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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Closer Look 8 - Sir James Douglas, KCB

Canada's main transcontinental highway is Highway Number 1 and Mile Zero on that highway is here in Victoria. Those of us who live here, however, don't think of it as Highway Number 1 but as Douglas Street, Victoria's main thoroughfare. It's named after Sir James Douglas, KCB, whose photo is above. The original hangs in a hall in the BC Legislative Assembly Buildings along with photos of other important political figures. Sir James, often referred to as the "Father of British Columbia" because of his decisive actions during the 1857 gold rush, was also the founder of Fort Victoria (1843), which has grown into the modern city. A summary of Sir James' actions during the Cariboo Gold Rush can be read by clicking HERE. Sir James' background provides a lot of food for thought. While we often think of the colonial administration here as John Bull British, it is good to remember that Douglas was born in Guyana, of a Scottish father and a creole mother, a person of mixed European and African ancestry. Sir James' wife was part Cree so there were many cultural factors both in his early and later life. Earlier in this series I posted a photo of Sir James' statue in its niche on the exterior of the BC Legislative Assembly Buildings, along with a photo of Judge Begbie's statue. I suspect both statues were made in the likeness of photos that are hanging in the halls of the legislature. Tomorrow we'll have a closer look at Judge Begbie.


Dean Lewis said...

Doesn't really look like a 'party-animal', does he?
The pre-Prozac era.
The caption to go with this photo: "I 'am' smiling"
nyuk-nyuk :)

JoJo said...

I often wonder why the highways are started with Mile O on the west coast instead of on the east coast, since people migrated from east to west.