Who's Been Nibbling on the Welcome Cake?
CANADA'S FIRST GATHERING
Launch: Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham was a major launching point for US C-Dorys heading to the north.
Location: Nanaimo is located about a quarter of the way up the eastern side of Vancouver Island and is the second largest city on the island. It is sometimes referred to as the "hub, tub, and pub" city - hub for its location, tub because it is the home of the "world famous" bathtub races, and pub for all the attractions in Old Nanaimo.
SOME HISTORY OF THE HUB FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF NANAIMO
-----Where and why is Nanaimo? Well at the top end of the Gulf Islands, about a quarter of the way up the eastern side of Vancouver Island, is the town and it is there because of abundant natural resources. First, the Native Americans found it a fine place to fish, gather, hunt and live. They lived in the environs for thousands of years. When the first Europeans arrived 1791, there were five separate native villages near the present town site. Its name is from the Coast Salish word, Snuneymuxw, "a great and mighty people."
-----The Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive. They named the bay Bocas de Winthuysen, so try that one if you think Nanaimo is hard to pronounce. There was little European activity until 1849 when a local Native chief told the Hudson's Bay Company about coal deposits in the area. In 1853 the Company built a bastion to establish claim to the coal. This building is the oldest remaining structure of its type in North America. Every noon in summer a cannon is fired, Scottish bagpipes trill and there is Highland dancing.
The Nanaimo Bastion
----- At 6 p.m. on May 3rd, 1887 two explosions ripped through the Number One Mine, killing 150 workers. Some of the men, who succumbed, were trapped alive in the mine. A few were able to write farewell messages in the dust of their shovels. It is the worst mining accident in BC history and one of the worst for Canada. Coal mining continued as the major industry until the 1940's. Lumber is now a dominant business.
Commemorative Plaque at Site of Disaster
-----One of Nanaimo's unique attractions is the World Championship Bathtub Race. Yep - bathtub! And this race has been going on for more than forty years! In late July, tubbers race around the harbour with thousands of spectators.
A High Speed Bathtub, Indeed!
----A few years ago, as El and I cruised through Nanaimo en route to Alaska, we were looking for a nice cove to spend the night before crossing the Straits of Georgia. While El was glassing around the harbour, she suddenly exclaimed, "Ohh! The Dinghy Dock Pub, that sounds great. Let's go over and take a look."
----We did and quickly discovered that Halcyon qualified as a dinghy, so we tied off at a floating bar anchored off Protection Island, had a nice stout and dinner at the pub. After eating, we hooked in Mark Bay, a short distance away. This summer, with the C-Brat clan, El suggested it might be great fun to head over there for Friday night's meal. It is a short ferry ride across the harbour from where we were all tied off. So our C-Brat group decided that was a good idea and we all headed to the ferry dock.
The Protection Connection Ferry and C-Brats
Enjoying the Festivities
ON THE DOCK
Potluck; George, our Efficient and Jovial Host; Brats 'At Home'
Gifts From Nanaimo, Collected by George
----Nope - not what you are thinking - A Bar not a Pub! The world famous Nanaimo Bar! You can't visit Nanaimo without having a Nanaimo Bar. This is a regional specialty to make the mouth water, and now popular across the continent and beyond. Imagine a type of chocolate no-bake square, consisting of a wafer crumb-based layer, topped by a layer of light custard or vanilla butter icing, which is covered in chocolate made from melted chocolate squares. There are many varieties using different types of crumb, flavors of custard or icing (e.g. mint, peanut butter), and types of chocolate. Two popular variations on the traditional Nanaimo bar involve mint favored custard or mocha favored custard.
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