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Friday, September 30, 2011

History in Stone

The City of Victoria has a very short history, being founded only 168 years ago. Most of us become aware of it through our carefully preserved oldest buildings such as Helmcken House or Craigflower Manor or by means of archival photos or documents from the early days of the city. But if we want to get closer to the people who made the history, the best place to visit is Ross Bay Cemetery because many of those whose names adorn our streets and places now rest there. Above is a photo of the grave of Lieutenant Peter Leech who gave his name to Leech River and Leechtown, about 60 kilometers from Victoria. Lt. Leech was a member of an expedition for the exploration of Vancouver Island that discovered gold in 1864. The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush (1858) had such a dramatic effect on the mainland of the province that the discovery of gold near Victoria tends to be overshadowed. Leechtown and nearby Boulder City had a population of about 4,000 before the gold ran out in 1865. There is a good short biography of Lt. Leech HERE. He died here in Victoria in 1899.

6 comments:

JoJo said...

I love visiting old cemeteries. There is one here in my hometown of Sandwich with graves that date back to the late 1600's and early 1700's, and mostly of the town's founding families.

Steven (Cavite DP) said...

I really like Cemeteries. Not that I want to be housed there sometime soon (haha) but I always visit my Mom's Grave since she died last January 2011. It feels so secure being around the tombs of people who once were with us. They may be gone but the memories and the legacy, just like what Lt. Leech had, will forever be remembered! Great Shot Benjamin!

Your friend from the Philippines.
Steven^^

Jack said...

An interesting bit of history. In New England, we are old relative to Victoria yet mere infants relative to Europe and Asia.

iogarry said...

That's a pretty strange quote on the grave. Who ever heard of gold speaking, or if it did speak, what would it say?

DFM said...

Amazing pics!!!

Benjamin Madison said...

Thanks all for your kind comments. I too have a fondness for old cemeteries and the Ross Bay cemetery is a lovely calm oasis.

iogarry - yes, that is an odd quote. I assume it was said by Lt. Leech in a report of some kind about the usefulness of what the expedition found (i.e. navigable rivers, mountains passes, etc. and "The gold will speak for itself" (i.e. no comment is needed as to how useful/valuable gold is.)