At one time, when all travel was by boat, Quatsino was the hub of the area. Today the hamlet of around 75 people enjoys the beauty and pristine beauty of the remote side of Vancouver Island. There are several special places to visit locally.
This historic building was originally built as a one-room school in 1896. For over three decades hundreds of children received their education within its walls. After classes and on weekends this building served as a community meeting hall, a church and even a court house.
When student enrolment grew to over 35, and a larger school was built at the head of Bergh Cove, the old school property was sold to the Anglican Church. They renamed the school “St. Olaf’s” in honour of Quatsino’s Scandinavian pioneers.
Over the next 20 years various ministers from Port Alice traveled down Neroutsos Inlet to conduct Sunday afternoon church services. In 1952 Reverend Charles Lomas took over the district’s parish responsibilities. He retired in 1967 and settled in Quatsino where he continued to serve the community until his death in1991.
Today weddings, baptisms and memorials are still being held in St. Olaf’s, with quiet reflection now the main attraction. The ‘Visitors Guest Book’ holds hundreds of signatures from around the world. This unique facility is maintained by local volunteers and by Donation Box’ contributions. St. Olaf’s is one of the oldest buildings still in use on the North Island and was the first to be registered as a Heritage Site by the Regional District of Mt. Waddington.
The first school on this site was built in 1930 for $8,000.00. It opened in January of 1931 with 36 students divided into primary and intermediate classes. On the afternoon of February 21st 1933 a fire completely destroyed the three year old building. The school’s original contractor, David Robertson, was rehired in May of that year and had the second school building, identical to the first, ready to re-open within three months – just in time for the September 1933 term.
For over 100 years Quatsino School’s student enrolment has ranged between four and 39, peaking during the Depression years. After closing briefly from 1903 to 1906 and from 1972 to 1978, this school closed again in 2008 when enrolment numbers dipped once more. As one of the last one-room schools in B.C. the school’s minimum six student enrolment offers a unique educational opportunity for the community’s children.
The Bergh Cove Organic Schoolyard (BCOS) Society was formed in 2008 to keep the school facilities available to the community as well as developing and maintaining an organic garden & orchard on a small
portion of the school grounds.
This building is the second on the North Island to be registered as a Heritage Site by the Regional District of Mt. Waddington.
Quatsino’s first government wharf was built one km east of this site, and served the community from 1896 until 1912. When the wharf proved unsuitable to accommodate the new larger steam ships a new facility was built in Bergh Cove.
Over the next 40 years CPR’s small steam ships Queen City and Willipa, and later, the larger Tees and Princess Maquinna, made the run up the west coast of Vancouver Island from Victoria and called into Quatsino
with passengers and freight every seven to ten days. During the 1930s various office buildings on pilings & floats, as well as a public moorage float, were added to the wharf as Quatsino became the business hub for the Sound.
The current wharf layout was established in the 1950s and continues to meet the needs of the community as the only public transportation link in and out of Quatsino.On July 31st 2003, a devastating fire destroyed the wharf head, causeway and storage shed – remnants of that fire can still be seen. Within six weeks a temporary walkway was built to provide public access to the moorage floats. The rebuilding of the slightly down-sized wharf facility seen today began in 2005 and was completed within six months.
This remote public wharf facility is one of the last on B.C.’s West Coast to be managed and maintained by the Federal Government.