Departure Bay
Departure Bay lies on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in the city of Nanaimo. This area is part of the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw Peoples who have lived on this land for thousands of years. The location of Departure Bay was one of the main Snuneymuxw winter village sites.1
After European settlement, Departure Bay became a hub for coal mining. According to this despatch, the Harewood Railway Company Act, 1864 enabled the construction of a tramway that stretched from the coal mines to Departure Bay, this line was completed by the Harewood Colliery Company Limited -- in which Robert Dunsmuir was a significant member.2
With the dwindling of coal mines, in 1892 the Hamilton Power Company -- responsible for manufacturing nitroglycerine (an explosive chemical used in dynamite) -- expanded their company and opened a second plant in the Departure Bay area. The explosives created at the plant were used by miners, farmers, and local contractors; as well as shipped from the dock at Departure Bay to elsewhere. It is possible that dynamite was manufactured here until the mid-1980s.3
Today Departure Bay is known for being the location of the Pacific Biological Station, operated by the government of Canada. It should be noted that this station stands in the place where Indigneous longhouses, of the Snuneymuxw group, used to stand.4
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Dunsmuir, Robert

Places in this document


Vancouver Island