Welcome to the Coombs History Website 

Welcome to the Coombs History website. We are pleased you are interested in the history of Coombs, a rural community on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The history project is sponsored by the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association and we have an archives office on the fairgrounds at 1014 Ford Road. We are currently researching Coombs pioneer families, community organizations and events and posting this information on the website. If you have anything to contribute to the project or have comments about what has been posted, please contact Richard de Candole or Sharon Cox-Gustavson at coombshistory@gmail.com. Thank you for your interest.

New Stories

Remembrance Day 2020 - Our Local War Heroes

Many families in our Oceanside and adjacent areas lost a family member in the 2 Great World Wars. These veterans are listed on the cenotaphs in Parksville & Qualicum.  This year of the great  2020 worldwide Covid Flu pandemic the traditional Canadian Legion Remembrance Day  Parades and Cenotaph ceremonies will not take place. Parksville Museum is engaging in a special  Remembrance Day activity this year by researching and collecting information and a photograph of these lost heroes whose names are on the Parksville  Cenotaph.

The Vancouver Island Fruit Lands Ltd. - March 2020

The Vancouver Island Fruit Land Ltd. Was formed in 1911, by concession from the E&N Railway to colonize the land holdings. The terms of concession allowed the company to subdivide and construct roads to each farm.  It was expected that each farmer would take plots of a minimum of 10 acres.

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The Doukhobor Colony in Hilliers - March 2020

In the early 1900s more than 7,000 Doukhobors immigrated to Canada from the Black Sea region of Russia. They were a Christian sect fleeing years of persecution because they were pacifists and rejected the authority of the State and the Russian Orthodox Church.

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After settling as homesteaders in Saskatchewan, they proved to be equally troublesome for the Canadian authorities, refusing to swear an oath of allegiance, refusing to send their children to school, and staging nude protest marches. They lived communally under the leadership of Peter “The Lordly” Verigin. Some Doukhobors began adopting Canadian ways and that led to a split in the community. Eventually the more fundamentalist group followed their leader Peter to the Kootenays where he had acquired 22,000 acres around Castlegar. Internal strife continued and out of this was born the Sons of Freedom. They were seriously radical, staging nude protests, refusing to register births, burning schools and even each other’s homes. They believed that the burning of possessions was purifying for the recipient and brought them closer to God. On October 29, 1924 Peter the Lordly was killed when a bomb exploded on a train on the Kettle Valley Railroad.

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Arrowsmith Agricultural Association - March 2020

The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (AAA) has experienced a rich agricultural and community background.  In 1911, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad from Parksville to Port Alberni brought new settlers to the Coombs and Hilliers area seeking a new life in farming for their families. The CPR made land surrounding the railway available to the new settlement.  The original Salvation Army settlement began in 1910 and was subsequently named Coombs after Canadian Salvation Army Commissioner Thomas Bales Coombs, who lead the first group of British Settlers to the area. Coombs is now recognized as a popular vacation destination, attracting over a million visitors a year to the Coombs Old Country Market, famous for the goats that live on the roof of the market.

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The Role-Call of Coombs - January 2020

In 1938, Jim Christer, a retired Newspaper man, presented the "Roll Call of Coombs at the annual Coombs Christmas Party.  Mr. Christer lived on Grafton Avenue and wrote under the pen name of Novocastrian..

The poem mentioned families in the Coombs area in 1938..  To view the poem please click "The Role Call of Coombs"

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Display pictures banners of these many very young veterans are posted on the light standards in Parksville on the IslandHighway route.  In our website is a PowerPoint coverage of our Coombs - Hillier’s veterans who are included in the Parksville Memorial  Picture Banner Project. This  PowerPoint slide show is the culmination of the past 2 years’ Remembrance Day activities in which Sharon  Cox-Gustavson, long-time Historian chair of the Parksville- Qualicum Retired Teachers Association, was involved with the Errington Elementary School students.

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2019 - site created by Coombs History Project