At Nanaimo Historical Society’s February 10, 2022 meeting, Vancouver Island author and historian Catherine Marie Gilbert presented a pictorial talk based on her new book, A Journey Back to Nature, the history of Strathcona Provincial Park.

Catherine shared never before seen archival photos and a fascinating account of the century-long effort to define, access, preserve, develop, and exploit the uniquely beautiful Strathcona area of rugged wilderness in the centre of Vancouver Island. The book has been described by BC author and historian Barry Gough as “A bold testament to a world nearly lost, here is an evocation of Nature’s fragility in the face of industrial and commercial onslaught. A moving, passionate and authoritative panorama.”  A Journey Back to Nature, the history of Strathcona Provincial Park, published by Heritage House Publishing in the spring of 2021 is available at Windowseat books in Nanaimo. 

Catherine Marie Gilbert is a Vancouver Island author, historian, and lecturer with a fascination for the region’s history and formerly taught both European and Canadian history at North Island College. Her first book Yorke Island and the Uncertain War, defending Canada’s western coast during WWII was published in 2012. 

Catherine, with the Museum at Campbell River for seven years, was contributing editor to “A Look Back Into the History of the Campbell River Area” for the Campbell River Mirror. She was historic interpreter on Museum boat tours in the Discovery Islands and in September, 2021 traveled to the west coast of Vancouver Island as historic interpreter on board the Uchuck III on behalf of Wells Gray Tours.  Catherine was awarded her Masters Degree in Public History from the University of Victoria in 2018, after completing her thesis based on the environmental history of Strathcona Provincial Park. 

We acknowledge that we meet on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people from whom Nanaimo takes its name.