Now showing items 1-20 of 40

  • Robert Dunsmuir 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1852)
    Robert Dunsmuir began working for the H.B.C. coal operations in 1851. He moved to Nanaimo in 1852 and supervised the relatively small coal mining activities of the company. His son Alexander was the first white child born ...
  • The Bastion 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1853)
    When Haida warriors threatened to raid the tiny community in 1852, John Muir decided to build the block house and bastion pictured here. The three-story structure was hand-built with axes and adze by Jean Baptiste Fortier ...
  • Mine workers 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1854)
    The first miners arrived in Nanaimo from Staffordshire on November 17, 1854. Over the years, thousands of miners from England, Canada, and China arrived to work the mines. Working conditions were deplorable. Long hours, ...
  • Fire at Nanaimo area coal mine 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1856)
    Fire was one of the greatest problems associated with coal mining in the Nanaimo region. The coal has originally been formed in coastal lagoons. The coal seams were irregular, and the coal was often mixed with shale, ...
  • Miner's home near Nanaimo 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1856)
    While miner owners amassed great fortunes, coal miners in Nanaimo lived at a subsistence level. Most lived in mere shacks like the one pictured here. Besides extremely low wages, the miners and their families often suffered ...
  • Nanaimo, 1858 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1858)
    By 1858, the town of Nanaimo had between 50 and 60 buildings. In this photograph many features of the town are identified. The town at this time was called Colviletown after the Governor of the H.B.C., Andrew Colvile. On ...
  • Nanaimo, c. 1862 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1862)
    By 1862, Nanaimo had grown to a population of about 500 white people. In 1860, the name had been changed from Colviletown to Nanaimo, In that year, Captain William Franklyn became the Resident Magistrate. He built "Franklyn ...
  • Nanaimo coal mine interior 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1862)
    As mentioned previously, coal mining was the main business in Nanaimo from the 1850's to the Second World War. In the early days, surface coal was dug by native labourers and taken by scow to ships waiting in the harbour. ...
  • Nanaimo harbour, 1868 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1868)
    In 1862, the H.B.C. mining operations were purchased by the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company (hereafter referred to by the initials V.C.M. & L.Co.) The company invested �40,000 to purchase the mines, machinery, ...
  • St. Paul's Anglican Church 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1868)
    In 1859, Rev. G.L. Lowe held the first Anglican services in Nanaimo. He was succeeded by Rev. J.B. Good who opened the first St. Paul's Anglican Church in 1862. The church seen in this photograph was consecrated in 1865. ...
  • Nanaimo looking north, c. 1875 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1875)
    In the townsite plan prepared by Deverill, the streets radiated up the hill from the central harbour area. Many of the streets were named after officials or directors of the company. Wallace Street, for instance, was named ...
  • Chinese street arch 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1882)
    Chinese throughout the province took great pride in street arches they would erect each time an important dignitary visited their area. This arch was erected in 1882 to welcome the Marquis and Duchess of Lorne.
  • The Wellington Mine 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1883)
    Robert Dunsmuir began building his fortune after he discovered coal at Wellington in 1869. Three Royal Navy officers provided the capital to develop the mine. By 1883, the Wellington Mine pictured here was producing so ...
  • Nanaimo looking north, 1885 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1885)
    Nanaimo was incorporated on December 26, 1874, and held its first election in January 1875. Mark Bate, the manager of the V.C.M. & L. Co., was elected as the first mayor. The city was much smaller in area than today. It ...
  • Crowd awaiting news after the 1887 explosion 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1887)
    When news of the explosion reached the town, a large crowd gathered at the mine to wait for news. Despite the heroic attempts of rescue crews, only seven miners escaped with their lives. 150 men died from suffocation or ...
  • Number One Mine after the great explosion of 1887 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1887)
    On May 3, 1887 the worst mining disaster in Nanaimo's history occurred at the large Number One Mine. In 1886, a new ventilation system had been installed at the mine. When the mine was rocked by a large explosion on May 3 ...
  • The Windsor Hotel 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1887)
    Construction on the Windsor Hotel was begun in the mid-1880's at the corner of Front and Bastion Street. Over the years, the hotel has seen many additions and restorations. The Windsor became the Plaza and later the Shoreline ...
  • Chinese loading coal 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1888)
    During the gold rush, thousands of Chinese came to B.C. When the gold petered out, many Chinese worked in the Nanaimo mines. There they met harsh and sustained opposition from the other miners. One of the major complaints ...
  • The Nanaimo Opera 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1888)
    The Nanaimo Opera was opened in 1888 and was the scene of many visiting and local theatrical and musical events. The building was later incorporated into the Windsor Hotel.
  • The Wellington Inn, Wellington 

    Unknown author (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 1889)
    The town of Wellington was originally located farther north and west of the present community. When the Wellington mine closed in 1900, most of the buildings including houses, stores, churches, and a large hotel were ...