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Newcastle Island is a provincial park located on a small island off the coast of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
Newcastle Island has had quite a journey from a seasonal fishing site for the Coast Salish to the beautiful marine park it is today. Each year the Natives would practically pick up their houses and move on, leading the Spanish and Hudson's Bay Company explorers to believe the island was uninhabited. The herring that attracted the Coast Salish were an industry of their own. Several Oriental herring salteries and fisheries were built on the Northwestern coast of the island. A migrating Snuneymuxw pointed out the existence of coal on the island, which produced the industry that would provide work for Nanaimoites for years to come. During the mining for coal, the island's sandstone was found to be exceptional and was sought after for years by different cities, and even different countries. Many different companies from all over fought for leases to cut the Newcastle Island stone. Also wanting the durable stone was an industry entirely different from architecture. It was pulp-stones that were needed up and down the coast to grind up tree fibres into pulp for papermaking and Newcastle sandstone proved to be one of the best. Even with all those different uses of the land, the Canadian Pacific Railway saw the beauty within and bought the island to create their own little island resort. It was then sold, after a decrease in popularity, to the City of Nanaimo who got so far into debt that they sold it to the BC Government, who turned it into a marine park. After years of success as a marine park, we get the lovely, picturesque island that we enjoy today.
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