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History of Painter’s Lodge

The making of a BC fishing resort.

Painter’s Lodge has a rich and noble history, rife with mystery and excitement dating from its establishment in 1929.

During the late twenties, salmon fishing in the Campbell River area became so popular that tent colonies sprang up on Tyee Spit, a finger of land at the mouth of the Campbell River. In 1929, Mr. E.P. Painter, a boat builder, decided to build more permanent accommodation, and the original Painter’s Lodge.

In the early days, Painter’s consisted of a few cabins with a boat building business alongside. The popularity of the location - within yards of Frenchman’s Pool and the Tyee Pool, encouraged construction of a main lodge, which soon became an international favourite among avid fishermen and celebrities alike. Many heads of state, politicians, and the Hollywood set made Painter’s a prime BC fishing destination. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, John Wayne and Susan Hayward are just a few of the stars who visited Painter’s. As BC fishing began to earn its international reputation, the lodge became legendary as the prime location for trophy fishermen seeking giant Pacific salmon.

The original lodge was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve, 1985. Oak Bay Marine Group purchased the property in 1987 and during that summer, construction began on the main lodge, which now stands where the original dining hut was located. It was decided to dedicate an area of the lodge to the original Painter’s Lodge, where guests could enjoy many old photographs and memorabilia from those early years and see the origins of this BC fishing resort. And so, in conjunction with the Tyee Club of British Columbia, the Tyee Club Trophy Room was created, directly above the lobby. This room has played an important role not only in educating guests about the history of Painter’s Lodge and BC salmon fishing, but also about the traditional Tyee rowing season from July 15 to September 15. The passion of anglers who fish BC salmon each year from guided row boats has become synonymous with the name Painter’s Lodge.

In June, 1988, the new Painter’s Lodge opened. New accommodation wings were added each year from 1989 through 1992, as well as the Marine Centre, Conference Centre, and an assortment of new activities were offered to guests.

Painter’s Lodge has continued to be a favourite destination among anglers, celebrities and vacationers from around the world. The new Painter’s Lodge has been visited by Bob Hope, Goldie Hawn, Julie Andrews, the Prince of Luxembourg, and many other famous guests. The heart and soul of the original Painter’s Lodge live on to this day.