Morden Colliery

Morden Mine Head

Useful Information

Location: 7 km south of Nanaimo on southern Vancouver Island. On Morden Rd, off Hwy 1.
Open: Trail: no restrictions.
Mine: closed.
Fee: Trail: free.
Mine: closed.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Friends of the Morden Mine, c/o 29-260 Harwell Rd., Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 6V1. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1912 Morden Coal Mine opened.
1913 head frame built.
1915 mining accident killed 19 miners.
1920 mine closed.
1930 mining revived shortly.
1970s purchased by the province and transformed into a provincial park.
2003 Friends of the Morden Mine formed.



Morden Colliery is a remain of the once important coal mining industry of British Columbia. It was mined between the mid 19th and mid 20th century, about a century of hard work which produced wealth but also some 1,800 injuries, 600 of them fatal. The remains today are a monument created of a huge block of coal, the old mine head at Morden and piles of overburden which are almost invisible below the vegetation.

The area is protected by the Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, but it is not developed. It is possiblle to visit the head frame, because it is on the surface and freely visible. However, it is fenced for security reasons, do not attempt to enter the fenced area. This concrete head frame and tipple was built in 1913 by the Pacific Coal Company, the first in the region. In its first year of operation the mine produced 76,000t of coal.

More than 600 miners died during the city's coal days. Only two years after the opening, in 1915, one of the biggest mining accidents happened. Water broke through the Black Track mine shaft in the morning. At this time the day shift was settling in to work and 19 people drowned. Two of the victims were a father and his son who had just begun working the mine. They were found, the father clinging to a tree with one arm and the other arm wrapped around his dead son.

It is also possible to hike on the 1.2 km long walking trail, which follows the route of the former railway line that carried the company's coal from Morden and South Wellington to the Nanaimo River.

The Friends of the Morden Mine is a non-profit society formed by locals who try to protect and develop the mine. At the moment they are trying to increas public awareness and to collect money for necessary reconstruction work. Probably there will be some kind of mine tour in the future.