The setting for what has become western Canada’s largest outdoor arts show – is a former private home and gardens that came to reflect the humanitarian intentions of its former owners. RJ (Bob) Filberg and his wife Florence (McCormack), who built the home in 1929 and developed the grounds and outbuildings, were prominent citizens of the Comox Valley. Bob served as president of the Comox Logging and Railway Company, and incorporated his love of trees and local woods into the architecture and landscaping of this waterfront piece of paradise.
This love is apparent as soon as you enter the lodge. Built in the traditional Arts & Crafts style with a trace of Swedish design acknowledging the Filberg ancestry, the rustic stone and wood lodge structure depicts a warm interior of stone and timber. The front door is made of sculpted Douglas fir, the walls of yellow cedar planks, and the beams of western cedar. The staircase, crafted from a yew tree, is amazing – its trunk is the newel post, while a natural limb forms the banister.
Originally built for use as a summer cottage, the Filberg family chose to make it their permanent home in 1935. They added on a master bedroom wing, increasing the size of the home to 4,000 square feet. They chose fine woods for their furniture, such as mahogany, cherry wood, rosewood and oak. Today, the furniture you see throughout is original family furniture with few exceptions.
The Filberg family lived in their home for many years, developing the grounds with extensive landscaping and the construction of several unique outbuildings. There are more than 100 majestic trees from all over the world, including London planes and atlas and deodar cedars in the park. Local trees such as maples also provide shade and privacy. Hundreds of rhododendrons add swaths of colour throughout the park. You will also find beds of annual and perennial flowers, and a stream that runs through a natural ravine on the property.
When Bob Filberg died in 1977, he left this rustic lodge and nine acres of beautifully landscaped grounds to the Vancouver Foundation as part of his estate. A group of active citizens snatched the property from the hands of local real estate developers, and the property is now a public facility owned by the Town of Comox, and has been designated a heritage site in recognition of the lodge’s architectural significance.
For the public, the hard work of the visionary board of directors of the Association bestows us with a special place to visit. Come and meander year-round through the gardens and in the summer visit the Tea House for a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea beneath the vine-covered patio. Enjoy the view of the waterfront with its majestic backdrop of mountains.
The Filberg Festival is the primary fundraising event of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association; the proceeds of the Festival generate essential funding for the maintenance, operation and restoration of the lodge and grounds.