Feature Type:City - A populated place with legally defined boundaries, incorporated as a city municipality under the provincial Municipal Act.
Status: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: SE end of Vancouver Island, Victoria Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 48°25'41"N, 123°21'53"W at the approximate location of the Municipal Hall.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 92B/6
Origin Notes and History:

City of Victoria incorporated 2 August 1862. Victoria (City) confirmed in the 17th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1922, and 1 May 1934 on National Defence sheet, Victoria. See also the municipality's own internet site.

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

Named after Her Majesty Queen Victoria (1819-1901), who ascended to the throne in 1837 at age 18, and reigned until her death.

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

Formerly the capital of Vancouver Island and later of the united colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, and since the union with Canada in 1871, the capital of the province of British Columbia. Named by the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company after Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, who in 1837 had succeeded to the British crown; born 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace, and died 22 January 1901 at Osborne, Isle of Wight . . .

Source: Walbran, John T; "British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: Their Origin and History"; published for the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)

The Hudson's Bay Company sought to establish a presence at the southern end of Vancouver Island; in 1837 the HBC's Captain MacNeill had reported a safe harbour with adjacent arable land here, and in 1841 James Douglas, Chief Factor of the HBC, chose this area as an ideal location for a new HBC post. Douglas spent the summer of 1842 mapping the area between today's Oak Bay and Esquimalt, and on 15 March 1843 selected the site for the new fort. Building commenced 4 June 1843, utilizing cedar palisades cut from nearby Cedar Hill (now Mount Douglas). Chief Trader Charles Ross, in charge of construction, was under the impression that the new fort was to be named in memory of the queen's consort, hence named the new post Fort Albert. Supply ships put in here during the summer of 1843, and their logs variously refer to Fort Albert, Fort Victoria and Fort Camosun. Clarification from London finally arrived, and in December 1843, with ceremony and the firing of salutes, the post was (re)named Fort Victoria. The first settlers arrived from Britain in the late 1840's, and in 1849, when Fort Victoria became the new headquarters of the Columbia Department of the Hudson's Bay Company, James Douglas moved here to manage the growth and development of the area. In 1852 a townsite and streets were laid out next to the fort and given the name Victoria. Fort Victoria itself was finally demolished 24 November 1864. See a detailed plan of Fort Victoria in the Hudson's Bay Company Journal, The Beaver, March 1943. See also "The Founding of Fort Victoria" by W. Kaye Lamb, BC Historical Quarterly, Vol II No 2, file V.1.38.

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

"Capital of the united provinces of Vancouver Island and British Columbia since 1868. The Hudson's Bay Company trading post at this point, the foundation of the future city, was established in 1843 by a minute of council of the Northern Department of Ruperts land on a site selected in 1841, and was ordered to be named Fort Victoria. The place was known to the Indians as Camosum or Camosack..... No record of opening of post office. There was a mail service arranged for Victoria in 1858 from San Fransisco." (17th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 1922). "....there is no doubt that it was always the intention at headquarters for the new establishment in the Straits of De Fuca to be named Fort Victoria. A resolution to this effect was included in the Minutes of Council for the Northern Department of Ruperts Land, which were held at the Red River Settlement in June 1843..... On examination, however, of a Log Book of the schooner Cadborough, it would appear that when the fort was first established in 1843, it was called first Fort Camosun and then Fort Albert pending definite instructions from headquarters." (7 April 1927 letter from Charles V. Sale, Governor of Hudson's Bay Company, to Provincial Archives, file S.2.33). See also the municipality's own website.

Source: included with note

Fort Victoria was named after Queen Victoria by Minute No. 63 passed at a council of the Hudson's Bay Company held at Red River Settlement 10 June 1843.

Source: Anderson, James Robert; "Notes and comments on early days and events in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon"; manuscript, 1925 (Provincial Archives E/B/An 2)

The harbour was known to the local Indigenous peoples by a name variously transcribed as Camosun, Cammusan or Camosack. This name, according to Roderick Finlayson who assumed command of Fort Victoria in 1844, meant "the rush of water" and presumably referred to the race of the tide moving in and out of The Gorge. Recently it has been suggested on linguistic grounds that Camosun was the name of the gorge itself and meant "cut mouth."....... In 1866 the two colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia were united in a single new Crown Colony of British Columbia, and in 1868 the capital of British Columbia was transferred from New Westminster to Victoria. For the next few decades, first New Westminster and much later Vancouver agitated to have the capital brought back to the mainland. To settle the matter once and for all, in 1893 the government of Premier Theodore Davie began building palatial Parliament Buildings to replace the earlier 'birdcages.' After that monumental project was completed in 1897, there could be no more talk of moving the capital to the mainland. The investment was too great and immovable......

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

FROM FORT TO CAPITAL (Interpretive plaque, located at the summit of Mt. Douglas overlooking Victoria, by [BC] Department of Recreation and Conservation.) "By 1840 the influx of American settlers into what is now Oregon State had forced the Hudson's Bay Company to think of moving its headquarters north from Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River into territory still controlled by Britain. It was a necessary move as was demonstrated by the 1846 negotiations that set the northern border of the United States at the 49th parallel. Camosack harbour on the southern tip of Vancouver Island was chosen as the best available site for the new fort which was built in 1843. The Songhee Indians who had a settlement there helped build the fort but an altercation over the killing of some company oxen provided a pretext for forcing them to resettle across the harbour and a few years later they were prohibited from living within the limits of the new town that was growing up around the fort. Until the first settlers arrived in 1849 the inhabitants of the fort were all Hudson's Bay Company employees engaged in the fur trade. In that year Vancouver Island became a colony and its first governor, Richard Blanchard, was appointed but it became apparent that the real head of the settlement was the Hudson's Bay Company chief factor, James Douglas. Within two years the original governor resigned and Douglas, later to become known as the father of British Columbia, was appointed in his place. During his tenure of office the Fraser River gold rush occurred in consequence of which the mainland was created a colony in 1858 and Douglas named as governor. Already the clearing house for coal and lumber produced on Vancouver Island, the town became a city overnight when some twenty thousand people passed through it on their way to the Fraser River gold fields and Victoria was incorporated in 1862. Representative government was initiated in 1856 and three years later work began on the original parliament buildings. As the colony grew, the influence of the Hudson's Bay Company diminished. By 1864 the old fur trade fort had been completely dismantled and Douglas had retired from the governorship. Following the union of the island and mainland colonies in 1866 for a period of time, New Westminster became the capital. However, in 1868 the seat of government was returned to Victoria. Three years later British Columbia became a province of Canada with Victoria as its capital." (125 Stops of Interest in Beautiful British Columbia, by David E. Gill; an interpretive guide to the "Stop of Interest" plaques installed by the Historic Parks and Sites Division of the Provincial Parks Branch; Frontier Publishing Company, Aldergrove, 1979.)

Source: included with note