Mill no.3: Reawakening of a Silent Symbol

Mill no.3: Reawakening of a Silent Symbol

The following article was originally published in the Spring 2019 edition of What's Insight magazine. To view an e-version of the Royal B.C. Museum publication, click on the following link: What's Insight Spring 2019 (page 20)


On November 1, 1974, Britannia mine and its iconic Mill no. 3 shut down after seventy years of operation, bringing with it a disquieting silence. Gone was the grinding of machinery, shouts of workers, boom of ore hitting metal chutes, and the other comforting sounds that meant the shift workers could support their families and that the community was vibrant.

Despite its rich history and designation as a National Historic Site, Mill no.3 remains an enigma. Visitors can tell you about the awe-inspiring experience of standing inside the cathedral-like structure, but the power of imagination only takes them so far. What was the Mill’s purpose? How exactly did it function? What was it like to work in when it was operating at full capacity?

These questions presented the Museum with a unique challenge -- how could we preserve the integrity of the Mill while engaging visitors with an authentic experience?  Our answer? Immerse visitors in an entertaining, story-rich, multi-sensory show inside the actual Mill.

The Mill Show Experience, launching spring 2019, will introduce visitors to the engineering-marvel and the many emotions it instills. 

From enlightening to frightening, the captivating video and special effects show brings the historic Mill back to life. Visitors will experience a visually stimulating, sensory-thrilling acoustic adventure, taking advantage of the sheer mass and awe of the 20-storey Mill building.

The theatrical spectacle tells the authentic, heart-warming stories of miners that will evoke the senses as visitors discover how precious minerals were extracted from ore.

“We are excited to share the significant role the Mill played in B.C.’s and Canada’s history and economic success,” says Kirstin Clausen, executive director of the Britannia Mine Museum.  “We are particularly excited to be working with VISTA Collaborative Arts and Dynamic Attractions because of their international experience with building destination attractions.”

The story of Mill no. 3 and the people who worked and lived in Britannia deserves to be told and one we’ve been planning for more than 10 years. This mega project wouldn’t have been possible without the gracious support of the Museum community, the mining industry, the Government of Canada as well as the families, kids and tourists who visit us each year.


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