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Wardropper Park

Wardropper park is a small park that has a grassy field for dogs and a small forested area. The park is located near Departure Bay in Nanaimo, BC. Wardropper park has lots of trees and a little swamp further into the park. The park and surrounding land have been inhabited for over 4000 years. As Nanaimo grew Departure Bay became a summer vacation spot and the land around Wardropper park was used as a market garden. In 1880 a large house on the property was built for Robert Dunsmuir, who was the head of the coal industries in Nanaimo at the time and the future premier of BC. The house was settled into around 1905 by the Keighley family, their youngest daughter Evelyn was born 1903 in Semipalatinsk, Siberia. Before the Keighley family moved to Departure Bay they had a house full of servants, but when they moved into the Dunsmuirs house they could no longer afford servants and instead they earned a bare living growing potatoes and tomatoes for sale in Nanaimo. The luxurious summer home of the Dunsmuirs started to fall into disrepair. Evelyn married Ted Wardropper at age 60, once married the couple lived in the Dunsmuir house until it burned down four years after. Ted and Evelyn Wardropper then built a bungalow nearby that is still there today. Some of the land was donated to the City of Nanimo sometime after the house burned down. A large portion of the park was turned into a dog off-leash park for public use, the other portion left to run wild, it became overgrown with invasive plants like blackberry bushes and english ivy.

Division 14 Gets Involved

In 2018 Mrs. Thompson, our grade 7 teacher noticed that Wardropper park near our school was just left there and not being used for anything , there were invasive species, garbage and lots of tripping hazards and dead trees ready to fall. So we decided to take action and with the City of Nanaimo, the Departure Bay students have made the park more accessible, removed invasive species, planted native plants/trees, built and maintained trails to walk in, and learned about our community. We also learned about planning and park maintenance. The class has been working hard to transform Wardropper park into a spectacular outdoor learning space so that future grades could have fun and play in the park without worrying about dangerous plants. This also makes it a safer and more enjoyable place for all people who use the park.

The importance of Wardropper Park

-The reason why Wardropper park is so important to me is because of the history.

-Wardropper park is important to me, the school, and the community because it is a spot to play, be free, learn, build, and have fun.

-I think it’s a great way to learn about agriculture and what doing service for your community really means.

-What we are doing will make a big difference for the community.

-it has great potential to be a great outdoor classroom and has lots history there.

-Wardropper is important to me and other students because its a place where we can share our ideas for the next generation to enjoy.

-It is a sanctuary for animals to go to

-Wardropper park is important for the school as it makes a safe outdoor learning space.

-It gives us a goal to work towards.

-Wardropper is important to us because we like making a difference in our community, making another outside space for learning.

-Wardropper park is becoming a safe environment for our school and community to learn and play

We Discovered History

While the grade seven class was working on restoring Wardropper park they discovered an artifact from Wardropper parks history. With the help of a student teacher's metal detector and a lot of persistence the grade seven students found over twenty artifacts that we find interesting There were scraps of old metal, parts of things that looked like kitchen items, and much more.

Artifact D-1

It is longish and rusted piece of metal. It has lots of bumps. looks like burnt cheese;)

-Most likely a piece from a railroad

-Could have been a wheel


Artifact A-5

This artifact is a lump of coal about the size of a fist.

-Coal is a nonrenewable resource known as fossil fuel.

-Coal was the primary source that gave Nanaimo its start in the 1800s. It was mined in various locations around Nanaimo from 1852 until the 1950’s

-Coal is found in sedimentary rock along underground seams varying in depth and thickness.

Artifact A-6

This artifact is a small glass bottle. It has round corners and straight sides. The neck of the bottle is circle shaped with grooves so a cap could be secured on.

-The bottom of the bottle has the word "Yardley"

-Yardley is a company that still exist today.

-Yardley is a soap and perfume company from the UK that was established in 1770 and exported their products to North America.

-This bottle seems too small to hold soap, so it most likely held perfume.

Artifact A-7

This artifact is a thin bent piece of metal about 10cm in diameter.

- At first I had believed that the item may have been used for a teapot lid, but now i think it is a lid to a cookie jar, or something similar.

-This artifact seems like a teapot or kettle lid.

Artifact A-8

This artifact is a round rusted piece of metal is about 4 inches across and has the word stoves stamped into it.

-The the cover to a potbelly stove.

-This item may have used for cooking. I think this artifact might not even be used anymore.

-It was probably a pot belly stove cover, the little hole in the stove cover would have a handle to lift up the piece to let out air.

Artifact B-1

This artifact used to be a pathway on the Wardropper property it is made of concrete or a similar material. It is roughly 1 meter wide. The length is unknown.

-I think the pathway was used for walking on, it also can be used for coal mining as it makes transportation easier.

Artifact B-2

This artifact is 5 ½ x 1 ½ inches , it's in the shape of a handle and the material is metal.

- I think it was was the handle to a tea kettle that broke and then was discarded.

Artifact B-4

This artifact is a shard of porcelain just smaller than a fist.

- Since it has no special designs and is not china it is safe to assume it was not used for guests but the daily cup of tea.

- It was found close to where the porch of the house could have been.

Artifact B-5

This artifact is thin blue metal, about the size of a hat.

-Could have been a pot or kettle.

Artifact B-6

This artifact is an old rail track that is still in Wardropper park. Its length is unknown because only one end is sticking out of the ground.

-I think this rail was used for pushing carts of coal to a mine of some sort or for bringing coal to the house for heat.

-There was also another rail that we found close to this one, because it was so long ago, a minecart is a good estimate.

-used for transporting coal or other material.

Artifact B-7

This artifact is a heavy disc of rusted metal 12 cm across.

-Most likely a flange. Flanges are used for mostly plumbing so hopefully this isn’t part of a toilet because a lot of people have touched it including me.

Artifact B-10

This artifact is 2 Small chain like objects, it is old and rusty.

-It was dug up, and immediately recognized as some sort of chain, but for what we aren’t sure

- probably a tool used for the transportation of an animal such as a horse.

Artifacts B-12/B-15

This artifact is 2 artifacts that were found together then classified separately. It is a metal wire fram with a wavy metal grate over it.

-I think was either a heater or something for cooking, like a strainer.

-I think it's a grate for a fireplace because they were found together the frame had the grate broken off

-The grate was able to be opened to clean the filter and fire place.

Artifact B-14

This artifact is made of rusted metal, It is about 10-20cm in length, with one side going strait as a ruler, the other end curving up to make the artifact have three sides.

-Looks to be a blade of a knife

-It may have broken off of a larger tool of some sort.

-It is most likely blade of a knife so used for cutting

-I believe it to be the blade of a kitchen knife, used for cutting big food.

Artifact D-8

This artifact is made of rusted metal. It is 18 cm in length and 30 cm in height. It has a bunch of holes in it. It's very crusty and heavy.

-Looks like it could have been a vent

-Could of been part of an old stove