100 Years of the Iconic Mill 3 at Britannia Mine Museum
The Britannia Mine Museum is commemorating '100 Years of Mill No. 3' this year, with a feature exhibit that will run until the end of the year.
The Britannia Mine Museum will be kicking off the celebrations by hosting a Dig Day, a public celebratory event on Saturday, May 20th from 10AM to 3PM with various family friendly hands-on geoscience themed activities including demonstrations from geologists and minerals experts.
Designated as a National Historic Site, the 20-storey Mill No. 3 building was an architectural feat of engineering at its time, built on the side of Mount Sheer at Britannia Beach over a period of 18 months, and completed in 1923. The Museum’s feature exhibit “100 Years of Mill No. 3” delves into how Mill No. 3 served as the heartbeat of the Britannia community, its history, technological innovations, and impact as an icon of the Sea to Sky Corridor.
Mill No. 3 is also the feature story of the Museum’s BOOM! Show, an award-winning, live-action, sensory-thrilling, special effects show that takes you behind the scenes of this 100-year-old architectural marvel. BOOM! transports visitors back in time to the 1920s and 1930s when the Mine was booming as the largest copper producer in the British Commonwealth.
Built from concrete and steel in 1923, Mill No. 3 is the third mill that was built at Britannia Beach. Its role as a processing plant was to move ore from the mining tunnels, using gravity to move ore from one level to the next, crushing and grinding the ore into valuable copper concentrate.
Some interesting facts about Mill No. 3:
- It is 20-storeys high built of concrete and steel in 1923.
- Despite being so tall, Mill No. 3 has no elevator so Mill workers had to climb more than 240 steps one way
- It is Canada’s last remaining gravity-fed concentrator mill
- At its peak in the early 1930s, Mill No. 3 was processing up to 7,000 U.S. tons of ore per operating day
- In the 1930s, the Britannia Mine produced 17 per cent of the world’s copper, becoming the largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth
- Mill No. 3 is historically significant in being the first in BC to successfully employ froth flotation process to extract upwards of 95 per cent of minerals from ore
- The Mill also processed for zinc, lead, gold, silver, and cadmium
- Dozens of TV shows and movies have been filmed in Mill No. 3 such as G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes, Okja, The Decedents 2, and Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
- On November 20, 1987, Mill No. 3 was designated a National Historic Site.
Today, the Britannia Mine Museum continues to be awe-inspiring for museum visitors, providing unique and memorable experiences that engage visitors of all ages. Visitors can enjoy fun exhibits and crowd favourites like the Underground mine train, gold panning, the historic Mill building and its BOOM! special effects show, the minerals and gems gallery, the gift shop, and the Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre.