The Britannia Mine Museum is a National Historic Site overseen by Britannia Beach Historical Society. It’s about 35 miles north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky highway on Howe Sound. The site represents the mining industry of British Colombia.
For about 70 years the mine was a source of copper and in the 1920-1930s is was one the largest mining operations in Canada. The areas population swelled during its mining heyday and had around 6000 residents and workers. Now there’s about a population of 300.
Ore was discovered in 1888 and operated from 1904 to 1974. Over 50 million tons were extracted from the mine.
In 1975, the museum opened and was called the BC Museum of Mining. It was redeveloped for over $14 million dollars and renamed the Britannia Mine Museum.
Due to the chemical waste that comes with mining, the area was very polluted. Even though the mine was closed, there was run off from the abandoned tunnels. While the clear water of Britannia Creek looked clean, it wasn’t fit for human consumption and the clearness showed no life was living in it. The University of British Colombia and Provincial Government reclamation project cleaned up the area. In 2006, a treatment plant opened to neutralize the mining runoff and is managed by EPCOR Utilities. After the completion of the treatment plant, 90% of the of the pollution had been stopped.
Pink salmon returned to Britannia Creek for the first time in over a century in 2011. Pacific white sided dolphins and killer whales can sometimes be seen in Howe Sound near the creeks outlet.