Roderick Haig-Brown, for whom the house is named, was an avid fly-fisher, pioneering conservationist, acclaimed author and magistrate.
His writing – 25 books and well over 200 articles and speeches – has influenced fisheries biologists, ecologists and countless others interested in the evolving relationship between people and nature.
Haig-Brown was born in England in 1908, and was a godson of Lord Baden Powell (founder of the Boy Scouts). He came to Canada in 1926 at the age of 19, and initially worked in logging on eastern Vancouver Island. He then worked for a period in the state of Washington, where he met his wife to be, Ann Elmore, who he married in 1934.
They moved to Campbell River in 1936, renting a house on the river which at the time belonged to one of Campbell River’s founding settlers, Reg Pidcock. When the neighbouring house belonging to Reg’s brother Herb came up for sale, they purchased it and Haig-Brown embarked upon his writing career while working on expanding the house.
Together, he and Ann created a small farm where they kept a cow for milk, goats and a large garden. The river property was ideal for the pursuits they enjoyed, particularly as Roderick was a devoted fly fisherman. He not only loved fishing, but was concerned about the welfare of the fish in the river and surrounding environs, especially when Campbell River was experiencing a period of growth and new projects like a hydro dam were in the offing and were threatening the natural environment.
Ann chose books for their extensive library and also worked at the local highschool, Carihi in the library. In addition, she typed her husband’s manuscripts. She also took it upon herself to assist women in trouble and the Ann Elmore house in Campbell River is named in her honour.
Ann and Roderick had four children, Valerie, Alan, Mary and Celia who all went on to have careers related to education and literature. Roderick passed away in 1976, and Ann in 1990. Their home, which they had named ‘Above Tide’ was restored to the period they lived in the house. A historic site, today it is owned by the City of Campbell River and managed by the Museum at Campbell River.
Ann and Roderick Haig-Brown.