511 Royal Avenue
British Columbia Tourism Region : Vancouver, Coast, & Mountains
- New Westminster - Governor Douglas had intended that Derby (site of the original Fort Langley) should be the capital of the mainland Crown Colony of British Columbia.
- Colonel Moody of the Royal Engineers inspected this site in December 1858 and declared that military considerations ruled it out.
- (Being on the south side of the Fraser, Derby was vulnerable to attack in the event of an American invasion.) Moody had no doubt about where the new capital should be:
- In steaming up one fine reach at a spot 20 miles from the entrance of the Channel to the Frazer, my attention was at once arrested to it's [sic] fitness, in all probability, for the site of the first, if not the Chief Town in the Country.
- Further study of that ground as well as other sites has now convinced me that it is the right place in all respects.
- Commercially for the good of the whole community, politically for imperial interests & military for the protection of & to hold the country against our neighbours at some future day,
- also for all purposes of convenience to the local Government in connection with Vancouver's Island at the same time as with the back country. It is a most important spot.
- It is positively marvellous how singularly it is formed for the site of a large town (not a small one) to be defended against any foreign aggression.
- It is not adapted for a small military position, such as would be required for a mere military or naval post or depot.
- The features are too extensive for that viewed from the Gulf of Georgia across the meadows on entering the Frazer,
- the far distant giant mountains forming a dark background the City would appear throned Queen-like & shining in the glory of the midday sun.
- The comparison is so obvious that afterwards all hands on board the Plumper & indeed everyone joins in thinking the appropriate name would be 'Queenborough.'
- The colonel's rhetoric did not impress everybody. Governor Douglas, for some quirky reason, would accept 'Queensborough' but not 'Queenborough.'
- The Colonial Secretary, W.A.G. Young, expressing the feeling of the citizens of Victoria, maintained that the latter, named for the sovereign, was already the Queen's borough. To end the discord, Governor Douglas wrote to Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton:
- It will be received and esteemed as an especial mark of royal favour were her Majesty to name the capital of British Columbia either indirectly after her Royal Self, or directly after His Royal Highness, the Prince Consort, His Royal Highness,
- the Prince of Wales, or some member of the Royal Family, so that the colonists of British Columbia, separated from friends and kindred in this their far distant home,
- may be ever gratefully reminded in the designation of their capital of the power that protects their hearths, of the watchful interest that guards their liberties, and of the gentle sway by which they are governed. Back came a crisp reply:
- 'I am commanded to acquaint you that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to decide that the capital of British Columbia shall be called 'New Westminster.''
Address of this page: http://bc.ruralroutes.com/NewWestminster