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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Ladysmith

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.

Coal Port
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.

Saw 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.

"One 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.

Historical Buildings
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.

Ladysmith Museum
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.

Transfer Beach Park
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.

Exploring Around Ladysmith
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, Cedar, Chemainus and Ladysmith.

Other recreation for you to do include sailing, scuba diving, golf, kayaking, mountain biking, motorcycle riding to cycling around the different communities.

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.

Scenic Drives
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.

Food or Gas
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 light.

Information on Ladysmith



Map of Ladysmith
click map for larger image




Photo of Heritage Buildings in Ladysmith
Heritage Buildings


1st Avenue in Ladysmith
1st Avenue in Ladysmith

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