Named in 1791 by Spanish explorers, Texada is known for its wealth of minerals, although whaling also was important during its early days. In 1876, a whaler called Harry Trim discovered iron ore, and mining began in earnest. Copper was discovered a few years later, and gold was mined at Marble Bay in 1898. This is when Van Anda became a boom town, boasting the only opera house north of San Francisco, three hotels with saloons, a hospital, illegal distillery and many stores and businesses. Like so many of the buildings in the province during this period, fire devastated the community not once but three times, destroying many of the buildings. While still a thriving community today, Van Anda is much sleepier and less populated than during those “glory days”.
Texada is still home to three working limestone quarries, shipping out a total of over 6 million tons of limestone annually, and in fact, marble quarried on Texada was used to face the Vancouver post office.
The area around Blubber Bay appears devastated as a result of centuries of mineral exploitation, but this is only a small part of this large island. Other industries on Texada Island include logging, small sawmills, an organic fertilizer business and many of the cottage industries found everywhere on the Gulf Islands.
In spite of the industry, beautiful natural scenery and untouched land abounds on Texada, and wonderful recreational opportunities await the visitor.