Stone erected by a Victoria community group in 1919 marks the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company here in 1843. One reader hopes to see some kind of recognition of the anniversary. Photo contributed

Reader notes 175th year of city’s European colonization

2018 marks milestone in Victoria’s history with Hudson’s Bay Company

The ancient Roman politician, writer, and philosopher Cicero said: “Those who do not know what happened before they were born never grow out of childhood.”

The forward to an interesting website, called the Hopeless Romantics Society, begins by saying that they are: “A society of nostalgic amnesiacs, longing for the past, to preserve history before it disappears but suffering from a concussion of fragmented Western history and appropriation.”

I would like to request that the newspaper take one small step to help us grow up and battle historical and cultural amnesia by reminding the public about, and celebrating, a fairly important historical moment in the history of Victoria, Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

I refer to the historic occasion when James Douglas and those who accompanied him on the Hudson’s Bay Company ship, the Cadborough, set foot on what maps drawn by Spanish explorers called Gonzales Point. These delegates from the HBC liked the area so much they declared this place to be the site of a new company fort to eventually replace Fort Vancouver.

The newcomers Christened the place “Camossung,” renamed it Fort Albert and settled on Fort Victoria. The date was the 14th of March, 1843. May I encourage you to have some sort of banner at the top of the first page next week saying “Happy Birthday, Victoria!” if not some sort of the history behind the founding of our fair city.

I don’t think we celebrate our history too much here and I bet there are very few Victorians that could explain any of the five things I just said above: (1) Why a new fort? (2) 14 March 1843, (3) HBC Cadborough, (4) Gonzales Point, and (5) the evolution of the name of this little corner of the British Empire.

Dean Helm


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