Gibbs, Mifflin Wistar National Historic Person

Victoria, British Columbia
Photograph shows Judge Mifflin Wistar Gibbs (1823-1915)
Date Created/Published: [between February 1901 and December 1903] (© Library of Congress LC-B5- 48248B)
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs
(© Library of Congress LC-B5- 48248B)
Address : 265 Menzies Street, Victoria, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 2009-04-20
Life Date: 1823 to 1915

Other Name(s):
  • Mifflin Wistar Gibbs  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1997-008, 2008-012

Importance: Politician, businessman, and defender of human rights, he was the recognized leader of the Black community in Vancouver Island during its early years between 1858 and 1870


Existing plaque:  Irving Park, Victoria, British Columbia

After helping lead the exodus of 800 Black residents from San Francisco in 1858, Gibbs became the recognized leader of their community on Vancouver Island. He strove to make these newcomers a force in colonial politics and, as a member of Victoria City Council, he became the first Black person to hold elected office in British Columbia. This innovative entrepreneur, who invested in mining and trade, also encouraged the integration of Black settlers and advocated for their rights. Though he returned to the United States in 1870, Gibbs remains a revered historical figure in the province’s African-Canadian community.