The Blind Channel Story
Blind Channel Resort History
The Richter family has owned, operated, and lived at Blind Channel since 1970. In that time, Blind Channel Resort has gained a reputation for delicious food, creative artwork, and outstanding customer service.
Blind Channel Resort is a full-service marina resort on West Thurlow Island along Canada’s Pacific Coast. Located just north of Desolation Sound or, more precisely, 50 24. 82 N, 125 30. 00 W, Blind Channel is the perfect layover for boaters heading to and from Alaska and the Broughton Archipelago, as well as individuals, couples, groups, and families looking for a west coast wilderness experience.
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After we had proceeded about ten miles from Point Chatham, the tide made so powerfully against us as obliged us about breakfast time to become again stationary in a bay (Knox Bay) on the northern shore in 32 fathoms of water. The land under which we anchored was a narrow island which I distinguished by the name of Thurlow Island.” – Captain George Vancouver, 16th July 1792
And so the island received its white man’s name, after a Lord Chancellor of England. It was later discovered that Thurlow consists of two islands, and the narrow passage between them was given the name Blind Channel, perhaps because Captain Vancouver had missed it. We can forgive him this oversight, for many a mariner has since roared past and wondered later where the turn-off was. The channel was later renamed Mayne Passage, but the community which formed on the east end of West Thurlow Island retained the Blind Channel name.
By 1910, the Thurlow Island Lumber Company sawmill was established at Blind Channel and the surviving directory lists nine lumbermen, six woodsmen, a blacksmith, and a mill manager. Notches on the sides of big old stumps scattered about remind us of the woodsmen
By 1918 the population had grown to 120 with Union Steam Ship freight and passenger boats stopping regularly. For the next few decades, the area bustled with activity. Blind Channel was home to a cannery, a shingle mill, and two large dance halls. The area continued to attract people looking for opportunity and an independent way of life, with the population peaking in the 1940s.
In the 1930s, nine bootleggers were competing in Blind Channel, mostly providing their own distillations with a very high alcohol content, if not the most refined flavor. For those who preferred the taste and guaranteed safety of the approved product, two of them specialized in government booze.
In the ensuing decades, the area felt the same inexorable pressures of centralization influencing the rest of the industrial world, and one by one the families moved out. By the summer of 1969, when the Richter family was cruising in the area, an elderly couple (the Gisslens) owned the property. They ran a general store in the front half of the former cannery foreman’s home and lived in the back.
A boardwalk hugged the water between the store and a small government dock, where passing boaters could top up their fuel by having it hand-pumped from a barrel. Signs of the area’s recent history rusted along the shore and rotted in the encroaching brush and forest. Still, there was a secluded peacefulness; the ever-changing rapids flowing past, and the mountains reflecting the afternoon sun. Captivated, the Richters moved up from Vancouver, took down the For Sale sign, and began the long, slow task of creating the resort which stands here today.
Edgar Richter and his wife, Annemarie, originally discovered the property for sale while cruising the coast in a 30-foot boat built by Edgar. After much deliberation, they decided to sell their comfortable home in East Vancouver and move their family to remote West Thurlow Island.
Edgar and Annemarie brought three of their four children, aged 10 to 20, to Blind Channel with them, as well as Annemarie’s parents who were already retired and living with them in Vancouver. Edgar and Annemarie’s son, Phil, decided to make Blind Channel his permanent home, and he and his wife, Jennifer, eventually became partners in the business. Phil and Jennifer raised two sons, Eliot and William, at Blind Channel, putting them through correspondence education for many years. Phil and Jennifer’s eldest son, Eliot and his wife, Agnieszka, are now carrying on the tradition and raising the next generation, Jonah and Charlotte, at Blind Channel.
22 March 1924 – 20 November 2003
Annemarie Richter was devoted to harmony, beauty, and the joy of good conversation.
Your Blind Channel Getaway
The Richter family has owned, operated, and lived at Blind Channel since 1970. In that time, Blind Channel Resort has gained a reputation for exceptional experiences, delicious food, creative artwork, and outstanding customer service.