Nanaimo looking north, 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 consisted of the present central commercial and residential areas. Southland, Fairview, and Brechin were incorporated in 1887, 1927, and 1953 respectively. Coal was the economic mainstay of the area and brought a measure of prosperity to the city. Other town businesses by 1885 included a soda bottling works, a creamery, the Nanaimo Foundry, three breweries, a small sawmill, canneries, fish processing plants, eighteen hotels, and 51 stores. In this photograph taken about 1885, one can see the large new stone port office (to the left and above the bastion) and the back of the brick WIndsor Hotel (to the left of the post office.) Some landfill and building has taken place to the right of the Commercial Street bridge.