City recognizes memory of lost miners


Flags located at City of Nanaimo facilities will be lowered to half mast on Wednesday, May 3 to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 148 lives.

The explosions of the No. 1 Esplanade Mine are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst in Canada (the mining disaster of 1914 in Hillcrest, Alberta killed 189 miners). A jury blamed the explosion on the firing of an unprepared and badly planted charge that ignited accumulated gas fuelled by coal dust.

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Key Points

  • On this day, 131 years ago, 148 miners lost their lives.
  • Flags will fly at half mast in memory of the coal mining disaster.


"By lowering our flags we are remembering and honouring the 148 lives that were tragically lost in our community. Those who died were our hard working pioneers who left loving families behind, but we have never forgotten."

City of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, Council passed a resolution to lower the flags at all City of Nanaimo facilities to half mast on May 3 in memory of the 148 miners killed in the Nanaimo coal mining disaster of 1887.
  • On May 3, 1887, shortly before 6:00 pm, two explosions occurred in the No. 1 Esplanade Mine.
  • If you would like to learn more Nanaimo's coal mining history and the tragic accident, please visit the award winning, walk through coal mine exhibit at our local Nanaimo Museum.


Tracy Loewen
Communications & Marketing Specialist
City of Nanaimo

Print News Release

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