Such rudimentary accommodation was not new to communities like Chemainus. Many early settlers to the area lived in similar tents for their initial stay, as they struggled to clear land and gather precious funds and materials to build better homes.
In the early years of the 20th century, the mining boom had caused a rapid rise in population throughout the Chemainus area. Workers could be seen constructing these rough structures built from local timber and canvas.
Road construction camps such as the one pictured here were a common sight, as new roads were pushed through rugged wilderness. This particular camp was located north of Chemainus, near Saltair (formerly Wilson’s Crossing) in 1912.
Wall tents continue to be used in remote locations in BC to house staff on small mining exploration projects. They remain a quick, simple and effective method of accommodating workers for a short time in difficult conditions.