Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2012, Victoria is Western Canada's second oldest city. We are a city rich in history and heritage.
The City was founded by the Hudson's Bay Company on March 14, 1843, as a trading post and fort at the location the First Nations called "Camosack" meaning "Rush of Water." Anticipating that under the Oregon Treaty, then being drawn up, the 49th parallel would be chosen as the International Boundary Line, the Hudson's Bay Company moved its fort from Vancouver on the Columbia River to the southern end of Vancouver Island. Thereafter, for a short time, it was known locally as "Fort Albert," but by resolution passed by the Council of the Northern Department of the Company meeting at Fort Garry on June 10, 1843, it was officially named "Fort Victoria" after the great British Queen.
With the Fraser Valley gold rush in 1858, Victoria grew rapidly as the main port of entry to the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. When the colonies combined, the City became the colonial capital and was established as the provincial capital when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871.
City Incorporation - 1862
The name "Victoria" was adopted when the townsite was laid out in 1852. Victoria was incorporated as a City on August 2, 1862. Mr. Thomas Harris was elected (by acclamation) as Victoria's first Mayor on August 16, 1862, and he presided at the City Council's first meeting held on August 25, 1862.
For most of the nineteenth century, Victoria remained the largest city in British Columbia and was the foremost in trade and commerce. However, with construction of the Transcontinental railway, Vancouver, as its terminus, emerged as the major west coast port and the largest city in British Columbia.
Johnson Street Bridge Crossing History
The City of Victoria is currently building the fourth crossing between downtown Victoria and Victoria West. To learn more about the three previous bridges and history of the crossing, visit the Johnson Street Bridge Project website.