About 10 minutes south of Squamish, beside the picturesque shores of Britannia Beach, sits a piece of history: Britannia Mine Museum. The mine started pulling copper ore from Mount Sheer in 1903. The ore contained very little copper so a large concentrator and an aerial tramway had to be constructed at the site to pull the copper from the ore. Ultimately, it became the largest mining operation in British Columbia. By 1922, an even larger concentrator was constructed that could process 2,500 tons of ore daily. The mill operated for 70 years and is now the site of a large museum and a National Historic Site that provides fun for all ages.
Do you want to catch the modern-day version of gold fever? Head for the Britannia Mine Museum to try your hand at gold panning while learning about local rock and mineral activities. At the site, you can even ride on an underground mine train while touring the museum!
What is There to See and Do at the Britannia Mine?
Museum Tour: Are you ready to step back in time? The museum tour will teach you about the historical machines and the massive ore carts that transported the ore. You can also learn about the Lime Tank. Throughout the region, there are reminders of the once-thriving mining town. Housed within the massive expanse of the museum is the 1908 Machine Shop which holds a fully-restored ambulance and other large industrial machinery that is sure to pique your interest. There is even a ‘man car’ that was used to effectively transport sixteen miners to and from the mine on a daily basis.
Mill 3: Mill 3 is undeniably one of the most impressive industrial landmarks in North America. The expansive concentrator has been remarkably preserved. Within its expanse, millions of pounds of ore were processed during its heyday.
Underground Tour: What was life like for a miner in 1914? Well, it was hard and dangerous but the pay was good. A typical miner would climb aboard the museum’s mine train to head into the mine’s tunnel where they would spend the day working with drills and mulching machines to reveal the copper-rich ore. Remember to dress warmly for the underground tour because the temperature is about 12 degrees Celsius colder.
Gold Panning: At the Gold Panning Pavillion you get to keep whatever gold you are lucky enough to pan. This is a fun activity for young and old alike.
Family Play Area: Kids love the Britannia Mine Museum because there is a giant sandpit, playground boat, and even a snack area.
Historical Exhibits: Across the expanse of the Britannia Mine Museum you will find wonderfully restored artifacts, archived photos, and even the original throne that was used in the historic Copper Queen pageant. The entire site is thriving with history.
Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre: Numerous hands-on exhibits are housed within the Visitor Centre that let children learn through touch. There is also the Kids Playce, award-winning film screens, touch screens, and other displays. You will also have the opportunity to peruse the Mining Hall of Fame.
Up-and-coming Attraction: A new show is set to open at the Britannia Mine called the Mill Show Experience. The show is produced by Vista Collaborative Arts and features key components that have been tailored by the Port Coquitlam-based Dynamic Attractions. Dynamic attractions is well known for their creation of theme park rides for Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. Their creations include Harry Potter, Revenge of the Mummy, Forbidden Journey, Sourin’, and Radiator Springs Racers.
Britannia Mine Museum is open seven days a week. It is a grand family adventure that teaches about local history.