The Horseshoe Bay Inn est 1892
9576 Chemainus Road, Chemainus B.C.  V0R 1K0
Welcome to the Horseshoe Bay Inn, a heritage hotel established in Eighteen
Vancouver Island for over a hundred years.

When it was first built, it was a posting house for horses and carriages, and a port
of call for loggers and sailors.  Then, it had a blacksmith's forge to the rear and a
neighboring butcher shop.  According to one of the town's history books, a liquor
license was granted in Chemainus to the Inn in 1883 which the same year became
Croft and Severne's "Horseshoe Hotel".  License was granted because, "there is no
house of entertainment between Nanaimo and Maple Bay."

Matthew Howe, a stoutly built Norfolk man, was the Inn's first proprietor and came
to Chemainus  because of the lumber industry.  He was remembered as a kindly
chap, who with very little formal education, taught himself the principles of
electricity and mechanics.   Matthew was sent out from England to install and
operate steam powered machinery for the local mill, which then employed about
twenty-five men, and today is sprawled across the landscape of the town and is still
an important part of the logging empire of MacMilland & Bloedel.

and landowner, acquiring much property, and having several roads and streams
named after him.  Matthew's son Jack, worked in the mill, as his father once did
before him.  Fred Chatters, Matthew's nephew, had said: "Rye was 75 cents a
bottle, scotch $1.25, and the best French Brandy $1.50.  Patrons were handed the
bottle and helped themselves, but the average man was not greedy and took only
an average sized drink."  Rates were a dollar a day and upward, while room & board
for a week was $6.  Meals comprised such succulent luxuries as venison, grouse,
quail, pheasant, poultry, home-cured ham and bacon, which was supplied by the
Inn's own farm, and cream so thick that a spoon could stand up in it.  Fred, who
now lives in Nanaimo, served in the bar over half a century ago.

Loggers from the camps stayed in the Inn when the camps were shut down, and it
was they, who, filled with good beer, would stage wrestling bouts with a black bear
chained to a tree out back.  That is until he broke his chain - and a man's arm - and
was eventually shot.  We still have standing, the original tree, and if you look up you
can still see the marks from the chain that held him.

It was lumber that brought in "Hell-Fire Peterson", who was tried in New York for
murder on the high seas.  "Hell-Fire" was a captain of the sailing ship Puako, and
was described as a meek looking little man, who always wore a bowler hat and a
sanctimonious expression ashore.  Apparently, he insisted that all seaman shipping
aboard the Puako bring their Bibles with them.  At sea, however, he was known to
be "brimstone and brutality", who blackened his crew's eyes on the slightest
provocation.  As the story goes, he ended up with a ten year sentence when he
kicked his cook overboard and refused to put about and pick him up.  In his bowler
hat, his infamous expression and all, Peterson drank his quota at the Horseshoe
Bay Inn.


History of the
Horseshoe Bay Inn

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