Like thousands of British Columbians, I’m just back from some time in the woods – so I thought it would be fun for this blog installment to look at the way that people camped in the past.
The B.C. Archives has hundreds of photographs of families and campgrounds, and I’ve chosen a few that may bring back some memories for those of you who spent your summer vacations gathered round a campfire, roasting weenies and marshmallows, and telling ghost stories.
Judging by these photos some parts of the recreational camping experience haven’t changed all that much over the last 150 years. It’s a chance to relax with family, practice some survival skills (like making coffee over a campfire!) and sleep under canvas. If you’re a hunter or fisherman there’s the added bonus of providing food for your family!
The Francis Claudet and Arthur T. Bushby families camping at Burrard Inlet, ca. 1868 E-03990
Francis Claudet was the son of an early French daguerreotypist, and was one of the first people to take photographs in B.C. He is at the centre of the photo, with Mr. and Mrs. Bushby on the right. Other photos from the same outing show that they took along some of their children, and a servant. These photos were carefully posed by Claudet and incorporate symbols that demonstrate their intrepid spirit – the axe, frying pan and kettle, the picnic on a blanket, and the tent. This was a long way from the average Victorian parlour!
Even Emily Carr took to the woods occasionally, using a caravan as a mobile studio. Being Emily, she nicknamed it “The Elephant”. [B.C. Archives photo D-03842]
I expect that this will take a few people back to their childhoods. I can practically smell the camp smoke when I look at this one. This family was camping at Goldstream Park just outside Victoria, in 1950. [B.C. Archives photo I-26744]
Remember the 70’s when everything was orange? We’re not sure where or when this photo was taken, but I’d say this is pretty typical of that day-glo era. [B.C. Archives photo G-0001]
Insert your own camping photo here and carry on camping!