Well-known historian, newspaper columnist, and raconteur Tom Paterson has agreed to lead his second Black Track Tour of 2009 on Saturday, September 19. This popular tour of coal mining sites and rail lines south of Nanaimo takes in the Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park, the Wellington townsite, No.5 South Wellington, Alexandra/Richardson/Fiddick and PCC mines, Fiddick’s Junction, No. 10 South Wellington, and Granby. Tom Paterson is a most informative guide able to recreate the human history behind these vestiges of the above-ground coal mining structures and mine sites. “Black Track” refers to those South Wellington area railway lines informally used by early 20th century miners and residents as a public thoroughfare or walking track. Coal dust coated the lines so thickly that they became known locally as the Black Track.
The tour will assemble at 10 am at Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park in front of the headframe. Each participant is asked to bring water or juice and a packed lunch/snacks sufficient to sustain them for the length of the tour, typically ranging up to five hours. Hats, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, and clothing to protect from possible brambles or wayward branches are also recommended. Transportation will be pooled to drive participants to various mine sites, but participants are asked to provide their own to and from the park. Participants are reminded that to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all tour members, they should refrain from wandering off by themselves or engaging in conversations that impede the ability of others to hear the commentary.
Tickets are $30 for one person or $25 per person for two or more in a party. The proceeds go to support Friends of the Morden Mine Society in their endeavour to preserve the Morden Colliery. The mine’s splendid but rapidly deteriorating 1913 headframe and tipple, innovative at the time in their use of reinforced concrete, are the only such remaining above-ground structures on Vancouver Island, or in North America for that matter. Tom will be donating his time and his fund of historical coal mining stories. Space is limited so call 250-714-0377 to reserve.