Coal Mining Town

December 14, 2021
Robert Turner

Below the surface, under your feet... hundreds of years ago, you can almost feel the creaking, grinding carts... sweat dripping... the smell of methane as a lamp starts turning blue....

one miner's story...

For thousands of years... Snuneymuxw...

longhouses pre 1900

pre-Confederation treaty with the Crown – the Treaty of 1854

The harbor at the center of what is now known as Nanaimo was allegedly first "discovered" in 1791 by Spaniard Juan Carrasco. The Spanish called the harbor Bocas de Winthuysen eponymously after the naval officer on board the ----.

Colville Town - Scottish businessman and Hudson's Bay Company Governor Andrew Colville

In 1850, Chief Che-wich-i-kan brought coal to Victoria to (successfully) assert rights of ownership and mining over Snuneymuxw coal. Just a few years later,

Snuneymuxw first became Nanaimo... 1858



coal deposits are reported to have been first discovered in 1849...

In 1852, the Hudson's Bay Company took possession via Joseph William McKay, as directed by fur trader and first Governor of the Colony of British Columbia, James Douglas (1803 - 1877)


Nanaimo coal miners association, archeological volunteer force - mine tags, fuses; daily life of south end
city archives - appointment
Dave from the Pot, "The man who almost asphyxiated in an old coal mine"


map of mine locations, diagrams of partial collapses under Victoria St.




28 Nicol St.
The cairn in Pioneer Square marks the location of the Park Head Slope, one of the initial mine
workings in this area. To this day, the foundations of the city are criss-crossed by the remains of
many of these early mine tunnels.
The cairn was built in 1938. The small metal bastion that once capped the cairn is now missing.

Latest News & City