Japanese History in Nanaimo

At our first fall meeting on Thursday, September 14,  guest speaker Tami Hirasawa from the Central Vancouver Island Japanese Canadian Society (CVIJCS) gave a comprehensive presentation about the history of Japanese settlement and industry in Nanaimo including the forced relocation of Japanese Canadians to the interior of BC in 1942,… Read more

May 3 1887 Mine Explosion

May 3 marked the 136th anniversary of the explosion at the Number 1 Esplanade Mine in Nanaimo in 1887.  The explosion was a tragic event that claimed the lives of 150 coal miners, and remains the worst mining disaster in the history of British Columbia and the second largest industrial… Read more

May 13 Buttertubs Marsh Guided Tour

On May 13, Bill Merilees, a prominent BC naturalist, educator, and conservationist led a field trip around Buttertubs Marsh.  He gave a comprehensive history of the development history of the now reclaimed wetland and sanctuary.  The Hudson Bay  Company purchased the marsh in the mid-1800s, draining it for vegetable farming… Read more

Hillcrest Chinese Cemetery

At Nanaimo Historical Society’s April 13 general meeting, we viewed a recent video of Cowichan’s Old Hillcrest Chinese Cemetery, the premier showing of the onsite interview with Neil Dirom, who helped bring the overgrown land and forgotten history of this cemetery back into the public eye. Neil has been instrumental… Read more

2023 Historical Society AGM

At the Nanaimo Historical Society’s AGM on Thursday, March 9, a very interested audience heard about the research behind  NHS member Dalys Barney’s recently published booklet Message on a Bottle: Nanaimo’s Soda History,  about single-serving glass soda bottles and Nanaimo manufacturers who were bottling and selling soda as early as… Read more

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… Read more

Self Guided Tour of Morden Mine

Here is a self-guided historical interpretive trail walking tour of Morden, courtesy of Simon Priest, local resident/student of history, and Mike Laroque,  from The Friends of Morden Mine.  Morden Tour On June 18, 2022, Nanaimo Historical Society held a picnic and tour at Morden  Colliery Historical Provincial Park.  More than… Read more

January Show and Share

At Nanaimo Historical Society’s January 12 annual Show and Share meeting, members and guests brought a variety of artifacts, stories, and memorabilia to discuss.  The meeting was opened with a welcome song by Society member and Snuneymuxw Cultural Guide, Dave Bodaly.  Items shown and discussed included artifacts from the Extension… Read more

Harewood: Land of Wakesiah

This booklet about the early history of the Harewood area in Nanaimo was published by the Harewood Centennial Committe in 1967.  Complete with many photos,  this collection of information from residents of the area is an interesting look at the history from the time white settlement began. Read this document… Read more

The E&N Railroad: Obstacles & Challenges Still Visible Today

Our November 10  guest presenter, Mike Bonkowski, treated us to a great slideshow of selected sections of the now overgrown and silent Esquimalt and Nanaimo (E&N) railway negotiated mountain ranges, rivers, hills, gullies and road crossings.  He discussed both the main rail  line, from Victoria to Courtenay, and the rail… Read more