Archive for March, 2011

Discover South Wellington

Feature Exhibit: April 6 to May 14

Speaker Series: Saturdays April 6 to May 14

Discover historic South Wellington, an enterprising community in a valley south of Nanaimo where coal mines, railways, farming and families once created a bustling community.  Nanaimo Museum is proud to work with and showcase a local community in our Feature Exhibit Gallery.


The exhibit is based on Clare Singleton’s book Treasures of South Wellington. The exhibit includes a variety of photographs, artifacts and stories provided by the community that complement the original works by the artist. Visitors will learn about the dangers faced by miners, the devastating fires that swept through the community and the lives of people who lived there. “We worked closely with the artist to develop the exhibit and include stories from the recently published community history South Wellington: Stories from the Past,” said museum curator David Hill-Turner.


Clare’s art is the centre of the exhibit, to be complemented with photos and artifacts. She lives in South Wellington and describes herself as an “on location” artist who paints from life. She likes to be there and live the experience, so she moved to South Wellington in 2007 from Ladysmith to be closer to her subject matter. Her book forms the basis of the exhibit’s storyline. Her work highlights the generations of mining families in this area and the lives they still lead.


Join us also for the series of Saturday lectures at the museum and walking tours of the South Wellington community that supplement the exhibit based on Clare Singleton’s paintings of South Wellington.


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For more information please contact Debbie Trueman at the Nanaimo Museum 250-753-1821


Discover South Wellington Speakers Series at the Nanaimo Museum
All presentations in the Nanaimo Museum are 2-4 pm.

April 9

South Wellington, Its History and Early Families, Helen Tilley, South Wellington Historical Committee

April 16

Virtual Black Track Tour, T.W. Paterson, historian and author.

Join us to discover the story behind the trail of coal that linked the five mines of South Wellington to Nanaimo.

April 30

South Wellington, Peter Culley, Writer and photographer.
Treasures of South Wellington, Clare Singleton, Artist

May 7

Walking Tour of South Wellington. (Not in the Museum)

In conjunction with the South Wellington School’s PAC annual plant sale, join the South Wellington Historical Committee for a walking tour of the community. Please pre-book with Nanaimo Museum (250.753.1821) for one of the tours at 10 am or 12 pm. The $10 fee will go to supporting South Wellington’s heritage. The tour starts at South Wellington School across from the Fire Hall at 1555 Morden Road. Refreshments will be available.

May 7

Saving Morden, Friends of Morden Mine
Morden Mine is a designated provincial Historic Park where some of the last physical remains of Nanaimo’s mining heritage can be seen. The society has been working with BC Parks to raise awareness of the site and develop a conservation plan for the surviving concrete head frame and tipple.

May 14

Spirit of South Wellington, South Wellington and Area Community Association

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I’m just taking a break from doing my yard clean-up for spring, and thinking about how grateful I was to have so many incredible neighbours who supported me through my first year of guerilla gardening.  I have a bevvy of plants just itching to get growing this year.

Makes me think that it might be an idea to “share the love’….:)

  • Is there anything you would like to trade?
  • Anything extra you want to offer?
  • Anything specific you are looking for?

If so, post if below, and I’ll make sure you get connected.



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This in from Kathryn-Jane Hazel:

“I subscribe to the Guardian Weekly, an excellent UK newspaper covering international current affairs, arts, literature, and politics. I’d be happy to pass on my copies to anyone who’d like to read them – after I’ve finished the crossword, of course! You can reach me at k.j.hazel   [at]   shaw.ca.”

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Introducing a new feature to the SECA blog, “Shop In the South End” profiling the shops and businesses that operate in the South End and are so important to the fabric of our neighborhood.

Shops and services once thrived in the South End.  People shopped where they lived and commerce was a central part of neighbourhood life.  A great example is the Manson store on the corner of Haliburton and Farquhar which was known for supporting families through good times and bad by providing credit during the depression and during mine closures.  Times have changed and the North End malls and retail chains have made it extremely difficult for small business to compete.  In spite of the challenges a few small businesses continue to thrive and are proud to call the South End home.  by supporting them, we can keep our hard-earned dollars in the neighbourhood.

We’ll begin by profiling one of our most visible businesses:  R-U Computing.

Brent and Madilynn at R-U Computing are a wonderful example of a business that chose to locate in the south end and through hard work and commitment to their products and service have been a great success.  Here’s some info about their business:

R-U Computing Co. Ltd.  has been located on Haliburton Street since 1999.  Over the course of the past several years, R-U Computing has undergone many changes as our regular customers know.

We have built our business through offering a broad range of new and used computer systems allowing us to target a system to a client’s requirements. It is a primary goal of ours to provide customers with knowledge and information that will enable them to make an informed decision of their computer needs.

We are happy to spend the time with our customers to determine the best options for their requirements. We strongly recommend bringing in your existing systems in order to evaluate the most cost effective approach to getting to the next level of your computing experience.  If we can utilize your existing parts to save you money, we will; many times a complete replacement is unnecessary. Again, it is our mandate to provide our customers information to make an informed and educated decision.

Computer service is a large part of our business.  We fix hardware and software issues on PC’s and laptops and having a well organized, large service area are able to do the job quickly. Service jobs include checking and replacing hardware as necessary, performing upgrades, and providing evaluations and recommendations as required. Software issues include (but are not limited to) corrupt or missing files, viruses, spyware, missing drivers, installing programs, registry issues etc.

We strive to keep our rates reasonable, making it affordable for people to fix their computers.

We are open Monday to Friday from 10 to 5:30 with the exception of holidays and take computers in  on a drop-in basis.

Thank you to our customers for making this possible!

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Well, we’ve finalized the questions that we will be asking potential council candidates in the upcoming by-election on March 26.  And we’ve posted them on the South End Votes blog. (we’re using that site rather than this one, because there is an election coming up later this year, and we want to keep all election stuff in one clean and tidy place….:)

Here they are, just in case you didn’t get the chance to review them before the by-election.

1.  The South End Community has a vision for Nicol Street outlined in their newly created Neighbourhood Plan.  If elected, what actions would you recommend to the city to transform Nicol Street from an outdated highway to a vibrant urban corridor?

2.  The South End Community has a vision of creating parks space that is sadly lacking in the area. If elected how would you support and initiate the possible acquisition by the City of Nanaimo of either the properties at 901 & 925 Harbourview St. or 101 South St. for use as public parklands in the South End Neighbourhood?

3.  The Port Authority has recently built a cruise ship terminal on their wharf lands. What would your vision for the neighbourhood abutting this property be?  How will that impact our neighbourhood?

4.  What are the ideas from the South End Neighbourhood Plan that are the most impressive to you and if elected how would you work towards their implementation?

Congratulations to Ted Greves, our new council member.  We look forward to working with you in the future.

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Unbeknownst to Charles Torhjelm, we nominated him for a city heritage award.  Unfortunately the field was unusually strong this year, (otherwise we believe he would have been a shoe in!)

We so appreciate all of Charles’ efforts and contributions to our neighborhood.  Our nomination is below.


February 19, 2011

Re: John Thomson Heritage Memorial Award

Attention: Nanaimo Community Heritage Commission

To Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of the South End Community Association, it is my great pleasure to nominate Charles Torhjelm for the John Thomson Heritage Memorial Award.  Charles served as President of our association from 1995- 2003 and his contribution to our community has been quite exceptional.  Charles has a great passion for the south end and he has been a most ardent advocate for the promotion and conservation of our unique heritage as Nanaimo’s original neighbourhood.  Importantly, he recognised that our identity as a neighbourhood is inextricably linked to the First Nations who lived here first, the industry that developed and the community that grew up around it.  Charles has understood the need to preserve our connection to the past as the best way to define our neighbourhood now and in the future and this theme has become a central focus for our association.

The success of the Miners Heritage Picnic, now in its 20th year, is largely due to Charles whose idea it was and whose tireless energy and commitment has made it such a wonderful annual event in the south end calendar.  His initial and enduring concept was a simple one, to provide a fun free day for the people of the south end, much like the old miners picnics that used to take place in the very same park.  The picnic is an annual celebration of our neighbourhood, the history that shaped it and the people, young and old, aboriginal and non-aboriginal that live in the neighborhood today.  The theme of heritage is central to the event, with the ever popular guided heritage walk through the neighbourhood, various historical exhibits on view, a “strawberry social” for senior south enders who are served tea by children dressed in old fashioned garb, and much more.

Charles was also responsible for both the idea and then raising the money that led to the establishment of the heritage kiosk at the site of the No 1 mine that commemorates the lives lost in the explosion of 1887, a seminal event in the city’s history.  As I write, Charles has been busy liasing with the city to renovate the site, and is coordinating a planned memorial event at the site on May 7 to celebrate the improvements and draw attention to this important event in our history.

As you know well, a sense of heritage and history counts for little unless brought to life and given meaning through the efforts and actions of individuals such as Charles Torhjelm.  On behalf of all of our members, I warmly commend him to you as a worthy recipient of this award.  Thank you for your kind consideration.


Douglas Hardie


South End Community Association

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Shop In the South End. Do you know that more than 66 businesses operate in the South End? SECA proposes we support our local businesses, and to that end, each month we will be highlighting a local business in this blog.

Quirk Works is back in operation after a winter hiatus. A meeting with pot luck will be held March 29, 6:00 PM at 508 Victoria Rd. The Tea Wagon and future projects are to be discussed.

The Number One Mine Kiosk will be rejuvenated according to the City. There is also the possibility of some Public Art near the kiosk. Charles Torhjelm has raised money toward this. There will be a commemoration of the 1887 mining disaster at Number One Mine on May 7 2011, time to be announced.

The SECA Purchasing Guidelines were adopted in principle at this meeting. Thank you for all work Chris!  For more information click here.

The possibility of a South End Flag was raised and ideas batted around. Please submit your designs to us!


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"Neighbours feel snubbed by 7-Eleven silence over proposed store" Residents seek shorter opening time as a means to avoid problems in neighborhood. See story here.

See also these articles from the Nanaimo News Bulletin:

South end unhappy with proposed 24-hour store

By Toby Gorman – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: March 01, 2011 1:00 PM

Debate over 24-hour openings in Nanaimo not new

Nanaimo News Bulletin

Published: March 02, 2011 11:00 AM

Restricted hours for opening work well elsewhere

Nanaimo News Bulletin,
Published: March 07, 2011 3:00 PM

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According to the Nanaimo Daily News, the Young Professionals of Nanaimo want to turn abandoned gas stations into community gardens. Hmm, we have a couple of those in the good old South End… For the story click here.

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7-Eleven Update

New Business License Bylaw coming to Nicol St.

Despite threats, by the proponent for a new mixed use Commercial and Residential 7-Eleven at the corners of Nicol and Milton St’s., that the project would be abandoned if it was not allowed to operate 24/7, City Council has chosen to create a new Business License Bylaw for the area of Nicol St., possibly Haliburton St. and Victoria Rd. as well, designated Corridors in the Official Community Plan.

This bylaw would put a restriction on retail service hours and would not affect restaurants.  Presentations to council were made by SECA’s illustrious Chair Douglas Hardie and Vice Chair Gord Fuller.  Check out the video of the meeting here Council Meeting February 28, 2011

Near the beginning are the presentations made by developer Keith Brown, Douglas, Gord, and Marzana Banks, a long-time 7-Eleven employee and manager.  Council discussion is later…very interesting.

Our deepest appreciation and gratitude go to Mayor, Council members, and city staff.  With your help, we’re building a revitalized and safe neighbourhood.  And we couldn’t do it without you.

New 7-Eleven OK’d, but may not be able to open 24 hours

Residents fear all-night operation will bring return of crime, drugs

Derek Spalding, Daily News, Published: Tuesday, March 01, 2011

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