Jessica Pyett

History on display at Buttertubs Marsh

Vancouver Island University students and Friends of Buttertubs have teamed to produce a pictorial timeline of Buttertubs Marsh's history.

Vancouver Island University students and the Friends of Buttertubs have teamed to produce a pictorial timeline of Buttertubs Marsh’s history.

The work put in by Haley Robinson and Jessica Pyett, VIU geography students, and the non-profit volunteer group has yielded an illustrated display of the wetland from 1890 to the present at an information kiosk at Miner’s Cottage, near Jingle Pot Road and Third Street.

“We were doing work on the history of Buttertubs Marsh, so I did the site history … and talked about the different land uses that had happened on this property in the past and I went down to the [Nanaimo Community Archives] and found some interesting images.

“You can see Mount Benson on the back of some of them and some of the trees that still exist here, you can see them,” said Robinson.

She said she learned some new facts, including that Buttertubs was the site of military camps for Nanaimo.

Bill Merilees, Friends of Buttertubs’ chairman, said his group became involved when Pyett and Robinson’s professor, Michael Tripp, asked members to give students a tour of the wetland – members took part in student presentations and were impressed with the work.

“The graphic that Haley produced, which is now here on the shelter at the miner’s cottage, was really incredibly first class and really had a lot of public meaning and value and so we asked her if we could have access to the work she had done and she graciously allowed us to do that,” he said.

According to Merilees, Buttertubs has a unique history as there was coal mining in the area and it was the first site where vegetables were grown for the earliest community of Nanaimo.

“It has a tremendous connection to Nanaimo’s earliest history … so this project has brought that forward into the public eye and particularly so in the public eye when we have the sign here because we have about 75,000 people walk Buttertubs a year.

“That’s almost about two-thirds of the population of the City of Nanaimo today and it gives them a touch of their heritage and a history of this wonderful city,” Merilees said.

The city assisted with putting up the display, he said.

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