10,000 - 15,000 years ago
1,700 years ago Straits Salish Indian settlement site
at Esquimalt Lagoon.
1000 years ago Straits Salish Indian settlement at
1493 Spain's traditional rights to the Pacific coast
were established in a Papal Bull.
1513 The Southern Ocean was first sighted by Europeans
from the Isthmus of Panama.
1579 Drake, in the "Golden Hind", landed on the
California coast and laid claim to the undiscovered territory of Nova
Albion (North America) for the British Crown. He then sailed northward in
search of the Northwest Passage and a short route back to England. He may
have been as far north as Vancouver Island according to his nephew's
1592 The 'mythical' voyage of Juan de Fuca, otherwise
known as Apostolos Valerianos, on the Northwest coast and discovery of the
Strait of Fuca.
1745 Russian fur traders began trading for sea otter
pelts along the coast of Alaska and moved southward.
1774 Juan Perez sent north to established Spanish
influence on the Northwest Coast. Perez traded with the Haida Indians of
the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Nootka Indians of Vancouver Island.
Buttons, nails, iron and tin were traded for the valuable skins of the sea
otter. Juan Perez, however, did not land on the shore and claim the
territory for Spain.
1775 Lieutenant Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra
sailed north to Alaska and claimed the northwest for Spain.
1778-1794 Spanish naval surveyors played a very active
role in the exploration and charting of the Northwest Coast.
1778 Britain followed Spain in search of lucrative
trade with the native people. With the aid of French maps Capt. James Cook
sailed into north-west waters to establish Britain's presence and to
search for the north-west passage. Cook anchored in Nootka Sound and Cook
1784 Cook's Journals were published. This prompted
explorers and fortune seekers to flock to the Pacific Northwest.
Competition between Russian, French and English traders intensified. The
Spanish claim to the area was ignored.
1787 Capt. Barkley discovered the inland waterway,
which was reported two hundred years before by Juan de Fuca. The strait
was then officially named for the pilot.
1788 Capt. John Meares established base at Nootka
Sound and brought Chinese labourers to help build the "Northwest America"
- the first boat to be launched on the Northwest coast.
1789 Spain seized the British base at Nootka in an
attempt to establish sovereignty over the Northwest Coast. Quadra
was commissioned by Spain to chart the waters of the Northwest Coast.
1790 - 1792 Spanish ships were engaged in exploring
the inside channels and surveying the south and east coasts of the Island
of Quadra and Vancouver.
1790 Quadra’s assistant, Manuel Quimper, charted the
Strait of Juan de Fuca, claiming the area for Spain when he landed at
Albert Head. He also named various points on Vancouver Island. One such
name was Dura de Valdes y Bazan (now Royal Roads). He also explored
Esquimalt Harbour (Puerto de Cordova).
1792 Captain George Vancouver was appointed to head an
exploration and diplomatic mission in the Pacific Northwest waters. The
Expedition anchored in Nootka Sound. During this three year mission,
Vancouver not only charted the coastline, he established that there was no
Northwest Passage, and provided an excellent opportunity for Britain to
display her naval strength in the Pacific. Pacific Coast was reached
by Northwest Company fur-traders travelling overland.
1794 The third Nootka convention was signed January
11, 1794, whereby all Spanish Territories north of Puget Sound were handed
over to Britain.
1795 Spain and Britain agreed to work together to
prevent other countries from gaining a foothold in the Pacific
Early 1800’s There were few explorations in the
Pacific Northwest. There was activity by Russians and Americans in the fur
trade but no move was made to establish territorial rights.
1805 Trading posts were established by the Northwest
Company in the Northwest Interior (New Caledonia).
1812 War was declared between Britain and the United
States of America.
1821 The Hudson's Bay Company merged with the
1824 The Pacific Headquarters of Hudson's Bay Company
was established at Fort Vancouver (Washington State).
1834 The Hudson's Bay Company vessel "Beaver", began
trading with coastal villages. There was no formal colonisation policy at
this time; though company farms (under the management of the Puget Sound
Agricultural Company - a Hudson's Bay Company subsidiary) supplied food to
Fort Vancouver, and the Russian traders.
1837 The Hudson's Bay Company began to see the need
for colonization plans for the coast. It was decided that new headquarters
needed to be established north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Capt.
NcNeill examined the south coast of Vancouver Island and considered
Camosack (Victoria) Harbour best for agricultural settlement.
1838 On March 13th, the Hudson’s Bay
company was given the Crown Grant for ‘exclusive’ trade with natives in
countries to the west of the Rocky Mountains.
1840’s HMS Herald (Royal Navy barque) charted the bays
and inlets from Sooke to Esquimalt Harbour under Capt. Henry Kellet. In
1846 Kellett named the bay between Victoria and Albert Head, ' Royal
1842 Chief Factor James Douglas was sent to examine
Vancouver Island more thoroughly for a suitable site for a fort and
trading post. The harbour site of Camosak was chosen. The British Navy had
also shown an interest in the southern coast line, particularly Esquimalt
Harbour which was more defendable that Camosack.
1843 Fort Victoria was established at Camosack
harbour. It became the Hudson's Bay Company’s Pacific Headquarters and
base for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. The local Indian population
1846 The Oregon Treaty was signed. The boundary of the
northern United States became the 49th parallel. Naval activity in the
1847 Roderick Finlayson, clerk for the Hudson's Bay
Company, established a company sawmill on Rowe stream, to be called
Millstream. The mill was in operation six months of the year until 1854. A
road was built from the Gorge to the sawmill.
1849 Vancouver Island was declared a Crown Colony. The
Hudson's Bay Company, with James Douglas in charge, was given a Royal
Grant for a ten-year period; the annual rent was seven shillings. There
was a legal obligation to establish a colony on the Island. The company's
policy was to recreate the landed gentry social structure of rural
English, with a ‘squire/bailiff’ and his labourers on company farms (Puget
Sound Agricultural Company).
1849 Capt. Grant became Vancouver Island's first
official settler, setting up a homestead at Sooke. The
colonial government initiated a system of pre-empting land. Land could be
purchased from the government at $1 (US) an acre initial fee. This was
shortly changed to 1 pound sterling per acre. This payment had to be made
before a settler could occupy the land.
1850's The native peoples lifestyle was disrupted by
the colonial policy of the British. Many left their traditional
territories to settle around Fort Victoria to trade with the people of the
1851 James Douglas was made second Governor of
Vancouver Island, while still retaining his Hudson's Bay Company
The Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson’s
Bay Company, appointed Capt. Edward E. Langford 'bailiff' of the 600
acre Esquimalt Farm lying between Esquimalt Harbour and the present
Langford Lake. The farmhouse was called ‘Colwood’ after his home in
Sussex, England. The first stone dairy on the island was built on this
farm as was a lime kiln, homestead and barn. Kanakas (Hawaiian
Islanders) were employed as shepherds for the herd of Southdown
Mrs. Langford gave birth to the first white male child born in the
Capt. Langford's sister opened a School for Young Ladies at 'Colwood'
1852 The road was started from Victoria to Metchosin.
It was authorized by Gov. Douglas to open up the western coastal lands and
connect existing farms to Fort Victoria.
1853 Chief Justice David Cameron, brother-in-law of
Governor Douglas and ex-employee of Hudson's Bay Company, built a house at
Belmont, now the site of Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Park.
1854 Millstream sawmill was shut down due to an
unusually heavy run-off. Millwright William Richard Parson then opened the
Hotel (on the site of the present Six Mile) at Parson's Bridge to cater to
Esquimalt navy men.
Langford was appointed Justice of Peace for the Esquimalt
Douglas established the Kosampson Village group reserve at Esquimalt
1855 - 1860 During this period there was increasing
permanent settlement by English and Scottish immigrants independent of the
Hudson's Bay Company. Their livelihood centred on farming, stock raising
and orchard growing.
1858 Victoria became the outfitting centre for the
Fraser River and Barkerville gold rush. The population increased from 300
1859 The first Parliament Building nicknamed "The
Birdcages" was constructed in Victoria.
1860 Fisgard Lighthouse was constructed at the mouth
of Esquimalt Harbour. It was 47ft high, and visible for 10 nautical miles.
In 1950 it was connected by a causeway to the shore at the base of Fort
1861 "Gentleman Farmer" Capt.
Langford returns to England.
First forestry inventory recorded extensive stands of mature Douglas
Fir in the Langford and Colwood areas.
1863 A sawmill was opened on
Colwood Creek above the Indian burial site on Esquimalt Lagoon, on what is
now Royal Roads University land. John Gilmore owned the sawmill.
1864 In July, gold was discovered by Lieut. Peter J.
Leech on the Sooke River. The Leechtown `rush' was short lived, only a
increase in logging activity, especially `high-grading', which is the
removal of only the best and largest Douglas fir. The logged over area was
sought by settlers.
June 29,1865, a
permanent naval base of the Royal Navy's Pacific Station was established
in Esquimalt Harbour to provide maintenance and supply facilities ashore
for the fleet. International circumstances determined whether headquarters
were in Esquimalt or Valparaiso, Chile.
1868 Victoria becomes the capital of the Crown colony
of British Columbia.
1870's Thomas Parker took the mail from
Victoria to Colwood, Metchosin, Albert Head and Rocky Point. The
Hotel at Parson's Bridge was one of the first business customers on the
1871 The Arbitration Boundary settlement gave the San
Juan Islands to the Americas.
British Columbia entered the Dominion of Canada.
Switzer's tannery was located near Belmont on the sight of John
Gilmore’s mill. Later, the land on which the tannery had been, became
part of the Dunsmuir's Hatley Park Estate.
1874 The original Colwood school was built on Sooke
Road on land donated by Arthur Peatt, a local farmer. The building was
later transferred across the road and became the home of the Ross
1879 Possible date of the building of the first
Colwood Hotel. Andrew J. Bechtel was the proprietor.
1880's Capt. Josiah Gosse, on retirement from B.C.
Coast Service of C.P.R. as master of the "Otter", became lightkeeper of
Esquimalt - Fisgard Lighthouse.
The Royal Navy began a rifle range on Coburg Peninsula, Esquimalt
1886 Prime Minister Sir John McDonald drove a
ceremonial spike in the railroad at Shawnigan Lake and soon after the
Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway arrived in Colwood.
1887 Military maps indicate the presence of a water
storage tank and flume across the non-tidal portion of the beach at the
south end of the Esquimalt Lagoon. The tank was gravity-filled from one of
the springs in this area. Water from this tank was then transported by the
"Daisy," a flat-bottomed stern-wheeler, to Esquimalt Harbour to provide
fresh water for Royal Navy vessels.
1890's Saint Matthew's Presbyterian church moved from
Craigflower to Colwood and was re-built on land donated by Alfred Peatt
(senior). There was only a small congregation and that gradually dwindled,
until the church was no longer used.
Steeple and flat course horse racing tracks were located on the Wale
property near Colwood Corners. This track was located on land which was
formerly part of the Hudson’s Bay Company Colwood Farm. This land is now
part of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.
1892 William John Wale leased the old 600-acre Colwood
Farm for the sum of $400 per year.
1895 Fort Rodd Hill installation was armed. The Fort
guarded the entrance to the Royal Navy yards at Esquimalt.
The original Colwood Hotel was burned down and a 2-story framed,
square shaped building was rebuilt by the proprietor, Mr Campbell. He
later enlarged the building and sold it to Mrs Miller, who became the
owner of the Goldstream Inn.
1897 - 1901 Copper mining activity in progress at
1898 A General Store was opened by Mr. H Goodall on
Sooke Road. The expanded business was later moved to the corner of Ledsham
and Sooke Road. It contained a Post Office and later a one-pump gas
1899 - 1910 William Wale, of Colwood Farm, was
appointed the first Justice of the Peace for the Province of British
1900 The Oak Dell Hotel, a 2 story frame building, was
located in the vicinity of the 2100 block Sooke Road. The proprietor was a
Mr. DeMeres. The Hotel contained a Post Office, and adjoining the Hotel
was Oak Dell Park.
1902 Honourable James Dunsmuir, member of the BC
Legislature, coal baron, builder and owner of the Esquimalt and Nanaimo
Railway, purchased the Hatley Park Estate at Esquimalt Lagoon.
Post Office relocated from Millstream Road to Langford Station (later
relocated to Goldstream Road)
1907 Colwood and Metchosin Tourist and Development
Association formed to encourage this settlement and use of the area as
well as to lobby for services for the area.
1910 Colwood Women's Institute formed.
1911 Construction began on the Canadian Northern
Pacific Railway from Victoria to Cowichan Lake.
The third Colwood School opened, beside the site of the second
school. The second school became a residence.
1911-1913 A new church was constructed on land donated
by Alfred Peatt (senior) across the road from the old St. Matthew site.
Saint John the Baptist, an Anglican church, was built with the aid of
fund-raising by the Women’s Institute of Colwood and the support of Mrs.
1914 Colwood Golf and Country Club formed. The land
purchased by Joseph Sayward and James Dunsmuir was formerly part of
Hudson's Bay Company Colwood Farm.
1914-18 First World War
1916 The Belmont Exchange of the B.C. Telephone
Company was located on Sooke Road opposite the present Colwood School.
The Canadian Northern Pacific Railway opened in the
1920 James Dunsmuir died.
Owner F.W. Jones of Golden opened up a gravel pit (now Construction
Aggregates / Royal Bay).
The Canadian Northern Pacific Railway became part of the Canadian
1922 Installation of a complete `auto-furnishing
branch' with gas and `free air' at Goodall's General Store.
1924 Colwood Race Track opened. The track was open for
two weeks in the spring.
1925 The first totalizator was introduced to a
Canadian race track at Colwood. Alfred Peatt (senior), with the approval
of the Rev. Leslie Clay, minister in Victoria, prepared to give the church
cemetery to the community for a public burial ground. A Cemetery Committee
was elected at a Colwood Women's Institute Meeting. St. Matthews was sold
for $40 and removed from the site.
1931 King George V granted the use of the prefix
"Royal" to the Colwood Golf Course.
1936 Old Colwood Hotel razed, and was replaced by a
modern Tudor design, built by George T. Quincey.
1937 Mrs. Laura Dunsmuir died.
1939 Colwood Volunteer Fire Department originated from
a 1939 Air Raid Protection Unit, which included fire fighting in their
1940-1941 Federal Government converted Hatley Castle
and grounds into a naval training establishment.
1941 Fortress Commanders Post was located on
Triangular Hill (Triangle Mountain).