Nanaimo – where a mill once was

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

In 1951 George William Dorman and his brother Fred opened their Brechin sawmill at Departure Bay near the B.C. Ferry terminal in 1951. In 1957 George started a  small chipper mill on Stewart Avenue, a neighbouring property owned by one of his friends. When a fire consumed the Brechin sawmill burned down in 1958, George expanded the chipper mill it to a full scale sawmill. The mill operated until 1985.

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

The Dorman mill is long gone, but it’s not the only visible change in Departure Bay – the BC Ferries terminal has evolved and expanded over the years.

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

Before the BC Ferry Corporation took over services, Departure Bay was served by the Black Ball Ferries Kahloke and Chinook. On June 15, 1960 B.C. Ferry Corporation ran its first ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

Black Ball ferry MV Chinook II at Departure Bay.

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball 

Above, the Black Ball ferry Kahloke at Departure Bay in the 50’s at a dock that still sits in the exact same location and is Berth #2 in the current configuration of Departure Bay terminal.

Nanaimo,history,Departure Bay,sawmill,lumber,foresty,Dorman,and now you know,Mv Chinook,Black Ball

Departure Bay terminal in 1979

Although we call the ferry terminal the Departure Bay Terminal, it and the sawmill site are located at the bottom of Brechin Hill.

and now you know…

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3 Responses to Nanaimo – where a mill once was

  1. Ian says:

    The picture above the statement “On June 15, 1960 B.C. Ferry Corporation ran its first ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay” could not have been taken in 196o, as the cars are much newer – I’d say this was more likely taken in the late 1960s. Can you confirm? The statement makes it sound as if this picture was of the initial run.

    • David Banks says:

      Ian. The sale of Black Ball to the BC Toll Bridge, Tunnel, and Ferry Authority occurred on November 30 1961. The June 15 1960 date is the day BC Ferries inaugurated their first route.. Swartz Bay – Tsawwassen.

      Another red letter day: June 27 1953. 2:00 PM. M.V. Kahloke departs Depharture Bay. Next Sailing: 6 PM Go Fast. Go Best. Go Black Ball.

  2. Your forever gun caddy, Yang Gao says:

    George Dorman was an amazing man and also an outstanding father. RIP my friend, teacher, and mentor.

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