Photo: Tahsis "Supermarket"
I looked over the meager supply of produce in the Tahsis Supermarket and sighed. A few heads of lettuce, apples, celery. But wait! A real prize: a basket of strawberries that aren't even moldy! I grabbed it and put it I our basket along with whole wheat bread, some peaches and one grapefruit (the last one on the shelf). And once I stopped wishing for what's not there I had to admit the store was looking up in comparison to three years before. It's cleaner, brighter and more bustling. The word is the owner's son has joined the business and is making changes.
This town would make an interesting sociological and economic study. I hope some young PhD students are taking advantage of it. When the sawmill first closed, the old stores hung on and there was a flurry of new businesses. Everyone seemed determined to make a new life for the town --i.e., tourism. For awhile the town had a bakery, a bank, a government liquor store, a gas station and mini-mart, a hardware store, two pubs and a post office. Now the bakery, bank, liquor store and gas station are closed. The town appears to be in a period of consolidation. The bakery closed when its roof caved in. The bank is long gone. And now liquor and gas are sold by the Tahsis Supermarket, a store which would fit entirely within the Ballard Market's Deli Section at home.
There's also the Westview Marina, still the best marina on Vancouver Island's west coast (admittedly, not a huge competition). And this trip we discovered the library.
"A thousand books a month go through here," the librarian told us from behind her desk on the top floor of the Municipal Building. A picture window with stunning views of Tahsis Inlet and the mountains beyond, comfortable arm chairs and new books on the shelves, made the library very attractive. It also has wifi and room to sit with a laptop. From the librarian we learned the library is part of the Vancouver Island Regional Library System, which is where the 1,000 books a month come from. If you're in Tahsis Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, stop in. I'd like to believe that with a good library, the town has a chance to succeed.