Founded as an unincorporated logging town in 1858, Chemainus is now famous for its 53 outdoor murals. This outdoor gallery has given birth to many businesses, including a theatre, antique dealers, and eateries. The tourist industry stemming from the murals helped rejuvenate the town after its large sawmill closed in the early 1980s and was replaced by a smaller, more efficient mill. As of 2021, approximately 4,000 people called Chemainus home.
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