British Columbia

Welcome to Lund: The 'end of the road' where draft dodgers rejoice

A new documentary titled The End of the Road follows lives of residents in Lund — a small B.C. town where the spirit of the 60s was never lost.

New documentary follows lives of residents in Lund — a small B.C. town where the 60s never ended

Lund became populated by many Americans who fled the U.S. after being drafted for the Vietnam war. (The End of the Road)

If you follow B.C.'s Highway 101 all the way west, you'll arrive upon an eclectic village of draft dodgers, military deserters, and nature lovers.

The town is called Lund, a place where some streets are lined with ramshackle homes, built by novice craftsmen who just needed a place to rest their head that was away from the noise of the city — and the threat of conscription.

"There were a lot of people trying to get out of a political situation in the U.S.," said resident Tai Uhlmann. "[They fled] until they reached the end of the road — which happened to be Lund, B.C."

Uhlmann grew up in Lund, surrounded by people with remarkable stories of how they ended up in the small community.

Now, she's tethered many of them together in a new film called The End of the Road, which premiers this month in Powell River, just a half hour south of the town.

The end of the road

Lund has just over 200 residents.

Uhlmann says the town experienced its boom during the Nixon era, when many American youth were disillusioned by the ongoing Vietnam War and the threat of being drafted loomed large.

A sign in Lund cheekily declares the town to be the start of Highway 101. (The End of the Road)

The town is now home to a variety of dodgers and activists — but there's just as many nature lovers who saw it as a place to live off the grid and live a quiet and quaint lifestyle.

Uhlmann's parents were of the latter. And, like many of the town's residents, when they arrived they built their home from scratch with little knowledge of the trades — and it showed.

"I grew up with no electricity, [and] an outhouse," she said, laughing. "We had a barrel up in a tree that water came down from. That was our bathwater!"

New residents would build their homes, often with the help of the community, says Uhlmann. (The End of the Road)

Like many of the residents, her parents have since upgraded their dwellings to include flushing toilets. But some of the funky old homes are still standing.

Surviving together

Uhlmann says The End of the Road captures the spirit of Lund, a place where parents were fully engulfed in hippie culture, and the spirit of the 60s never ended,

"​They made it real fun. Drugs were definitely a big thing at that time, and we had a lot of parties," she said. "There were those of us who loved the freedom, thought our parents were way more fun on drugs."

She co-directed the film with her husband, Theo Angell, after the two visited her hometown one summer. They chatted with some of the old timers, and quickly realised their tales were so interesting that they had to be recorded.

Uhlmann says Lund drew residents from many different walks of life. (The End of the Road)

"Everybody had a story," she said. "This is a piece of history. If we didn't capture it now, we're going to lose these stories."

"These people found each other, they helped each other, they survived together. There's a huge bond." 

The pair filmed the documentary bit by bit since 2008, until a successful crowdfunding campaign helped them launch into full production. The film will premiere in Powell River at the Patricia Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Now, Uhlmann has moved back to Lund. The town is as tight-knit as ever — she's just getting used to the new visitors.

"There's a lot more tourists. It still has that community. Our kids are going to the same school that I went to. It definitely still is maintaining that feeling of freedom," she said.

"The building codes are still pretty loose. People are still building funky houses and driving crappy cars."

With files from CBC's North by Northwest

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled: Welcome to Lund: The 'end of the road' where draft dodgers rejoice