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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local community groups team up to fundraise for Cowichan Hospice Gardens

Artists for Hospice is Saturday February 29th from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm at 444 Parkhill Terrace

Wonderettes bring the fun while belting out the hits

Four-part harmonies in Chemainus Theatre production sure to be music to your ears

‘My intuition saved my life’: Lynda Diamond finds life after death

Lynda Diamond died of a cardiac arrest, and was revived by Dr. Graham Brockley at the LCHC

Tourism and film team up to celebrate Sonic the Hedgehog première

Tourism Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island North Film Comission look to leverage film tourism

Chemainus woman sets a new standard for 106-year-olds

Active lifestyle includes a trip to Scotland in the works for May

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Most Read