Victoria (City) (Origin of name British Columbia) / Craigflower / Mount Douglas / Elk Lake / Point Ellice
Phone : (250) 385-5711
Your Host(s) : Municipal Administration
, James Bay
, Lake Hill
British Columbia Tourism Region : Vancouver Island
1 Centennial Square
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- The British were first aware of this part of the world as a northward extension of Sir Francis Drake's 'New Albion' (California and Oregon).
- In 1792-4 Captain Vancouver gave diverse names to various parts of the future province of British Columbia. To Vancouver Island he gave the name of Quadra and Vancouver's Island.
- The coastal parts of northern Washington and the southern British Columbia mainland he named New Georgia, while he called the central and northern coastal areas of British Columbia New Hanover.
- These names failed to secure acceptance.
- The evolution of the name of British Columbia is easily traced. In 1792 Captain Robert Gray from Boston rediscovered the river that the Spaniards had named Rio de San Roque some seventeen years earlier.
- Ignorant of the Spaniards' prior discovery, Gray named the river after his ship, the Columbia, and so the Columbia River entered history.
- In the following years, it was natural enough that the vast area drained by the mighty Columbia should be referred to increasingly as the Columbia country.
- When the Hudson's Bay Company set up two administrative areas west of the Rockies, it named the more northerly New Caledonia and the more southerly Columbia.
- After the Treaty of Washington in 1846 fixed the forty-ninth parallel of latitude as the Anglo-American boundary from the Rockies to the Pacific, most of the old HBC Department of Columbia became American.
- Somebody was bound to think of using 'British Columbia' as a name for what was left north of the new boundary line.
- The person who took this final step was Queen Victoria. In a royal letter of 1858 to Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Colonial Secretary, we find the earliest mention of 'British Columbia.'
- In this letter the naming of a new Crown colony in the Pacific Northwest is discussed:
- The Queen has received Sir E. Bulwer Lytton's letter. If the name of 'New Caledonia' is objected to as being already borne by another colony or island claimed by the French, it may be better to give the new colony, w.of the Rocky Mountains, another name.
- New Hanover, New Cornwall, New Georgia, appear from the maps to be names of sub-divisions of that country, but do not appear on all maps.
- The only name which is given to the whole territory in every map the Queen has consulted is 'Columbia,
- but as there exists a Columbia in South America, and the citizens of the United States call their country also 'Columbia,' at least in poetry, 'British Columbia' might be, in the Queen's opinion, the best name.
- The new colony of British Columbia was officially proclaimed at Fort Langley on 19 November 1858. In 1863 Stikine Territory was made part of British Columbia, and on 19 November 1866 Vancouver Island became part of the united colony of British Columbia.
- With permission from G.P.V and Helen B. Akrigg 1997 British Columbia Place Names. UBC Press.
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After adjacent Craigflower Farm, founded by the HBC in 1853. This farm was named after Craigflower Farm in England, owned by Andrew Colvile, Governor of the HBC from 1852 to 1856.Craigflower School, still surviving along with the old manor house, was one of the earliest schools built in the province. An entry in the diary of Robert Melrose, dated 24 September 1854, notes, 'School-house frame erected, whole company in general notoriously drunk.'With permission from G.P.V and Helen B. Akrigg 1997 British Columbia Place Names. UBC Press.
Originally known as Cedar Hill, since the cedar palisades around Fort Victoria were cut here. The original name still lingers in Cedar Hill Road and Cedar Hill Crossroad.
In a letter of 24 March 1859 to the Hydrographer of the Royal Navy, Captain G.H. Richards told how Cedar Hill became Mount Douglas: fit has been much the fashion here to give the term Mountain to elevations which ore by no means entitled to that distinction. I have taken the liberty of reducing all under 1000 feet to Hills, except Mount Douglas, which I have retained as a mountain although 690 feet, partly from not wishing to lower the Governor, and partly because Douglas Hill does not sound well.' Actually, as early as
'851, the captain of HMS Daphne had noted in his remark book 'an abrupt but not high hill called Cedar Hill (or Mount Douglas).'
Sir James Douglas (1803-77) was born in Demerara (Guyana) of Scottish and Creole parentage. Educated in Scotland, he entered the service of the NWC in 1819. In 1825 the Hudson's Bay Company stationed him at Fort St. James. Here in 1829 he made a 'fur trade marriage' with Amelia, a mixed blood daughter of Chief Factor Connolly. This union was confirmed by a Church of England marriage nine years later. In 1829, when the Indians seized Fort St. James and threatened the captive Douglas with death, his young wife saved his life by quickly handing over trade goods until the Indians agreed that sufficient ransom had been paid. Because of continuing
trouble with the Indians, Douglas was transferred to Fort Vancouver in 1830. In 1832 Governor Simpson characterized Douglas thus:
A stout powerful active man of good conduct and respectable abilities; — tolerably well Educated, expresses himself clearly on paper, understands our Counting House business and is an excellent Trader, Well qualified for any Service requiring bodily exertion, firmness of mind and the exercise of sound judgement, but furiously violent when roused. Has every reason to look forward to early promotion and is a likely man to fill a place at our Council board in course of time.
In 1834 Douglas was promoted to Chief Trader and in 1839 to Chief Factor. In 1842, after inspecting the site, Douglas recommended the founding of Fort Victoria. In 1849, Fort Victoria having become the new headquarters of the Columbia Department, Douglas took up residence there to supervise the management of that district. We are given an interesting glimpse of him in Victoria in 1850:
I suppose there must have been more than twenty people in the [dining] room, when Mr. Douglas made his appearance a handsome specimen of nature's gentlemen, tall, stout, broad-shouldered, muscular, with a grave bronzed face, yet kindly withal. After the usual greetings he took the head of the table I was informed that no frivolous conversation was ever allowed at table, but that Mr. Douglas, as a rule, came primed with some intellectual and scientific subject, and thus he educated his clerks. All had to go to church every Sunday.
After the resignation of Governor Blanshard in 1851, James Douglas became the second Governor of the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island. In 1858 he also became Governor of the mainland colony of British Columbia and resigned his HBC positions. During the years that followed, Governor Douglas's energy, sagacity, and courage saved the two colonies from annexation by the United States during the turbulent period of the Fraser River and Cariboo gold rushes. His task would have been impossible without the modest naval and military forces supplied by Britain and the small group of excellent civil servants provided by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Colonial Secretary. It was Douglas's vision that provided British Columbia first with the tote road from Port Douglas at the head of Harrison Lake, via Anderson and Seton Lakes, to Lillooet; and then with the famous Cariboo Wagon Road from Yale, through the Fraser Canyon, and on, via Cache Creek and Clinton, to the goldfields around Barkerville.
Elk were once numerous in this area. The Saanich Indian name for the lake means 'drifts from place to place' and referred to a floating island of weeds. The Indians thought this was a monster, the sight of which brought bad luck.
After Edward Ellice (1781-1863). Ellice joined the NWC in 1805 and was largely responsible for its decision to unite with the HBC in 1821. He entered politics in Britain and became Secretary to the Treasury (1830-2) and Secretary for War (1832-4). He was Deputy Governor of the HBC from 1858 to 1863.
Adjacent Gonzales Point was named by Manuel Quimper in 1790 after his first mate on the Princesa Real, Gonzalo Lopez de Haro. This bay is better known as Foul Bay, signifying a poor anchorage.
Named in 1846 by Captain Kellett (HMS Herald) after Chief Factor (later Sir James) Douglas. In later years Douglas had his home on the south shore of the bay. The Straits Salish name for James Bay, before fill reclaimed the site for the Empress Hotel, was 'Whosaykurn,' meaning 'muddy place.'
JAMES ISLAND, northeast of Victoria, and MOUNT DOUGLAS are also named after Douglas.
In Purchas His Pilgrims, published in 1625, was printed a memoir of Michael Lok, an Englishman trading in the Near East. This memoir related how he met in Venice in 1596 'an old man, about threescore yeares of age, called commonly Juan de Fuca, but named properly Apostolos Valerianos, of Nation a Greeke, borne in the Iland Cefalonia, of Profession a Mariner, and an ancient Pilot of Shippes.' This Juan de Fuca told Lok that in 1592 the Viceroy of Mexico sent him north in the Pacific to seek the Straits of Anian, a supposed Northwest Passage. De Fuca told Lok specifically:
he followed his course in that Voyage West and North-west in the South Sea, all alongst the coast of Nova Spania, and California, and the Indies, now called North America ... untill hee came to the Latitude of fortie seven degrees, and that there finding that the land trended North and North-east, with a broad inlet of Sea, between 47. and 48. degrees of Latitude: hee entred thereinto, sayling therein more than twentie dayes, and found that Land trending still sometime North-west and North-east, and North, and also East and South-eastward, and very much broader Sea then [than] was at the said entrance, and that hee passed by divers Ilands in that sayling. And that at the entrance of this said Strait, there is on the North-west coast thereof, a great Hedland or lland, with an exceeding high Pinacle, or spired Rocke, like a piller thereupon.
In 1787 Captain Charles Barkley of the trading ship Imperial Eagle, finding an opening in the coast just where Juan de Fuca said there was one, named it after him.
In many ways de Fuca's account tallies with the location of the strait, the widening into the Strait of Georgia, and the numerous Gulf Islands. On the other hand, the inventions of an old scamp may have happened to coincide with geographical fact. Largely because no mention of de Fuca's voyage has been found in the Spanish archives, it has been generally dismissed as apocryphal. There are those, however, who maintain that Juan de Fuca did indeed sail into these waters. Captain Walbran, who knew this coast as thoroughly as any man, was satisfied that de Fuca had indeed discovered the strait and that De Fuca's Pillar off Tatooche Island is his 'high Pinacle, or spired Rocke.'
From the Straits Salish Indian word meaning 'rock(s) on top,' a place mentioned in a Songhees Indian legend.
After Captain Edward E. Langford (1809-95), once of the 73rd Regiment and a Sussex landowner. Captain Langford, his wife, and five good-looking daughters arrived in Victoria in May 1851, being the first English family to emigrate to the colony. Captain Langford had been hired as manager of the Esquimalt farm operated by the
VIBC'S subsidiary, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. Although Captain Langford did not entirely neglect his duties around the farm, he was much more interested in being a genial country squire and keeping open house for the young officers from the Royal Navy who would make eligible husbands for his girls. He returned to England in 1861.
Recalling Victoria in 1850, J.R. Anderson wrote that the 'laurels' were really the arbutus trees that made this Indian burial ground a beautiful spot.
After Donald Macaulay, bailiff for the Viewfield Farm near Esquimalt, established in 1850 by the Puget Sound Agricultural Company (HBC). This farm, some 600 acres in extent, included Macaulay Point.
After the second daughter of John Tod, a veteran HBC officer who began his retirement at Oak Bay in 1850.
Commonly referred to by the unofficial designation of Shoal Bay. It is named after Captain William H. McNeill (1803-75), of the HBC'S maritime service, who married one of the Macaulay daughters (see Macaulay Point) and built a comfortable house on 200 acres of land on this bay. (See also Port McNeill.)
Site of the first machine-operated sawmill on Vancouver Island. In 1848 a millwright was brought from England to build it.
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This record last updated: January 20, 2021
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