In The News ("Extra! Extra! Read all about it!") is a display which highlights some of the famous and infamous people of Nanaimo's past, including Frank Ney, Pete Maffeo, Diana Krall, and even Brother XII. Listed below are a few their stories.
Frank Beban (1882 - 1952): Arriving from New Zealand in 1907, Frank worked as mule stable foreman and took a contract to cut mine timbers. He was well situated in forestry and opened Frank Beban Logging and the Cumberland sawmill in 1911. Beban House, built in 1936 on a former black powder plant site, included stables and a race track. His estate was sold to the City of Nanaimo and is now Beban Park.
Joseph William McKay (1829 - 1900): Born in Quebec, Joseph began his Hudson’s Bay Company career at Fort Victoria in 1846. In 1852 McKay moved to Nanaimo to take possession of the coalfields. He oversaw the construction of housing for miners, a sawmill, a salt works, a school, and the Bastion. He welcomed the Staffordshire miners and their families arriving on the Princess Royal in1854. McKay was elected to the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island in 1856.
Samuel Myers (1838 - 1887): An increase in the worlds demand for coal and the miner’s objection to Chinese men working underground alongside them led to four major strikes in Nanaimo between 1877 and 1883. Myers organized the 1877 Wellington Strike and later, in 1883, he organized union activity in Nanaimo. He was a member of two societies looking after the interests of the mining families. Nanaimo coal mines were prone to explosions and Myers, along with 152 men, was killed in the No.1 Esplanade explosion.
Thomas Clement ‘Tommy’ Douglas (1904 - 1986): This prominent political figure in Canadian history was the leader of the Saskatchewan Co-operative Commonwealth Federation from 1942 and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944-1961. His major claim to fame was introducing universal public healthcare to Canada. Tommy Douglas served as the Member of Parliament in the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding after winning a 1969 by-election, a post he retained until his retirement in 1979.
David Gogo (1969 - ): Born in Nanaimo, David received his first guitar at the age of five. He played in the Nanaimo District Secondary School band and by age 16 was getting regular work as a musician. To date David has three Juno nominations, was named Musician of the Year at the WCMAs, was twice named Guitarist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards. He has been bestowed with the CBC Saturday Night Blues - Great Canadian Blues Award for lifetime contribution to the blues in Canada. As president of the Friends of Morden Mine, David is active in preserving Nanaimo’s coal mining heritage.
Richard Johnston (1945 - ): Nanaimo’s Citizen of the Year for 2005, Rich has been involved in the delivery of Adult Education for more than 40 years. In 1976, Johnston began his journey with Malaspina College as Assistant Dean, which eventually lead him to become the President and CEO of the institution in 1986. Thanks to his leadership, Malaspina experienced incredible growth from local to international levels over the next 20 years. By the time he retired in 2006, Malaspina had already achieved university-college status and was well on its way to becoming the Vancouver Island University of today. Rich has been involved in 60 communities, provincial, and national boards and committees, and has worked with international projects in Asia, North America, Europe, the Caribbean, and New Zealand.