“Sprucing” it up (The Golden Spruce)

It’s been awhile since the last socials post. Soon after my last blog post on the topic of confederation, we moved onto reading a book called The Golden Spruce. The Golden Spruce by  John Vaillant follows the story of a golden spruce that is sacred to the Haida People of the Queen Charlotte Islands.The book focuses a lot on logging and the west coast culture and economic growth developed because of it. From there, the story then shifts to follow Grant Hadwin, a logger (turned sort’ve environmentalist) who cuts down the sacred tree in protest because of the over exploitation of the logging industry. Even from the first page, this novel grabbed my attention.

Because this book interested so much, I felt pulled in many different ways for this mini project. Because the book took place close to home, I wanted to include that aspect, it also mentioned cathedral grove and Macmillan Bloedel’s “pet trees” which I have visited two separate times (once before reading the book and once during), and I also wanted to go deeper into some themes I found while reading the book. So I thought, maybe I should see if I can somehow incorporate all of these together! I found a way to do this by utilizing the learning of my indepth project to show my learning in a unique way that I don’t usually do, so I thought I’d mix it up a bit.

For whatever reason, I somehow chose THE WORST DAY EVER to take photos on, it was raining and the lighting is very harsh. I don’t particularly love the way these all turned out so I should have allowed myself a buffer day in case this situation happened the way it did. Anyways,  since I decided to do three components in this project (which in hindsight, maybe wasn’t the best), I have embedded my pictures and included a short description with what I was trying to potray.

Themes within the Book- Dichotomy within Unity

While reading the book, I kept picking up on all the references of kind’ve a separation of opposite things, the ocean and the forest, light and dark, good and bad, etc. separated but still mixed together in “a boundry between worlds” as John Vaillant perfectly describes. So I decided to take some pictures to show some of these dichotomies I see in the world around me. One passage that really stood out to me while reading the book was “on the West Coast, there is no graceful interval between the ocean and the trees”, and from my experience that stands true, especially on the island. But for this project I wanted to focus on some places where these borders and boundary come together in a less wild place, especially when human actions/development intertwines within the natural boundaries.
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Visiting Cathedral Grove 

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Yep on the left that’s me, pre-talons (August 2015) at Cathedral grove, thinking “wow this tree is really big and old”. And yes, that is probably the only thing I was thinking about back then. Now on the right, me again, (March 2017) on the way back from the Bamfield spring break trip, with a different take on the situation. Even though we had barely been talking about The Golden Spruce story, we had previously talked about the cathedral grove site in socials class. What really made me interested in the story of Cathedral Grove mostly has to do with the utter irony of the place. If you have ever been to Cathedral Grove, you’ve probably seen the sign at the entrance “Macmillan Provincial Park”, which at first glance seems like no big deal, but here is where the irony comes in. The only highway accessible protected old-growth Douglas-fir forest in British Columbia is owned by a logging company… Just let that one sink in. This is the equivalent of a butcher owning a petting zoo… seriously? In a way I think keeping this little section of “pet” big trees is just a way to distract people into looking at this patch of old growth without noticing all the rest that had/has been destroyed over the years. While I am not against logging I think that with harvesting any natural resource it has to be done responsibly and carefully minimizing as much damage to the rest of the environment as possible. But anyways, just thought I’d share something that made me kinda laugh a bit.

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Historical Port Moody


My third and final bit of the project did not totally directly relate to the Golden Spruce, but I did it mostly just because of general interest in the topic.Anyway, the idea for this started when in class we looked at some historical photos of port moody. I was sitting there looking at them when I realized that some of these were taken from less than five minutes away from my house. Which got me thinking about how so much has changed in so little time here. And the fact that at the beginning of this project I knew almost nothing about the beginnings of a city that I had lived my whole my life in! So for this portion of my project I wanted to compare some of the historical sites to what they look like now, to see truly how much the city has changed since the rise of the logging industry.

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The Port Moody Station Museum (left )present day, and (right) the same building (only then it actually was THE Port Moody station) Photo Source: http://portmoodymuseum.org/about_us/history/
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The Ioco Road Church (left) present day, and (right) past. Photo Source http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=33&recordid=3366

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(Top) Present day, the loco town site, and (bottom) past when people actually used to live there Photo Source: https://westendvancouver.wordpress.com/biographies-a-m/biographies-m/mclellan-harold-nelson-1882-1957/

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(Left) a section of rocky point present day, (right) Rocky Point in the past. Photo Source: http://www.portmoody.ca/index.aspx?page=829

It is simply amazing to see just how much the city has chnaged over the years in such a short period of time!

To wrap up this post, the book has taught me a lot about the economic development of natural resource exploitation and has helped me to better understand the competency “interconnections between demography, urbanization, environmental issues, and globalization. Aside from the more technical aspects of the book and the learning outcomes, the book has also brought an awareness of the environmental that we live in, and how truly rugged and brutal it can be. I will make sure to keep Grant Hadwin in mind as we set out in gortex and gaitors onto a maintained trail and “rough it” for 5 days. IMG_1311

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