Nanaimo Museum

Useful Information

Location: Nanaimo Bastion, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island.
Open: 16-MAY to AUG daily 10-17.
SEP to 15-MAY Mon-Sat 10-17.
Closed Good Friday, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Boxing Day, 24-DEC, 25-DEC, 29-DEC, 31-DEC, 01-JAN, 02-JAN.
Fee: Adults CAD 2, Students CAD 1.75, Seniors CAD 1.75, Children (5-12) CAD 0.75, Children (0-4) free.
Classification: SubterraneaMining Museum MineCoal Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Nanaimo District Museum, 100 Museum Way, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J8, Tel: +1-250-753-1821.
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.


SEP-1852 first ship loaded with coal.
1920s coal production declined.
02-APR-1962 Nanaimo & District Museum Society incorporated.



The Nanaimo Museum is actually a local history museum, but with a huge collection concerning the coal mining history of the area. The permanent exhibition is called The Coal Mine. It is an artificial coal mine reconstruction created with help from scenic artists working in the movie industry. The coal deposits at Nanaimo were the first which were discovered on the west coast of the Americas. As the coal was suitable for steam engines it was mined for almost a century and provided steady employment. In total the mine produced over 50 million tons of coal. It was finally closed because of the decline in sales, there are still extensive coal deposits under the city.

Nanaimo District Museum is also offering the Coal Mine Sites Bus Tour. This three-hour excursion goes from Departure Bay to Mt. Benson, then to Cranberry, Extension and Morden mines. It takes place several times a year and costs $25 for members, $30 for non-members.

Another special thing are the Miner's Cottage and the Locomotive Shelter. They are open only on Wednesdays in August, from 11 to 14. The Miner's Cottage is located on the museum grounds. It was built in the 1890s by Frederick Rowbottom on Farquhar Street, Frederick Rowbottom was a miner and then became a stone mason, he built this and various other houses to rent out to local miners. It is a typical mining and working class dwelling from the late 19th century up to the mid 20th century. Today it has four rooms, but originally it had only two rooms, a living area and a bedroom. The kitchen and back room were later added. On less than 37 m² up to two families with eight members lived. During the first 80 years various people lived in this house and owned it, now it is designated a municipal heritage site. The last owners, the Suttons, donated the house to the Nanaimo Historical Society in 1977. It was removed to its current location where it is used and protected since 1980.