Outdoor Exhibits

Soyokaze (Gentle Wind) 1930 Hayes-Anderson Logging Truck
Steam Donkey West Coast Garden

Thunderbird Bear Pole

The beautiful "Thunderbird Bear Pole" was inspired by a pole carved by Sam Henderson in the 1960s.  This pole was carved by Sam's son Bill and grandsons Junior, Greg and Will.  Thunderbird Bear Pole Museum at Campbell River

In 1966, Sam was commissioned by the Department of Highways to carve a "Kwakiutl Bear Pole" as part of a centennial project that saw several poles carved by prominent BC First Nations artists.  These were stationed at key locations along the coastal highways dubbed the "Route of the Totems".

On the pole a thunderbird with wings outstretched sat above a bear holding a small man.  These crests were often repeated by Sam, and came from the family of his wife May.  The pole was raised in front of the Centennial Building, another centennial project: the home of the new Campbell River Museum, Visitor Centre and Library.

A Downtown Revitalization Project in 2002 saw it restored and relocated to the new Museum grounds where it overlooked Discovery Passage.  The pole, exposed on the bluff, faced strong southeasters driving rain and snow.  The wood became so spongy that further restoration was impossible.

Bill and Junior began carving a replacement pole, tihs one for the Museum rather than the Department of Highways.  During the project, Bill's brother Mark, a painter, suddenly passed away, but became a part of the project when his carefully-mixed paints were used on the pole.

At a ceremony in May 2017 the pole was raised in a protected spot on Museum grounds and blessed by the family.  Bill noted that recreating his father's work with the assistance of his nephews and son was very special to him.


Soyokaze (Gentle Wind)

Soyokaze (Gentle Wind)This 37 foot cod fishing boat was built circa 1939 by the Kishi Boatworks in Steveston for Shigekazu Matsunaga of Quathiaski Cove. Built for a cost of $3600, the carvel hulled vessel was outfitted with a 1 cylinder 8-10 Easthope engine. Openings in the central part of the hull permitted seawater to circulate through a"live well" divided to hold both bait (herring) and catch. Watertight bulkheads situated fore and aft of the fishhold assured floatation. Cooking and sleeping quarters were in the aft cabin and a roll down canvas shelter protected the open deck space.

In 1941 during World War II, the Soyokaze, along with twelve hundred other boats in the Japanese Canadian fishing fleet, was seized by the Canadian government and sold for rock bottom prices. Mr. Matsunaga repurchased the boat after the war and continued to fish with it until declining stocks closed the Cape Mudge cod fishery in the 1980's. The Matsunaga family donated it to the Museum in 1999.

In 2003 the Museum at Campbell River received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Heritage Society of British Columbia for the restoration of historic fishing boat Soyokaze.


Steam Donkey

Steam DonkeyIn the late 1800s, steam technology replaced horse and oxen hauling and increased logging production enormously. “Get rid of that dribbling pot and bring back the bulls!” was the reaction of one logger on being introduced to a steam donkey, but the machines proved so versatile their use rapidly became widespread. Steam donkeys could be used for yarding, hauling and loading logs. Mounted on log sleds, they were pulled onto floats to be towed to a new location. Steam donkeys were numerous all over the Pacific Northwest until replaced by diesel machinery in the 1940s.

The Empire Steam Donkey at the entrance to the Museum at Campbell River was manufactured in Vancouver in 1916. It is equipped with a 10 x 12 engine with separate pinions operating the haulback and main drums.Purchased new by P.B. Anderson for his logging operations at Knox Bay, the donkey was sold to Clarence Boardman of Dot Logging Co. in 1932. The Boardman family logged with it at Hardwicke Island, West Thurlow Island, Boughey Bay, Chatham Channel, Lull Bay and Glendale Cove. It was abandoned at the head of Knight Inlet in 1948.

The donkey was brought to Campbell River during the 1980s and moved onto the Museum site in 1994. In 1999 a project to restore the donkey began in earnest. Five years and hundreds of volunteer hours later, it was fully restored to operational state. On Labour Day, 2004, the donkey “got up steam” for the first time in nearly 60 years. It is fired annually for special occasions.


1930 Hayes-Anderson Logging Truck

1930 Hayes-Anderson Logging TruckThis truck is displayed in an outdoor exhibit at the Museum at Campbell River. It represents an important era in the progression of log hauling techniques, complementing the interior logging exhibits that include oxen hauling and early skid roads. Local members of the North Island Vintage Vehicle Preservation Society authentically restored the truck to working order, and it can be removed from its visible storage shed for use in parades or special exhibits.


 West Coast Garden

West Coast Garden

Winding paths lead through gardens containing 80 different species of plants native to the region; their succession of blooming times and subtle variety of flowers, fruit and foliage offer interest throughout the year. Illustrated signage identifies the wild plants by their First Nations, English and Latin names, also describing their significance and historical uses.

For more information about plants in the West Coast Garden, see the Native Plant Garden.