Statue of the Hermit
The QB museum is located right across from the E&N Railway station on Beach Road and has a magnificent view of the ocean. The grounds consist of a small garden where the statue of Guiseppe Roat (made by local carver François Mongeau in 2012), better known as the Hermit, presides. The Hermit was born in the Tyrolean Alps in 1882, and as a young man traveled widely before coming to Qualicum sometime in the early 1920s where he purchased 44 acres of land on the western outskirts of town, in the area now known as “Hermitage Park”. On this land he handcrafted his large cabin by himself with many hand-carved details not often seen at the time, and cleared roads and paths through the heavy bush, giving the place a park-like atmosphere. He opened his lodge as a museum to the public, naming it the Museum of Nature Art and filled it with a unique collection of oddities he had collected during his travels, as well as interesting nature items that he found on his many local explorations.
A small pioneer house was constructed as part of an education program in 2000 It is still used today as a “shake splitting” station/activity during our Children’s Museum Day which takes place on the last Saturday in September every year.
Vintage Farming Tools
The north side of the Powerhouse building displays various garden/farming tools that would have been used in the turn of the century. These were donated to the museum by the families who originally owned the large farm lands that surrounded this community.
The anchor was originally thought to have come from the “Thrasher”, a sail schooner. It would have been carrying 2300 tons of coal from Nanaimo to San Francisco when it sank in 1897. It was being towed by the Beaver (a steam sail vessel) when a sudden gust of wind blew it onto the rocks (now known as Thrasher Rock) and it went down. The anchor was raised by Robert Frost in 1978. He lived in Qualicum Beach and donated it to the Museum. Research later indicated that the anchor was not from the Thrasher, but may have been used to salvage vessels.
Artist and activist, also known as Hwunumetse’, Simon Charlie was born in 1920. A master carver of the Cowichan tribe of the Coast Salish Nation, Charlie was awarded the National Centennial Medal (1967), the Order of British Columbia (2001), and the Order of Canada (2003) for his work to preserve and promote the traditions of the Salish people and for acting as a cultural ambassador to non-First Nations peoples. From the late 1960s to the time of his death, he carved the equivalent of twenty-two logging truckloads of cedar logs, and his totem poles stand in many communities as well as the Royal British Columbian Museum, at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, and also in Holland, Australia, Washington State, Georgia, and New York. As part of a delegation of elders, Charlie carved a totem pole with Maori carvers in New Zealand. Simon Charlie’s masks and other works are included in collections in South America, the United Kingdom, Finland, Holland, Germany, and Japan, Simon Charlie passed away in 2005.
This totem pole combines the three-dimensional realism of the Coast Salish with Simon’s personal style. The pole has a golden eagle on the top of the bear and it is holding a dog salmon in its talons. Before starting the pole, Simon was thinking of the name ‘Qualicum’ which means dog salmon in the Hul’qumi’num language, so he thought that the salmon needed to be a part of the pole. In the middle of the bear’s chest is a Swaixwhe mask. Simon Charlie was one of a very few carvers that carved the traditional Coast Salish masks. He believed that the moving parts of the large animals have a spirit so he carved faces onto the soles of the bear’s paws to represent the spirits.
The 2008 restoration and repair of this pole was led by Doug Reid (Si Wit) of Qualicum First Nation. There were many hands that came and spent time cleaning, sanding, carving, and painting so this pole could be saved. Simon had spent many hours sharing his stories and love of the Coast Salish art form with his Qualicum family so everyone was very honoured to be able to be a part of this work.