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Standing at the Government Wharf, look to the left – the island with the long sand spit is Stubbs Island. The area’s first non-native settlement, known as Clayoquot, was located on this island.

By 1855, Banfield and Frances Ltd. had a trading post on the Island – trading goods for furs (mink, martin, seal) fish (dried or salted) and especially dog-fish oil. In the 1870’s Captain Pinney established a store, and in 1874, Frederick Christian Thornberg took charge of what he called “Clayoquot Station.” Mr. Thomas Earle took control of the Island in 1890, and recruited Thomas Stockham and Walter T. Dawley to take over the operation. The settlement continued to grow; land was leased; there was a school, a jailhouse, a policeman, and one of the provinces most distinct hotels.

When Thomas Earle died in 1902, Messrs. Stockham and Dawley bought the land and the business. A few years later Stockham sold his shares to Dawley who continued with the business, and (in the mid 20’s) hired George Nicholson to help him out. Nicholson secured BC Liquor license No.1 for the hotel. Mr. Dawley retired in 1937 and gave the island as a wedding gift to his daughter Madeleine and her husband Pierre Malon. By this time Clayoquot as a community had dwindled.

The island was sold around 1940 to Mrs. Betty Farmer. Together with her sister, Josephine Bridges, they operated the hotel and pub; it was said that the pub held to the highest decorum: ladies on one side of the room and men on the other. The sisters gardened extensively and were well known for the rhododendrons (now trees) that they grew from seed. In 1964 the sisters sold the island and moved to Tofino.

The island then changed through many hands until 1989 when it became the Clayoquot Island Preserve. The gardens have been restored, and expanded by the island’s current owner and staff..

next stop in the 'walk in time'

text & illustrations are excerpts from ‘a walk in time’ courtesy of the raincoast education society. used with permission. ‘a walk in time’ is a booklet with history of landmark buildings on main street. worth reading, best in combination with a leisurely stroll down main street. available atthe rainforest interpretive centre for two dollars.

Rainforest Interpretive Centre
452 Main Street, Tofino, BC
(the big yellow building at fourth)


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