Acrylic on canvas.
As part of the plan to lure British Columbia into the Confederation scheme in 1871, a Trans- Canada rail link was promised, to join both ends of the country together.
In Ottawa, plans were drawn up to have the western terminus of the CPR to snake through the Coast Mountains via the Homathko River and then down to the Pacific Ocean.
A survey crew was sent out from Ottawa to work with Chilcotin guides to break through this extremely rugged terrain. Because they lived inland, the CPR considered the Chilcotins to be experts in finding the easiest way to the coast.
However, the surveyors were hard on the guide, and a great deal of resentment built up.
This issue culminated in a raid where the railway surveyors were murdered. The perpetrators escaped back through the mountain and into the Chilcotin. Just one was apprehended.
Stories of this massacre till abound in the area………folklore has even invented a ghost. The whole region must have been terribly daunting for the railway crew. It may have added to their behavior, which in tum, lead to their death. The Chilcotin Guides knew the area well enough to escape over the Coast Mountains back into the high plateau area—their traditional territory.
The Homathko River’s isolation and wilderness creates a feeling of awe with huge ice sheets and towering mountain peaks that trap swirling clouds. The rainforest is a wall of undergrowth, fallen timber and devil club. It is quintesential BC orth Coast.
For an artist, this is moving subject matter for a painting.
Misty clouds moving down the mountainside define the hidden pinnacle forms. The glaciers add perspective to the receding jagged peaks and valleys.
The decline of logging and fishing has returned the Homathko River to its pristine condition. Grizzly bears rule here, and can be seen prowling the beaches, feeding in the rivers and grazing on spring grasses.
The Trans-Canada Railway was eventually completed down the Fraser Canyon, through Port Moody, and into Vancouver.