1858 engraving of Victoria

Colonial History Vancouver Island

Maureen Duffus - Author and Historian


Vancouver Island History

View Royal's colonial glory

Author's lecture points to buildings that haven't changed in 150 years

by Richard Watts
Times Colonist
May 17, 2012

Six Mile Pub
Few of the drivers of all the cars that thunder past Six Mile Pub on the Old Island Highway realize the building has been standing there since the days when pollution from heavy traffic would have involved not gas fumes but horse droppings.
(Lyle Stafford, timescolonist.com May 2012)

Six Mile roadhouse - 1850s
Six Mile roadhouse was photographed in the late 1850s.
(Handout courtesy of B.C. Archives)

Behind the car dealerships and standstill traffic of the Colwood Crawl lies the unique colonial background of View Royal, says local historian Maureen Duffus.

Maureen Duffus, former journalist, historian and author of several books, including A Most Unusual Colony, a look at social life in Fort Victoria, said many of the early colonial buildings still exist in View Royal.

"It's the sort of thing that nobody sees when they are driving through the Colwood Crawl," said Duffus, who will be discussing View Royal's history during a talk later this month at the Royal B.C. Museum. "Some of the earliest buildings in View Royal date back to Fort Victoria."

Duffus, whose talk is sponsored by the Friends of the B.C. Archives, said she hopes to draw attention to the early colonial buildings that still exist in some form.

For example, she said the Six Mile Pub at 494 Island Hwy. and Four Mile Pub at 199 Old Island Hwy. were colonial-era roadhouses. "They started as shacks and they grew to become [two] of the most popular pubs and dining establishments on the Island," Duffus said.

Craigflower Farm, a heritage and education site by the Old Island Highway and Craigflower Road, was an original farm established to supply Fort Victoria.

Craigflower was one of four large farms established in the 1850s by the Hudson's Bay Company. The other three were Constance Cove in Esquimalt, Langford Farm and Macaulay Farm at Macaulay Point.

Duffus said these farms were established because the colonial government was keen to establish a self-sufficient colony to ward off American expansion.

Also built were early sawmills, grain mills and a bakery that supplied the Royal Navy with biscuits.

"It was a surprisingly industrial part of the colony," Duffus said.

Her talk is set for Sunday, May 27, 2 to 4 p.m., in the Newcombe Auditorium, 675 Belleville St. Admission is free for members of Friends of the B.C. Archives and $5 for the public.

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