By contributor Becca Macdonald
This November marks the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the Princess Royal settlers in Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Museum is hosting the annual Princess Royal ceremony at the Bastion on Thursday, November 27 at 11 am. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony and hear the names of people who arrived on the Princess Royal in 1854.
The Princess Royal ceremony started in 1954. “This event is a long-standing tradition in the community,” says Debbie Trueman, General Manager of the Nanaimo Museum. “We are pleased to be a part of the event.” The ceremony attracts descendants of the 1854 Princess Royal passengers. Many of those descendants still live in the Nanaimo area.
The history of the Princess Royal dates to the era when Vancouver Island was a colony, before the province of British Columbia was created. There were 24 coal miners and their families on the Princess Royal sailing ship in 1854. The miners were recruited by the Hudson’s Bay Company for their new mining operation in Nanaimo. They were encouraged to bring families in an effort to colonize the area. There were settlers already established in Nanaimo when the Princess Royal passengers arrived.
Members of the community are invited to the ceremony. The Bastion bell will be rung and the names of the families will be called by descendants of the original passengers.
The Nanaimo Museum is located in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on Commercial St. next to Serious Coffee. Hours of operation are Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, please contact the museum at (250) 753-1821 or visit www. nanaimomuseum.ca.