Located on the 49th parallel on Vancouver Island, Ladysmith is 28
km (17 miles) north of Duncan and 24 km
(15 miles) south of Nanaimo on the Trans-Canada
Hwy 1. Situated next to a large harbour called Ladysmith Harbour,
the town sits on a hill sloping towards the water offering a beautiful
south-east view of the ocean.
Ladysmith's history involved the establishment of a coal port by
James Dunsmuir, one of the richest men in British Columbia at the
time. The port facilities stood near what is nowadays called Transfer
Beach Park. Ladysmith prospered for nearly 30 years in the early
1900's until the coal mines ran out of ore.
Mill at Ladysmith
After the coal boom Ladysmith's economy picked up in 1931 when a
large windstorm blew down thousands of trees creating the need for
a saw mill. Comox Logging and Railway Company got established later
to be Crown Zellerbach then Crown Forest eventually to Fletcher-Challenge
Canada. The wood mill operated for around 50 years right up until
1985 then shut down completely.
of the prettiest towns in Canada"
Today Ladysmith is a quaint little town with Harrowsmith Magazine
calling it "One of the prettiest towns in Canada." Cobblestone-lined
streets, flower baskets, gardens, restored buildings from the past
and a sense of yesterday gives Ladysmith a very unique atmosphere.
To get a feel for the town try and do the heritage walk set up in
the old downtown section of Ladysmith. Signs of notoriety have been
posted on historical buildings throughout the streets giving a description
of past events. There are also various antique and collectable shops
both on Hwy 1 and through town.
The Ladysmith Museum is very interesting and unique in that it is
housed in an old hotel. Set up in a restored saloon the museum displays
historic artifacts from Ladysmith's proud past.
Festival of Lights
Happening annually from the last Thursday of November until the
New Year, the Festival of Lights is a major attraction in Ladysmith.
Held in historic downtown Ladysmith the event displays thousands
of lights throughout the town and streets welcoming the Christmas
season. If you can make it, go to the official light-up ceremonies,
complete with parade, spaghetti dinner and evening fireworks.
With a shoreline containing a myriad of driftwood, eroded rocks
and sandy beaches you will never run out of beachcombing experiences
in Ladysmith. Transfer Beach Park is a good place to start with
its public beach area, picnic grounds, sand volleyball courts and
a children's outdoor adventure area. Look for the access point to
Transfer Beach Boulevard off Hwy 1 on the east side of town.
There are lots of exploring to do around Ladysmith. For walkers
there is the Holland Creek Trail starting at Holland Creek Park
on Dogwood Drive near the shopping centre at Coronation Square.
For cyclists there is the Trans-Canada Trail that goes in either
direction along the waterfront. Then for hikers there is the very
popular trail up to Heart Lake for scenic views of Cassidy,
Other recreation for you to do include sailing, scuba diving, golf,
kayaking, mountain biking, motorcycle riding to cycling around the
different communities. Then, for swimmers, there is the ultimate
swimming hole, the Nanaimo River located at Cassidy 9 km (6 miles)
to the north.
For boaters there is a marina and a few launching facilities around
Ladysmith. The Ladysmith Marina which is operated by the Oak Bay
Marine Group is situated at the end of Gladden Road just north of
Transfer Beach. Then for launches look at the end of Rocky Creek
Road or Page Point Road off Brenton-Page Road just north of Ladysmith
at Ivy Green.
If you enjoy a scenic drive try Brenton-Page Road which takes you
down along the waterfront at the end of Ladysmith Harbour. The road
changes its name to Shell Beach Road and continues out to Sharpe
Point. Here you can find some excellent southern views of the harbour
entrance and the ocean strait beyond.
If you are travelling along the highway there are some gas stations
located along the west side of Hwy 1 through Ladysmith. For people
who enjoy coffee there is also a Tim Hortons located on the north
side on First Avenue. The fast food restaurants are located in Coronation
Square on Hwy 1 through the south side at the Kings Road traffic