Fort Defiance

Feature Type:Site - A named place that has historic, geographic or folkloric significance.
Status:
Relative Location: E side Lemmens Inlet, Meares Island, N of Tofino, Clayoquot Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°12'05''N, 125°51'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: MCR003

Origin Notes and History:

Protected as a 135-acre archaeological site 23 December 1966; the 1967 edition of federal map 92 F indicates "historic monument" in this location.

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

The site of Captain Robert Gray's winter quarters, 1791, and where be built the Adventure, only the second vessel to be constructed by Europeans north of Mexico: Gray first arrived on this coast under Captain John Kendrick, 1787; he returned in command of the Columbia on his second voyage, 1791, with plans to build a new ship. On 17 March 1792, the two vessels, Adventure and Columbia, left Cox Harbour (now Tofino); the Adventure with Robert Haswell in command went north to collect furs, and the Columbia under the command of Captain Gray, headed south and met up with Captain Vancouver. Together on 10 May they located and named the Columbia River. From California to Alaska this area became known as the Columbia Territory, and later, that portion occupied by the British became known as British Columbia. In several publications, the US naval historian, S.E. Morrison, had postulated that Gray's "Fort Defiance" was on the east side of Morpheus Island, however, a 1965 (?) excavation of the Meares Island site led by Dr. Don Mitchell, University of Victoria, located remnants of chimney foundations, nails, etc; forensic testing proved conclusively that this was Gray's "Fort Defiance" (Information supplied by Ken Gibson, Tofino, 1996). See also Beautiful British Columbia magazine, Fall 1967 (copy on file T.1.43), and Victoria Times 25 July 1966.

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