The Museum’s Blog

Merville – 100 Years and Counting

CDM 2004.42.1

“In late November of 1918 Mr. MacDonald of the Land Settlement Board and professor B.A. Boving of the University of British Columbia visited the Comox Valley with a view to investigating the feasibility of the Provincial Government taking over a large area of land located north of Grantham.

Thousands of acres belonging to the Comox Logging and Railway Company had been logged off and were available… By the end of May, 1919 seventy-five veterans were engaged in clearing and building on the home sites…”.

From Land of Plenty, A History of the Comox District, p. 107.

This quote sets the stage for our 2019 newsletter feature which will include a historical tidbit about the community of Merville.

What’s in a name?

Merville was first known as Camp Nelems* but the name was soon changed. The Daily Colonist newspaper of July 6, 1919 reported that “Merville” won in a vote over the name “Empire.” The Colonist went on to say “Merville [France] was the first headquarters of the Canadian Corps in 1915, and it is also appropriate for the settlement, which will touch the coast at several points.”

*Named after M.H. Nelems (Melbourne Henry) who was the chairman of the Provincial Land Settlement Board from February to October, 1919.