The Fort at Yorke Island, 1937-1945

Time and Date: 7pm, Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Location: Rotary Gallery of the Courtenay and District Museum
Speaker: Catherine Marie Gilbert
Tickets: $6 for non-members; $5 for museum members (plus HST). Advance tickets are recommended and will be available mid-October.

During World War II, one of Canada’s least known military fortresses was built on Yorke Island, BC, just six kilometers northeast of Kelsey Bay. The fort was armed with guns, searchlights, examination vessels, and upwards of 500 men. From 1937-1945 this was Canada’s key western defence against Japanese attack.

Life for the soldiers on Yorke Island had to be self-sufficient, but there was plenty of interaction with the local population. The locals never forgot these soldiers, who sometimes took shots at them, but who were also grateful for their hospitality when so far from home.

Guest speaker, Catherine Marie Gilbert will base her presentation on her recently released book Yorke Island and the Uncertain War (Ptarmigan Press, 2012). Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing after the lecture.

A born adventurer, Catherine has had several careers that include teaching and travel counselling. A native of Ontario, she has lived in various places including England, Switzerland and California.

She studied Canadian History at York University in Toronto and Fine Arts and Journalism at North Island College in Comox, BC. Her poetry was first published in a Northern Ontario anthology in 2000, where it won an award, and since then her articles and photographs have appeared in the BC Historical Federation Journal, the Western Mariner, Island Word and the Campbell River Mirror, and the local history Surviving Strathcona Style. Her short historical fiction piece, ‘I Married Lord Bacon’ is included in a Northern Vancouver Island anthology Escape being released this November.

She has lived on Vancouver Island for 12 years, residing in Storries Beach, and works at the Museum at Campbell River.