Forbidden Plateau

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Forbidden Plateau
Circlet Lake to Lake Helen Mackenzie, Strathcona Provincial Park - 50428787646.jpg
One of the many lakes of the Forbidden Plateau
Map showing the location of Forbidden Plateau
Map showing the location of Forbidden Plateau
Location in British Columbia
LocationBritish Columbia, Canada
Coordinates49°41′00″N 125°19′00″W / 49.68333°N 125.31667°W / 49.68333; -125.31667Coordinates: 49°41′00″N 125°19′00″W / 49.68333°N 125.31667°W / 49.68333; -125.31667
Part ofVancouver Island Ranges
WebsiteStrathcona Provincial Park: Forbidden Plateau Area

The Forbidden Plateau is a small, hilly plateau in the east of the Vancouver Island Ranges in British Columbia, northwest of Comox Lake[1] roughly between Mount Albert Edward to the southwest and Mount Washington to the northeast.


The plateau features gently sloping sub-alpine terrain broken up by small, rugged hills and pitted with small lakes. Much of it is contained within Strathcona Provincial Park, and a network of trails facilitate hiking, cross country skiing, and access to Mount Albert Edward.

A sub-alpine meadow on Mount Becher in the southwest corner of the plateau is one of only a few sites in Canada of the Olympic onion (Allium crenulatum).[2]


The plateau was the epicentre of the 1946 Vancouver Island earthquake that registered 7.3 on the Richter magnitude scale, the strongest ever recorded on land in Canada.[3]

The legend[edit]

According to the popular, though disproven, legend, when the K'omoks faced raids from other coastal tribes, they took their women and children to the plateau for safekeeping. During a raid by the Cowichan, the women and children vanished without a trace. When a member of the tribe went looking for the women and children within the Forbidden Plateau, he found red lichen covering the snow and nearby rocks and assumed the lichen to be blood from the family members. Since then, the plateau became taboo for it was believed that it was inhabited by evil spirits who had consumed those they had sent.[4]

This legend, however, has no basis in K'omoks history, a fact which has been documented by sources such as Comox Valley environmentalist Ruth Masters[5] and Pat Trask, curator at the Courtenay Museum.[6] Clinton Wood and Ben Hughes appear to be the creators of the false legend, the first record of which can be found in an article by Hughes in the Province newspaper in 1927. In a book published in 1967, Wood takes credit for the legend, stating that he believed a bit of mystery would help publicize the attraction of the plateau.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Forbidden Plateau". BC Geographical Names.
  2. ^ Schaan, Gary. 2004. "Managing Towards the Gold Standard—Ecological Values of Second Growth Small Woodlands on Vancouver Island." In T.W. Droscher and D.A. Fraser (eds). Proceedings of the 2003 Georgia Basin/Puget Sound Research Conference. CD-ROM or Online. Available: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2004-04-01. Retrieved 2006-07-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-21. Retrieved 2007-01-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) [February 2004]
  3. ^ Derek Sidenius (1999-01-24). "Shake, Rattle and Roll in '46 Earthquake". Victoria Times Colonist Islander Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2006-07-14.
  4. ^ * Legends from British Columbia Communities Archived 2009-11-07 at the Wayback Machine The British Columbia Folklore Society. Accessed 6 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Story of the Forbidden Plateau – Strathcona Wilderness Institute". Retrieved 2020-04-17.
  6. ^ "Finding Forbidden". CVC. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2020-04-17.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Forbidden Plateau at Wikimedia Commons