Wellington, north of Nanaimo, was the site of the first of the many mines Robert and James Dunsmuir would establish on Vancouver Island. Modest cottages were built for the miners employed in the mines.
Ashnola was the residence of James Dunsmuir's sister, Emily Ellen Dunsmuir (Mrs. Snowden) and Northing Pinckney Snowden on Victoria's Gorge waterway, across the water from James and Laura's home, Burleith. Laura Dunsmuir standing on right; Sarah Byrd is seated on the step.
Image shows the farmhouse at Roland Stuart's Hatley Park estate. In the foreground, the pond that would later form part of the Dunsmuirs' formal gardens is visible. Farm labourers are gathering hay. In the summer of 1903, architect Ridgeway-Wilson was engaged to make some alterations to the home, including the use of a half timber and plaster finish. It is possible that this image post dates the improvements made.
In 1913, James Dunsmuir acquired a wooden structure created by the Kwakwaka'wakw people to be used as a gate entrance to the Japanese garden. The sculpture was carved from western red cedar and had three upright pieces joined by a horizontal lintel. The sculpture was located at the Dunsmuir property from 1913-1938. The posts were originally intended for the inside of a house in Dzawadi and were carved around 1884, but the house was never completed and the house posts were left until they were bought by a collector who later sold them to James Dunsmuir. Dzawadi is about 100km northeast of Alert Bay and within the traditional territory of the Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala First Nation. This images shows the house posts in their original location. In 1938, after Laura Dunsmuir’s death, the posts were sold to George Heye, who was a well-known collector of anthropological and archeological artefacts of the Americas. The posts were part of the collection at the Museum of the American Indian in New York until 1975 when they were bought by the National Museum of Canada. A conservator's report from the Canadian museum shows that the posts were damaged before they were positioned at Hatley Park. Careful restoration work had occurred when the house posts were relocated to the Dunsmuir estate. New wood pieces had been skillfully added to replace damage caused by a grass fire in its original location. A second, less careful restoration took place sometime after 1936, provable by the fact that pages of newspaper from that year were found used as filling material under a crude plaster and papier mache repair.
The SS Joan, named for Robert Dunsmuir's wife, was a 831 ton, twin screw steamer belonging to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. It ferried passengers between Nanaimo and Vancouver and was sold, along with the E&N railway, to Canadian Pacific Railways in 1905. It continued to operate the route until 1914 when it was sold.