The Britannia mining museum and a bakery that is worth a long drive


September 17, 2014 by Terumi

panning for gold

I can’t deny that most trips we go on as a family are triggered by a bakery, store or a coffee shop; it’s always some delightful little place I’ve seen and have to visit because time as I know it has threatened to stop until I figure out how to get myself there as soon as possible to see it for my own eyes. (Oh social media has been like the ultimate travel bait for me!) Our most recent trip to Whistler was motivated by two places:  we missed Purebread when we were last in town and I heard my great-grandpa had worked at Britannia mine and I wanted to see what it was like for him to work there so long ago and show my kids.
So Purebread has moved from Whistler Village to a little spot near a bouncy trampoline place and it’s still adorable just smaller and a little off the beaten path. And they even have a kickstarter to move it closer to Vancouver. (Vancouver friends this is a no-brainer. You need this as close to you as you can get!)

purebread bakery
There are so many pastries that I get overwhelmed but in the same way Audrey Hepburn might have felt in Tiffany’s (I want them all. I. WANT. THEM. ALL.)

purebread bakery in Whistler
I usually pick something banana and I tried something called ‘crack’ that I’m craving to go back and try again. You know how that goes.
So we were lucky enough to enjoy our pastries on the gorgeous drive between Whistler and the Britannia mine and it made for a scenic and delicious breakfast.

seeing where my great-grandpa worked: the Britannia Mine
The Britannia Mine thankfully was in the Vancouver entertainment book so we saved a little bit of money.
And we arrived minutes before a tour so it was pretty perfect timing.  I think the tours are every 45 minutes between 10am and 4:30pm but this could change.  (Check the website.)

brittania mining museum
We put on our hats and listened to the safety tour and were almost ready to start our journey on the train when I realized we were going down a mine.
A deep mine into the center of the dark of the earth.
We might never escape.

miners at Britannia Mine
‘I am not doing this anymore.’ I told our guide. I was done. I removed my hat. I did not want to be a miner.
‘Are you worried? It is very short and there are exits everywhere. Just tell me if you get anxious. You can do this!’
She seemed sweet and not-scary, so I sat back down and put on my mining cap.  I didn’t tell her that I had thought we were actually going deep into the mine, but I felt reassured enough to go on.
And it turned out this tour was not frightening after all. We went horizontally, not vertically and no one was lowered into a deep dark hole in a bucket like I imagined. (We recently watched Goonies and this must have triggered this idea.)

britannia mine with kids
But it was amazing to think that many years ago, my great-grandpa came to Canada all the way from Japan and worked here for a little while.  He must have been pretty brave.  He may have even used this double-toilet that the guys got to peek into.  (Thank goodness it’s not usable any more but this also has the potential to be the ultimate twin-potty-training tool)

a double toilet used in a mine
The guys didn’t really realize the significance of their great-great-grandfather working here but they had a fabulous time panning for gold and pretending they were miners too.

We could have spent a whole day trying to perfect our technique and the hubby and I got quite competitive trying to find the most ‘gold’.
It’s incredible to think that we still rely on mining for so many things that we take for granted.  And I hope that Purebread comes to Vancouver soon so I don’t have to trek so far for it next time.  We love Whistler but it’s a lot easier to get to Vancouver from Seattle.)

(PS. the Britannia Mine is a great stop for kids on the way to or from Whistler, BC)


  1. Now, I’m really hoping we get to go to Whistler during winter so I can go to Purebread. You now I trust all your foodie recommendations 🙂 What a great experience for all of you to visit someplace that meant a lot in your family history. Britannia looks like an awesome place to stop with kids and I know my kids will try to compete for gold too.

    • Terumi says:

      Oh Mary you would LOVE purebread! And you know I love your travel reccos all the time. Dying to go to Australia and Guam now because of you;)

Leave a Reply

Places we’ve been

Seattle with kids

About me: Terumi

Posts you might like:

What I write about:

Find me on Instagram


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Legoland Blogger 2016
%d bloggers like this: