James Island

Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Between Saanich Peninsula and Sidney Island, N of Victoria, Cowichan Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 48°36'12''N, 123°21'01''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92B/11

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 18 January 1915 on Ottawa file 0177.

Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.

Named by early settlers about 1853 after His Excellency James Douglas (1803-1877), Governor of Vancouver Island. Name adopted by Captain Richards, H.M.S. Plumper 1858.

Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)

"We have the honour to advise you that some months ago we acquired by purchase James Island. On the island we are erecting a Factory for the manufacture of High Explosives etc, and are also erecting a number of dwellings for Officials and Work people. As it is our earnest desire to change the present name of the island to that of Shand Island, we have been advised to approach you to grant the necessary permission. As we also propose getting established a Post Office of the same name, the Post Master General has given us to understand he is willing to adopt the name if we are successful in establishing our case with you. As the name Shand has a peculiar attraction for us, being the name of a gentleman intimately connected with us and the Explosive industry in Great Britain, we are most anxious to secure it, and therefore trust our request will receive your sanction." (25 November 1914 letter from Canadian Explosives Ltd, Montreal, to Geographic Board of Canada, copy on file 14527s pt.2) "Shand is a present shareholder in the company who lives in England, having had no association with British Columbia. My own idea is that the change is entirely unwarranted and unnecessary, which should be resisted strenuously. It appears to me that endless confusion would ensue if the precedent were to be established of allowing a commercial company comparatively recently established here to interfere with a name which is not only a geographic but a historic land-mark, and seemingly for no better reason that flattering the vanity of a foreign capitalist." (8 December 1914 letter from W.F. Robertson, British Columbia member of the Geographic Board, to G.H. Dawson, Surveyor General for British Columbia, file 14527s pt.2)

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Mary Island was the Hudson's Bay Company name for James Island. (from SHALE: Journal of the Gabriola Historial & Museum Society; Nick Doe editor)

Source: included with note