Minstrel Island

Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: E. of Turnour Island, at junction of Clio and Chatham Channels, Range 1, Coast Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°37'09''N, 126°19'14''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92L/9
Related Maps: 92K

Origin Notes and History:

Decision in the 1966 BC Gazetteer.

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa

Local tradition has it that a "minstrel boat" arrived here when a survey crew was working in the area. That boat was almost certainly HMS Amethyst, which in 1876 took the Governor-General (Lord Dufferin) and his lady on a cruise upcoast to Metlakatla. A member of her crew (Patrick Riley, Memories of a Bluejacket, p.87) mentions that Amethyst had an amateur troupe of 'nigger minstrels' - these entertainers were generally white and made up with black faces - who provided entertainment for their shipmates and, presumably, any visitors, so it seems highly probable that Minstrel Island commemorates a performance in these waters. Nearby are Bones Bay and Sambo Point. Both 'Mr. Bones' and 'Sambo' were stock characters in the minstrel shows that were so popular in the late nineteenth century.

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997