First Hornby House


We prebuilt the cabin on our property in North Van. Here Ron Shulman uses an unfamiliar tool(hammer). As we were building I got a visit from a building inspector who told me I needed a permit for any kind of construction. I explained that we were just pre-fabbing and the structure would be dis-assembled within 2 weeks. He said that he would return and if it was still here we’d be in BIG trouble.

As were taking it apart and readying it for the rental truck another inspector came round and told me I would need a permit to tear down any structure. These bureaucratic invasions were just the spurs we needed to ‘get out of town’.

Every piece marked and ready to go in the rent-a-truck.

Leaving Town

Had to leave my Cadillac behind. We were really going to rough it.

Keep on Truckin’

The Denman ferry crew instructed me to drive fast onto the ferry, then jam on the brakes. This maneuver nudged the ferry off the ramp and allowed it to float free.

Work Gang

Dave and Mary, Ron and Lynne, Art and Emily…all came up to Hornby to help build the beast.

Bikini Weather

Assembling the cabin took 6 days. All was left was the roof.

Eye in the sky

What I didn’t pack in the truck was a ladder. After I nailed the last piece of plywood on the roof it occurred to me that there was no easy way down. Jo and the gang piled up a bunch of pillows and I jumped…


…and broke my leg.

Home Sweet Home

Hydro ran the power to us attached to trees. “The inspector must have felt sorry for you.” said one of the installers.

This cabin was meant to be temporary until we built the ‘real’ house. It still stands today! Almost 40 years later.

4 thoughts on “First Hornby House”

  1. Oh yes, those were the days. Our “temporary cabin ” is now the middle of my real house, four additions later. It all was, with a little help from our friends , in those days, and fun!
    Love the pictures and story line.

  2. oh bob, I just had to laugh. so similar to our story ( audrey and ilkka). we had to move out of our rental house on hornby so had just a week or two to get some kind of shack built for us and aisia who was three years old. my brother greg helped us. of course we had little money for materials, used those thin sheets of litho plates from the newspaper in courtenay. that shack is still in use today, although it was also meant to be temporary!

  3. Hi Bob
    Just discovered your site through our wonderful Hornby Word of Mouth site, I started off to learn more about Sammy Sammy and found myself on your website.

    I enjoyed these photos of building your little house years ago with the bikini girls. We didn’t discover Hornby until `1995 but do love to learn about earlier days and have a certain amount of envy for those who found our island paradise before we did.

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A semi-practical use for my 10,000 historical photos