Heritage by the Sea

Ladysmith Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 17 › view all entries
April 5, 2008

My friend Gwen and I started out on our little road trip to Ladysmith.  It had been since forever since I had really been there.  I never stopped there to look around the town that often as I was always to busy making my way up island to Campbell River to visit family.

The day was still chilly even for this time of year, but at least it was not raining.  There is quite a lot of history there for such a small town, and lots that I had never seen before.  So for me it is exciting just to go for the drive and see a place that I pass by .....but never stop to see.


For centuries, the language of the Chemainus First Nation, HUL'Q'UMI'NUM was the only one heard in the area around the present day town of Ladysmith.
  For centuries the First Nation communities have been settled at Kullett Bay, Shell Beach (across Ladysmith Harbour), and Coffin Beach.  Their camps and special cultural sites existed along both shores of Ladysmith Harbour.

In 1884, the E&N Railway Grant to James Dunsmuir privatized many of these lands and resources.  The Chemainus First Nation villages (4 in total), were set aside from the expanding private land base and now form a part of the Chemainus Indian Reserve 13.

Located on the 49th parallel, Ladysmith is a small town built on a hillside overlooking the waters of Ladysmith Harbour. Ladysmith is one of the oldest settlements on Vancouver Island, the community known as Oyster Harbour was established in 1899 by James Dunsmuir.  The town was designed as a recreation and dormitory complex for miners, serving as a shipping port for coal from Nanaimo.

When Dunsmuir received word on March 1, 1900 that the British forces had relieved their besieged counrtymen in Ladysmith, in Natal Province of South Africa, he named the new town Ladysmith and many local streets were named after the British Generals who served in the Anglo Boer War.

It is located 88 kilometers north of Victoria and only 23 kilometers south of Nanaimo (another add to this blog one day soon).

In april 2000 in the magazine Harrowsmith Country Life...in was named one of the 10 prettiest towns in Canada.
In 2003 it was awarded a National Communities In Bloom Award (hmm...spring has not spung there quite yet).

Today the little town of Ladysmith had many of its original buildings being restored.  This is a on going thing but the town really has lots of charm and character.

Ladysmith has much to offer.
For the outdoor type of people there is the Holland Creek Trail...(hmmm...I have not done this trail yet) (another blog).
Stroll along first avenue and see many of the restored buildings.
Transfer Beach has picknicking, kayak rentals, the amphitheatre (I never knew), apparantley it is the biggest open-air Amphitheatre on Vancouver Island and hold more than 1,000 people (I still never knew).
There are harbour tours.  Visit the salmon fish hatchery...eat some of the world-famous fresh Ladysmith oysters (ewww).
Golf, camping, fishing, parks, trails...on and on and on.....
For those of you who would rather jump than walk Nanamio has the first and only bridge built specifically for bungee jumpers.  Right off the 140 foot bridge staight into the Nanaimo River...so if the rope breaks well heck at least you have water.
This is by the Amphitheater...
  (Never would I jump)...hahahahah
There are a great many places to eat...just like everywher else on Vancouver Island.
We ate at George's Restaurant..review will be attached.

Ladysmith hosta a number of events during the year such as the Vancouver Island paddlefest in June, The coolest thing to see is in November and December when they turn on the christmas lights...it tranforms this little town into a fairytale wonderland (another blog), and then they have the Christmas Light Harbour Cruise.

Ladysmith is the hometown of the world famous Pamela Anderson.

So there ya go...I never did see where her house is, but all in all it was a great day out for a little road trip to Ladysmith.

More will be added to this blog, as there is much I still need to see...like the house of ill repute (gosh I never knew)....and many more historic buildings I will add on as I go back.

hummingbird50 says:
Hahahahah but that was the language...no I can't pronounce it either...but I am learning to speak Kwa kwa la....tis fun! :) And Hamumu is butterfly...:)
Posted on: Oct 12, 2008
Stevie_Wes says:
That language "HUL'Q'UMI'NUM"... ya makin' that one up right?!? It looks even more difficult to pronounce than Welsh!!! ;D
Posted on: Oct 12, 2008
Andy99 says:
I'm enjoying your visits to the small towns of Vancouver Island and your historical notes about them! This is so much local history to explore everywhere!
Posted on: Apr 07, 2008
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This is by the Amphitheater...
This is by the Amphitheater...
By the sea...by the sea...by the b…
By the sea...by the sea...by the …
Look the amphitheater...I never kn…
Look the amphitheater...I never k…
I just love old stuff....
I just love old stuff....
Building restorations
Building restorations
A little travelers lodge...
A little travelers lodge...
This is now a museum...did not rea…
This is now a museum...did not re…
Leaving Ladysmith...
Leaving Ladysmith...
photo by: Vikram