Victoria History, British Columbia
Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is at the southern end of Vancouver Island. Victoria is a famous tourist destination, where over 3.65 million visitors annually contribute with a billion dollars to the economy of the city. The city prides itself being the ‘city of flowers’, with the residents making a phone call to the city Chamber of Commerce in the month of February and inform the chamber about the number of flowers in their gardens. Since 1976, every year in February, the city had been releasing the total flower count in Victoria with great delight.
History of VictoriaVictoria Fort
The original inhabitants of Victoria were the Coast Salish communities, the chief among them being the Songhees. Westerners, particularly the British and the Spanish, arrived in Canada in the latter part of the 18th century, starting with the voyage in 1776 by Captain James Cook. The Spanish sailors were the first to arrive in the area, landing at the Esquimalt Harbor between 1790 and 1792. Fort Victoria was constructed in 1843 by James Douglas, the second governor, for the Hudson’s Bay Company. The first governor in the fort was Richard Blanshard. The area was initially known as Camosun or ‘rush of water’ and the fort was called ‘Fort Albert’. The name was later changed to Fort Victoria. The Songhees were the original settlers in this area. In 1849, the town became the capital of the Vancouver Island colony. Arthur Edward Kennedy, the third governor, was instrumental in the early progress of the city. He retired in 1864.
Development of Victoria
In 1858, gold was discovered on the mainland of British Columbia and Victoria flourished as the supply base, port, and outfitting center for the miners that proceeded to the Fraser Canyon gold fields. With the influx of the miners, the town population swelled from 300 to more than 5,000 in just a few days. In 1877, the island was merged with the mainland administration and Victoria became the capital for the new United Colony. However, the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 shifted the prominence of being a commercial center from Victoria to Vancouver. Still, Victoria continued to grow, with the construction of the Craigdarroch Castle by a leading industrialist and coal miner, Robert Dunsmuir, in the Rockland area. A grand mansion was built at Hatley Park by his son James Dunsmuir, who became the premier of British Columbia and was later designated as the lieutenant governor. Till 1908, running an opium firm was legal in Victoria and it was a major source of revenue for the local government.
The period during the First World War saw the end of the real estate boom. Several municipalities were incorporated in Victoria area from that period till the end of the Second World War. The development of the area continued after World War II, with the establishment of two universities. At present, there are thirteen municipalities in the area and there had been calls to integrate all of them into Greater Victoria within the Capital Region District for better long term planning.
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