|The Horseshoe Bay Inn est 1892
9576 Chemainus Road, Chemainus B.C. V0R 1K0
The hotel reached the height of its glory under the management of Emily Collyer,
who once held some post in the household of Queen Victoria. Signed pictures of
the Queen adorned the walls of the Inn, and everywhere you looked, photographs
of British aristocracy were hanging. The "better families" of Europe who were
visiting British Columbia, always seemed to find their way to Emily's table, which
was known as far as the Old Century for the excellence of its cuisine and the fine
Ms. Collyer was a tall, commanding woman with white hair, who wore tremendously
high-boned collars and at dinner, always insisted on carving the great joints herself,
that came out of the Inn's ovens. When Emily died, her son Arthur Collyer, who was
a connoisseur of fine wines, became innkeeper. Many a good cellar in the west, by
his advice, was stocked with vintages, and it is likely that the ships putting into the
Chemainus port for lumber, carried the sherries, ports and champagnes that Arthur
sold to the discriminating.
The Victorian style lobby boasts an original registry book, consisting of many
legible signatures such as the aforementioned Peterson; Pauline Johnson, an
indian Princess/Poetess; and a host of travelers, mostly men, from far away places.
The most famous and recognizable names in the book, to the delight and surprise
of our guests, are recorded in an old fashioned wispy scroll on yellowed pages
under the protection of a glass encasement.
Eighty nine years ago, J.D.Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie registered at this
remote little island inn, within ten days of each other. The heavy register, as far as
we know, is the only recorded signatures of their visits to the island. Rockefeller
registered from New York on November 10, 1900 and Carnegie from Philadelphia on
November 21st of the same year.
Whether Rockefeller and Carnegie actually met at the Inn is doubtful, however it is
pretty certain that they came on the same business. They were selling lands they
had acquired in the district, years before, to the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing
Company, who at the time owned the Chemainus Mill. Evidently, Rockefeller hung
on to some of his land, because after what is known locally as the "Big Blow of
1934", an operator wired his son, J.D.Junior, that his trees had come down and that
he had better sell. This he did - cheaply and hurriedly - to the Comox Logging &
Railway Company. The report seems to have been greatly exaggerated though,
because the existing company is still logging what was once Rockefellers timber.
|History of the
Horseshoe Bay Inn