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Halfmoon Happenings: The real story behind anchor rock

Sleepy Hollow Rod Run returns next week
Anchor rock

Hello, Halfmoon Bay/ Xwilkway. 

The Halfmoon Bay General Store and the Government Dock are icons on Mintie Road. Some of you might even remember looking out from the beach access at the old bait shack, which had to be removed a couple years ago after decades on the water – a storm broke it from its moorage and it became a marine hazard. It lives on in a tribute on the Halfmoon Bay General Store sign and the Welcome to Halfmoon Bay sign, on Highway 101 and Redrooffs Road.  

I am lucky to look out my front window and see another icon in my neighbourhood, “Anchor Rock.” Have you ever wondered how the old anchor got there? Pirates? Sunken ship? Aliens? According to the late Queenie Burrows, who lived by the General Store back in the day, she knew the story and knew the man who put the anchor on the rock. Bill Dolmage was a “sea captain” as Queenie called him and worked on the water from 1920 to 1972. Bill was a successful mariner and went on to run one of the largest tug fleets in B.C., and owned Vancouver Shipyards. Bill and his crew found the anchor in Howe Sound in the 1960s. He discovered a small engraving stamp on the anchor “The Royal Navy Broad Arrow.” He knew exactly where it was from. It seems when he was a kid living on the mainland, he would play hooky from school and take the old North Vancouver Ferry to the North Shore and play on that very anchor; there were three of them lying on the beach. Bill found out the anchor was cast in England sometime in the late 1880s or so and was brought over to the Esquimalt Royal Navy Base. These anchors were used for moorage for battleships in the First World War. When the base was transferred to Canadian control, the anchors were most likely sold for scrap. That’s how it is believed one of the anchors ended up in North Vancouver. Between the 1920s and 1940s, someone brought the anchor over from North Vancouver to Gambier Island to use as a float anchor. Bill salvaged the anchor and laid it in front of his North Vancouver office. I remember that anchor being there, since my dad worked for Bill as a diesel mechanic. As a kid, I went  to work with my dad on Saturdays sometimes and used to climb on that anchor (I wasn’t supposed to), just like Bill did. When Bill retired, he moved to Halfmoon Bay and built “the big green log house in the bay” and brought the five-ton iron anchor with him. He had it cemented onto the rock as a nod to his seafaring days, where he could see it from his house. And there she sits to this day on “Anchor Rock.” I can't help to think about Bill and my dad when I look at the anchor.   

Get ready for the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run sponsored by the Coasters Car Club on Friday Aug. 5. Move that couch out onto Redrooffs, grab a dozen or so of your friends (you know what I mean), and crank up the grill. An estimated 450+ classic cars are coming to Halfmoon Bay. Cheer for your favourite car and even though the drivers won’t “Light Em Up,” we can still enjoy the show. The cars will leave Hackett Park in Sechelt at 6:15 p.m. and head down the highway then along Redrooffs Road and loop back to Sechelt.  

I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Halfmoon Bay history the last few weeks. I certainly have enjoyed researching it. Cindy Kisser will be back writing her column next week and will keep you all up to date on what’s happening. Thanks, Halfmoon Bay, it’s been fun. Until next time.  

If you have any column ideas, stories and suggestions, please send them to  before 5 p.m. on Mondays. 

Enjoy your week, wear sunscreen, and be a nice human.