"Named in 1861 by Captain Richards, RN, after Commander John Meares, RN (1756-1809), who had formed a company [the Associated Merchants] to develop the northwest American fur trade, a trade which had exceedingly bright prospects from the glowing accounts given by Captain Cook's last voyage. Meares made one voyage to Prince William's Sound in the snow "Nootka" in 1786, which vessel passed a severe winter in Snug Corner Cove... and another to Nootka Sound in 1788 with the snows "Felice" and "Iphigenia", Captain Douglas being in command of the latter. Shortly after his arrival at Nootka Meares purchased from the Indian Chief Maquinna for eight or ten sheets of copper and some trifling articles a portion of the adjacent shores. He erected a storehouse at Friendly Cove and built a small vessel there, named the "North West America", the first vessel built on this coast, launched Saturday 20 September 1788... [upon Meares' return to China he dispatched "Argonaut" and "Princess Royal" to Nootka Sound, both subsequently seized by Don Estevan Jose Martinez for the Spanish crown.] ....Nootka was ultimately abandoned by the Spaniards and an indemnity paid over to Captain Meares and his associates for the seizure of their vessls and the consequent loss of trade. This political excitement gave an unwonted interest to Meares' voyages and merchantile schemes, and encouraged him to bring out his interesting and valuable narrative under the title of "Voyages made in the years 1788 and 1789, from China to the northwest coast of America" published in London, 1790...."
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)