Nanoose Bay, known as nature lover’s paradise is a community of about 5000 people located between Nanaimo and Parksville on the East Coast of Vancouver Island.
Whether you enjoy kayaking with the harbor seals, watching the eagles soar above while relaxing in your backyard with the quiet sound of ocean breeze, endless hours of beachcombing along the shorelines, golfing at the world class Fairwinds Golf course, or heading off sailing or for a day of fishing from Beachcomber Marina or Schooner Cove Marina, this is definitely the place to not only live, but to play.
Nanoose Bay, originally named Red Gap was the location of a lumber mill on the shore of Nanoose Bay across the water from the present location of Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental and Test Ranges. In 1912 Joe and Max McKercher established a modern lumber mill at Red Gap, which was later named the Straits Lumber Company.
The mill and accommodations for workers were built on pilings because there was insufficient land between the railway and the shoreline for the mill. Across the road and railway line a company store, a post office, a school, homes and boarding houses were built.
For 3 years, at the peak of its operations, the Straits Lumber Comapny was the biggest mill in the Pacific Northwest. Japan was a primary customer of the lumber produced and milled to their specifications. However when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the mill lost its best customer and within months was out of business.
The mill was destroyed by fire in 1942, but the site was home to smaller operations until the 1950’s. Today the site is marked by a rest area on the south bound side of Highway 19. Some of the pilings upon which the mill stood still remain and Red Gap is the name of the shopping center located in the community of Nanoose Bay.