Along the E&N cover (Touchwood Editions)

New book from Nanaimo Historian details social history of the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River.

Glen Mofford’s new book, Along the E&N, captures the history of Vancouver Island through the lens of its various hotels and saloons that lined the now-dormant rail line.

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River. Of all the establishments detailed in the book, only nine remain today.

“It was actually going to be a book about 100 hotels on Vancouver Island, and then I realized rather quickly as I was doing my research that it’s a lot of work,” Mofford said. “I boiled it down to 32 and I tied it together with the E&N, because they’re both nostalgic… When you pick this book up, that’s your ticket on to the E&N train 140 to 160 years ago, on a steam train from Esquimalt to Campbell River with 32 stops along the way.”

While the book does a lot to detail the various establishments along the E&N, Mofford also weaves interesting anecdotes and the history of the communities where the hotels existed. Chapters detail a murder suicide on Mount Sicker, a bartending dog in Bowser, and visits from John D. Rockefeller to a Chemainus hotel.

One chapter details the history of the Abbotsford Hotel that stood in Ladysmith from 1900 – 1935. The hotel was originally built by Andrew J. McMurtrie in the town of Wellington, which was once a booming coal town between Nanaimo and Ladysmith. When James Dunsmuir founded Ladysmith in 1900, the hotel was deconstructed and transported on the E&N to Ladysmith where it was reconstructed.

“That’s kind of neat in itself, especially if you’re not from around here, or even if you are and you’re not familiar with that story,” Mofford said. “They took the whole hotel and put it on flat cars of the E&N, which was really appropriate for this book, then they put it all back together again, and it did fairly well for awhile.”

Mofford said he found more history in Ladysmith than he could fit in his book, and wishes he could have written about more of Ladysmith’s hotels.

“Ladysmith was a lot more than you see today, although Ladysmith is one of those happy stories, because it’s turned out pretty good,” Mofford said. “These were central places, and there was a lot going on there.”

Along the E&N is Mofford’s second book. His first book, Aqua Vitae, follows the history of drinking establishments in Victoria. Both were published by Touchwood Editions. Mofford is currently travelling Vancouver Island doing readings and presentations. He’s currently deciding whether to write his next book on drinking establishments of Nanaimo, Vancouver, or BC as a whole.

Outside of his books, Mofford writes for his blog, raincoasthistory.blogspot.com, and contributes regularly to his Facebook page, as well as the Facebook group Historic Hotels & Pubs of British Columbia. Along the E&N is available wherever books are sold on Vancouver Island, including Salamander Books on 1st Ave.

Just Posted

Local vape store owner welcomes move to cap nicotine levels in vape liquids

Nicotine content has been limited to 20 milligrams per millimetre

Talks between Western Forest Products and union break down

No more negotiations imminent between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and company

Town of Ladysmith water testing confirms safety of drinking water

The Town has increased the frequency of lead and heavy metal testing in the local water supply

Four arrested after report of shots fired in Cedar

RCMP arrest four suspects in high-risk takedown near Raines Road

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone elected to chair CVRD board of directors

Stone speaks on priorities of the CVRD board for his term as chair

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Cowichan Milk Company: from grass to glass, bottled milk right to your door

Farm stand open 6 days a week, and home delivery is available everywhere from Mill Bay to Chemainus.

Most Read