Take a Trip Down History Lane at the McLean “Steam” Sawmill


Guest Blog:

Ever heard of the McLean “Steam” Sawmill? Well, if you are planning to visit Port Alberni, BC, don’t dare miss this historical adventure. Visit the only commercial steam-operated sawmill on Vancouver Island, BC or more accurately the only one in Canada to be exact. While some people may wrinkle their nose at the thought of a seemingly “boring” excursion, you will be pleasantly surprised to know this particular attraction has a number of interesting and entertaining activities.

Steam Sawmill, What is it Exactly?

While this concept may be foreign to many, in the simplest terms, it is exactly what it says.A visit will show you how the sawmill cuts wood for demonstration purposes and puts it up for sale, you also get to personally see and enjoy the steam it generates.This is a wonderful presentation of how people used to do it back in the day and appreciate their ingenuity – most of which became the basis of the modern innovations.

Travel Back in Time

Get a glimpse of the simple life a few decades ago. You will be entertained by shows on stage performed by the resident Tin Pants Theatre Company. History comes to life at the Nikkei Theatre daily.In addition, you can also see various restored logging equipment within the site such as logging trucks, lumber carriers, graders and even a steam donkey.If you have kids in tow, it can be a treat to witness all these large trucks up close.

A walk around the site will allow you to experience being transported back in time as you enter the old original buildings.But the entertainment is not solely for adults.Children will also get to experience and learn through stories about the characters from the past and even interact with some puppets.Visitors of any age are sure to get a sense of what kind of life people lived in the past in this camp.

Other Great Attractions

After enjoying your adventure, you can dig in to a sumptuous meal at the Steam Pot Café, which presents a perfect end to a wonderful day. If you want to purchase gifts and souvenir items, make sure to drop by the Mill Store before heading back home. Take a piece of history with you or at the very least what it represents.

About McLean Mill

With a pioneering get-it-done attitude and a showcase of sheer inventiveness, the McLean Mill was run from 1926 to 1965 by R.B. McLean and his three sons. One can say that such attributes really commemorate the history of saw milling.In fact, the mill was named a National Historic Site in British Columbia in 1989.Even though it is just a typical mill in a remote sawmill complex and coastal lumber camp the thing that makes the site so memorable, are the people who worked there, which gave the whole place an endearing character of its own.

The land where the sawmill is located was donated by Macmillan Bloedel.To name a few, Forest Renewal BC, Heritage Canada, BC Community Futures, the BC Heritage Trust, the City of Port Alberni and the Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot are the different establishments and institutions supporting and funding the site in order for it to be fully restored from 1995 up to the present day.

Republished under Creative Commons License from West Coast Aquatic Safaris, an acclaimed Bear Watching, Whale Watching, Hot Springs Cove Tour Co & Marine Charter Co in Tofino, BC on the famed west coast of Vancouver Island. Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

Image credited to: http://alberni-inn.com/port-alberni-attractions

Publisher of Amazing Vancouver Island. Doug grew up in Kamloops and Vancouver. He is also the President of KIAI Angency, an Internet Marketing and Branding agency in Vancouver. He is an avid photographer and you can see his many pix of Vancouver Island on Flickr.

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