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History Post-confederation (1867-)

Step into Wilderness

A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley

by (author) Deborah Griffiths

with Christine Dickinson, Judy Hagen & Catherine Siba

Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Initial publish date
Oct 2020
Post-Confederation (1867-), Mountains, Regional
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price

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The spectacular landscapes in and surrounding the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island have long shaped the lives of the valley’s diverse inhabitants. From expansive shorelines to snowy mountain peaks, the region contains a wide variety of attractions to lure people over their thresholds for sustenance, recreation and survival, including such landmarks as Forbidden Plateau, Paradise Meadows, Comox Glacier, Mt. Washington and Miracle Beach.

Step into Wilderness features never-before-seen photos from the Courtenay and District Museum collection, showcasing the growing community’s varied interactions with the wilderness they inhabit, from early hiking and skiing expeditions to encounters with wildlife, afternoon tea in the wilderness, beach races and early outdoor activity clubs. The collection also explores the ways in which inhabitants have altered the landscape, including K’omoks Bay fish traps and stump blasting to clear fields. These unique and arresting photos are complemented by equally engaging accounts of individuals surviving and thriving in the midst of natural beauty and great devastation, including survivors of the great fire of 1922 and pioneer skiers on Forbidden Plateau during the Great Depression.

More than a volume of beautiful photos, this collection illustrates a community’s evolving relationship with the natural wonders surrounding it, as well as the emergence of outdoor exploration on Vancouver Island.

About the authors

Deborah Griffiths, MA, has experience as a museum administrator, business owner and writer. Along with over twenty years in museum curation and administration, Griffiths has a Master of Arts degree from Royal Roads University. In 2001, she became an independent contractor and has experience in story-line development, research, communications, project management, and proposal and copywriting for businesses, communities and not-for profits. Griffiths has won a number of awards independently as well as with colleagues and has written and co-authored five books.

Deborah Griffiths' profile page

Christine Dickinson is an educator with a passion for regional history. She co-authored Atlin: The Story of British Columbia's Last Gold Rush (Atlin Historical Society, 1995), which received the Lieutenant-Governor's Award.

Christine Dickinson's profile page

Judy Hagen has been writing her popular "Hunt for History" column for the Comox Valley Echo since 1992. She received an award from the Canadian Museums Association for her book Comox Valley Memories, published by the Courtenay and District Museum in 1993.

Judy Hagen's profile page

Catherine Siba is the Curator of Social History at the Courtenay and District Museum. She has led a number of historic digitization projects and has been involved with museum curatorship and research for many years.

Catherine Siba's profile page


  • Runner-up, British Columbia Historical Federation: Lieutenant Governor’s Writing Competition