Ladysmith, originally Oyster Harbour, is a town located on the 49th parallel north on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The local economy is based on forestry, tourism, and agriculture. A hillside location adjacent to a sheltered harbour forms the natural characteristics of the community.
James Dunsmuir founded Ladysmith about 1898, a year after he built shipping wharves for loading coal at Oyster Harbour (now Ladysmith Harbour) from the mine at Extension, nearer Nanaimo. Dunsmuir, owner of coal mines in the Nanaimo area, needed a location to house the families of his miners. He chose to build the community at what was then known as Oyster Harbour, some 20 miles (32 km) south of his Extension mines. Many buildings were moved from Extension and Wellington by rail and by oxen.
In 1900, Dunsmuir renamed the town in honour of the British lifting the siege of Ladysmith in South Africa.