Sunday, April 2, 2017

Ocean Falls, B.C.

Ocean Falls was a pulp & paper company town located on the central coast of British Columbia. In 1950 the population was 3,500; today it totals 50.

There are no roads into Ocean Falls -- it is only accessible by boat or seaplane. Average annual rainfall is 172.8 inches, making it the wettest place in the province.

Prior to the arrival of the Bella Coola Pulp and Paper Company in 1903, the site was mostly inhabited by members of the Heiltsuk Nation, who have lived in the area for at least 9,000 years.

During their 1949 coastal boat trip, George and Ingeborg Woodcock dined at the captain's table.

Here is one of the captain's stories, as told by George:

One at least of the captain's tales remains in my memory with a dogged and rather illogical persistence. It deals with a letter which he was entrusted by a friend to deliver to a young lady in one of the coastal towns. It was a squalid night, and as the captain approached the lady's house, a sudden gust tore the envelope from his hand and sent it sailing into the darkness. He searched up and down the street with a flashlight, he peeped stealthily into front gardens, but no trace of the letter was to be found. So he had to call and explain the curious accident that had befallen him. The lady received his explanations coldly, and a moment afterwards retired to her room; the crestfallen captain was contemplating a return to his friend with a report of a failed mission when she hurriedly returned, carrying in her hand the very same letter which the wind had stolen a few moments before. She had found it lying on her bed, where a freak of the wind had carried it through the open window -- a window which, he would have us believe, was open only three inches.

photo: Don Coltman, 1941, City of Vancouver Archives

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