By Chris Cheadle

The detailed peeling bark at the trunk of an arbutus tree. Towering Sitka spruce timber. Migrating sandpipers in Clayoquot Sound. A grizzly undergo feeding on red salmon close to Knight Inlet resort. Chris Cheadle walked the streams of the rainforests, kayaked to distant shorelines, sailed the inlets, explored the islands and listened to the knowledge of First countries elders to trap the photographs during this publication, which depict the west coast of British Columbia in all its glory.

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The face of the sea has not changed since Captain James Cook and Chief Maquinna first met in 1778. Nuu-chah-nulth legends give credence to the theory that Sir Francis Drake visited the west coast of British Columbia in 1579. The Nuu-chah-nulth people of this south coast region once ranged along the west coast from the Brooks Peninsula to Jordan River, and were related to the Makah from Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. They traditionally braved the tempestuous coastal waters in cedar canoes.

In 1859, the colony of British Columbia was born, with New Westminster as its capital. Not far from New Westminster, the abundant Douglas-fir and cedar forests on the shores of Burrard Inlet seemed an ideal location for Edward Stamp to locate his sawmill operation in 1867. The colourful “Gassy” Jack Deighton opened a saloon nearby to serve the mill hands. The little logging town of Gastown was officially renamed Granville in 1870. The obvious merits of the deep natural harbour at Burrard Inlet encouraged the Canadian Pacific Railway to locate its western terminus nearby, and in 1886 the City of Vancouver was incorporated.

Pacific Rim National Park, between Chesterman Beach near Tofino and Florencia Bay to the south, features sweeping, sand beaches. Tidal pools at the base of rocky headlands teem with sea creatures, to the delight of young and old. The diverse inlets, islands, mud flats and exposed beaches of Clayoquot Sound near Tofino were designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 2000. At Amphitrite Point lighthouse in Ucluelet, the Wild Pacific Trail, created in 1999, offers stun- ning vistas of the sea. The harbour is the gateway to Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands.

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