Deep and Sheltered Waters

David R. Gray, with a foreword by Nancy J. Turner & Robert D. Turner

(2 customer reviews)


This book brings to light the fascinating story of a community and place: Tod Inlet, near Victoria, BC. From the original inhabitants from the Tsartlip First Nation to the lost community of immigrant workers from China and India, from a company town to the development of parkland, the wealth of history in this rich area reflects much of the history of the entire province. The story of Tod Inlet and its communities spans from Vancouver Island to the BC coast north to Ocean Falls, south to California, and east to Golden, BC.

David R. Gray draws from interviews with elders of the Tsartlip First Nation, descendants of the Chinese and Sikh workers, and the local community, and from archives held in Victoria and Ottawa. This detailed, illustrated book by an award-winning filmmaker tells the whole story of the natural area, the archaeological sites, the community of Tod Inlet, the Vancouver Portland Cement Company and cement plant (an industrial first), and the development of the Butchart Gardens.

David R. Gray is a researcher, writer and filmmaker. He has curated two Virtual Museum of Canada exhibitions and directed and produced six documentary films, including the award-winning Canadian Soldier Sikhs.

November 2020, paperback, 264 pages

ISBN 978-0-7726-7256-8

Categories: , .


“One should read Gray’s book not only to bring depth to a space they visit or think of fondly, but, as importantly, to understand the history of who we are and have been, to remember a once thriving community that no longer exists, and challenging truths we are all connected to as British Columbians.”
—Jacquelyn Miller, for BC Studies

“Only a lifelong, passionate adventurer can share so in-depth a history of a place such as Tod Inlet. At a time when Canada itself is at a crossroads of reconciliation, it is refreshing and enlightening that this story is grounded in the narrative of the original inhabitants. Their story attests to thousands of years of traditional occupation and use by the Tsartlip First Nation, for whom the area around Tod inlet is known as SNIDȻEȽ, Place of the Blue Grouse. The fascinating story that unfolds from a most unfortunate circumstance—death—reveals the story of the Sikh settlers and pioneers in Tod Inlet, which in turn is a microcosm of their story in the industrial life of Canada. It is a story of resiliency, resistance and hard work ethics, interwoven with their unparallelled and proud military service to the Crown and Empire.”
—Pardeep Singh Nagra, historian and executive director, Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada

“The warp and weft of Canadian history incorporates many strands. Some are large, others small; some colourful, others drab. The pattern and texture of our past is made from them all. At first glance, Tod Inlet may appear to be one of the less significant parts of our story, but closer examination reveals unexpected riches. This book touches upon some important issues of the last 150 years, including Indigenous-newcomer relations, segregation of whites and Asians, industrialization and resource development, ecological degradation and environmental protection, political activism, and tourism. David Gray has done a masterful job in ferreting out the details of his subject and integrating them into a coherent whole He brings to the task the curiosity and observational skills of a biological scientist and the patience and thoroughness of a historian, along with an innate compassion for his fellow beings, both human and other. The product of a lifelong engagement with the subject, David Gray’s Deep and Sheltered Waters may be read by anyone interested in where we have been as Canadians, and where we are going.”
—Dr. Peter Rider, retired Atlantic Provinces historian and curator, Canadian Museum of History

“With Deep and Sheltered Waters: The History of Tod Inlet, David Gray provides an account, both expansive and personal, of one of Vancouver Island’s most iconic yet misunderstood places . . . an ecological success story as well as a detailed study of the rise and fall of a working community.”
—Matthew Downey, in the Ormsby Review

Additional information

Dimensions 20.32 × 22.85 cm

2 reviews for Deep and Sheltered Waters


    A very interesting and enjoyable read. Love the many pictures! This work is the result of a passionate life interest. It gives the reader a chance to look into the window of time that I never knew existed.

  2. Louis Vincent (verified owner)

    As usual David Gray does a masterful job in detailing the history.
    Very well done!

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