Texada Island, known as "Canada's most precious rock" in the the late 1890's, was declared the richest 25 square miles in British Columbia with its twin side-by-side cities, named Van Anda and Texada City. These were illustrious titles for real estate 
Island Bound Traveller            Writer, Storyteller
Gary Grieco is a freelance writer, photographer, avid reader, sailor, and motorcycle enthusiast based on Texada Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Gary Grieco is a freelance writer, photographer, avid reader, sailor, and motorcycle enthusiast based on Texada Island, British Columbia, Canada.
Gary Grieco is a freelance writer, photographer, avid reader, sailor, and motorcycle enthusiast based on Texada Island, British Columbia, Canada.
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  A TALE OF TWO CITIES
The rise and fall of Texada city
by Gary Grieco
Marble Bay Hotel
Texada City
Circa 1900
Van Anda Opera House
Touted as the only opera house
North of San Francisco
Circa 1900
that only a few years before had been reported in the Courtney Comox 'Weekly News' to be a "mountain of rocks, having no flat or arable land except a few small swamps."
The excitement started with a fisherman named Harry Trim who sailed into Welcome Bay in 1871 and recognized iron ore staining on a hillside that today is the site of Lafarge's giant TQL Quarry. The discovery of iron ore, tinged with greed, created a scandal that brought down Premier Amor de Cosmos' fledgling Provincial Government.
The discovery of precious metals excites a fever and optimism in all men. The 1880's in Van Anda ushered in an unparalledled era of prosperity with gold and copper being discovered in the Little Billie, Copper Queen, Cornell, and Marble Bay mines. Prospectors swarmed all over the island locating new claims daily. Some had formal titles like The Charles Dickens or Commodore, while others were tagged with more colourful names: The Loyal, Volunteer, Black Prince, and Red Cloud.
By 1898 mining was king. Van Anda was now a city, and, quickly turning into a full-fledged mining camp, with the Copper Queen as her pulsing heart, and the newly discovered Cornell and Marble Bay mines promising fabulous riches. Van Anda began to take on a metropolitan appearance, with its two-story boarding house, store, mine houses and residences; but now she had a rival--Texada City.
Texada City came to life with the development of the Marble Bay Mine. Attention shifted to Sturt Bay, the largest bay on the eastern coast of Texada, and now the home of the Texada Boating Club. Enthusiastic plans inclded the offering of lots in the Texada City townsite at $150 for corner lots, and $100 for inside lots. A $5,000 hotel was to be given away in a draw from among the 300 paid up purchasers, but no more than 10 or 12 lots were ever sold, and the raffle was never held. However, the 28-room Marble Bay Hotel did get built, and this is where most of the single miners lived.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the unbelievable word flew around the town--the mines were through; they were shutting down. It was true, and soon Van Anda took on the aspects of a ghost town as the miners and their families moved on to new opportunities. The twin cities of Van Anda and Texada City as gold and copper mining centers sank back into comparitive obscurity.
Texada City is now but a faded memory, and the once rich mines of Van Anda are covered and hidden,
but, take a stroll in the early morning mist, and if you concentrate, sights of yester-year may appear from the corner of your mind's eye. Hazy visions just might materialize of the old Opera House, the pretty white Church, or, husky bearded miners standing around at the old store. A horse-drawn wagon loaded down with equipmentcreaks down the dusty main street in ghostly fashion, while a lone policeman pauses to chat with one of the boys. Lurid posters on the side of a building announce the coming of a new dancer to Vancouver, along with a special boat sailing for the event. The images grow dim, and then fade from sight, like the boom days of Texada City and Van Anda when they were home to over 5,000 people.
Texada Island today remains one of the few Gulf Islands with an industry-based economy and a growing retirement population.
Its natural beauty, three working limstone quarries, a handful of forestry companies, agricultural and small businesses ranging from artist to building contractors, and telecommuting corporate workers, and landscapers all contribute to a healthy community of approximately 1,100-plus residents.

End.
FIRST VANANDA CHURCH
CIRCA 1900
Caesar's Cove-In Sturt Bay
Only safety for boat's for 30 coastal miles
Circa 1900
Blubber Bay Quarry
Circa 1900