Black Pioneers in British Columbia National Historic Event

Saanichton, British Columbia
Black Pioneers in British Columbia plaque © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2006
Black Pioneers in British Columbia plaque
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2006
Black Pioneers in British Columbia plaque © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2006Image of ceremony unveiling the HSMBC plaque for the event of national significance © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2006
Address : 7176 East Saanich Road, Saanichton, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1997-09-22

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Black Pioneers in British Columbia  (Designation Name)
  • Black Migration to Vancouver Island  (Other Name)
Research Report Number: 1997-008

Importance: Influenced the founding and history of British Columbia; impact on religious, military and social institutions

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  7176 East Saanich Road, Saanichton, British Columbia

In 1858, nearly 800 free Blacks left the oppressive racial conditions of San Francisco for a new life on Vancouver Island. Governor James Douglas had invited them here as promising settlers. Though still faced with intense discrimination, these pioneers enriched the political, religious and economic life of the colony. For example, Mifflin Gibbs became a prominent politician; Charles and Nancy Alexander initiated the Shady Creek Methodist Church; John Deas established a salmon cannery; and the group formed one of the earliest colonial militia units, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps.