This historic coal mine, the first on Vancouver Island, was established in the 1840's to provide fuel for the Hudson Bay Company steamships. Historical records state that the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples were first hired to gather the surface coal and deliver it by canoe to the awaiting HBC steamships. This discovery of coal also began the HBC’s incentive to colonize Vancouver Island and in 1849 the construction of Fort Rupert was completed. The fort was established in Beaver Harbour near Port Hardy, B.C.
The Suquash mine site is located just north of Port McNeill, British Columbia, and still contains old abandoned mining equipment and traces of past adventure. The river rock fireplaces, depicted in the painting, still stand straight beneath the surrounding forest cover.
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