Fort Victoria (1)
Fort Victoria (1843-1864) - The Fort was built in 1843 by Roderick Finlayson as a Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) outpost and consisted of one and two-story wooden buildings surrounded by stockades. Indians came here to trade furs, salmon and berries in exchange for HBC blankets and other trade goods. Originally called Fort Camosun, the fort was later named in honor of Queen Victoria. The fort was demolished in 1864.
An early description of the fort: "The Fort is a quadrangle of 330 by 300ft. The buildings on for the present to be eight in number, exclusion of bastions - and there dimensions - 60 by 40 by 30 feet. Posts and Pavilion roofs. of these edifies we have already thoroughly completed three, and two more (main and officers house) are up but as yet unprovided with covering or inside work. One octangular Bastion of three stories was built.
In the farming line we have not as yet done much, there are about three acres broken up and prepared for the plough. The soil appears excellent being composed of decayed vegetable mould with a strong clayey bottom, it is however a good deal growth of fern.
The landscape is beautiful and strongly reminds one of some of the noble domains at home - water alone being (wanting?)to complete the picture. The climate is perhaps too fine, of which you may judge, when I tell you that from June to November we had scarcely anything else thou bright sunny days." - B.C. Archives, Charles Ross private correspondence, A/B/40/R735
In 1847 the fort walls were extended to included a post office, stable, and another warehouse. With the 1858 discovery of gold on the British Columbia mainland, Victoria became the port, supply base, and outfitting center for miners on their way to the Cariboo gold fields. As the town of Victoria grew the fort was slowly dismantled to make way for the expanding town. In 1864 the old fort was demolished and the lots were auctioned off.
No remains of the fort except for two mooring rings at the harbor edge. The city of Victoria has partially outlined the fort location in the sidewalk with colored paving stones that contain the names of people associated with the fort and the HBC. The outline stones are along the west side of Government Street between View Street (Bastion Square) and Broughton Street. Also along this stretch are three markers on the sides of buildings that explain different parts of the fort. At the south west corner of Fort Street and Government Street two disks in the sidewalk mark the location of the fort gate. At the corner of Bastion Square and Government Street is a hexagonal outline of the northeast bastion. Other markers for the fort are located near the foot of Fort Street and in front of the Empress Hotel. The map below outlines the approximate footprint of the fort on current city streets.
Visited: 3-5 Jun 2014, 28 Apr 2010, 22 Jun 2009