Nanaimo’s Soda Bottling History
Dalys Barney, NHS member, self-published the booklet Message on a Bottle: Nanaimo’s Soda History (February 2023) This will appeal to bottle collectors and to those interested in Vancouver Island history. The booklet is now for sale at the Nanaimo Museum, or by contacting Dalys directly here ($10 in person in the Nanaimo area, or mailed to you for $12). Dalys presented her research for the booklet at the Nanaimo Historical Society’s AGM on March 9, 2023.
Not a pricing guide, but an attempt to tell the history of the city’s soda industry, the booklet focuses on single-serving glass soda bottles and Nanaimo manufacturers like William Rumming, John Mitchell, and Louis Lawrence. Starting as early as the 1870s, Nanaimo had entrepreneurs who were bottling and selling soda in the city. A small luxury that could be enjoyed by the young and old alike, bottled soda was especially welcomed at well-known Nanaimo summer events like the miners’ picnic. While independent local soda businesses have faded away with time and industry consolidation, what we’re left with today are the bottles, some of which feature iconic Nanaimo images like a crossed miner’s pick and shovel or the Bastion. Dalys would especially like to thank the Nanaimo Historical Society and the Nanaimo Community Archives for helping to fund printing costs.