Cumberland, British Columbia

After lunch we headed out to Cumberland, an old mining coal community. Cumberland is a cute little town; small with lots of old buildings and places that sell antiques. They also boast being one of the largest china towns North of San Francisco. The Cumberland Coal Mining Museum has exhibits from the turn of the century Chinese community, communications technology from that era, and also a walk through mine.

There were lots of old community and people photos from the 1800s and 1900s, plenty of tin type photos and old Victorian albums that you could browse through, which is surprising because usually they are locked up. This is the largest I have seen in a small town museum.

While we walked through a mock coal mine there was plenty of reminiscing from Nana and Papa. Nana grew up in a coal mining community and her father and brothers all worked in the mines. After Papa married Rose he worked in the coal mines in Nova Scotia for two years. It was an unpleasant experience for him; in his words: “Some people liked to work in the mines because they like the moisture and the warmth. But not I. It was dirty and hard work.” Nana’s father made sure he worked in the safe areas, but after two years he enlisted in the RCAF and left the mines forever.

Nana also told stories about her father and brother Willard who died in the mines. Willard was working on a dangerous section of the mine (more money) against the advice of his father. One wall caved in and a piece of the support beam penetrated his chest. He survived this part of the ordeal and was taken to the hospital but died in the middle of the night.

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