It was clearly a whiteout during a seemingly never-ending snowfall that hit the region.

It was clearly a whiteout during a seemingly never-ending snowfall that hit the region.

The Great Snowfall of 1916 in the Chemainus Valley

It kept falling in the region almost continuously for 47 days

Starting December 30, 1915, snowfall was almost continuous for 47 days in the Chemainus area.

Motor vehicles were rendered useless, with horses coming back to favour pulling sleighs. On the 27th day, the Chemainus River was completely frozen. On the 38th day, 3-4 feet of snow fell, and the following four days yielded another 6-7 feet.

Barns and unoccupied houses collapsed under the massive weight. At some isolated farms, the inhabitants cut up wreckage to keep the home fires burning.

More great historical photos and stories can be viewed at the Chemainus Valley Museum, 9799 Waterwheel Crescent. The museum’s hours in February are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

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