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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Holland Point

I posted a photo of Holland Point in Beacon Hill Park a few weeks ago. It's not the first time I posted a photo of that particular spot - it's a favorite landscape of mine and I've posted a picture of it almost every year since the beginning of this blog in 2008. However, despite its unusual name I've never until today wondered how it came to be called Holland Point. A little googling led to a great little site by local historian Janis Ringuette devoted to the history of Beacon Hill Park.In an appendix she gives an extensive history of Holland Point, including how its name was given.
After extensive research, Assistant Provincial Archivist Madge Wolfenden concluded the point was named after George Holland, an undistinguished Hudson’s Bay Company employee. Holland Point was not mentioned on maps or charts before 1848, when Captain Henry Kellett’s chart of Victoria Harbour (#1897) was published. Kellett surveyed the coast in the H.M.S. Herald in 1846. Wolfenden wrote:

A study of Kellett’s charts of Victoria and Esquimalt harbours reveals that a definite plan of naming had been followed, in that the names in and about Victoria distinctly pertain to the Hudson’s Bay Company and that those of Esquimalt derive from Navy personnel. (Madge Wolfenden, “The Naming of Holland Point,” British Columbia Historical Quarterly, Vol. XVIII, Jan.-April, 1954, pp. 118)

George Holland was a seaman on the Beaver’s maiden voyage to the northwest coast in 1833-36. After serving on the Beaver and the Cadboro, he taught school at Fort Vancouver in 1939, was appointed Postmaster at Fort Langley in 1843 and then transferred to Fort Victoria in 1846. He went to London, earned a Master Mariner’s certificate and returned to serve on the Norman Morison under Capt. Wishart. After disagreements with the Captain, Holland quit and nothing further is known about his career. (Wolfenden, pp. 117-121) She found no evidence Holland distinguished himself in any field or any reason his name was selected for the point.

Dr. J. S. Helmcken, who met Holland on the ship Norman Morison, later wrote: “Holland was not much of a sailor or anything else...he and the Captain being so different did not get on well together.” (Helmcken, Reminiscences, Vol II, p. 120)

Though the name of the point is not very exciting, looking for it did lead to the Beacon Hill History site. I spent a happy afternoon browsing there and recommend it highly for anyone interested in the history of this area.


Paul in Powell River said...

Typo alert - "he taught school at Fort Vancouver in 1939", either that, or an extremely long life!

JoJo said...

Another beautiful vista.

William Kendall said...

Such a pretty spot!