Explore Squamish - October 02, 2018

The New Britannia Mine Museum Experience

Photo: DownieLive on Youtube

The New Britannia Mine Museum Experience

Britannia Beach was once a bustling mining community, the mine itself was the largest copper producer in the British Empire in the late 1920s. Without Britannia Mine bringing revenue to the area, neither Squamish nor Britannia would exist as you see them today. If you visited the Britannia Mine Museum in the yesteryears of your youth or if you have yet to go you are overdue for a visit. 

Previously called the BC Museum of Mining, Britannia has been through many changes in the past decade; an updated gold panning pavilion, modern Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre, and after this year's addition of the Foundations Exhibit and the restoration of the Howe Sound Decks, there has never been a better time to visit this National Historic Site. 

A Glimpse into the Past 

Photo: Britannia Mine Museum
 

For its 70 years of operation, Britannia Mine was the hub of Howe Sound. Over 60,000 people lived and worked at the mine, building a diverse community. The sound from the massive Mill No. 3 echoed throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor and the lights from the 20-storey building could be seen for miles at night, beckoning newcomers to Britannia. To this day when you drive the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway, you cannot help but turn your gaze to the massive, Mill No. 3 carved into the mountainside. 
 

Overview of the Experience

Photo: Britannia Mine Museum
 

At the Admissions window, friendly staff give you your train ticket with an assigned time for your underground tour. You will enter through the Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre where you can peruse machinery and artifacts, check out the Mineral Gallery, and take in an award-winning short film in the theatre

For many visitors, the most exciting part of each visit to the Britannia Mine Museum is the journey from the Train Pavilion to the start of the underground tour. At the pavilion, you will be greeted with beautiful Howe Sound scenery before you head below ground. Follow your knowledgeable interpreter to the underground train and into the tunnel where you’ll get a taste of the mining life--rocky tunnels, live drilling demonstrations, and a glimpse at total darkness.

After your tour, take time at the Gold Panning Pavilion - stocked with precious gemstones and gold. Make sure to take the time to explore the site, its historic buildings and the many exhibits. There are fun facts and valuable pieces of history everywhere!  At the end of your visit, you’ll have had a fun, educational and entertaining day where you can take home a piece of Canadian history.
 

Must See Attractions

Photo: Britannia Mine Museum
 

Underground Tour

Experience what life as a miner would have been like in 1914 by climbing aboard the museum’s mine train. Journey underground through an early haulage tunnel where you’ll find actual working drills and a mucking machine. Temperatures underground average about 12 degrees Celsius. A sweater or light jacket is recommended.

Gold Panning Pavilion

It’s finders-keepers in the museum’s gold panning area where you’ll find panning troughs at various heights for visitors young and old to go for the gold.

Foundations at the Howe Sound Decks

The newest permanent, outdoor exhibit, boasting panoramic views of Howe Sound and a look into the 114-year history. This outdoor exhibit also recognizes the environmental impact on the Howe Sound region and the remediation efforts that have led to the continued recovery and return of several species to the area. 

Mineral Gallery

Located inside the Beaty Lundin Visitor Centre, take a look at Aztec Gold, Black Smokers from the ocean floor, fluorescent rocks, and more.
 

The Future of Britannia Mine Museum 

Photo: Britannia Mine Museum
 

Britannia Mine Museum is bringing the Mill No. 3 back to life. The rock-hugging architectural wonder has been a silent symbol of Britannia Mine since 1974 when the mine officially closed and became a museum. Come 2019; Britannia Mine Museum is bringing back the noise. You can read the latest press release about the future mill show here.

Upcoming Events

Spoo-ook-tacular Halloween Weekend at Britannia Mine Museum 

There is no better place to celebrate Halloween than an abandoned mine. And this year Britannia Mine Museum has plenty of tricks up its sleeve with two weekends full of family-friendly activities for all ages on Saturday, October 20,  Sunday, October 21, Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28  from 10 am to 3 pm. 

Related News, Blogs, Events & Experiences

Britannia Mine Museum

Spoo-ook-tacular Halloween Weekend at Britannia Mine Museum