Lotus Land

British Columbia Canada

    Updated March 15, 2017

    British Columbia name comes from the fact that the Columbia River begins in the East Kootenays, "British" Canada and flows South of 49th Parallel, the longest undefended border in the world, through Washington and Oregon. Now in 2017 this border is allowing America's rejects into Canada, many of them criminals escaping deportation. The family arrived in Canada from Finland in the 50's after Russia took our homes in Finnish Karelia in 1944. This was an illegal annexation of 10% of Finland based on agreements made, by which Russia received help from the west to beat Hitler. Stalin took the opportunity to expand his country on D-Day instead of the agreed attack from the East against Germany. Karelia, the beautiful large Eastern province of Finland that shared with Russia Europe's largest lake, Lake Ladoga, is supposed to be an extension of Finland but it was divided by the Tsars beginning in the 13th Century so Finland willingly became part of Sweden to avoid the cruel Russian army that kept killing and capturing Finnish slaves. After spending two years in a Sudbury suburb of Long Lake, they packed up and left for the West Coast, taking their time and enjoying the experience. Another family was doing the same thing and they became friends. After traveling west through the Rocky Mountains they arrived on the shores of the Pacific - Vancouver. Two years later, the great island there welcomed them. Victoria BC, a beautiful capital city of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, was my new home. It is the most "British" city in Canada. High Tea is an event there. The island was like a jewel in the Pacific Ocean, which they had just discovered.
    Frida Kostian - was a Finnish woman who painted rocks that she gathered on Vancouver Island at Jordan River, about 40 miles north of Victoria BC. She was a friend of the family. What a life; she rented a beach cabin on the west coast where the rocks were ground flat by the waves and sand. Then she drove around BC selling them to tourist shops. She sold all she made, creating her designs using various things such as recycled leather pieces...BC Ferries take you to the Islands off the BC coast.

    BC Ferries...

    There's a poem called the "Lotus Eaters" and maybe the physical beauty of this Island acts like those Lotus plants. Metaphorically speaking, some eventually discovered the "lotus plant", that infamous little tempter of travelers. It seemed good to eat, so they ate. But soon they noticed that they did not want to leave. They were content as cows in a field and forgot all about their homes. All they wanted to do was eat of the fruit, day after day forever more. Long after their old folk had passed away they were there, munching. Oblivious of everything but the lotus, which they loved. Some tasted it and spit it out just in time, before they got hooked on it. But there were some who just dreamed of one day going home. You are welcome in BC if you love Canada and the people and want to blend in. But if you want to change us, (as in Europe 2017) you might find some other country more welcoming. We love our Canada just as it is, which is why it is so appealing, and we hope you will honor that. Immigrants have come from all corners of the world, especially Philippines, South Asia and China.

    The Beauty of This "Lotus" Land

    Canada is a great country. It is beautiful. The people are nice. The rest, well, you have to come here and see. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are beautiful beyond description. The author has cruised the coast's mist shrouded islands and inlets, watched the Killer Whales play, the pounding of the waves against the rugged cliffs and walked hundreds of kilometers of rocky and sand beaches. Most people don't even know they exist, thankfully, because they are largely untouched by the hand of man.

    The hundreds of islands nestled between Vancouver Island and the mountainous mainland create a truly supernatural environment to live and play in for those who like water. There is nothing like an island, a totally calm ocean around it, the slight movement of the tide, stillness, quietness, just the occasional cry of a distant gull or the explosion of air from a Killer Whale or seal's nostrils to bring you back. The glide-by of a majestic Bald Eagle. The pine studded shoreline zig-zagging along amongst the inter tidal goose-necked barnacles, crabs, tidal pools and kelp beds. It is a marine biologists dream, and one reason I decided to study biology and become a naturalist and conservationist. No, I am not a fanatic but common sense is the key.

    An hour or two by boat and you are at Molly's Reach, which is on the mainland but accessible only by boat, where the TV serial "Beachcombers" was filmed, and where this writer worked for a few months. There aren't too many places on earth that can compare with it. Nothing wrong with the land - Antti could have chosen many worse places on earth. But I hate to say it, there is trouble in paradise.

    The Queen Charlotte Islands! Now they are called by the native name Haida Gwaii. Yes! The beauty of these islands, three hundred kilometers north of Vancouver Island, inhabited by the famous Haida people, is amazing and the people are friendly. One of our boys married a beautiful native girl. Thanks to my summer work while a biology student at UVic, I spent a whole summer there in the 70's as a Ministry of Highways engineering aid doing asphalt paving road work. After university I decided to study and pass exams to do construction engineering, which I did all over the province. Everywhere I went, there were native people. Some didn't like us, but most were friendly, in fact up in Iskut (on the way to the Yukon) on the Cassiar Highway,37 they picked some Caribou Weed, a traditional native medicine, for me. We provided work for them so they were happy. Into Sandspit with turboprop and out from Masset with a Grumman Goose to Sandspit, back to Vancouver (Vancourver Airport) and Victoria by turboprop.

    The Haida People

    The Haida are a highly developed West coast native people, a fact which is evident in their art perhaps best exemplified by the late Bill Reid's world famous carvings. Queen Charlotte City and Skidegate are in a natural harbour located in the hub of the Charlottes, and Masset is at the north end where there are hundreds of miles of wide sandy beaches to rival any in the world. The sea, dunes and an ancient cedar rain forest make the Charlottes just fantastic. There is a real genuine friendliness there amongst the islanders.

    In the fall of 2004, I was summoned to the Charlottes once more, having drunk from St. Mary's well on my previous visit. The legend goes that he who drinks from this well will return to the Islands. I can attest to the fact that the legend is accurate. This visit is no less amazing than the first, with the exception that I was sorry to see the development near the north beach. The government had sold "crown land" from under the noses of the Haida people in Masset, partially destroying the wilderness beach area. The houses were built at the edge of the forest, behind the dunes. I say this because it is the remoteness that attracted me there in the first place. Back in the 1970's there was just nature, and I thought that it would always be that way. Now civilization has encroached! But the beach is still there, just as long and beautiful. Surfers were there in their wet suits, surfing, and I happen to be pointing my video camera toward the ocean waves when suddenly a sufer appeared in my view finder, and I was able to follow him to the end of his ride. The islands are a beachcombers dream come true, especially the North Beach. Memories of Skidegate and Masset! The Haida

    Native Art

    I took a walk in our local mall in White Rock and took some photos at the local native art gallery. You can find out more about this type of collectible native art from Cheryl's Trading Post. The store is packed with BC and native art from far and wide, from the Arctic Ocean to South America. More pictures coming...
    The native people of southern BC are the Coast Salish, a group of ethnically and linguistically related indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, living in British Columbia, Canada and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. They speak one of the Coast Salish languages. Nuxalk (Bella Coola) nation are usually included in the group, although their language is more closely related to Interior Salish languages. The Coast Salish are a loose grouping of many tribes with numerous distinct cultures and languages. Territory claimed by Coast Salish peoples spans from the northern limit of the Gulf of Georgia on the inside of Vancouver Island and covering most of southern Vancouver Island, all of the Lower Mainland and most of Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula (except for territories of now-extinct Chemakum people). Their traditional territories coincide with modern major metropolitan areas, namely Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. The Tillamook or Nehalem around Tillamook, Oregon are the southernmost of the Coast Salish peoples. The Coast Salish cultures differ considerably from those of their northern neighbours. It is one of the few indigenous cultures along the coast with a patrilineal rather than matrilineal kinship system, with inheritance and descent passed through the male line. According to a 2013 estimate, the population of Coast Salish numbers at least 56,590 people, made up of 28,406 Status "First Nations" people registered to Coast Salish bands in British Columbia, and 28,284 enrolled members of federally recognized Coast Salish tribes in Washington State.
    The University of Victoria, where I graduated receiving my undergraduate degree in Biology, has a very good linguistic department and they have been doing great work on preserving the language.
    Salish Language

    Sointula: The Finnish Utopia in the Pacific

    Sointula, (place of harmony) which is located on Malcolm Island, was established 1901 by Finnish socialists who hoped to create a utopia, but discovered in one year what it took the Russians 70 years - it doesn't work without the right kind of solid governing principles. They were dreamers. And there is nothing wrong with a bit of dreaming to be sure. But sometimes dreaming leads to destruction. Communes work with strict religious groups who have a code of behavior based on an old proven formula - the Bible. This group had decided to become the atheistic, socialist Kalevan Kansa headed by Matti Kurikka, which worshiped nature, with some modern socialist ideas thrown in. But not everyone wanted to behave. Some of these socialists thought that this new freedom meant they could do whatever they wished, including helping themselves to the women. Instead of harmony, they got discord. Financially they went broke when they hired a consultant to put in a bid for a bridge construction job in Vancouver, and he grossly underbid. The dreamers' choices were idealistic rather than realistic, which led them down the wrong path. After the breakup of the commune, and return to some sort of reality, Sointula prospered in fishing and logging and the community developed around the Co-op which looked after the financial daily affairs of the community among other things. It was like a city hall, bank and store rolled into one.

    Stalin, The Pie-Eyed Piper of Russia

    The utopia they came after did not materialize. Some did not give up the dream of a utopia though, and responded to Stalin's call. Capitalism was in trouble in the late 20's and 30's, and many Finnish leftists even in America believed in their own propaganda, that the Soviet system was utopia. Karelia fever was on. Many Canadian and American Finns went to East Karelia in the Soviet Union, where they found poverty, not utopia. Their worldly belongings were taken away and they found that Russian (ethnic Finnish) Karelia was like arriving at the "Hotel California" - you could check in, but you could never leave. They had made the biggest mistake in their lives, which most forfeited. Some got out if they turned around and left right away. At least 6,000 men were shot and their women and children were sent elsewhere, the purpose being that Karelia would be ethnically cleansed. They were never heard from again, it is confirmed now almost daily, that most were shot in Stalin's purges in the 30's.

    The Communist ideal has been proven to be a lie, so why people still insist on going after it, is beyond me, and it became apparent that kids have been brainwashed in universities by Marxist professors. These are Globalist people working to change our world into a border-less mass. Haven't we done enough damage to the world already? Why ruin it more, but that is what our kids have been taught in schools and universities, by professors that never had to live under such systems. They always sound good, but the end is destruction. Events of 2014-17 have proven, especially in Europe, that the scheme will never work. Justin Trudeau is a Marxist-Globalist, and he has the potential to ruin our country, at the moment with Middle Eastern "refugees." How can they be when many are going back home because they don't like our countries, meaning Europe, which is similar in culture to Canada and US. Many hate us because of religion. Politics and politicians are what ruin the whole world, regardless of banner: religion, communism, or anything else, and will continue to do so until humans take the next step in their social development - rejecting violence, accepting honesty, goodwill, love as paramount, and demanding and recognizing only truth. By going communist, they put themselves into an endless house of horrors, a never ending retrograde limbo of poverty and slavery to the state, which is why I am so opposed to teaching our kids that Marxism is good and related lies. Why does the human mind still do it? Why does it reject the evidence of the eyes and ears - the cries of hundreds of millions of people slaughtered in the name of a totally and completely inferior, corrupt system? It is like Islam, impossible to reform. You can't have Communism "light" or Islam "light." There is a doctrine, like a religion that must be followed. Both are totalitarian and closed. Communism is called "dictatorship of the proletariat," and Islam is very similar in many ways. Neither is a good thing in quantity as Europe is finding out the hard way. To work for the government is bad enough, but for a whole nation just for imagined security that never comes? No. Finns missed out on Communism because of their fantastic military, which is why I say that a strong, smart military is always a good thing, always in the control of the people. And the a free people will have guns to defend freedom, always. The Finns' strategy offset the deficiency in numbers. Why does the human mind reject the evidence that governments are all corrupt, and large governments are the most corrupt. When staying in power is more important than the welfare of the people, there is a problem. Mongolians voted in the communists in July 2000, but they have always been a communally living itinerant people. I hope they govern intelligently.
    Sointula was a tightly knit village with their community hall as the center where people met regularly. The sense of community was reduced when TV, cars and telephones came to town and the hall began to sit empty. The media informed the world, and that was the beginning of the end of one ideal lifestyle on the west coast of Canada. Their Socialism/Marxism experiment was a total failure and it was every man for himself, and that is the only way they could prosper. BR> When the island was finally discovered by the rest of the world in the 1960's, long-haired Americans from the United States and others began moving in, and the Finns began moving out. Reminds me of when the Russians moved up north to the Finnish lands, the people moved on. Then there were only the Finns who stayed and the hippies who worked hard to build a life. The Finns understood hard work, and soon these immigrants were accepted amongst the community, but it would never be the same. The climate is mild, but in the winter it rains a lot. Sointula is located off the north-east coast and Sooke is on the south-west coast of Vancouver Island.

    East Kootenay

    If you love mountains, and skiing, you'll love the Canadian Rockies. One little village I recently visited was Fernie B.C., in Southeast British Columbia. This place is in the boom phase. One visit to the ski hill will tell you that! There is construction everywhere. Partly-built condominiums, and cottages everywhere. And the majestic mountains looming above, with their powder. All this just minutes from downtown Fernie. It is truly awesome. This village is on Highway 3, which many never see going on Highway 1, which goes through Banff. Sometimes it seems the Australians and New Zealanders have discovered it before the rest of the Canadians. A must-see for skiing enthusiasts, mountain bikers and hikers.

    Whistler Mountain: 2010 Olympics

    Oh yes, then we have this other skiing center at Whistler. It is a very nice skiing center, with hotels, village, the works. Thousands of multi million dollar mansions dot the hilly landscape. One minor draw-back is the drive from Vancouver north to Whistler. It is notorious for accidents because it has sharp curves and many returning from the resort are driving too fast or have been drinking. The Ministry of Transportation spent over CDN$700,000,000 to upgrade the road which was completed just in time for the Olympics. In fact, as a construction engineer with the Ministry I worked over two years on building and improving roads for 2010. The right-of-way climbs up the side of a mountains, down its gorges and up again, through beautiful rain forests with thick moss, mist and huge trees. It was fun estimating these locations for the designers. So I came up one of these gorges along the right-of-way and found a small marijuana garden, a bike and a shelter. The next day we met him briefly. The steep rock bluffs causing some of the curves had to be removed. The method used in tight spots with the ocean on one side and a mountain on the other, was to construct bridge-like structures supported in various ways such as piles from below. A median concrete barrier prevents head-on crashes. The last nine miles to Whistler was widened to allow for a bus lane and electrical duct bakes were installed under the shoulders of the road as extra safety in case of electrical failure. A new road had to be carved out of a rough logging road up the Callaghan Valley to the Atheletes Village where the ski jumps are located. That was my project, with three new bridges, and completed on time in two years. The world came for a visit in 2010 and they weren't disappointed. Come and see British Columbia. Whistler Mountain.

    Hiking: try making your own dried fruits and vegetables. (forget the meat, go vegan)

    What Went Wrong With Multiculturalism?

    Canada is certainly not the place my father arrived in from Finland. How has it changed? Well, for one thing, most of the inhabitants were from Europe. Today, large parts of Canada are distinctly Asian. Being Asian is not the problem though. Most of them, except for the alarming increase in Asian gangs, are wonderful people as we all know. But I wonder if we want to live in their country, or our own. What is happening here on the west coast is that most Asians want to live here because of climate. When the children in our families grow up and move out, these houses are picked up immediately by Asians because of the windfall profits that can be used to have a pleasant retirement. The result is a concentration effect with Asians in the cities and the old folks in suburbs or inland. The result is that it actually builds countries within countries, where they speak their own language and most signs are in a foreign language. Now, nothing against immigrants, but this is more than that. Since Pierre Elliot Trudeau opened the door to South Asians, they have bought up whole segments of the economy such as: taxis, trucking, farms, convenient stores, fast food outlets and gas stations to name a few. They live in communal mega houses that they build next to small bungalows, blocking the sun, right up to the fence line as close as possible and back on the property half way through the back yard. The value of the property next door crashes. We hardly ever see a white person in any of these businesses owned by this segment of the population, and since they are buying up all the businesses, there is daily less work for the people who were here first. They either have lots of money or they pool what they have and live very well, better than most Canadians.

    The value of houses has sky rocketed because the people who come here in the last 40-50 years have lots of money and are looking to tie it up in real estate. Good for them, bad for residents of Vancouver/Lower Mainland. Canadians believe that this is our strength, because that is what they have been told, but many disagree, silently of course. We don't make a big fuss about it. We simply accept it and... Move further away if it bothers us. That is "multiculturalism" as it is on the west coast of Canada. I like all races of people but not necessarily the side effects of immigration. "I came to Canada for a better life...It didn't happen: minimum wage, not enough hours, no benefits." Mashup Deuja The only hope is education, in the right field. Most of the Middle East refugees would be better off going back when the dust clears. They desperately want their Shariah Law and they can have it over there, not here! That's my main position on Islamic immigration - we like things as they are and they don't. It's better to be a first class citizen and happy, rather than poor, bitter, complaining about our way of life and on welfare - better for everyone. But, if you have a skill and itching to work hard, and love the country, people, our way of life and willing to live by our laws, rather than agitating for Shariah, well that's different. I'm writing this on my iPad, Steve Job's invention, whose father was Syrian and mother French, both students and they gave him up for adoption. How many more inventions were never seen because the parents killed their baby, who desperately wanted a chance to live. Isn't that as heartless as someone refusing to shelter a proven, real refugee?

    These are perilous times right now. Since Obama let in many illegals and criminals, after January 2017 hundreds of them started to trickle into Canada threatening to become a flood by summer, many from those sanctuary cities. Our young "wet behind the ears" Marxist-Communist Prime Minister (like his dad Pierre Elliot) believes we should treat them better than our old people, natives and veterans even if we don't know who they are. Rental housing is being built but no Canadians allowed in a lot of them, though many have been on waiting lists for a long time due to a housing crunch. Immigration must be met with similar amount of housing so Canadians are served first. The American FBI stated that most refugees do not have proper identification and many are illiterate. There is no way of knowing who is a criminal, or ISIS, or anything. Already the crime rate has jumped in Canada, especially rapes, just like in Europe where refugees commit almost half or an inordinate number of crimes as in Sweden. There was no budget for our own people needing help but certainly for anyone who claims to be a refugee, hundreds of thousands of them. This is just as Obama, who doubled America's debt to $20 Trillion in eight years. Trudeau figures he should be allowed to do likewise. There isn't even work for our own people and we are taxed too much already. Since there is no way to vet these uneducated Muslim people, the prudent thing would be to find out how to ensure these are no ISIS before letting anyone in claiming to be a refugee. Right now security is being waved. Hundreds of thousands of non-refugees, mostly military aged men, (that is suspicious) flooded into Europe with a much smaller number of real refugees. ISIS has said that they are mixing in with the real ones, but Mr. Trudeau doesn't really care about security because he isn't personally affected.

    Multiculturalism to me means countries within countries, and if this is what everyone wants, well fine. But this is not what I'm hearing from the man on the street. This kind of mass immigration is great for the Real Estate Market, and builders, there's a boom on. But it is not really that great for the country. I am thinking in terms of the environment etc. - we are packing too many people into small areas, where lot sizes are going down, population density going up and quality of life has to go down too. To me quality of life and relatively low density of housing are connected. We are destroying the habitat of animals in favor of people. And for what: money. Darn good thing I love Asians and their great food! Oh, although Muslims are a nice people, basically, their treatment of women is where I say, whoa! I cannot stand their cultural-religious custom dragged in by the religion from the 7th Century. My father told me that a real man never hits a woman. Yet the news is so full of how badly Trump treats women, 99% of which have been proven false. That's only because the news media hates Trump and wants to destroy him. It didn't work because people didn't buy their story. You see, it just smelled of...corruption. These were the same media that allowed Obama to do as he wished without retribution because he was a Globalist like them! I found out it is the Muslim man's duty to hit his wife for any real or imagined disobedience. That is wrong, and if it is, then what other wrong things are in their teachings that Muhammad began and Muslims carry forward without another thought, that maybe it isn't right, all this violence that is just part of the "religion." You can find out all about Islam at Fotress of Faith. Do yourself and your country a favor and check it out. Islam will be a big problem in the future if we allow it to grow. Trump is right to exercise extra caution. See more on this

    Books on British Columbia

    Under revision. Please come back.

    Backroads of Southern Interior British Columbia: From the Rockies to the Coquihalla, Through the Kootenays and the Okanagan by Joan Donaldson

    Books illustrated by Bill Reid or about him and his art works include:

    • The Raven Steals the Light by Bill Reid and Robert Bringhurst which contains ten Haida stories - some of the most significant Haida myths - told and illustrated by Bill Reid.
    • Raven's Cry by Christie Harris - it is a novel about the coming together of the Haida and European cultures and a tribute to a vanished way of life. Illustrations by Bill Reid.
    • The Black Canoe: Bill Reid and the Spirit of Gwaii by Robert Bringhurst describes the making of a monumental sculpture by Bill Reid for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
    • The Spirit of Haida Gwaii : Bill Reid's Masterpiece by Ulli Steltzer A 64 page paperback by the photographer of The Black Canoe.
    • Bill Reid (Revised Edition) by Doris Shadbolt has recently been published by The University of Washington Press.
      Bill Reid : Beyond the Essential Form (Museum Note, No 19) by Karen Duffek

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Sooke B.C.
Back to Antti
Back  to  Uralic
Sointula:  island  utopia  -  book
Sointula and North Vancouver Island
Black Canoe Sculpture: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii
Native American Authors Project: Bill Reid
Royal British Columbia Museum
The Douglas Reynolds Gallery
Canada Museum of Civilization