Britannia Mine Museum - Britannia Beach
Activity:I have to tell you about the coolest thing we did this summer. We actually went inside a copper mine tunnel while riding inside a rickety little boxcar. Fred, our tour guide, showed us where they used to store dynamite, and he even operated a couple of drills for us. Boy, were those drills noisy or what! It's a wonder miners can hear anything after listening to that drilling all day long. The funniest part was when Fred showed us The Honey Wagon. You'll never guess what The Honey Wagon was used for--going to the bathroom. With 125 miles of mine shaft, I guess miners couldn't always hold it long enough to get outside.
At the end of the tour we saw the SUPER mine truck. It weighs 235 tons. Fred said the ones they use now even have T.V.'s and microwaves in them. Last of all Dad and I tried panning for gold. We ended up with a small pill bottle of gold flakes. I had no idea panning for gold was such hard work. We must have been at it for at least 45 minutes!
:Britannia Mine is a great place for people to see first-hand what it was like to be a miner in the early 1900's. They have a museum too with all sorts of neat artifacts and pictures of miners. Did you know they had a mudslide that went right through the kitchen and killed about 25 people? There was also a big fire there once that burned down the Concentrator (that's where they separate the copper from the sludge).
They still use the rebuilt Concentrator for filming movies at. It's perfect for scary shows like The X-Files, the ones Mom won't let me watch. It actually has a stairway going all the way to the top. It looks like it could get you all the way to heaven. Man, you wouldn't want to fall down that!
:There isn't anything bad about this place. The only thing I can think of is that you might have to wait for a tour. It gets pretty busy, because it's open only six months in the year.
Details:The museum is located on the Sea to Sky highway (Highway 99) 50 km north of Vancouver, near Squamish. You can't miss it--just look for the Super truck. It's parked right out front.
For current rates and times: (604) 688-8735 or (604) 896-2233. Website: www.britanniaminemuseum.ca
Educational highlights:Britannia Mine has loads of stuff to learn about. Dad always told me that mining was the second largest industry in B.C., but I never had a picture of it until I visited the mine.
Fun for the adult:When it comes to going inside a mine shaft, most adults are as green as their kids. It's a new experience guaranteed to spark some conversation around the dinner table.
For additional fun, visit the cluster of interesting stores right by the Museum. The stores are perfect for puttering: Native Art Gallery (has nice native stuff in addition to Pokemon cards, antlers, and interesting old b&w photos of Native Indians), Amber, Silver and more; Britannia Beach General Store; Sherry's Cappuccino; The Cookhouse; Mountain Women Ice Cream; Sheer Creations Stained Glass;