The Nanaimo Museum is now hosting their annual Lantern Tours.


Henry Wagner, aka The Flying Dutchman. Photo courtesy Nanaimo Museum

This hour and a half walking tour of downtown Nanaimo introduces people to some of Nanaimo’s darker history.

In its second year, starting at the Museum, the tour will take you from location to location with historical highlights such as axe murders, ghost sightings, and public hangings.

Each stop is supplemented with archival photos showing what these places looked like during the time of historical significance, and in some cases the people involved.

Interpretation Curator Aimee Greenaway said the tours usually sell out fast.

“We find with these tours we get a different demographic than usual,” said Greenaway. “More young people on date nights and teenagers.”

 Greenaway said people are often shocked to think that they constantly walk or drive by these places and have no idea what the history was behind them.

Greenaway said one of the big attractions on the tour is an office building on the corner of Bastion and Skinner St., which was a prison hanging yard 100 years ago.

People on the tour will be able to learn about the public hanging of Henry Wagner in 1913 for murdering a police officer during an armed robbery.

“The tour is focused on stories,” said Greenaway. “It’s nice to find out a little about your city.”

“We cover a real brief history of spiritualism in Nanaimo in the late 1800s, early 1900s.”

Greenaway said it’s interesting that, in a town of 10,000 people, palm readers would be working two weeks straight and ten hours a day.

Greenaway said it is quite common for people to share their own stories while on the tour, not realizing that they had spent so much time around these historical sites.

The tours take place from 6:30-8 pm every Wednesday in October. The tour costs $15 per person and pre-registration is required. Anyone interested in attending a tour can register by phone or in person at the Nanaimo Museum. For more information, click here.