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Totem Pole by Richard Hunt, on loan from RBC Museum

the comox valley

From the snow-capped mountains to the salty sea, time spent in the Comox Valley is the stuff memories are made of. Whether you want a vacation filled with outdoor adventure, relaxation, celebration or urban cultural pursuits, you'll find it in the Comox Valley.

Explore our incredible surroundings and unique urban centres. Cast a line for your supper, paddle down pristine rivers, hike and ski the alpine heights. Browse an amazing array of unique shops, take in a live theatre performance or art show. Experience the burst of genuine flavour that comes from food fresh from the farm and ocean.

For detailed information visit us at www.tourism-comox-valley.bc.ca

COMOX BAY FISH WEIRS

It has been confirmed that the wooden stakes visible in the tidal flats of Comox Bay are the remnants of a sophisticated, industrial-scale fishing system that far pre-dates any European contact. Carbon-14 dating, thus far, has determined that the weirs have been in use for approximately 1300 years! It may prove to be the largest prehistoric architectural feature on the West Coast. The Comox Bay fish weirs are unlike any other fish traps as the extensive number of wood stakes covers at least four square kilometres. The series of barriers, corrals and interconnected passages are placed in distinctive linear and complex patterns to exploit the rise and fall of the tides. The discovery provides strong evidence of a continuous intensive economic exploitation of a major renewable resource and suggests expert engineering in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the system. Anthropologists may have to rethink their estimates of pre-contact population densities of the native habitants of the West Coast as this fish weir system was capable of supporting a lot of people. This scientific proof, accompanied by the solid oral history of our First Nations, confirms the long-term existence of a huge and important fishery that once existed in Comox Bay. Today, the Comox First Nation is actively involved in the commercial shellfish aquaculture business with their wholly owned and operated Pentlatch Seafoods Ltd.

ISLAND COMOX TERRITORY

Historically, the Island Comox territory extended from Salmon River to Cape Lazo/Point Holmes, and included Quadra Island. However, by the time of contact with Europeans in 1792, the Lekwiltok had already begun their aggressive southward expansion that would eventually displace the Island Comox from their homelands. Many of the remaining Island Comox settled around Comox Bay and Denman Island and lived among the Pentlatch whose territory extended from Cape Lazo to Fanny Bay. The Pentlatch at this time were already greatly affected by diseases and battles. Together the Island Comox and the Pentlatch (once old enemies) sought friendship and alliance for mutual protection and defence against the invading Lekwiltok. Since the mid to late 1800s, the Comox have been composed of descendants of Pentlatch, various Island Comox local groups, and Lekwiltok who together formed a village at the old winter village of the Pentlatch. Today, the Comox Indian Reserve No. 1 is situated near this former village site.

 

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