Ladysmith, BC, incorporated as a town in 1904, population 7921 (2011c), 7538 (2006c). The Town of Ladysmith is located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 85 km north of Victoria. It is located on Ladysmith Harbour on the northern edge of a lucrative farming area. The Chemainus First Nation of the Straits Salish (see Salish, Central Coast) were attracted here by the abundance of oysters and still have an active community in the area.
The area's coal mines to the north and Ladysmith's fine harbour spurred development in the late 1890s. Initially designed by Premier James Dunsmuir as a recreation area and dormitory for miners, it was named after the British forces' relief of their besieged countrymen at Ladysmith in the South African War.
The mine closed at nearby Extension in 1931 and lumbering became the town's economic mainstay. Commercial fishing also contributes to the economy. Land and marine tourism play an important role in the local economy. The downtown area has many restored buildings, augmented by a "Festival of Lights" at Christmas.