BCHF News Royal BC Museum to publish new history book about Tod Inlet

Royal BC Museum to publish new history book about Tod Inlet

On Nov. 6, Royal BC Museum Publishing will release the new book Deep and Sheltered Waters: The History of Tod Inlet, by researcher, writer and filmmaker David R. Gray.

“Gray brings the curiosity and observational skills of a biological scientist and the patience and thoroughness of a historian, along with an innate compassion for his fellow beings, both human and other,” said Dr. Peter Rider, Canadian Museum of History curator (retired).

“The product of a lifelong engagement with the subject, Deep and Sheltered Waters may be read by anyone interested in where we have been as Canadians, and where we are going.”

Today, many people associate the name Tod Inlet with Butchart Gardens, which overlooks the waterway, near Victoria.

But Deep and Sheltered Waters guides readers along a long but enjoyable path through time, grounding the book in the narrative of the inlet’s original inhabitants: the Tsartlip First Nation, for whom the area around Tod inlet is known as SNIDȻEȽ, Place of the Blue Grouse.

Gray then introduces readers to more recent denizens of the inlet, including the abandoned community of immigrant workers from China and India, and the company workers at the local cement plant. The natural world is as much a presence as people in the book, which chronicles how the land around the inlet was developed into public parkland and the Butchart Gardens. 

The book will be of interest to many, including historians, naturalists and local readers interested in taking a closer, more intimate look at their environment. As Nancy and Robert Turner note in the foreword, Tod Inlet “represents layers of history, layers of human presence, a home place for myriad plants, animals and fungi, a convergence of marine and terrestrial plants, and a convergence of nature, industry and horticultural beauty.”

The 220-page book features colour and black-and-white photographs, including images from the BC Archives and the author’s own collection.

Deep and Sheltered Waters retails for $29.95 as a paperback and $11.99 as an ebook. It will be available through local bookshops, the Royal Museum Shop and online at rbcm.ca/todinlet.