Recent Submissions

  • Payday at Brechin Mine 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1945)
    The number of miners working at Nanaimo increased steadily in the fifty years from 1875-1925. In 1875, there were about 400 employed in the Nanaimo area. By 1900, the number of miners reached 3,400. Over the years working ...
  • Coal ships in Nanaimo harbour 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1923)
    It is estimated that fifty million tons of coal were mined in the Nanaimo area. As new mines were opened, the tonnage increased dramatically. When the V.C.M. & L. Co. bought out the H.B.C. interests in 1862, only 55,000 ...
  • Nanaimo harbour, c. 1920 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1920)
    Nanaimo's harbour has always been a centre of activity and source of revenue for the city. Coal was, of course, the most important commodity to pass through the port. Nanaimo was also a major distribution point for the ...
  • John Bowser reading the Riot Act 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    Special police were sent from Vancouver to quell the disturbances, but they were repulsed by the rioters at the Nanaimo wharf. Finally John Bowser, the Attorney-General, was asked for military assistance. Here he is seen ...
  • C.A.F. soldiers and a machine gun 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    Calling in the C.A.F. to quell the riots and stop the strike did end the disturbances for the most part. Hundreds of miners were arrested and martial law was declared in the district. The presence of the C.A.F. caused even ...
  • Destruction at Extension (slide 10-17) 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    The rioting miners caused wholesale destruction in Extension. Property of the coal mining companies was also destroyed. Coal cars, equipment, and large piles of coal were burned.
  • The Civil Aid Force arriving in Nanaimo 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    The Civil Aid Force arrived in Nanaimo in August 1913 and stayed throughout the fall and winter. In this photograph, the force is seen arriving at Nanaimo.
  • Destruction at Extension (slide 10-15) 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    The rioting miners caused wholesale destruction in Extension. They burned many homes to the ground.
  • Nanaimo Free Press headline #1 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    The bitterness against the Dunsmuir mining interests culminated in a major strike which shut down all the mines in the district. The strike started in Cumberland in September 1912 and soon spread to Extension and other ...
  • Destruction at Extension (slide 10-16) 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1913)
    The rioting miners caused wholesale destruction in Extension. The rioting miners had intended to attack only homes of the "scab" labourers who would not join the union. As the riots grew in intensity, however, many other ...
  • Commercial Street, 1912 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1912)
    This photograph was taken from the corner of Commercial and Bastion Street about 1912. The large building in the centre of the photograph was constructed on the site of the "Nanaimo Free Press" building and next door to ...
  • Nanaimo Free Press headline #2 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1912)
    The main issue in the strike of 1912-13 was the union recognition. Dunsmuir and other coal companies were determined not to recognize the unions. The miners were just as determined to gain union recognition. The strike ...
  • View north on Commercial Street, 1910 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1910)
    As the coal production increased in the 1890's and after the turn of the century, Nanaimo's population grew steadily. Many permanent structures were built along Commercial, Church, Bastion, and Wharf Street. In this ...
  • Nanaimo's second Chinatown 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1908)
    The first Chinese arrived in Nanaimo soon after the start of the gold rush. in 1872, Mah Hong Jang opened the first Chinese store near Pioneer Square. A small Chinese settlement grew up along Bing Kee Street south of the ...
  • Pine Street, Chinatown 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1908)
    Nanaimo's second Chinatown was located along Pine Street. Most of the buildings were designed in a western style of architecture. The Chinese Freemasons Building pictured here, does have an element of more traditional ...
  • The Brechin Mine 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1906)
    As mentioned earlier, the V.C.M. & L. Co. expanded the number of mines and greatly increased the tonnage of coal shipped from Nanaimo. The mines were known both by names and numbers. Number One Mine, for instance, was known ...
  • Miners at Extension 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1900)
    As with the mine at Wellington, the Dunsmuir mine at Extension was the scene of major mining disasters and labour strife. In 1901, 16 men died in a mine fire. In 1909, 25 were killed when an explosion ripped the mine. ...
  • The Nanaimo Court House 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1897)
    Nanaimo's impressive Court House was built in 1897. It was designed by F.M. Rattenbury, a leading architect who designed the Legislative Building and Provincial Library in Victoria.
  • Coal mine at Extension 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1895)
    In 1895, a major Dunsmuir coal mine was opened at Extension. The Dunsmuir empire at this time was headed by Robert Dunsmuir's son, James. Like his father, James Dunsmuir was the richest man in the province. He expanded the ...
  • The Wilson Block 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1891)
    The Wilson Block was built on Commercial Street in 1891 and later was known was the Wilson Hotel. It was gutted by fire in 1930. Just left of the Wilson Block is the "Nanaimo Free Press" building. The paper was founded by ...

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