J. Rice: Dodge Cove on Digby Island is a quiet, quaint community inhabited by about 50 people and situated across the Prince Rupert Harbour. Dodge Cove resident Sarah Brown writes to me and says: “I have lived in this area for 29 years and on Digby Island for 17 years. I am presently raising a fourth-generation Dodge Cove resident. I choose to live in Dodge Cove because it is rural living, close to nature, that has quiet, fresh air, clean water, food harvesting and hunting and fishing. This is a unique coastal community that has been here for over 100 years.”
The community may be small, but the history, characters and stories from Dodge Cove are large. In 1912, a three-storey quarantine hospital was built by the Department of Immigration in anticipation of a great influx of settlers to the region following the completion of the Grand Trunk Railway reaching its western terminus of Prince Rupert.
As things turned out, the hospital admitted only one patient, a sailor with a head cold, and the building still exists. Around World War I, Ed Wahl set up the Wahl boatyards and built everything from gill-netters, including entire fleets for the northern salmon canneries.
The CBC built a repeater station sometime around 1943, and the building still remains sitting atop what is known as CBC hill. The site offers a magnificent vista of the area, and in the spring, the hill is covered in hundreds of yellow daffodils.
Every Easter, Dodge Cove residents share in a potluck brunch in the community hall. The food includes wild salmon caught, and cooked or smoked, by the local fishermen and locally grown foods from Dodge Cove gardens. Des Nobels serves up his famous crepes, topped with locally harvested blueberries and huckleberries.
The people of Dodge Cove are a great bunch of characters. They include teachers, writers, artists, health professionals, managers, loggers and retirees. There are many published authors, past and present, from the cove. One book I’d like to highly recommend to the members of this house is called Gumboot Girls.