14 March

The Founding of Victoria, B.C.

Fort Victoria Founded

James Douglas, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, founded Fort Victoria, on Vancouver Island on March 14, 1843, when he landed at Clover Point with fifteen men to build a base for the Hudson's Bay Company. Until this time the huge fur trading company had controlled the Pacific coast area, including what are now the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. American settlers were rushing in and it was becoming increasingly clear that the United States was taking over. In fact, the Democratic Party won an election in 1844 with a slogan, "fifty-four forty or fight", which meant that the United States claimed the Pacific coast all the way to Alaska (see June 15) .

When Blanshard was appointed Govenor of Vancouver Island in 1850, Douglas has seen he withdrawal of the Hudson's Bay Company from what is now the United States. Even though the boundary had been established along the 49th parallel, he knew that the United States might still make an effort to acquire the Pacific coast all the way to Alaska. It was ridiculous that a man without any experience should be placed over him. Fortunately, it worked out that Douglas took over the job.

Douglas had actually chosen the site of Victoria in 1842 to be a new post of the Hudson's Bay Company. After he landed with his fifteen men on March 14, 1843, they went to work with determination, and although they had only the most primitive tools, they had built a stockade by October. It included two dwellings, a storage house, a three-story bastion armed with blunderbusses and muskets, and was surrounded by a cedar fence 18 feet high. The protection was against the Indians, not the Americans.

Sir George Simpson, governor of the company, who always considered the climate of British Columbia to be unhealthy, had to admit that the climate helped Douglas that summer. There was hardly a drop of rain from June to November, which made it possible for the building of Fort Victoria to progress so quickly.


14 March

-1864    Sir Etienne Taché and John A. Macdonald formed a government.

-1879    National Policy came into effect with "Tilley's tariff."

-1907    Technical schools were established at Montreal and Quebec.

-1916    Women were granted the right to vote in Saskatchewan.

-1995    The first transatlantic radio broadcast was made.

-1961    Massey College for graduate students was established at Toronto.