BMSC Historical Timeline

We respectfully acknowledge that the BMSC is situated on the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a Nuu-chah-nulth Nation and member of the Maa-nulth Treaty Society.

HISTORICAL TIMELINE
4000 B.C.E to present

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a long and proud history in their traditional territories.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a long and proud history in their traditional territories.

Nestled between the rugged outer coast and Barkley Sound’s protected inner waters, lies the sacred ancient village of Kiix̣in. Learn about the Huu-ay-aht First Nations have a long and proud history in their traditional territories. Their history extends back to the beginning of time, and tells of many great people, adventures, traditions and deeds. Kiixin is the traditional capital village of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations, a Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation..[Read More]

1800s
1902

Bamfield Cable station constructed.

Bamfield Cable station constructed.

The Pacific Cable Board (PCB) Cable Station was constructed in 1902, and a second building in 1926, with Bamfield being the terminus of an underwater cable laid between Bamfield and Fanning Island, a tiny coral atoll in the middle of the Pacific.  

1969

Story 1 – Birth of Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre: The search for a site.

Story 1 – Birth of Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre: The search for a site.

Early in 1969, a float plane meandered its way over the convoluted bays of western Vancouver Island’s coast as eager eyes peered from the window. Seaweed scientist Louis Druehl was one of those aboard heading a search committee tasked with choosing the best spot to build a Canadian west coast marine science station.  

1969

Story 2 – Five Universities: A story of a remarkable collaboration.

Story 2 – Five Universities: A story of a remarkable collaboration.

This is the story of how five universities that in all other respects are competitors — UBC, SFU, UVic, UAlberta, UCalgary — came together to collaborate on the vision, construction and operation of BMSC.

1969

The first biodiversity surveys are conducted.

The first biodiversity surveys are conducted.

Throughout 1969, UBC researchers Dr. Paul Harrison, Dan Pace, Ken Bailey, and others, camped out in the cable station building, conducting the early survey work. Biodiversity surveys took place during the 1970’s through the 1980’s, led by Dr. Bill Austin (SFU) and Dr. Louis Druehl (SFU).

1972

The first Field Trip arrives from SFU.

The first Field Trip arrives from SFU.

The first visitors to the Bamfield Marine Station was a field trip from SFU. The week previous to their arrival, on March 14th 1972, the M.V. Vanlene ran aground off Austin Island, providing an opportunity to study the effects of an oil spill on the pristine shores.

1972

The first graduate students arrive, and undergraduate field courses are held at BC Packers in West Bamfield.

The first graduate students arrive, and undergraduate field courses are held at BC Packers in West Bamfield.

The Bamfield Marine Station’s first courses were held at BC Packers in West Bamfield. In the beginning, starting with nothing, “we had to improvise everything,” says Dr. Louis Druehl, who still lives and works in Bamfield

1972

Construction of the main building labs and offices begins.

Construction of the main building labs and offices begins.

While the ecologists and phycologists carried on with their course work amidst friendly rivalry, construction was taking place at the old cable station site. A ‘penthouse’ for offices was built on the roof as well as a complex seawater system, sewage treatment plant, and backup generators were installed.

1973

The Main Building is ready for students and researchers.

The Main Building is ready for students and researchers.

The ‘Main Building’ labs and offices are ready for use, and the first students arrive for their courses that summer.

1979

Construction of student dorms begins.

Construction of student dorms begins.

Students were originally housed in the Manse (leased from the United Church in 1972), and then in tents in 1973. The Seaside dorms were constructed in 1979, providing deluxe accommodation for 24 students with an ocean view.

1980

NATO Seaweed Conference

NATO Seaweed Conference

The participants in the 1980 NATO Seaweed Conference, likely the first international conference held at the Bamfield Marine Station.

1982

BMSC’s main ship, the M/V Alta is built.

BMSC’s main ship, the M/V Alta is built.

BMSC’s main ship, the M/V Alta, was built by Little Hoquiam Shipyards in Washington (USA). Its acquisition by BMSC was due to a generous grant to the University of Calgary by the Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations and the Province of Alberta

1985

Pacific Ecology Conference hosted for the first time.

Pacific Ecology Conference hosted for the first time.

The Pacific Ecology Conference (PEC) was hosted by the Bamfield Marine Station for the first time in 1985. Now called the “Pacific Ecology & Evolution Conference”, PEEC is a student-run, annual conference that aims to provide opportunities to early-career scientists to exchange ideas and seek collaborations with peers from across Western Canada and the United States, with the goal to create a comfortable and intellectually stimulating environment, welcoming presentations on..[Read More]

1992

Construction begins on the Ecophysiology Lab.

Construction begins on the Ecophysiology Lab.

The Eco-physiology Laboratory consists of five laboratories and adjoining aquaria with flow-through seawater and dry lab space, supporting neurophysiology, animal physiology, and molecular biology research. Three laboratories in the Eco-physiology building are designated for isotope use, certified by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and equipped with a liquid scintillation counter. This facility also houses an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer, -80˚F freezer, autoclave, and various other equipment. Expansion of the library..[Read More]

2001

BMS changes name to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC)

BMS changes name to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC)

After much discussion among the Management Council, and BMS Administration and Staff at the time, the Bamfield Marine Station was renamed to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, with the goal to be inclusive of other disciplines beyond marine sciences.

2001

BMSC receives a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant of 3.2 million

BMSC receives a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant of 3.2 million

The funds from the CFI grant were used to provide a Fluids Dynamics Lab, a Confocal Microscope, the research and diving vessel, the Barkley Star, and a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), expanding the BMSC facilities to a new level for research and education.

2002

Groundbreaking for the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries

Groundbreaking for the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries

Now a focal point at the BMSC, “the Rix,” as it is lovingly called, is a striking building with scalloped roof and awe-inspiring ocean view. Overlooking Bamfield inlet, inside the Rix are an Environmental Integrity Lab with high-quality seawater; a Biotechnology Lab supporting molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and physiology; a Digital Imaging Facility with high tech confocal laser scanning and compound microscopes, analytical equipment labs, computer lab and office..[Read More]

2004

Construction of the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries

Construction of the Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries

The Rix Centre for Ocean Discoveries is a stunning landmark on the coast, built with the generous donation from Dr. Donald B. Rix. This impressive facility, with its scalloped roof, floor-to-ceiling windows and warm wood finish, combines flexible meeting space with a breathtaking ocean view.

2005

BMSC receives its first NSERC Promoscience grant

BMSC receives its first NSERC Promoscience grant

BMSC receives its first NSERC Promoscience grant, now its longest running grant, and one of its largest, enabling the famously successful Field Trip Program.

2006

Humpback whale lunge feeding in the harbour!

Humpback whale lunge feeding in the harbour!

Humpback whale lunge-feeding in Bamfield Inlet distracts guests at Visitor’s Day.

2011

The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston visit.

The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston visit.

Left to right: Sharon Johnston, David Johnston, Cliff Haylock, Shirley Pakula.

2011

Over the last 50 years, there have been so many milestones, so if you have suggestions for additions to our historical timeline, email us your submission with a photo.

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