By Roy L Hales
The village of Lund is about 20 miles from my home on Cortes Island. There are vantage points on Cortes, from which you can actually see Savary Island. Though only a short distance across the waters, it takes a day and three ferry trips to drive there. The experience is delightful. Lund is soul candy.
Do you enjoy freshly baked homemade goodies? A full fisherman’s breakfast? Or some of the best fish and chips in British Columbia?
Is your heart touched by the sight of idyllic fishing villages? Warm sandy beaches? Or remains from the not too distant past?
You can find it all in Lund or in the close vicinity.
Tow-wha-nech, one of the Tla’amin’s seven ancestral village sites, is only minutes away at the head of Okeover Inlet.[1. Tla’amin Land and Water Use Plan, August 2005, Page 4]
A 4,000-year-old shell midden attests to the tribe’s continued presence in this area.[2. plaque at Okeover Arm Provincial Park] This is still an important shellfish harvesting area.
Visitors can purchase a Tidal Waters Sport Fishing License to gather their own oysters or dig clams on the beach.
The Tla’amin venture into the tourist sector began in 2000. They purchased a majority share in the historic Lund Hotel.[3. Tla’amin Land and Water Use Plan, p 50]
The original establishment dates back to the founding of Lund in 1889. A Swedish immigrant named Charles Thulin built a dock and small store to supply passing boaters. His brother Fred arrived in time to help build a hotel to meet the growing need for accommodations.
Charles moved on to Campbell River, where some of his descendants can be found today.
Fred and his wife, Vira, remained behind.
Some believe their ghosts still linger around the establishment. Employees reported hearing footsteps, walking or running, up and down the stairs. Fred has been spotted close to where his picture hangs in the lobby. Vira is said to sometimes dance in the saloon after hours.
Lund is now a picturesque seaside village of 300. The population swells to many times that number during the tourist season.
The Fishing Village
This is another coastal settlement that could once be described as a fishing village. Overzealous Government regulations largely eradicated small scale operations.
My wife and I arrived shortly before the opening of the 2017 prawn season. There were a number of boats tied up at the wharf. None of them were based in Lund. The last local prawn fisherman currently lives in Powell River. He found full time employment, but for the next five weeks will catch prawns.
Savary Island is only a 12 minute hop from Lund by water taxi.
This is an offgrid community of less than a hundred inhabitants during the winter months.
There are no public washrooms, garbage facilities or campsites. Visitors are asked to bring their own drinking water.
According to a provincial government report, the island’s “sand cliffs are eroding at a rate of 25-45 centimetres a year.”
This is very visible where the trees are literally toppling onto the beach below.
Yet there are about 1,490 privately owned lots, most of which are only 50 feet wide.
So what draws people here?
White sandy beaches and some of the warmest ocean waters north of Mexico.
Top Photo Credit: Looking out towards the wharf at Lund. You can see Savary Island to the left and the distant mountains on Vancouver Island – Roy L Hales photo