Life on the Sunshine Coast today is relatively civilized . Some compared it to life in some of Greater Vancouver’s suburbs, only less expensive and infinitely more beautiful. It was not always that way. There was a time , not so long ago when life on the coast was more adventurous. Logging and mills were the main industries and the working population could at times be quite boisterous. It was not that long ago there were no shopping malls, gas stations and little police presence. Not more than 25 years ago there was a police presence in Pender Harbour only on Tuesdays which gave aspiring criminals six days a week when it was relatively safe to practice their crafts. In fact there was little police presence on the whole Coast after 6 PM when the police stations closed. If one wanted to report a crime or an accident after 6PM you had to phone Vancouver where some minion would decide whether the situation could wait until the next morning.
There was no hospital on the Sunshine Coast until 1929 when John Antle, a native of Newfoundland and an Anglican priest, founded a hospital for the Columbia Coast Mission in Pender Harbour. The Columbia Coast Mission ship, with a doctor on board, ministered to the logging camps all the way up the BC coast. Logging was a dangerous occupation and there were frequent serious injuries. A hospital was needed and the Mission founded St. Mary’s at a location that became known as Hospital Bay. Eventually St. Mary’s was moved to Sechelt and became a community hospital.
Sechelt is also the headquarters of the Sechelt Indian Band which was the first self governing Indian Community in Canada.
In addition to logging there was commercial fishing and farming of varied types all over the Coast from Rosendale Farms in Pender Harbour to Henry Reid’s vegetable farm in Gibsons which produces organic greens and vegetables that are sold all over the Coast. At one time there was a sizeable pig farm on the Coast. However, as motor vehicle traffic increased it became quite inconvenient to have escaped pigs obstructing the evening ferry traffic. The pigs took exception to the cars and saw no reason to give the large metal objects on wheels the right of way. All good things come to an end and there is no longer any Sunshine Coast commercial bacon. Some believe that the pig removal was the result of a Vegetarian conspiracy.
The Coast offers other animal products than bacon. There are farms throughout the Sunshine Coast where you can get fresh eggs. The Sunshine Coast chickens are prolific producers and are non union , laying eggs for sale on weekends and statutory holidays.
Horseback riding is popular on the Coast, in its various disciplines. Every year there is a “Hunt” without a fox of course. There are actually a few wild foxes on the Coast, but they are safe from the “sound of the horn and the cry of the hounds”.