Vancouver Island history is part of a rich tapestry of stories and events that have unfolded here, creating the communities and landmarks that are so meaningful to those who live here. These features speak to the efforts undertaken during the early years of colonization, resulting in a myriad of museums and sites to visit that exhibit the pioneering spirit that formed our towns and cities. Port Alberni sits in the heart of Vancouver Island, and is home to the McLean Mill National Historic Site, a location that is a treasure that shares exhibits from the period the mill was active, and provides a learning opportunity for those who are interested. Today it is staffed by an enthusiastic group that focuses on maintaining this important link to our past. This group maintains the buildings and exhibits, including a set of steam-powered machines that seem to come from another time entirely. This is a place that isn’t easy to leave for those who love this sort of thing.
MacLean Mill was operational from 1926-1965, quickly becoming an integral part of the community of Port Alberni, providing commerce and employment for many who lived here during those times. Originally a family owned and built business, it exhibits the best of the pioneering spirit that helped to form the towns and cities on Vancouver Island during the period of colonization. You will find many historic buildings on the site, exhibiting features and items that were a daily part of the lives of those who lived here, alongside a collection of truly amazing machines. Many of these machines are still active today as the staff fires them up and displays them proudly. If you love antiques and old machinery half as much as we do prepare to spend a day here, only leaving when the site closes. You will undoubtedly want to return again, as we do.