About Campbell River
Length: 454 Km (282 miles)
Latitude: 49 degrees, 57 minutes and 4 seconds north
The District Municipality of Campbell River is located on the 50th parallel on the central east coast of Vancouver Island, midway between Victoria to the south and Cape Scott to the North. The boundaries of the city encompass an area of 33,955 acres with 22.5 Km of waterfront facing the Discovery Passage.
Campbell River enjoys a moderate and stable climate, the summers are dry and winters are mild making it easy to enjoy outdoor activities all year round. The average daily temperature ranges between
-2.6 to 7.7 Celsius in the winter
0.4 to 16.6 Celsius in spring
8.3 – 23.1 Celsius in summer
0.6 to 22.0 Celsius in autumn
A young city with an active population of 36,455 in the district, another 5,000 immediately surrounding the district and a market population of over 60,000 people distinguish Campbell River as a major regional center for commerce. Based on the 2001 Census, a full 70% of Campbell River’s residents are between the ages of 15 and 64, providing a potential labour force of over 19,000 people.
Situated on Discovery passage at the mid-point of Vancouver Island’s east coast, Campbell River is a natural travel and distribution gateway, providing access by road, sea and air, to northern Vancouver Island and the coastal regions.
With a growing trend to eco-travel and a Green plan for the future of the region, Campbell River is ideally located to service Desolation Sound, the North Island, the Discovery Islands, the Inside Passage with all its inlets and fjords and the Northern Reaches of the west coast of Vancouver Island. Campbell River is also on the cruise ship route to Alaska.
The municipally maintained airport is a mere 15 minutes from the heart of downtown and is a busy hub of activity, with regular daily flights to Vancouver, the Comox Valley and Seattle carrying business and vacation travelers while charter flights transport supplies and people to a myriad of northern communities and activities.
Campbell River’s coastal situation also provides for numerous commercial and recreational marinas as well as a float plane base and helicopter service. The presence of deep water marine terminals enhance the shipment of the area’s wealth of natural resources making it a primary port on the inside passage. By shipping routes it is 220 nautical miles from Seattle, Washington and only 122 nautical miles to Vancouver’s Fraser River depots.
Highway 19, the new Inland Island highway, a four lane divided highway connects Campbell River with major city Centre to the south. Drivers also have the option of traveling the scenic Highway 19A the Oceanside Highway. Paved highways continue from Campbell River to communities on the northern reaches of Vancouver Island.
The regional environment is enriched by its own 22.5 kilometers of waterfront - a primary asset and major contributor to the area's exceptional quality of life. Unlimited access to ever changing ocean views enlivens every activity. The extensive coastline provides countless opportunities for recreation, including pleasure boating, fishing from the town's own salt water Fishing Pier, and strolling the pristine northwest Beaches and even Cruise Ship Watching. All are activities residents and visitors enjoy on a regular basis. The paved Rotary Sea Walk provides a relaxed pathway to enjoy the changing ocean views whether on a bicycle, roller blades, pushing a baby stroller or walking.
In winter, excellent downhill and cross country skiing is available on nearby Mount Washington and Mount Cain.
Campbell River is also enhanced by the diversity and abundance of Wildlife that inhabit the area. Fish propagate in the protected coastal waters as well as many inland lakes and rivers. Five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum and Sockeye) return to their natal waters in and around the protected coastline waterways of Campbell River. This abundance of species and diversity of migration periods offer the most unique fishing experiences of their kind on the coast and are one of the reasons Campbell River has held the reputation of being “The Salmon Capital of the World.”
With the salmon follow the eagles, whales and bears that feed on them. Deer, elk and even cougar are also part of the surrounding population. Wilderness areas and nature reserves, including Strathcona Provincial Park, provide habitat for wildlife as well as opportunities for walking, hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing and a multitude of Outdoor Activities.
The Campbell River region is rich in natural resources. Ore Mining are active industries in Campbell River with a diverse range of products including zinc, copper, lead, gold, silver and coal being mined.
Sport and commercial fishing have also played a large part in Campbell River's economy and are joined now by the Aquaculture Industry.
Sport Fishing, outdoor recreation and eco-adventures form the backbone of Campbell River's increasingly important tourism industry. While the economy continues to diversify with new technology and consumer demand, future economic prospects are bright.
Ancient lore tells of Vancouver Island originating at the bottom of the sea as part of the Hawaiian Islands, although this presentation is only a theory, the shape and geological content of the island itself strongly suggests the possibility.
The geology of Vancouver Island is intensely complicated with its overly active continental margin continually being shaped and reshaped over the millennium. These dynamic and recurrent processes have caused rapid geological changes. The majority of regions encompassing Strathcona Park and the surrounding vicinity consist of dark basalt lava and pillow basalt overlaying older Buttle Lake limestone formations. Igneous (volcanic) rock basalt is loose and unstable and compromises much of the region surrounding Campbell River.
In this area of the world; the age of glaciation began some 25,000 years ago and ended some 11,000 years ago, covering most of the Island with ice, with the exception of the Brooks Peninsula, in places close to over a kilometer in depth. Only the most rugged and highest peaks on Vancouver Island such as The Golden Hinde, Elkhorn Mountain, Mt Septimus and Mt Colonel Foster escaped the complete immersion in the ice-cap with only the topmost recesses of their peaks breaking through. These “mini peaks” are known as nunataks.
Most of the active geological occurrences that have shaped the island, the surrounding islands and the deep water fjords have come in the form of earthquakes. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s there were three major recorded earthquakes, although they were considered to be key occurrences; measurement instrumentation did not exist at the time, to assess the scale of the seismic activity, although it has been suggested that the actual overall height of a couple of the largest mountains have been dramatically reduced as a result of the activity.
Most recently in June of 1946 an earthquake occurred, with its epicenter just to the east of Strathcona Park, this quake was so great that it is known to have dramatically altered the landscape and effect numerous landslides within the Park itself.
Including an occurrence that caused one of the Peaks on the Colonel Foster to break away and plunge into the cirque at the base of the mountain, the hundreds of thousands of tones of rock displaced the water in the lake producing a fresh water tidal wave that raced down the Elk River Valley, depositing debris along its path. Although somewhat grown over, the effects of this fresh water tidal wave are still in evidence along the route to Landslide Lake inside Strathcona Park today.
At the same time the population of Campbell River and the surrounding islands was very small, however the quake which was to believed to measure a 7.3 on the Richter scale, and which only lasted less than one minute damaged every home in the vicinity, toppling all chimneys and causing mudslides, guessers and fishers to appear in every direction.
The Campbell River a Designated Heritage River
This rich wilderness remains the ancestral homeland of the Kwatiutl First Nations people. The wealth of salmon produced by the Campbell River, it tributaries and estuary sustained the Kwatiutl people and their rich cultural traditions for countless centuries. Although many tribes moved from hunting ground to hunting ground more permanent settlements were common in areas where food and protection were assured and the Campbell River estuary is identified as one of these important traditional sites.
Since 1947 three dams have been erected on the Campbell River which has affected the natural flow of the river. These man-made dams have created major impoundments within the watershed. In addition to the dams, diversions have been created from the Heber, Salmon and Quinsam Rivers to add to the flow within the lower Campbell River to support the requirement for Hydro Electricity for the more than 70,000 resident households on Northern Vancouver Island.
A Change from Past to Present