Mar 24, 2010

Canadian Landmarks: The Nanaimo Bastion

Nanaimo Bastion by Flippy1
The Bastion, Nanaimo
Photo Credit: Fippy1.

In 1854, the Hudson’s Bay Company completed construction on the harbor bastion for their outpost in what is now Nanaimo, British Columbia. The small, three story fort was constructed entirely by hand, without a single nail. Today, it is the only surviving structure of it’s kind in North America, and is the oldest building in the city of Nanaimo.

After the Hudson's Bay Company began mining coal in the area, with the help of the Snuneymuxw First Nations, the bastion was erected to offer protection to the workers and settlers. In addition to being a temporary shelter, it could also conceal up to 8 riflemen and 2 cannons, allowing them to defend the fort during times of trouble. Later, it would also serve as Nanaimo’s first jailhouse.

Today, the bastion is one of the city’s proudest landmarks, and it is host to a tiny pioneer museum. During the summer months, residents and visitors can experience a traditional cannon salute every day at noon. Unfortunately, age and weather have started to take their toll on the bastion, and it has been closed for much needed repairs.

Thanks to generous donations from the public and Hbc, restoration of the bastion will not be delayed, and the bastion will continue to serve as a reminder of the city’s heritage. Daily cannon firings will still be conducted starting on the May long weekend. With luck, the bastion’s doors will soon be open for all to enjoy!

West Coast Woman Necklace by The Sage's Cupboard

This Canadian Landmark was nominated by Nanaimo team member, The Sage’s Cupboard. To see handmade creations and vintage finds from Canadian sellers, include the tag “OhCanadaTeam” in your searches on

Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team


buttonbox said...

This is a great idea! I really enjoyed reading about the Bastion. I haven't been to Nanaimo for 20 years, but it would really neat to come and experience the cannon firing in person. Thanks

soapstar said...

what a wonderful piece of history & a unique landmark! :-)

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