Fort Victoria Hudson’s Bay Company

March 16, 2012 by staff 

Fort Victoria Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Victoria was a fur trading post of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the headquarters of HBC operations in British Columbia. The fort was the beginnings of a settlement that eventually grew into the modern Victoria, British Columbia, the capital city of British Columbia.

The headquarters of HBC operations on the Pacific slope of the Rockies at the time of Victoria’s founding was Fort Vancouver, on the lower Columbia River, but it had struggled for years to turn a profit; its location was difficult to defend, inaccessible to ships and too far from the lucrative furs in New Caledonia. The signing of the Oregon Treaty settled the matter of Fort Vancouver’s further suitability. The company sent James Douglas to build a fort some distance north on Vancouver Island and made him its Chief Factor.

Erected in 1843 on a site originally called Camosun (a variant of the Lekwungen word “Camossung”, the name of a girl turned into stone by the spiritual being Hayls to watch over the resources in what is now known as the Gorge Waterway.) The fort was known briefly as “Fort Albert”, though the name Fort Camosun continued in use until 1846, when it was renamed in honour of the Queen. The Fort was built using labour from local first nations people, who were paid one Hudson’s Bay blanket for every 40 pickets they cut. The Songhees people soon established a village across the harbour from the fort. The Songhees’ village was later moved to the north shore of Esquimalt Harbour.

Fort Victoria was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924.

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