Chemainus Tug Boat

Chemainus Tug Boat

The tug boat Chemainus was built at Chemainus in 1909 for the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Equipped with a coal burning engine (this was changed to oil in the 1920s), she was 26.8 metres (93 ft) long with a 6.4 metre (22 ft) beam, and a depth of 2.9 metres (10 ft).

Billy Thomas

Billy Thomas

William Ishmael (Billy) Thomas was born to William and Catherine Thomas in 1874. He was the first male child of European ancestry born in the Chemainus Valley and lived here for all of his 102 years. Following his father’s death in about 1878, his mother remarried William Alexander Miller. The log cabin fronting the Chemainus River, which had served as their home, was eventually replaced by a larger farmhouse. It was the house Billy would live in all his life.

Native Heritage

Native Heritage

This immense mural is based on figures from the Native past and present in this area. Carved poles flank the central images of (left) Ce-who-latza, who was Chief of the Lyackson Village on Shingle Point, Valdes Island, as well as a constable of the Native Police and a Native pilot for the Royal Navy; (centre) former Chemainus Band Chief Clay-sa-luke; and (right), a Salish woman. One of the other figures is Mary Rice, top right.

Temporary Homes

Temporary Homes

Such rudimentary accommodation was not new to communities like Chemainus. Many early settlers to the area lived in similar tents for their initial stay, as they struggled to clear land and gather precious funds and materials to build better homes.

Company Store

Company Store

Using an oval format, this mural shows an interior depiction of the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. store, circa 1917. The artist recreated the deep perspective of the colourfully laden shelves from old photographs. D.A. Gatus was the store manager. He is seen standing in the mid-ground. Ann Porter worked as a clerk and is pictured on the left behind the counter.

Camp 2 On A Sunday

Camp 2 On A Sunday

Loggers at the V L & M Co. Ltd. Camp 2 (circa 1902) would spend part of their Sundays around the bunkhouse. It was the day for washing up and tending to one’s personal grooming. Half barrels and 18.18 litres (four gal) coal oil cans were used as washtubs, while a rail spike keg made a great barber’s chair.

Chemainus 1891

Chemainus 1891

The mural shows the original Chemainus, then known as Horseshoe Bay. Passenger cars of the famous Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway (E&N) steam their way across this scene of the settlement at Horseshoe Bay in 1891.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

This mural depicts the heroism and sacrifice in First World War, the “Great War”. It speaks to the suffering of ordinary men in the trenches and elsewhere. The artist’s son and a friend posed in rented uniforms to depict the soldier at right, carrying his wounded officer.

Orcas

Orcas

These majestic orcas swim off the coast of Vancouver Island. The largest members of the oceanic dolphin family, their first scientific description was in 1558.

Compass

Compass

Chemainus has long been a destination for seafaring peoples, originally with the Coastal Salish First Nations, to the first European explorers between the 1770s and 1800, and the first settlers who arrived in the late 1850s. To celebrate those who have had a long association with the coastal waters and those who are still arriving, the Municipality of North Cowichan asked Chemainus Festival of Murals Society curator Cim MacDonald to create a compass at Kin Beach.

The Winning Float

The Winning Float

In the summer of 1991, special efforts were undertaken to commemorate the rich and valuable contribution of Japanese Canadians to the community of Chemainus. “The Winning Float” is a result of those efforts and pays tribute to citizens who so long ago took such joy in celebrating our history.

Chemainus Hospital

Chemainus Hospital

In a composite of scenes, Chemainus Hospital, built in 1899, sits majestically at the left of the mural. When built, it was the only hospital between Victoria and Nanaimo. It remains a strong focus in the community even today. Some of the doctors, nurses, staff and patients from over the years are portrayed in the foreground across the expanse of the mural. From left to right are: Nurse Graham, Head Cook Chang, Nurse Johnson, Ruth Heslip (wheelchair), Dr. Herbert Burritt Rogers, and Nurse MacDougal, holding an infant.

Logging With Oxen

Logging With Oxen

Around 1898, oxen were the main form of power in logging, where good timber was available. “Large, well-equipped outfits used twenty to twenty-four oxen. These were divided into two teams: one drawing the logs from the bush to the road, while the other and stronger team was employed in skidding the logs to the water. Crude roads were built and small logs embedded skillfully athwart them at 8-foot intervals. These were the skid-roads over which the oxen drew the logs to the sea.” (R.I. Dougan, from Cowichan My Valley).