Photo Credit: Radomes by Ren L’Ecuyer

Now a worn-out logging camp and sadly deceased Canadian Forces Station, this rainy, isolated Northern Vancouver Island location is remembered by countless former residents as a “special place” with its own identity and distinctive “mystique”. Many thought of it as “Happy Holberg” while others regarded it as the “armpit of British Columbia.” Regardless of anyone’s perspective, Holberg is truly unforgettable.

Above are a few of Holberg’s most memorable images.

happyholberg_border225x250For those of us who had the experience of living in Holberg, BC during the late sixties and early seventies, there are plenty of memories.  Some are good, some bad, and many long forgotten–but for people who experienced Holberg like I did, it’s profound that there are any memories at all!

In 2006, I had the opportunity to return to Holberg for the first time in over 35 years.  I was amazed at how little the place has changed.  It was easy to find the major landmarks (like Elephant Crossing, the Log Dump, the bunkhouses, etc.)  But,sadly, the people I knew had long gone. There were only a couple of names in the phonebook that I recognized and none of my old friends were around any more.  It was impossible to find people like Frank and Judy Szy, Mike Thurston, Joan Tidbury, Dave Tidbury, Denis Gagnon, or any of my other schoolmates.  Nor could I find any trace of folks like Percy Wong, Art Jones, Fred Mantic, Neil Arthurs, Harold Yasinski, Harry Hemingway, Rick Selzer, Gabe the gas station operator, Bob Fells, French Mike, Roy Juthans, Jim Gibbons, George Anderson, Merle Humphrey, or any of the others I knew in the 70’s.

Ah well… probably just as well because, when I left, most of these people only regarded me as a rather strange young man with a bad case of acne and one of the most dysfunctional families in town. Regardless of that dark past, being able to come back to Holberg after nearly 35 years of absence was long overdue.

welcometoholberg_172x230Before leaving for this trip, I got the bright idea of videotaping the journey with old “top 40 hits” from the 70’s playing in the background.  There’s a clip of it over there on the right.  Be forewarned, however–this is not a puny little 10 minute YouTube flick.  A place like Holberg deserves to be remembered with something considerably more substantial, so this “epic” is about 45 minutes long and it takes you on a tour of the road to Holberg, the logging camp and the unfortunately “deceased” Canadian Forces Base.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to CFS Holberg, the battery packs for my Sony Camcorder were both completely drained.  Fortunately, I was able to snap a few still images and some “better than nothin” video with my Palm PDA.

The main video starts with a quick look at Kelsey Bay and Sayward, then picks up from Port McNeill during another of the many raging rain storms that frequently hit the North Island. The reason for this is because, prior to 1979, there was no Highway 19.

Before Highway 19… If you aren’t from the same ancient era as me (late 60’s / early 70’s), here’s a quick background:  Before Highway 19 was finished, people who lived in Holberg had to commute on an old, beaten-up ferry (the North Island Princess) with uncomfortable seats, terrible food, and slow, unreliable horsepower.  A trip from Kelsey Bay to Beaver Cove could take anywhere from 4 to 8 hours to complete (depending on wind conditions) and then weHolberg types had yet another 3 to 4 hours to drive, much of it on an old pothole riddled logging road.  Unbelievably, that rusty old catamaran tub, built in 1958, is still in service! (see the video on right and thumbnail below)

A view of the North Island Princess’s luxurious interior

YouTube video by “coastalnavigator” (0:23)

From the May 13, 1976, edition of the North Island Gazette, here’s a little reminder of why so many of us felt so disadvantaged until 1979, when Highway 19 finally opened:


Although there’s some whining and complaining about rain and washouts in the video,  I’d have to say that I’m glad I went back.  It’s nice to know that there are some things in this world that do not change much and that carry on despite the human changes that may take place all around them.  It’s also good to know that a pimply faced teenager who had difficulty dealing with the challenges of isolation, etc., can actually become a legitimate contributor to society.  That’s thanks, in large part to some great teachers and a few good friends.  


This was the location of my first real radio station gig back in the early 70’s!

I must say that it was a huge mistake for the Conservative government to cut the funding for CFS Holberg back in the late 80’s.  For that part of the island, the station was like a breath of fresh air whenever loggers, hikers, or even high school students needed something different to do–something other than drinking and seeking chemical mood enhancements.  I still remember good times working at the radio station in the Rec Centre – good ol’ CFHG (1490 on your dial), as shown on left –  plus shopping at CANEX, working on the CE crew, going bowling, playing drums at the Sergeants’ Mess and Junior Ranks Club, catching a flick at the station theatre, and chatting with the friendly commissionaires at the gate.  While deeply saddened that the station is now gone, I am most thankful for having had the opportunity to get to know some of those interesting servicemen (and women) who lived and helped protect North America there.  They were a great bunch of patriotic and forward thinking Canadians (for the most part) and, from what I could now see at the neighbouring logging camp in 2006, the area is seriously missing them.

Will I ever go back again?  With CFS Holberg now forever gone, the answer has to be NO.  It was that thriving station–and the people serving there–who gave the region a sense of optimism and hope, who gave it life.  They are all gone now. So I, too, am forever gone from that place.  

While I truly am glad on one hand that I took this trip back to Holberg, I also have some “other hand” regrets: when I was a kid, I assumed that CFS Holberg was a permanent fixture in the world and that it would always exist.  It was such a vibrant and vital nerve centre in such an isolated and lonely void, that it was impossible to regard it as otherwise.  So, when I now think about CFS Holberg being forever gone, my “inner child” feels cheated, betrayed, and just wants to somehow bring it back. It’s like there’s a piece of me that has gone missing. And it was stolen under the watch and discredited rightwing conservative policies of the Brian Mulroney government–perhaps the most short-sighted and corrupt government this country has ever endured. (UPDATE, 11-04-15: As we now know, the other conservative government–the one controlled by Stephen Harper–turned out to be even worse than Mulroney’s mess.)

With all that being said, I just want to say one last THANK YOU to all the fantastic loggers at Rayonier who taught me how to work, the Canadian Forces personnel who gave me reason to hope, friends like Frank and Mike who helped make the best of things, and some very special NISS teachers who were great role models during a challenging and exciting time.  

UPDATE (November 4, 2015)

While converting into a more modern WordPress platform, I discovered that the old Pinetreeline site had all but disappeared. It was being archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, but it appears that many of the images are disappearing somehow. Therefore, I am updating this site with 253 images that I had downloaded from the original site back in 2009. (Some were used to make the CFS Holberg blues video, but they all flash by so quickly (with no readable information) that I thought, because WordPress technology now makes it easy, I should share them here, complete with captions from the original site webmaster, Ren L’Ecuyer. Unfortunately, the dates that most of these were taken are unknown, but I thought some folks might enjoy seeing them anyway.

UPDATE (January 8, 2016)

Not sure how, but I recently stumbled upon another archive of the old site.

  • To see the entire site from it’s homepage, click here.  
  • To see only the Holberg part of the site, click here.

UPDATE (November 5, 2015)

While converting into a more modern WordPress platform, I discoveredsome awesome YouTube videos, most of which I hadn’t seen before:

  • logging-a-frame-holberg1
  • logging-a-frame-holberg2a
  • holbergforestoperations1
  • scarletibis1
  • loggingphotosholberg1967r
  • treefallingholberg2a
  • videotourholberg1
  • offroadlogtruck1
  • trip2holberg5r


This site was recently converted into a WordPress site to make it more manageable and modern.  If you are nostalgic for old-fashioned HTML sites, you can find the old version here:


  1. Arlene and Harry Hemingway

    Love revisiting Holberg. We too, lived in your house on the corner of 2nd street in the early 80’s. Loved that house and did some rehab to it.

    • Gary

      Hey I think I remember you, Harry! Didn’t you run a front-end loader or some other kind of heavy equipment on the road crew? If I remember you right, you had a very impressive beard at the time.

      • Harry and Arlene Hemingway

        Yes Harry ran the 980 and 988 and went as asst. Road Foreman for awhile but preferred the logging. Ended up operating a hochuck until his career ended in 2005. He shaved off his beard in the in the late 70’s, I believe. I will ask him if he remembers you. We raised both our boys in Holberg and I left in 1990 when the base closed down and Harry commuted to the Comox Valley. I went back when a position opened in the engineering office and Harry and I left in 2008 to retire in the Comox Valley. We are both loving retirement. Arlene Hemingway

        • Bob Boudreau

          Hello Arlene, Hope this e-mail finds you and Harry well. I too, have fond memories of Holberg and often reflect on the great people I met there. My name is Bob Boudreau and I am back in Richmond, B.C. Harry should remember as it is our old neighborhood that we grew up in. It has been a few years since I returned to Holberg for a visit and will probably venture that way in the future. I often wonder what happened to all those people and where their travels took them. Take care.

        • mike broxham

          if I remember correctly While a road supervisor Harry Hemmingway had a log squash the top of his pickup truck on the passenger’s side . Was traveling back to base with my run buddy George Miller when we pasted your truck .YUP that was a bit close eh .

        • Susan Ssun

          Not sure if this is the same Harry we knew in the 1960’s? We lived in Holberg between 1960 – 1965. Our family name was Bilous (Peter Bilous) was my step-father. I have so many fond memories of those early years in Holberg. I’ve never forgotten the families who lived there during that time – and “Harry” was one of my step father’s friends, and I’ll truly never forget him. When my baby brother was born in 1964, I begged my parents to name him Harry after this amazing man we knew.

          • Susan Ssun

            It may be Harry Hicks I’m remembering?

    • leanne sjodin

      I am grand daughter to Anne and Barney Magnus. My grandfather lived and worked at building the housing in the logging camp and township of Holberg. I used to play at Mrs. Chambers. My grandpa created the Elephant Crossing sign. I am looking for people who may have known them.

    • Simon Klaudt

      For those of you who were in Holberg between 1971 and 1977, I was a radio DJ ( DJ? really ? ), at CFHG 1490, who usually did the Afternoon Hour ( 1700-1800 ) weekdays, and also a pop music hour in the evening hours ( 2000 to 2200) probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. Because i was the record librarian ( after Bev Hamilton left ) at the station, I usually introduced all the latest music received as 45 rpm or 33 rpm long playing records. Wendell Marshall handed his show ( Afternoon Hour ) to me before leaving for his next posting.
      I only have one recorded show, of which I have a copy ( cassette tape ), for the Evening Pop Music Hours.

  2. joan barton (tidbury)

    loved my time in holberg great place to be brought up in lots of great memories thank you living in the wilderness no modern day items lived in the bushes before moving to base

    • Gary

      Hi Joan! I remember you! We used to ride the Holberg Limousine every week to and from the NISS dormitory. It’s great to see you here!

      • Anonymous

        yes remember those days a niss

    • Stu Montgomery

      Joan, I was in Holberg in the mid 60’s and your name is familiar to me. Was your dad in the RCAF?

    • Cindy Wingert (Morgan)

      I cherish the memories I have of growing up in Holberg; it truly was an incredible childhood.
      Love these photos; I used to be on all the time – very happy to come across this site.

      Mum and Dad (Hilda and Bud Morgan) sadly, have passed on now so I always scour any Holberg site I can find in the hopes of finding photos or mention of them.

      • Ray Hoilund

        Hi Cindy, I to spent a few years in Holberg and I often wonder what came of your brother. Last time I saw him was in North Bay in the mid 70’s.


        • Cindy Wingert

          Hi Raymond – you were good friends with my brother Michael – do I remember this correctly? And your mum and mine were also good friends I believe…yes we were posted to North Bay from Holberg – quite the culture shock – I didn’t like it at all…this was in 1972 (I was 11)…dad was posted to Gypsumville Manitoba from North Bay in 1977…I was going into grade 11 and obviously had adjusted to North Bay by then…my brother Michael bought the house in North Bay (we didn’t live on the base there; mum and dad bought a house:638 McIntyre Street East) and my sister Connie stayed there with Michael when mum and dad left for gypsumville with me…I did lose track of my brother for several years but found him a few years back…he was in Toronto then…unfortunately we don’t keep in touch very well…Connie is in Victoria

          • Gaston Rodrigue

            I was in Holberg in 1972 and working at the Power Plant. I am trying to find peoples that were there during this period.Doyou have any idea if a list would may be available.My Name is Gaston and I was also playing organ and guitar at the Church with 3 lovely young girls that were singning.So if you see this post ,and have infos on my request !

    • Wendy (Mercer) Goodwin

      MERCER FAMILY …. Wendy here!! (Powell River, BC)
      5 brothers: John, Jim, Jerry, Tom, Bob.
      parents : Jack and Jeannie

      PS…have been in touch with David

      • Pierre Margetts

        Our families were friends back in 1961-1963ish……. Peter and Joy Margetts…. I went to school with your brother Jerry…. We were also in Kamloops 1964-1967ish… I remember you from there… Pierre


    Trying to locate Debbie Small

    trying to locate an old friend from RCAF Stn Holberg. Her father was a cook there in the mid 60’s. Lost contact after transfer. Debbie was in her late teens and I was 21 at the time. We formed a friendship which derailed after my transfer to Senneterre, PQ in 1968. Would love to reconnect!

  4. Brian Gibbons

    You mentioned no sign of Jim Gibbons. My parents left Holberg in mid 80’s. My dad has since passed away but was responsible for starting several businesses in the camp including Trails End Motel, Holberg Limousine Service, Fuel delivery and Gibbons Trucking

    • Gary

      I remember you Dad very well! He was really nice to all of us and kept us safe on those long, difficult drives between Rayonier and the NISS Dormitory. My friends and I all had the highest respect for him!

    • Joe Barker

      During my post to CFS Holberg I used to the Holberg Limo for Jim Gibbson during my days off from the base. I enjoyed the break very much. Also worked with Bud Morgan for several years.

      • Cindy Wingert (Morgan)

        so nice to hear from someone who worked with my dad Bud Morgan…he was such a wonderful dad…

  5. Rebecca

    My dad was there in the early 60.I was born in Holberg in 1962.left while i was a few months old. Dad was a radar man while stationed there

    • Wendy Goodwin

      Rebecca…my youngest brother BOB MERCER was born
      in Holberg in 1962! My father Sgt. Jack Mercer was a Radar
      Technician. we were there 1960-65 aprx.

      • Doug Attenborough, Sgt

        Wendy, Jack and his family lived across the street from us in Holberg.
        They were a great family and I,Doug, travelled with him off the base.
        We have wondered how he and his wife Jean were. Would love to
        get caught up on your family news, and our email is

    • Elizabeth Michaud

      I was born on the base in April 62. We also left when I was two months old. Neat site. My Dad worked in the power plant.

  6. Dave tidbury

    Holberg is a special place, It was my home from 1959 to 1971 so I literally grew up there. Many great memories and like Gary, when they closed the base, it leaves a small hole in the heart. Kind of feels like your childhood has been taken, but then I realized,also like Gary, it is the friends that have been taken, because you can’t grow old with everyone. Made many friends during that time but only still friends with one (Jim McDowell) from that time. All others seem to have disappeared, just like the base itself. My brother John and I went there last summer and walked the “road” from where the rec centre was, past where the ball diamond was to the end where the road circled around. There is still a wide open spot there. Kind of wired standing there, looking at the spot where Dee Murray lived on one side and later Mickey Smith on the other. I think the Bohoziks (Nimpkish skipper) lived in between). Memories are all that are left of a great place

    • Wendy (Mercer) Foodwin

      hey there….. still have email address? carch up :). Wendy

    • Cindy Wingert

      I wish I’d been able to visit Holberg before it was taken away…i’ve been living in Campbell River for the past 30 years so it wouldn’t have been much of a trip but I have seven kids so it just wasn’t possible…now I have seven grandchildren as well!

    • Gary

      Hey Dave,

      Although I never got much opportunity to really get to know you back in the day, I always had a gut feeling that you had your act together in a very cool and smart way…

      Turns out that I was right!

    • Andre

      Hi Gaston.I have also spent one year in Holberg .Found it very tough because i had just got transferd from St.John P.Que after 3 months in English scool.You mentioned potato Kelly wich was also ther3 in 1961 and had it rough during the German war.Was he still eating only potato and garlic in 1974 ?During my stay Wo 2 Pool was in charge of the plant.When l arrive l was the first AC 2 on the base.Sargent Samson was also there.Andre B from Quebec

  7. Graham Ackeral

    I am sitting here remembering the most favorite station in my childhood life. My dad was Corporal Dennis Ackeral and we were there in 1970-74 I saw a picture of the PMQ’s and in the bottom left corner is the one we lived in. There is a black spot there that might be my dad’s boat. It never saw water other than to capture inside and the water never leaked out. We hiked up to San Josef bay before the road was pushed thru. Remember having to trek thru the woods because dad screwed up on the high tide time. We also trekked up the Cape Scott trail and only got to the Search and Rescue cabin but it was a wonderful time. Dad wanted to do the West Coast Trail before it was refurbished.

    If anyone reads this, I ask for your help. I am searching for a childhood friend, her dad was Sgt Denis and she had a younger sister named Monique, also a younger brother. my email addy is

    • Graham Ackeral

      Forgot to mention that her name is Michelle.

    • Gaston Rodrigue

      Hi my name is Gaston and I was in Holberg back in 1972.Working at the Power Plant with Sergent Robertson.I also played Guitar and organ at the Chappell with 3 lovely young girls.The priest at that time was Fred Berrard.If you have à list of the people that were there on 72 let me know if possible.Some people I remember :
      Yves Laganière,
      Mitch Yatchuk,
      Barry Norrum,
      Georges Robertson , Potato Kelly,
      Denis Vachon,
      John Bisson

      Nice reading all these notes

  8. Roger Rourke

    Hi, I lived my first 5 years in Holberg 66-72. My Dad was Ted Rourke and he worked for Ranier. I had two older brothers Ted and Brad and we lived in a green duplex. Our neighbors in the duplex was the Checks (sp?) I think. My folks taught Sunday school in our downstairs. I don’t remember much but recall a bear climbed a tree across the road from our place and some dude came by and blasted it with what I thought at the time was a cannon. I went back there in the mid 90s and discovered a young mom with 3 young boys in the same house.

    • Anonymous

      Hello Roger. My name is Connie. (Czech) Dewitt. My parents were your next door neighbours. I have a older sister Belinda, older brother Dean ,myself and youngest brother Wayne . My father who started tv and than cable vision in Holberg has since passed away. My mom is living in Surrey with the help of my younger brother why used to always call you mom who who.. Ask your mom if she remembers. My mom would love to catch up if possible. We seemed to live in Holberg forever great times great place great people. Miss those simple times!!

  9. Tom Cheverie

    Was in holberg when it just opened in 1954. Left there in 56 for Metz. We swam in tent town, had no rec hall or any of that stuff. There was no road anywhere.
    except from Hardy to coal Harbour tho ..

    • Lisa

      My father and mother were both at Holberg back in 55-56, I believe; Larry (Lawrence) Klix, and Sheila (Bone) Klix). I have no idea how many people would have been stationed there during that time, but maybe you knew them? They had two boys, one in 56, one in 58, and me in 1966, much later.

  10. Tom Cheverie

    Is me again, I am in the picture you have flashing by at warp speed. In fact I am standing on the stump. Ken Murphy took this shot in 55. Ray Papineau is sitting on a stump just to my right. Think Tom Mac Kay crawled up that hill with us. I submitted a lot of photos to Ray along with Logie. Tom Cheverie Pictou Nova Scotia

  11. Joyce Murray

    Lived on RCAF Base 1957-1959 and 1965 -1968 – good memories of a carefree childhood – have not been back – wonder where all the people I grew up with are. Enjoyed this web site.

  12. Hammond

    hi holberg could be seniors greatest cottage town.i would like start Norwegian Lutheran fraternal seniors free breakfast and tea Harry Harold Hammond port hardy 2509498899

  13. Hammond

    Seeking house or apartment to rent in Holberg Harold Hammond Ex Military Police Reserve .Major T. Oldfield Military Police might have visited Holberg in 1950’s (My great Grandfather).I do run Military Police Seniors TV and Cottage Thank You

  14. Wayne Whittemore

    I went to work for Rayonier which later bacame Western Forest Products as a Apprentice H.D. Mechanic and served the first 3 years of my 4 year apprenticeship in Holberg in the late 70`s. I worked for Grant Anderson and foreman Mike with other mechanics, Ken Just, Shakey, Carl and Ken Bodken who I believe is still in Holberg.
    It was good times, lots of characters, hard work, good money and many outdoor adventures in San Josef Bay, Cape Scott and fishing the rivers. The milder climate and outdoor recreation attract me now once again from the long winters of Northern B.C.

  15. Jo-Anne (Porayko) Wilson

    My dad, F/L Dan Porayko, was posted to Holberg in 1957 from Vancouver. Imagine my 11 year old horror at realizing there was no tv, no shopping, no restaurants and school was a PMQ! However, it was an incredible and magical two years. We swam in icy mountain streams, hiked endlessly through the rainforest, watched bears and cougars play in the front yard ( unfortunately there were issues of safety involved and I remember a female hunter from the States was brought in to solve the problem). We bowled, swam, played baseball and basketball, were Guides and Scouts and had regular kid parties on Fridays. I still have contact with my best Holberg friend, Les, who lives in White Rock. Funny, our two teachers for grade 7 and 8 were both from Toronto! I don’t think they had any idea of what they were getting into—one day our entire class got up and ran outside to watch the Golden Hawks do a fly-by. How many kids had the chance to spend such a wonderful part of their lives experiencing life on a base in the B.C. wilderness! No wonder so many Holbergites treasure those memories. My parents returned to Holberg for the official closing of the base and as sad as it was, they also spent happy hours reminiscing with former service friends about the “good old days”. Looking back, they sure were!

    • Bruce Harfield

      Hello Jo_Anne, My sister Sherry…who lives in Toronto…and I were just talking about Holberg today. I had a conversation with along time friend here in Ottawa who mentioned she was born in Holberg in 1956. Small world. I am still in touch with Lance MacGregor who lives in Langley, B.C. and I am often in White Rock so wouldn’t it be funny if I ran into Leslie (Smith). Sherry and I often say how we also treasure our memories of Holberg as well. My dad was Stan Harfield and we lived at the bottom of the crescent of officer PMQs, just a few doors away from you.

  16. Lamont Hurd

    I was apart of the Closure team from 19 Wing Comox (CFB Comox)… had a great time each and every time I would visit Holberg. Wonder if the shoe tree is still up on the old logging road.. haha
    Great place, lots of great memories.. (like going to the dump on a Friday night to watch the bears and drink beer haha)

  17. Vicki

    Nice video with real pretty scenery. The song battle of New Orleans caught me by surprise lol I like it.

    • Gary

      Thanks! Actually, that particular song was one of Mike’s favourites. He was notorious for playing his wonderful bubble-gum music every week on the Holberg Limousine between CFS Holberg and Port McNeill.

  18. Anonymous

    Neil Arthurs passed away Nov 2016

    • Gary

      I’m very sorry to learn of Neil’s passing. He showed me a lot of kindness and respect when I was in my late teens. It was because of Neil that I had the opportunity to play drums (and sometimes accordion) in his band and travel all over the North Island for some incredible gigs. Neil also reached out to me long after the gigs discontinued and wrote a beautiful letter to me that was full of encouragement and kindness. (I hadn’t realized before then that he had such exquisite handwriting!) It’s been more than 40 years since I last saw Neil, but I never forgot him – and never will.

      If there is truly a heaven, I am sure that Mr. Neil Arthurs is making a lot of folks happy with his warm music and gracious presence there, as he did here on this tired old earth. My condolences go out to his friends and family who no doubt miss him very much.

  19. Joann Burke (Rambo)

    My step-dad, Jim Rambo, was a logger in the camp in Holberg….Winter Harbour before that. We lived there from 1963 to 1967. Such awesome memories from both places! I share stories all the time w my grandchildren.

  20. Ted Knowler

    I was stationed at RCAF Stn. Holberg from fall of 64 to spring of 66. So many people that are fondly remembered, I worked with a Mrs. Tidbury in the mess hall. It was a great posting and a wonderfully close knit community. Bud Brass was crewman on the Nimkish 2. My name is Ted Knowler

  21. Leah Taylor (Dallamore)

    Thanks for putting this all together. It was weird going back to my home town and finding nothing but trees and salal. Thank you for the photos so at least we all have those memories and images to return to.

  22. cindy smith

    hi my name is cindy smith need worthington.
    my dad was stationed there in 68 to 70. he was in charge of the construction engineering section.
    we lived in the officers circle across the road from Mike thurston.
    I loved living there I was in grade 4 and 5.
    Mike thurston planted a monkey tree in his front yard and always wondered how it did.
    Mike joined the military and we saw him at cfb trenton were we moved to after holberg.

  23. Terry Searl

    I worked for A. H. Winter and son in the late 60’s in Holburg and we put the water and sewer system in the town site and up the hill just after the houses were barged in from Pt Alice. Later we serviced the trailer park and new bunkhouse area down near the shop. I was there when the cook was shot and killed and remember it being a shocking event even for a remote logging camp. I remember the air force base very fondly. I saw the movie Dr. Shivago in the base movie theatre and it cost 50cents to get in . I drank more than just a few beers in the Sergeant’s Mess and played floor hockey and basketball against the military teams. I swam quite a few laps in the swimming pool trying to get rid of a hangover. While working for A.H. Winter and Son we serviced Sointula, Jeune landing, Port Alice and Pt McNiell. I quit Winters in February/ March of 1970 to go hitchhiking all around the UK and Europe…..I’ve never been back to Holberg but after returning from Europe and getting married I worked in Nimpkish, Woss, and Vernon camps I retired from Woss in 2007…….I really did enjoy the wee movie that was produced and it brought back many memories of a bygone era….I must say I lived and worked in the very best of times, in the best part of the best province in the best country in the world…..thanx for the memories

    • Wanda Laughlin

      Are you the famous Terry who worked with George and John in Sointula!!!! Who spent a lot of time in Mitchell Bay

  24. Michel Drouin

    Just discovered this. I was a classmate of Gary’s and school acquaintance with many of you Holberg types.

    Roy Juthans and I even spent a couple hours in RCMP custody near Courtenay one time. Cops couldn’t figure out why a hippie and a guy who looked like Fonzie were hitchhiking together.

    I caught the NISS bus to Holberg for Easter break from McNeill in 1970 and hiked to Cape Scott solo.

    My dad worked on the boom and I spent a weekend with him staying in the bunkhouse in camp when I was in grade 10, borrowed his rifle and hunted for deer on the logging road behind camp while he was at work. Emptied a magazine of cartridges at a deer and missed with every shot.

    We used to spend a lot of time in the autumn on the other side of Kains Lake, which is the first lake on your right as you drive from Port Hardy.

    I was back a couple years ago on an elk hunting trip. The domestic site is all grown over now. I had never see seen it in its glory days though I went through the logging camp on the way to Cape Scott numerous times between 1970 and 1975.

    • Gary

      Hey Michel! Thanks for the awesome post! Sorry I didn’t notice until now. Been kinda busy with my move back to Canada. Hope this finds you happy and well!

  25. de Vroomen

    Hi all,

    So nice to read all this, quite enjoyed it. I am Dutch and have never been there but I hope I will visit Holberg soon. Can someone here help me out on accomodation (hotel/b&b/hostel/motel/cabin) for two adults. Arriving 29th of May, 2 nights? Anywhere in or near Holberg or Winter harbour. We do not have an RV this time just a car and no camping gear. Anything will do. From NL and the government site of Canada I can not find anything.

    Thanks so much!
    Marjet de Vroomen

  26. Jason Bosdet

    Is there anything left to see?

    My father was stationed there back in the 60’s i believe, and he is staying in Victoria now. I would like to do a road trip with him one of these days and head up island. Where would be a good place to stay the night? Port Hardy seems to be the closest, but i have not really been past courtney/comox. Any other recommendations?

  27. Joe Malden

    I started school in Holberg. I believe that would have been 1960. I can still picture the place very clearly in my mind even though I only lived there for a little more than a year. It was my most favourite place to live. I’d love to go back, but I understand the base and apartments are not accessible.

  28. Danny Fries

    I was born in Holberg in November of 1963, My father Rudy Fries, worked in the power plant as I recall but was transferred to Saskatoon shortly after my birth. I have very little recollection of the place but have seen some old photos of my dad and myself feeding the bears (which I a told was a past time of some of the residents.) If anybody has any recollection of my family it would be nice to hear as I have very little information on my early years.

  29. Mike Field

    I lived half way between the logging camp and the base ,between 61 and 65 my Father Ron Obonsawin was a radar tech for the air force until he drown in the bad flood there in 62.My mom remarried a year later to my adoptive dad Bob Field who worked there for the forces. So many memories of walking the road to go to the Saturday movies at the rec center or swimming at the pool and then hitting the coffee shop for treats

  30. Earl palmer

    Nov 11 2017
    RCAF. Radar tech. Based in Holberg 1959
    So many great memories of my time in Holberg

    -Just getting there was a trek. Fly into Port hardy, Hole and Clark bus to Coal Harbour, nimpkish boat ride to Holberg
    -enjoyed hiking to san Josef bay, and dealing with semi-wild cows left on Ronning farm.
    -playing softball games in the seemingly never ending drizzling rain
    -basketball games against local players ( we never won any of them)
    -enjoying great base dances when nurses from Vancouver were in attendance.
    -boat trips to Port Alice for sports competitions ( we didn’t win much there either)
    -lots of nature stuff, bears in the dump, bears on the base, a mother fox and her kits more or less living at the upper guard house. ( the food was good there)

    What a place to spend 14months. Always busy, at work and at play. The time flew.

  31. Karyn Smith (Myers)

    We lived in Holberg from late 1964 to 1967. My dad was in finance at the station. I have the best childhood memories of Holberg, (fishing in the Good Speed River, the Bridge on the River Dry, walking the pipeline for miles, the Wishing Tree (always wishing we didn’t run into a bear), “our ” names for many of our adventures, spying on the loggers at the Rec Centre on Saturday nights. Even now in my 60’s go back to my memories of Holberg (my special place)!

    • Karyn Smith (Myers)

      More memories: We lived across the street in the PMQ’s from the Webb’s (Clive was their son), McCormick’s (Jeanette), Child’s were down the street, the Smith’s (Nancy was their daughter). We moved so many times in the RCAF I honestly can’t remember too many names. Matinees were .25 & that was my weekly allowance at the time, swimming, bowling & I must of read every book in the library (I never missed having TV at all!) ….we had shortwave radio so could occasionally get outside news, we rescued a trumpeter swan that hit the power line at the school & broke its wing, the fire hall fed & looked after it until my Dad (Don), brother Gregg & I took the swan by food barge…etc etc to Stanley Park Zoo. We knew whenever we got chocolate milk it meant the milk that had arrived that day on the barge was always sour. Does anyone remember the old shipwreck? (might have been San Josef bay area). Over the years I have wanted to go back to Holberg to visit & even mentioned several times to my dad that we should make a trip down that road again but sadly he passed in 2000.

      • Anonymous

        hi ..ì remember all of that ! my name is iris deruchie father was Don deruchie …he was the civilian Forman ..I lived there from 1964 till 1970 ..many memories

  32. Anonymous

    Does anyone remember the Chambers? Mrs. Chambers lived in HOlberg….she was a god send to me.

  33. Marina Leullier

    I was stationed in Sea Island 1957 I was LAW airwomen and had the opportunity to visit Holberg with a few other airwomen to go to Holberg for the Halloween Dance, they flew us there on one of our service aircraft, what a wonderful experience, never realizing that I would end up living there on the base when my husband Jacques (JimJ Leullier was transferred there from 1963 to 1965. We lived in the smallest apartment building , and I set up the library in the basement of the rec centre. We had a wonderful time, would love to hear of others, My name is Marina ( Kershaw) Leullier.

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  35. bev thomas

    we were there in around 75-76 Lived in the apartments and then moved to the housing in a nurses quarters. The Wagon Wheel; started Beavers; taught sunday school. Best years of my life. Wesley Thomas – my husband, now deceased, was crew on the Nimpkish.

  36. Simon Klaudt

    For those of you who were in Holberg between 1971 and 1977, I was a radio DJ ( DJ? really ? ), at CFHG 1490, who usually did the Afternoon Hour ( 1700-1800 ) weekdays, and also a pop music hour in the evening hours ( 2000 to 2200) probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. Because i was the record librarian ( after Bev Hamilton left ) at the station, I usually introduced all the latest music received as 45 rpm or 33 rpm long playing records. Wendell Marshall handed his show ( Afternoon Hour ) to me before leaving for his next posting.

    I only have one recorded show, of which I have a copy ( cassette tape ), for the Evening Pop Music Hours.


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