From Chronicles past – Month of February

February 1911

A new vein of coal had been discovered by drillers in the slope of the new shaft at Nanaimo River. The top seam was about four feet in thickness and the bottom coal was about three feet wide with about 16 inches of dirt separating them.

The Valentine’s Ball sponsored by the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary was a huge success with more than 300 dancers in attendance, some of them coming all the way from Vancouver and Victoria. The ballroom was beautifully decorated with evergreen branches and twining ivy, which, along with the orange and white draperies harmonized perfectly with the soft glow from the orange shaded electric lamps in clusters overhead. Cozy corners, with easy chairs and couches had been provided for those not dancing. Streamers of crimson and white added to the overall gaiety in the supper room.

Due to the success of the Hospital Ball on Valentine’s Day, attendance was quite reduced at the Opera House that same evening for a performance of Managing Mildred. Although there was scarcely the suggestion of a plot in the production, the small crowd certainly enjoyed the many catchy songs and delectable orchestration. It would be safe to say, however, that the hit of the evening was a little ditty entitled Do You Think You’ve Known Me Long Enough For That?

February 1936

The Comox Logging and Railway Company purchased the timber rights owned by the J.D. Rockefeller Investment Co. This consisted of 500 million board feet of Douglas fir, together with cedar and hemlock on a triangle of land some 400 square miles in area. The lands were situated at the back of the town, and a camp would be located there in the near future. (Note: The timber in the area had been flattened by hurricane force winds in December of 1933 and needed to be harvested as soon as possible. In the middle of a severe depression and depleted coal mines, this proved to be a true ‘windfall’ for the town of Ladysmith. By the end of the year more than 300 new jobs were created and 86 million board feet were harvested. E.N.)

On February 7, 1936, the flag at City Hall was flown at half-staff to honour the passing of former mayor, Donald (Dan) Nicholson at age 69. Mr. Nicholson had arrived in Ladysmith in 1899 and was a member of the first town council in 1904. He later served three terms as mayor in 1906, 1908 and 1909 respectively. In 1910, he was appointed road superintendent for Newcastle and Nanaimo districts.

February also saw the return to town of Mr. John Bland, who originally came to Vancouver Island in 1859 with his parents and settled in Victoria. In the late 1890’s, Bland moved to Ladysmith where he directed the land clearing for the town site. He also superintended the construction of the city waterworks and served as the first resident manager of this system.

February 1961

The Canadian Pacific Railway offered return fares from Nanaimo to Calgary for $32.65 (reclining coach seat) Children under 12 half price and under 5 free.

Saltair set a record for rainfall in January. According to official weather observer Harry Otto the area received 14.66 inches of rain for the month, including three inches of snow. This is double the amount that fell in the same period in 1960 and is equivalent to 425,000 gallons of water per acre.