We have driven past the Britannia Mine Museum several times on out way to Whistler and each time we would comment on how we “really have to finally stop there”. This time around, we stopped! The Museum is located 45 minutes north of Vancouver, along the scenic Sea to Sky highway, halfway between Vancouver and Whistler. For those heading to Squamish or Whistler, it is the perfect place to get out and stretch your legs, and learn about the history of achievements and hard work of our mining pioneers.
Pan for “gold”, watch the in-house fifteen minute long movie (that was actually interesting and informative), explore the exhibits and taking a train ride into the mine are only a few of the ways you will find yourself entertained during your visit.
Right now the museum has a showcase of “Nature’s Art”, showing minerals of all shapes and sizes. Some of the minerals were absolutely gorgeous, especially the below:
We found it interesting to see first-hand what it would have been like to live and work at the mine. Back in the day, there was an entire town for the mine. It was interesting to see how the people of that town would have lived.
The train ride through the tunnel donning fun Britannia Mine hard hats to see where the work happened was the highlight of our visit. The tour guide answered all questions well and gave us a huge wealth of information about how things worked within the tunnels.
We loved how the guide demonstrated several large drills and equipment at different locations along the tour. Some of the equipment was plug-your-ears loud, and the lights went off for the demonstration of how miners would see to do their work over the years through different lamps, which may be scary for small children. Our two-year-old, Madison, did well and clapped for more noise to be made from each demonstration, and was just momentarily scared when the lights went out to demonstrate the lamps used.
Keep in mind that you know what your child can and cannot handle.
You are given a specific time for your train ride, so ensure you make your way to the mine entrance before your allotted time, and be there at least 10 minutes before you will depart.
After the tour of the mine shaft was complete, we again had our minds blown when we made our way to the main processing building. As you walk inside, you are surrounded by massive beams and a vaulted interior that also has a rail track and a staircase side by side, up a super steep angle. We could only see the first five levels of the rail track and stairs from where we were standing.
We found the museum to be a lot of fun. The museum gives visitors the chance to travel back in time and experience part of BC’s history. If you’re in Vancouver, or heading towards Squamish or Whistler, it is worth the short drive.
Know before you go:
- Allow at least 1 to 2 hrs for the complete Museum experience.
- Wear comfortable shoes. It takes 48 steps up to where the train departs.
- The underground train ride is cool, so bring a sweater.
- You will encounter short, loud noises during the underground tours. You tour guide will let you know when the noise is about to begin. Parents with infants may decide to skip this portion as it can be scary for little ones.
- Parking is free!
Disclaimer: Our visit was sponsored by the Britannia Mine Museum, but as always, our opinions are our own.