The Birthplace of Victoria
This harbour was originally the sole domain of the Lekwungen First Nation who plied its protected waters and fished in their dugout canoes. When James Douglas arrived here in 1843, he chose it as the site for a new Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, eventually called Fort Victoria. It wooden walls stood along the rocky shore overlooking this site (behind you along Wharf Street).
At first no dock existed here, so Lekwungen were hired to transport goods ashore in their canoes. To aid this process, large metal canting rings were embedded in the rocks and lines from the stern of the ships were tied to them. This kept the vessel steady while it was being unloaded. One ring, now painted white, remains in the rock to your left and what remains of another is just under the boardwalk (behind and to the right).
By 1858 about 25,00 men passed through Victoria on their way from California to the Fraser River Gold Rush. Within a few years the fort was dismantled and Victoria’s Old Town grew up where it once stood. While stores, hotels and saloons were built on downtown streets, docks, warehouses and factories were built along the shoreline.
The Enterprise Wharf (located where the parking lot is behind you) was early Victoria’s
[Illustration captions] Watercolour by James Alden of Fort Victoria as it appeared in 1854. You are standing off to the right of this painting. Royal BC Museum Archives image PDP 02143
Note the stern lines of the ships attached to the metal rings on shore. Royal BC Museum Archives image A-03112
An 1864 photograph of Wharf Street looking North from the corner of Fort Street. Look off to you right at Wharf Street and note how little the original architecture has changed. Royal BC Museum Archives image A-03033
In this photograph taken during the Klondike Gold Rush shows the livestock pens on the Enterprise Wharf. In the background is the Customs House and the pier you are standing on. Royal BC Museum, BC Archives image D-07254
Location. 48° 25.462′ N, 123° 22.224′ W. Marker is in Victoria, British Columbia, in Capital Regional District. Marker can be reached from Wharf Street. Touch for map. This marker is down by the water near the seaplane dock. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1000 Wharf Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8W, Canada.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The 75th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy (within
Categories. • Forts, Castles • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 25, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 526 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 25, 2011, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.