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Photo: David Thomas

AN UNDERGROUND JOURNEY

The journey underground into the recesses of the Bellevue Mine is one of the most notable historical Canadian experiences.

During its heyday, the Bellevue Mine provided direct and indirect employment to hundreds of locals, and was somewhat of an institution in the town itself.

Opening in 1903, the mine served as Bellevue’s primary economic engine until its closure in 1961 – a closure credited to the Canadian Pacific Railway’s decision to retire its steam locomotives, which had eventually come to represent nearly 90 per cent of the mine’s customer base.

Compelling tales of the industry’s humble beginnings, the lives of workers and their families are told whilst visitors traverse the infamous Miner’s walk, and the preserved underground mine infrastructure.

Mine tours include a number of different programs, which all provide opportunities to learn and understand what life and work were like for miners more than a century ago.

The tours are held annually between May and August, and include a guided historical interpretation of the mine by a Heritage Interpreter – a trained and knowledgeable guide able to provide accurate information and commentary. Notably, some of the Heritage Interpreters are retired miners.

In addition to stories of the workers, visitors can also learn about the progression of labour unions, immigration, transportation and the development of occupational safety practices.

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