islam, impossible to reform. You can't have Communism "light" or Islam "light." There is a doctrine, like a religion that must be followed. Both are totalitarian and closed. Communism is called "dictatorship of the proletariat," and Islam is very similar in many ways. Neither is a good thing in quantity as Europe is finding out the hard way. To work for the government is bad enough, but for a whole nation just for imagined security that never comes? No. Finns missed out on Communism because of their fantastic military, which is why I say that a strong, smart military is always a good thing, always in the control of the people. And the a free people will have guns to defend freedom, always. The Finns' strategy offset the deficiency in numbers. Why does the human mind reject the evidence that governments are all corrupt, and large governments are the most corrupt. When staying in power is more important than the welfare of the people, there is a problem. Mongolians voted in the communists in July 2000, but they have always been a communally living itinerant people. I hope they govern intelligently.
    Sointula was a tightly knit village with their community hall as the center where people met regularly. The sense of community was reduced when TV, cars and telephones came to town and the hall began to sit empty. The media informed the world, and that was the beginning of the end of one ideal lifestyle on the west coast of Canada. Their Socialism/Marxism experiment was a total failure and it was every man for himself, and that is the only way they could prosper. BR> When the island was finally discovered by the rest of the world in the 1960's, long-haired Americans from the United States and others began moving in, and the Finns began moving out. Reminds me of when the Russians moved up north to the Finnish lands, the people moved on. Then there were only the Finns who stayed and the hippies who worked hard to build a life. The Finns understood hard work, and soon these immigrants were accepted amongst the community, but it would never be the same. The climate is mild, but in the winter it rains a lot. Sointula is located off the north-east coast and Sooke is on the south-west coast of Vancouver Island.

    East Kootenay

    If you love mountains, and skiing, you'll love the Canadian Rockies. One little village I recently visited was Fernie B.C., in Southeast British Columbia. This place is in the boom phase. One visit to the ski hill will tell you that! There is construction everywhere. Partly-built condominiums, and cottages everywhere. And the majestic mountains looming above, with their powder. All this just minutes from downtown Fernie. It is truly awesome. This village is on Highway 3, which many never see going on Highway 1, which goes through Banff. Sometimes it seems the Australians and New Zealanders have discovered it before the rest of the Canadians. A must-see for skiing enthusiasts, mountain bikers and hikers.

    Whistler Mountain: 2010 Olympics

    Oh yes, then we have this other skiing center at Whistler. It is a very nice skiing center, with hotels, village, the works. Thousands of multi million dollar mansions dot the hilly landscape. One minor draw-back is the drive from Vancouver north to Whistler. It is notorious for accidents because it has sharp curves and many returning from the resort are driving too fast or have been drinking. The Ministry of Transportation spent over CDN$700,000,000 to upgrade the road which was completed just in time for the Olympics. In fact, as a construction engineer with the Ministry I worked over two years on building and improving roads for 2010. The right-of-way climbs up the side of a mountains, down its gorges and up again, through beautiful rain forests with thick moss, mist and huge trees. It was fun estimating these locations for the designers. So I came up one of these gorges along the right-of-way and found a small marijuana garden, a bike and a shelter. The next day we met him briefly. The steep rock bluffs meant some of the curves had to be removed. The method used in tight spots with the ocean on one side and a mountain on the other, was to construct bridge-like structures supported in various ways such as piles from below. A median concrete barrier prevents head-on crashes. The last nine miles to Whistler was widened to allow for a bus lane and a concrete encased electrical duct bank were installed under the shoulders of the road as extra safety in case of electrical failure. The army set up a camp in our gravel pit, which I surveyed and produced an existing site printout. A new road had to be carved out of a rough logging road up the Callaghan Valley to the Atheletes Village where the ski jumps are located. That was my project, with three new bridges, and completed on time in two years. We got recognition for our work. The world came for a visit in 2010 and they weren't disappointed. Come and see British Columbia. Whistler Mountain.

    Multiculturalism to me means countries within countries, and if this is what everyone wants, well fine. But this is not what I'm hearing from the man on the street. This kind of mass immigration is great for the Real Estate Market, and builders, there's a boom on. Darn good thing I love Asians and their great food! Oh, although Muslims are a nice people, basically, their treatment of women is where I say, whoa! I cannot stand their cultural-religious custom dragged in by the religion from the 7th Century. My father told me that a real man never hits a woman. Yet the news is so full of how badly Trump treats women, 99% of which have been proven false. That's only because the news media hates Trump (For political reasons but mostly by the Communists, they call the "left".) and wants to destroy him. My people in Finland crushed them when they started a revolution thus avoiding being locked up in an "Iron Curtain" and poverty. They are "the deceived." They just want to destroy, and are really violent as we can see in videos. The media is totally biased and Globalist. These were the same media that allowed Obama to do as he wished without retribution because he was a Globalist like them! He racked up a $10 Trillion bill as he mismanaged the economy and everyone still loved him, except people who voted for Trump.

    He doesn't like Islam and neither do I, for good reasons. They pose a threat to our peace and way of life. Where there are many Muslims there are many problems, which Europe is finding out, all relating to their cultural ideology they call a religion. For example it is the Muslim man's duty to hit his wife for any real or imagined disobedience. That is wrong, and if it is, then what other wrong things are in their teachings that Muhammad began and Muslims carry forward without another thought, that maybe it isn't right, all this violence that is just part of the "religion." You can find out all about Islam at Fortress of Faith. Do yourself and your country a favor and check it out. I don't hate Muslims but in view of their incompatible beliefs that are anti-freedom and dislike of our culture and inability to assimilate, constant thorns in our flesh, I firmly believe their best place is in another Muslim country because there they have what they want and can't have here: Shariah Law. Islam will be a big problem in the future if we allow it to grow because of their supremist ideology. We must realize the problem is not ISIS or Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group. When you get rid of one, another pops up ad infinitum. Islam must be quarantined to the Middle East or the problems will continue for us. That's just the way it is. Just watch as days, weeks, months go by and if there is an improvement or if things are getting worse. That's exactly what has happened with ISIS and terrorism in general - they keep morphing but never disappear, meaning the problem is in their ideology which we erroneously accept as a religion and protect. That's our downfall. Regarding Muslims already in our countries, they are free to worship their religion with zero tolerance for instigating for Shariah Law, with penalty of deportation to an ancestral home country or another way of removing them from our country. One day we will admit that the problem is in fact Islam itself and we are fighting its many manifestations, not the least of which is killing us with cars, trucks, bombs, knives, guns, machetes and whatever they can get their hands on. The problem is Muhammad and what he taught. Everything is great...until they pick up the Qur'an and read it. Trump is right to exercise extra caution and try to slow the Muslim immigration. More on this  

    Top 10 Places To Visit See more on these and other subjects of interest.

    Books on British Columbia

    Under revision. Please come back.

    Books illustrated by Bill Reid or about him and his art works include:

    • The Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst which contains ten Haida stories - some of the most significant Haida myths - told and illustrated by Bill Reid.
    • Raven's Cry by Christie Harris - it is a novel about the coming together of the Haida and European cultures and a tribute to a vanished way of life. Illustrations by Bill Reid.
    • The Black Canoe: Bill Reid and the Spirit of Gwaii by Robert Bringhurst describes the making of a monumental sculpture by Bill Reid for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
    • The Spirit of Haida Gwaii : Bill Reid's Masterpiece by Ulli Steltzer A 64 page paperback by the photographer of The Black Canoe.
    • Bill Reid (Revised Edition) by Doris Shadbolt has recently been published by The University of Washington Press.
      Bill Reid : Beyond the Essential Form (Museum Note, No 19) by Karen Duffek

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Sooke B.C.
Back  to  Uralic
Sointula:  island  utopia  -  book
Sointula and North Vancouver Island
Native American Authors Project: Bill Reid
The Douglas Reynolds Gallery