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Posts Tagged ‘Number One Mine’

Jack Mar‘s father had been a church minister in Cumberland during the coal mining years there.  A few years ago, Jack and his wife Pamela, were at the site of the Kiosk at Milton Street and the Esplanade, and felt that it needed some upgrading.  They got in touch with Chris Sholberg at the City of Nanaimo, and he was instrumental in getting the signage redone and generally improving the site.  When Jack died, Pamela let Charles Torhjelm know that she would like to donate some funds to  further improve the site because it had been important to her husband that the disaster of 1887 at No. 1 Mine be commemorated in an honourable way.  The owners of the business neighbouring the site,  Van-Kam Freightways, also expressed the desire to help.

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In early April, Charles, Jill Stannard and Joan Carruthers met with City staffers Jill Pasaluko, Richard Coulthard and Darren Fargo to go over the vision of the rose garden and extension of the stonework for seating and also the addition of two benches.  Roses were chosen because they would have been a popular flower seen in the gardens of the miners’ families.  A dogwood tree was planted and a garden bed was prepared behind the stonework. On the day of the event the workers placed twelve rose bushes, still in pots for later planting, on the newly prepared bed.
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Around 5:00, in glorious sunshine, after a day that had been threatening rain, the tea wagon and a display outlining SECA interests and events were set up.
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At 5:30, Douglas Hardie, MC for the evening, welcomed those in attendance.
A poignant passage quoted from Lynnn’s Bowen’s book, “Boss Whistle”, chosen by Kathy Torhjelm and read by Sydney Robertson, described the events in our neighbourhood soon after the whistle that never meant good news was heard by families who were about to sit down to dinner.
Joan Carruthers read a poem written for the planting of the garden in honour of the miners and their families.
Mayor John Ruttan spoke about the historical impact of the disaster.
Gordon Fuller read a letter written for the event by Jean Crowder which expressed her recognition and mentioned the importance of work safety requirements.
Douglas thanked Gail Pasaluko, Horticultural Supervisor for the City of Nanaimo, and the men who did the preparation of the site, Richard Coulthard and Darren Fargo. 
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Chris Sholberg, Heritage Planner for the City of Nanaimo , Muriel MacKay-Ross, Freeman of the City and past Chairperson of the Coal Mine Workers Committee, and Pamela Mar and Jill Stannard from the Nanaimo Historical Society were invited to be honourary planters.
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 Councillors  Diane Brennan, Jim Kipp, Diana Johnstone and Fred Pattje were in attendance with our Mayor Ruttan who was among the volunteer planters.  was also in attendance as were some decendents of men who worked in mines in the Nanaimo area.
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Unfortunately, Charles Torhjelm, the man who had with Pamela Mar, sparked the vision for this garden, was in Victoria in hospital so was unable to attend.
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At 5:55, exactly, one hundred and twenty-five years after the event that shook the earth and impacted the lives of so many Nanaimo residents, a minute of silent respect was shared.  Shortly after, there was the purposeful activity of volunteer planters, young and older, some in gardening clothes and others dressed in their best, people we knew and some we had never met, creating a rose garden to honour the miners and their families.  Stories were shared that linked us to the history of our neighbourhood and  to our neighbours, and, true to custom, then and now, in times of reflection and connection, some of those who had taken the time to remember together, had a cup of tea.
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Thanks to Joan Carruthers for the report.
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Here are some photos taken at the event.

Click here


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Darrell Bellaart, Daily News

Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Another fabulous article, chock full of information.  Click on the headline link to go to the article.
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And…if you want to see more, including photos of the headstones and the original newspaper article posted in the New York Times on May 7, 1887, click on this link and follow the discussion thread back.

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South end remembers victims of No. 1 Esplanade Mine

By Toby Gorman – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: May 01, 2012 8:00 AM

The calmness of a pleasant spring evening on May 3, 1887 in Nanaimo was shattered by two percussive thumps in quick succession, followed by the throaty pitch of the steam whistle at the No. 1 Esplanade Mine.

This wonderful article covers much of the orighnal story and was on the front page of today’s News Bulletin.  Thanks for the excellent article!

 

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On May 3rd, 1887 ,shortly before 6:00 p.m. in the south slope of No. 1 Pit Mine at the “Esplanade”, someone fired a poorly placed explosive into the rock face.  An undetected cloud of gas ignited and an explosion occurred which ultimately killed 150 miners, left 46 women without husbands and 126 children without fathers. At that time, the total population of Nanaimo was close to 4,000.
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    On Thursday May 3rd, 2012, on the 125th Anniversary of the disaster, the South End Community Association will be planting a rose garden in memory of the Nanaimo citizens lost and their families.
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This commemorative event will take place at the Miner’s Kiosk, at the corner or Milton Street and the Esplanade and will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the planting of the garden by SECA members and guests to begin at 6:00 p.m.  Everyone welcome.
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Thanks to the Nanaimo Historical Society, Pamela Mar, Van-Kam Freightways Ltd. and Murial MacKay-Ross for their generous donations.
   
At the site of the Miner’s Memorial Kiosk on Milton Street, Charles Torhjelm from SECA reviews plans for the Rose Garden.  Looking on are, from left, Richard Coulthard and Darren Fargo, who will be preparing the site, and Gail Pasaluko, Horticultural Supervisor for the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department of the City of Nanaimo. 

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Jim Tayor at nanaimo-Info-blog.com  has captured some of the wonderful stories of mining families that were presented at the Rededication on May 7.

Wonderful.

Click here to read it.

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The Number One Mine Memorial was a great success. In spite of the dampness, more than 60 people attended. Mayor John Ruttan, MP Jean Crowder and MLA Doug Routley all spoke about the need to remember the mining disaster of 1887. Muriel MacKay Ross, Beverley Sherry and author Roger Stonebanks spoke about the old mining days in Nanaimo. Councilors Fred Pattje, Loyd Sherry and Ted Greves also attended. Music was provided by Trinitude and the Owl and the Pussycat (plus friends) The Tea Wagon was there in all its glory and SECA members dispensed tea and cookies. A special thank you to Charles Torjhelm for getting the original kiosk, its present renovation and for helping organize the ceremony.

Here’s a link to the article in the Nanaimo Daily News.

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