Accidental Eden

Hippie Days on Lasqueti Island

Douglas L. Hamilton

and Darlene Kay Olesko

Lasqueti Island has a rowdy and divided reputation. Through the 1970s and early ’80s, the island attracted a flood of counterculture seekers—communards, hippies, utopians, revolutionaries and other exotic characters looking for an alternative lifestyle. Today many perceive it as a romantic fantasy: an existence of bucolic peace, surrounded by isolation and wild nature, a great place to bring up children and a grand place to grow old. Yet many others would disagree, believing these islanders to be “inbred hermits,” unfettered by social niceties or the rule of the law. Many consider them troglodytes who hide out from authorities, grow or brew drugs and vandalize what they can for pure amusement. Regardless of its reputation, Lasqueti Island is one of the least populated and least known of Canada’s Gulf Islands.

Accidental Eden explores both its eccentric days and its political accomplishments. The Islanders’ efforts to convince BC Hydro to re-route the Cheekeye-Dunsmuir power line around, rather than over, the island was an outstanding accomplishment, changing the way BC Hydro managed its power delivery into rural areas. These stories are a unique collection of unusual tales, hippie communes, curious characters and, whether perceived as good or bad, an irreplaceable era in British Columbia’s history.

 

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“Douglas Hamilton and Darlene Olesko have given us another great history…about the exceptional collection of gifted, idealistic, stoic, and profoundly eccentric refugees, drifters, misfits, and outlaws who washed up in the middle of the Strait of Georgia, on Lasqueti Island, in these years.”

BC Studies