Tom Paterson leading Black Track Tour May 27

A historical walking tour of Morden Colliery is being planned for May 27.

Well-known Vancouver Island historian, columnist and writer Tom Paterson is noted for hosting Black Track tours of Morden Colliery and other Nanaimo area coal mining sites and rail lines, and he is organizing another tour later this month.

With his extensive knowledge of coal mining history and his engaging and dynamic delivery, Paterson has a special ability to recreate the spirit of early coal mining days.

Paterson’s first 2012 Black Track Tour on May 6 sold out, but he is willing to lead another walk Sun., May 27 if there is sufficient demand.

Paterson’s tours are called Black Track tours in reference to those South Wellington area railway lines informally used by miners and residents as a “public thoroughfare” or walking track. Coal dust so thickly coated the lines that they became known locally as the “Black Track.”

To add your name to the waiting list for Paterson’s May 27 tour, contact or call 250-714-0377.

If the tour proceeds, tickets will be $30 for one person and $25 each for two or more in a party. This includes a free membership for spring tour ticket holders until the next AGM.

Paterson’s tour is about four to four and a half hours long and requires only a moderate level of fitness.

A small celebration is planned at the start of the tour to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the start of drilling for what would become Morden’s iconic structures.

During Paterson’s May 27 tour, participants will visit the Morden Colliery, No. 5 South Wellington Mine, Richardson/Fiddick/Alexandria Mines, PCCM Mine and townsite, Fiddick’s Junction, No. 10 South Wellington Mine and Granby.

Typically, tours assemble at 10 a.m. at Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park in front of the headframe.

Each participant is asked to bring water or juice, a packed lunch and snacks sufficient to sustain them for the length of the tour.

Participants will be driven to the various mine sites but are asked to provide their own transportation to and from the park.

Paterson donates all tour proceeds to Friends of Morden Mine to support their efforts to preserve  the unique nearly-100-year-old, rapidly-deteriorating headframe and tipple still standing at Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park.

Morden’s 1913 headframe and tipple were innovative in their use of reinforced concrete and are the only such remaining above-ground structures on Vancouver Island. Friends of Morden Mine believe they are also the earliest in North America.

— Submitted