Tuesday, 24 April 2018

U is for Union Bay ...




This seemed a good choice for 'U' - as it tells the tale of an area born on coal, being wound down when the coal ran out then being reborn with new development on the coal slack mound deposits ...



Union village, now called Cumberland, was named after the Union Coal Company ... which in turn was named in honour of the 1871 Union of British Columbia with Canada.





This really did enlighten me on the
pioneering days and what it was like
to come from Scotland and make your
way - yes, he was one tough individual ...
but I learnt a lot of history, geography etc


My interest in the area was reading about how Robert Dunsmuir (1825 - 1889) came out from Scotland in 1850 ... first travelling to Fort Vancouver, before moving to the north of the Island, then to the Union Bay area.




Dunsmuir's mentor returned to Scotland, but Robert carried on working for the Hudson Bay Company negotiating with Governor Douglas to operate on his own behalf, further south on the Island.


I couldn't borrow it - as this was the
only copy - many wanted to read it - and
sadly many have gone awol - henc the notice
He rose to prominence through sheer hard work, canny ability - as a coal mine developer, owner and operator, a railway developer, industrialist and politician, becoming within twenty five years the richest man in British Columbia.


I drove up to Union Bay - its interesting history almost obscured by time - but I'm still enamoured with it ... and now I know the area - will return in due course.


Remnants of the area's historic use as a coal shipping terminal between 1888 and the 1960s can be found in the Bay ... black rock, pilings, bricks, rusting metal ... an industrial midden - which will await future archaeologists.


Beach 'midden' remnants littering the shoreline
c/o Island Nature - Union Bay Coal Hills


It is slowly being reclaimed ... but apart from huge logging booms in the deepwater Bay ... the area is now noted for its mussel, clam and oyster beds ... as well as fresh crabs ...





A beach full of mussels and mussel beds ...
it was a cool day ... but the coastline here on the west coast
is full of bays, inlets etc ...

Robert Dunsmuir enjoyed the high life after his hard work ... yet never managed to let go ... his fortune has gone, but he is remembered for opening up Vancouver Island ...




So tomorrow we go from here 'U' for Union Bay, Vancouver Island and its reincarnation in the 21st century  to Vancouver itself on the mainland.


That is U for the unique Union Bay ... from Aspects by a British 'girl' in Canada ...

'Midden' photo from Island Nature - wonderful photography and pertinent tales ...

The Dunsmuir Saga book by Terry Reksten ... brings their history to life - which covers the pioneering days here on the Island, together with changes occurring in the last 170 years ...it was a fortuitous 2nd hand buy in the very local bookstore.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

30 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

How lovely that it is being reclaimed and is known for its seafood and its scenery.
So often mining areas cannot really recover.

Liz A. said...

How economies change... Sad that the coal is gone, but then again, the seafood is a much better industry for current times.

Marcy said...

I must confess that my knowledge of Canadian history and geography is quite sketchy, so I have been learning a lot from your blog posts this A to Z Challenge. I have always wanted to visit British Columbia and Vancouver Island. Union Bay seems like a lovely place to visit too!

Patsy said...

I like the idea of somewhere being named for something which was named for somewhere else.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Love the idea of industrial middens waiting for future archaeologists! - how very cool..

Kim Blades said...

Hi Hilary. Another interesting post and lovely pictures. We are all becoming experts on Canada!

Jz said...

What a gorgeous carved fish in that sign!
Did you bring home a dinner of mussels?

RO said...

This is actually quite fascinating, and shows how things can evolve over the years. I'd love to explore the beach for the rocks and seafood glory. I imagine it would be a day filled with treasures and history. you always share the most fascinating info. Hugs...RO

Sue Bursztynski said...

Glad to hear that nature has reclaimed the area. Things are not going that well here in Australia, where our Great Barrier Reef is already suffering from coral bleaching and will be even worse if a billionaire from overseas gets to open a new coal mine in the area. In 2018 a new coal mine! And our idiot government is wanting to allow it, for the sake of a few jobs! Never mind that there are already plenty of jobs in tourism and that their own grandchildren will have no more natural beauty to love. It's all about votes.

U Is For Urban Fantasy

https://suebursztynski.blogspot.com.au/2018/04/a-to-z-blogging-challenge-u-is-for.html

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
That shoreline looks very similar to the one down the hill from me! Not sure any ancient middens have been found there though. YAM xx

Joanne said...

I hope it does make a comeback, for your sake. Quite a history

Rhodesia said...

I have learnt more about Canada from you than I have even thought about in the past! Well done Hilary you have really made this alphabet interesting. Happy day, Diane

Dan said...

I've been enjoying your series. I can't seem to be able to comment from my phone, but I'm visiting on a laptop today. Good timing, as today and tomorrow look especially interesting. I've been in and through BC a few times, but I would love to go back for a longer visit. Thanks for sahring so much information about it.

Jo said...

Interesting history there Hilary. Are the mines completely played out?

Lucky you to have access to such seafood. In Ontario we are so far from the sea that anything we get has been frozen or at least on ice for a while. When we first came here, 40 some years ago, fresh seafood was very scarce and very expensive. It is still very expensive.

Kali Delamagente said...

Again, an interesting tidbit about Canada. Company towns were pretty important down here in building our extended country. Maybe this is like that?

Christine Rains said...

Wonderful that the place has been reclaimed. I'm catching up on your Canada posts! :)

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!

It's reassuring, somehow, when a new flame rises from the ashes of a dying industry. Proof that we humans are indeed resourceful ;-)

Deborah Weber said...

Fun to see you in the swing of things Hilary - tracking down local history and bringing us into the loop. It's good to know the area is being reclaimed, and hopefully environmental damage mitigated, but it's always fascinating to know what has been built upon what was before. Layers and layers of history.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - at least they're putting the area to good use, while the seafood has been given a revival once the toxins were gone ... but the scenery there is just lovely. Some mining areas get reclaimed by plants in Cornwall certainly ... and then by us ...

@ Liz - yes exactly how much change does go on ... California 150 years ago completely different to what it is today. The seafood and plastic ... there's another challenge ... though I'm still eating it ...

@ Marcy - well I knew very little ... but I do know more now - so am delighted you've enjoyed the little I can inform you about ... that part of the coast I imagine in the sun would be lovely to see ...

@ Patsy - yes the naming of Union Bay was such an interesting thing to find out about ...

@ Nila - yes ... I wonder if they'll search them out in 100 or 200 years ...

@ Kim - well someone else is learning about Canada = me!! Glad you're enjoying the posts ...

@ Jz - the first carved sign was stolen, then they replaced it ... and I rather liked it - so thank you. Nope - I thought about it ... but was not at all prepared ... and life here isn't that easy for that sort of impromptu life ...

@ RO - thanks ... it was an interesting find - and I did enjoy the book ... a potted history of the Island's development etc. I imagine a few days up there would be very interesting ... lots to explore and lots of shore line with landscapes to enjoy one's meal by - mussels, oysters etc ...

@ Sue - yes it's interesting that we can now reclaim it ... I've been noting environmental concerns in Australia - and that coal development does sound crazy ... it'd mess the river environs up too ... let's hope it doesn't get the go-ahead ...

@ Yamini - you must be living in a lovely area ... midden or not - they're probably buried awaiting a future generation ...

@ Joanne - yes it is being reclaimed, but I won't be here for that ...

@ Diane - thanks so much ... just glad I've amused, as well as 'entertained-educated' ...

@ Dan - good to see you ... sorry I'm not into the tech stuff - so don't know ... this probably isn't set up for it - but that's a thought too far for me!! Just delighted that the posts are proving interesting ... I'm enjoying writing them up ... and hopefully sometime you'll be back for that longer visit ... it is beautiful.

@ Jo - there is still a little mining here - but it's not a major part of the economy anymore. Yes - I am lucky to be here ... living on a farm with fresh beef and chickens ... then other local meats - let alone the seafood off the coast ...

@ Jacqui - I think probably the Canadian towns, as too other Pacific towns grew up much the same way ... I'm not sure the company towns were the best ... but for that period that was how things were ...

@ Christine - good to see you - and thanks for catching up ... and yes it is good that that whole area is being redeveloped ...

@ Diedre - yes ... it is interesting how we can implant new life into the wastes left ... we are resourceful - and kind if we look after the environment too ...

@ Deborah - it was just luck - finding this book and then getting really interested in how this locality and Vancouver developed. I hope there isn't too much damage being done ... balance seems to be the key - not too one sided. However ... these layers and layers of history we can find now ...

Thanks so much to you all - so good to know you're enjoying this series on parts of Canada - an inkling of life here ... cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

I'm learning all sorts of wonderful things about Canada that I did not know. Thanks for sharing. Another good pick.

Out on the prairie said...

The seafood sounds marvelous. I am happy it prospers after mining so close. Many mines were around my area, and few remnants to be found. every once in a while a old air shaft collapses and leaves a hole in a street or yard.

Inger said...

It's amazing, well maybe not, knowing you, but still..... How you have been able to put together a whole A to Z from Canada. This and all the other posts are so interesting. It has also shown me how little I know about Canada. By the end of April, I should know a whole more than before though.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love that it's being reclaimed and found anew! This is wonderful.

Susan Kane said...

Excellent history of the letter U, Union Bay! It would be interesting digging for a future archaeologists.

Why is it that men who rise to the top and spend it all, ending up penniless?! Would a woman do that?! I kinda believe that she would be more cautious.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

What an interesting post of a place I have never heard of before

Debby Gies said...

I love all this research your are sharing about my great country. Thanks for the education Hilary. :)

Susan Scott said...

Why am I not surprised that a Scotman was a pioneer? It sounds a delightful place Hilary - and those crabs, clams, oysters and mussels? I would be in heaven - no doubt you feasted when you visited :)

Emily Bloomquist said...

Waiting for future archaeologists. Love that, Hilary! Wonder how long it will be.

Lynn said...

A lovely place to visit - with such rich history.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - so glad you're enjoying the posts ...

@ Steve - yes seafood does sound delicious doesn't it. I've been interested to read the changes in the fortune of the area; I think old mines everywhere can collapse - I know they do in Britain ...

@ Inger - thanks so much ... I've enjoyed my foray into getting to grips with Canada - it's been fun ... I have at least taught myself a few things about life up here ...

@ Tyrean - it is good that the area is being developed ... and I hope they'll not lose the heritage of the area ...

@ Susan - thanks for the visit ... and yes as you rightly say: future archaeologists.

Dunsmuir was controlling and never 'trusted' his sons with developing and learning the trade of managing a business - the two sons had some of it ... but the daughters - very little. His wife inherited and she too was lost what to do ... and by then one son had died ... but those were the days, when women didn't inherit ... Dunsmuir's problem was he 'needed control' and could never relinquish it ...

@ Jo-Anne - it's fairly small - but I needed an 'U' ... and so here it is ... coal and all ...

@ Debby - thanks so much ... I've learnt - and probably need to adjust a few things ... still it's given us all a glimpse ...

@ Susan - I know so many Scots over here ... and so much of Canada used Scottish building techniques - similar stone. Oh sadly I didn't ... I had a chowder on the way back ... but would have loved to have stopped and lingered ...

@ Emily - yes ... 'future archaeologists' - well I hope they let people settle into the new development first - and I hope they'll keep some of the area as a heritage site ...

@ Lynn - it was an interesting place to get up to visit ... one could just slowly go up the coast and explore a bit each day ... and eat happily and explore a bit more!!

Thanks everyone ... glad my U united everyone in giving it the thumbs up - cheers Hilary