BCHF News Book looks at Nanaimo’s soda history

Book looks at Nanaimo’s soda history

Dalys Barney of the Nanaimo Historical Society has self-published a booklet, Message on a Bottle: Nanaimo’s Soda History.

The booklet will likely appeal to bottle collectors and to those interested in Vancouver Island history.

Starting as early as the 1870s, Nanaimo had entrepreneurs who were bottling and selling soda in the city. A small luxury that could be enjoyed by the young and old alike, bottled soda was especially welcomed at well-known Nanaimo summer events like the miners’ picnic.

While independent local soda businesses have faded away with time and industry consolidation, what we’re left with today are the bottles, some of which feature iconic Nanaimo images like a crossed miner’s pick and shovel or the Bastion.

Not a pricing guide, but an attempt to tell the history of the city’s soda industry, the booklet focuses on single-serving glass soda bottles and Nanaimo manufacturers like William Rumming, John Mitchell, and Louis Lawrence.

This project was supported by a Leynard Legacy Grant from the Nanaimo Historical Society and funding from the Nanaimo Archives.

The booklet is available for $10 if you can pick it up in person near Nanaimo, or $12 if you need it mailed to you.

The author works as a library technician at Vancouver Island University. She is a member of the Nanaimo Historical Society, blogs at vanislehistoryexplorer.ca, and can be reached at vihistoryexplorer@gmail.com