Travel to Britannia Beach, British Columbia

britannia beach canadaJust a forty-five minute drive up north of Vancouver is a place where you can totally unwind and enjoy year-round outdoor activities and visit various cultural, geological and historical landmarks. This is Britannia Beach, a small unincorporated community in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and lies on the Sea-to-Sky Highway on Howe Sound. 

The town’s population is about 300. The village’s appeal lies not only in the stunning scenery of mountains and fjords but also in the sense of history and the different and unique arts and crafts of the area.

This scenic town began as a mining community and remained so for almost seventy years. In the late 1890s, mining engineer George Robinson convinced several finance moguls that the areas was a good investment. The Britannia Mining and Smelting Company was then formed and mined that area for copper ores for almost seventy years.

In the 1920s and early 1930s, the mine was a huge success. It has become the largest producer of copper in the British Commonwealth. But by the 1940s the Britannia mines were unionized. They suffered a first union strike in 1949. Then in the next ten years, the mines entered a slump. Due to the low copper prices, the Britannia Mine Company was reduced to seven employees and in 1959 the company went into liquidation.

The Anaconda Mining Company took over in 1963. It continued operation for another eleven years until the mines were finally closed down on November 1, 1974 due to high operating costs and taxes.

A year later, the BC Museum of Mining opened in Britannia Beach. The site was named a National Historic Site in 1988 and was designated as a British Columbia Historic Landmark a year later.

Today, daily public tours and pre-scheduled group trips allow people to see and appreciate the fascinating mining history of British Columbia. Visitors can tour the old mine site where they can see a variety of displays and exhibits. There’s also an Underground Train which brings passengers into the real hard rock mine.

Being on the eastern shoreline of Howe Sound and between Lions Bay and Squamish is quite a great advantage to the tourism industry of Britannia Beach. Their location allow them to provide different outdoor activities that appeal to tourists.

For example, they can go to the Shannon Falls Provincial Park which is a very popular picnic spot. About three miles south of Britannia Beach is Porteau Cove Provincial Park which gives scuba divers a whole lot to see. There are about 100 marine species in the cove.

Meanwhile, Murrin Provincial Park is just about 2 miles north of Britannia Beach. The park is on the west side of Highway 99. Also, hiking is a popular outdoor activity with The Deeks Lake Trail waiting for willing explorers. The trail is an 8 mile/13 km return which can be accomplished 3-4 hours each way.

Britannia Beach is a unique industrial heritage site, offers a wonderful world class mining museum, and now is a major tourist attraction in British Columbia.


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