It is not uncommon to come across relics from homesteading in the middle of what looks like untouched forest or grassland. From broken fencelines to house foundations and even old tools, evidence is abundant when you start to look. In particular on the north end of Vancouver Island, it is easy to stumble across pieces of machinery and household items from the early 1900s. Apparently at one time 1000 people lived in an area where only a handful of people now live at the Cape Scott area of Vancouver Island.
Another visual reminder of this past history is the abundance of fruit trees scattered throughout the region, from old orchards that have been reclaimed by the surrounding wild. Going for walks in parks and along beach fronts it is not uncommon to find a gnarled old plum or apple tree, still producing fruit. Along with the fruit trees it is possible to also find overgrown domestic plants that survived long after the homestead itself has disappeared. Rhododendrons and holly bushes are common ones to come across.
People have come and gone for various reasons. A number of Scandinavian groups came in the early 1900s to places such as Cape Scott and Sointula on Malcolm Island, looking to establish a new type of community. Many of the homesteaders in the Discovery Islands were families of the local resource workers whose livelihoods depending on the fishing, mining and forestry industries. Then in the 60s there was another wave of homesteading as the hippy generation found the mild weather of the coast perfect for their communes and back-to-the-earth ideals.
As larger communities grew on the coast and on Vancouver Island especially, many of the homesteader families moved away from the more remote areas to the convenience and steady jobs that towns could offer. Now it seems the homesteading movement is gathering interest and attention, and so more people are coming to the coast to once again connect with those more remote areas.
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