Miner's home near Nanaimo
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 from malnutrition, lung diseases, and other ailments. Often miners contracted arthritis and rheumatism from working knee-deep in water which continuously seeped into the underground tunnels. They were not protected by a labour contract, and thus could be laid off for months at a time when the mines were shut down due to fluctuating world coal demands.