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A River Captured and Changing Waters: Touchstones hosts book launch and showcase new on-line exhibit

By Contributor
October 23rd, 2016

On Sunday, November 6 at 2 p.m., Touchstones Nelson will host the launch of A River Captured, the Columbia River Treaty and Catastrophic Change by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes and celebrate its newest online exhibit Changing Waters-The Impact of Hydroelectric Development on the Landscape of British Columbia from the Ron Waters Collection.

A River Captured culminates 10 years of research by Pearkes, who guest-curated the museum’s award-winning exhibit “Roll On Columbia,” in 2014-15. 

Focused on the local impacts and experiences of the international treaty, the book provides an important look into the present policies and future possibilities that may soon be discussed by the U.S. and Canada as both countries prepare for re-negotiation of the 1964 international treaty.

“It’s important for residents of the region to understand the history of what happened, so that we can have an informed voice in upcoming government discussions,” says Pearkes. 

“In the book I call it the CRT Hangover.  For many years, the region suffered most of the negative impacts, with most of the benefits outside the region. It can be different this time around.”

Changing Waters features over 500 never before seen colour slides of the Kootenay Region from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, many from mining roads only accessible by four-wheel drive.

The majority of the slides highlight the changes to the landscape brought on by hydroelectric development. These images are especially significant at this time as they depict the dams and reservoirs of Canadian Columbia Basin covered by the Columbia River Treaty.

Ron Waters was an avid hiker and well-known amateur photographer.  He has had several of his photographs published and in 1953 won the Beautiful Canada Calendar contest-cover. 

The images are unique because they are not aerials, but were taken from the top of various mountainous terrains in British Columbia.  Ron would hike to the same location year after year recording the changes to the landscape with his camera.  This gave a different perspective of the changes because at the time, not many people went hiking or exploring with cameras. 

The creation of the site was funded in part by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia, British Columbia History Digitization Program.

Pearkes will read from her work and showcase a sampling of the images at the event on the 6th.  A portion of profits from the sales will benefit Touchstones.

Visit the exhibition at

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