Places of Interest

Learn about these places of interest that underscore the achievements and contributions of the first 1858 pioneers, their descendants, and the incomers and immigrants of African heritage who have chosen to make their home here.


Victoria, south Vancouver Island, Nanaimo and Salt Spring Island

bronze plaque inlaid on top of concrete causeway wall

City of Victoria Commemorates the Arrival of the Black Pioneers. This plaque is the 2nd in a series of 71 bronze plaques that line the Upper Causeway overlooking the Inner Harbour commemorating historic Victoria harbour events. The plaque reads "In Commemoration of the arrival in 1858 of the first group of Black settlers to the Colony of Vancouver's Island.  This plaque is erected by the Council of the City of Victoria"  This plaque was laid in August 1978. Read the story Why They Came and the Pioneer Committee

Small parklike space, shrubs at far end overlooking harbour, center, short paved walkway leads to Indigenous marker and bronze plaque

Fort Victoria National Historic Site of Canada
Situated on the north side of the Old Customs House, 1002 Wharf Street is the marker for the South West Bastion of the Hudson’s Bay Company Fort. The Fort was built by Lekwungen men and women in exchange for trade goods. The photo on the left is one of the seven unique “Signs of Lekwungen”, a series of bronze castings of original cedar carvings, conceptualized and carved by Coast Salish artist, Butch Dick. The site markers were placed in 2008. The markers depict spindle whorls that were traditionally used by Coast Salish women to spin wool. The spindle whorl was considered the foundation of a Coast Salish family.

On the right of this marker, just in front of the shrubbery, is the bronze plaque installed by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. The plaque reads: “FORT VICTORIA. The mooring rings on the rocks below are the only surviving fragment of Fort Victoria built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1843. From Oregon Boundary was drawn the 49th parallel , this post served as grand depot and headquarters of the Company’s Pacific fur trade. Ships moored here to unload supplies for an extensive network of forts and to take on natural products for export, principally to Alaska, California and Hawaii. In 1849 the first Legislative Assembly of the Colony of Vancouver Island met in the fort. The last remaining buildings of Fort Victoria were dismantled in 1864.”

top to bottom double row of prominent bricks inset of paved pedestrian walway

Bastion Square and 1000 to 1150 Government Street.
To commemorate early Victoria pioneers and settlers, a double row of bricks was laid from 1000 to 1150 Government Street and in Bastion Square, known as the Fort Victoria Brick Project in 1986. Each brick is engraved with the name of a pioneer.
The Black Pioneers that have engraved bricks in Bastion Square are:
Nathan & Sarah Pointer. Brick No. 22. Nathan Pointer owned and operated a men's clothing and accessories store on Government Street.
Louis & Sylvia Stark. Brick No. 23. The Stark’s initially settled in South Saanich in 1859. They moved to Salt Spring Island in 1860 where he worked as a dairyman and farmer and she worked the farm, tending the animals and orchards and also worked as a midwife. Sylvia lived to be 106!  Sylvia's story.
Howard & Hannah Estes. Brick No. 24. Howard and Hannah Estes are Sylvia Stark’s parents. They were farmers who settled in the South Saanich area. Hannah Estes is buried at Pioneer Square (the Old Burying Ground), which is located at the south end of Quadra Street between Meares Street and Rockland Ave. in Victoria.  Find out more about Howard's fight for his family's emancipation
Ringo's Restaurant. Brick No. 25.  Samuel Ringo owned a restaurant, situated on Yates Street that was noted as the best in Victoria.
Wellington Delaney Moses. Brick No. 44. Moses owned and operated several business in Victoria and Barkerville including barbershops, salons and bath houses in Victoria and Barkerville. Lady Franklin, wife of the Arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin, stayed at the Wellington’s home with her niece Sophia Cracroft in 1861.

The Bricks along Government Street are
James and Mary Louisa (nee Lowe) Barnswell. Brick No. 1106 located between 1130 and 1140 Government Street. Barnswell was a carpenter who built some of Victoria’s most elegant homes, and was a prominent member of the Victoria community during the 1870’s. It is also said that he had also been a private carpenter for Sir James Douglas and as having built a church that stands on the corner of Pandora and Quadra in Victoria.
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs. Brick No. 2526 located at 1000 to 1002 Government Street. Gibbs is considered the leader of the emigration of the 600 Blacks to Vancouver Island. His business interests and achievements are varied and numerous. His story.
The Alexander Family:
Charles and Nancy Alexander. Brick No. 2232 located at 1016 Government Street. On July 1, 1858, Charles, Nancy and their two children boarded the ship Oregon to Victoria in response to Sir James Douglas’ call for colonists. Victoria was then a city mostly comprised of tents. They made their home on a site later occupied by the Hudson’s Bay Company at the corner of Douglas and Fisgard Streets. In the fall of 1861, the Alexanders moved to South Saanich. The family resided there for 33 years and farmed. Their story
Charles Jr. &Ada Alexander. Brick No. 1617 located at 1102 Government Street. Charles Alexander was born in Victoria on September 9, 1863, the son of Charles and Nancy Alexander. He married Ada Barnswell who was born in Victoria on May 14, 1874. Later, Charles worked as a Teamster.
Kenneth Alexander. Brick No. 1445 located at 1108 Government Street was the grandson of Charles and Nancy Alexander. He worked in the chimney sweeping business.

The bricks for Sir James Douglas and Lady Amelia Douglas are bricks 654, 655 in Bastion Square. Sir James Douglas was the governor of Vancouver Island in 1858 and it is Douglas who sent an emissary to San Francisco to meet with Blacks in San Francisco and invite them to immigrate to Vancouver Island.   The Pioneer Committee

open grassy field tree lined playground homes are at the far end
Photograph courtesy BC Black History Awareness Society

Alexander Park is located at 1300 block Bay St. at Oregon Ave. Coincidentally? it was the steamship Oregon that brought Charles and Nancy to Victoria in 1858.  The park is family-friendly with grassy areas, picnic tables, playground, and has an off-leash area/time for dogs.

ALEXANDER PARK in 1300 block Bay St. at Oregon Ave., Victoria   A direct descendant of Charles and Nancy Alexander tells us Alexander Park was named after Frederick Douglas Alexander and his wife Mary Louisa (nee Barnswell) Alexander, dedicated on Oct 15, 1980 by Alderman Sinclair, City of Victoria.

Frederick and Mary Louisa were both born in Victoria, children of Black pioneers  Charles and Nancy Alexander and Mary (nee Lowe) and James Barnswell. 

Mary Louisa and Frederick grew up in Victoria, attended school, worked, raised their families, and were community advocates.  They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1944. Frederick died on October 3, 1950 and Mary Louisa on June 30, 1966.


Mifflin Gibbs Commemorative Plaque in Irving Park, Victoria
Irving Park at the corner of Menzies and Michigan Street. Photograph courtesy BC Black History Awareness Society

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Commemorative Plaque – Irving Park in James Bay, Victoria.
Gibbs is honored with a bronze plaque, commissioned by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, and unveiled on May 4, 2019. Irving Park is where Gibbs had a home; he represented the James Bay neighborhood as a Victoria councllor from 1866 to 1869.   The plaque commemorates Gibbs as a person of national historic significance.  The plaque reads “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.”  Read more about Mifflin Wistar Gibbs

2 women standing close together background is glass panel wall and glass door to small room
Photographer Beth Cruise, ©BC Black History Awareness Society
The Mifflin Wistar Gibbs Study Room, opened in May 2018, a year before the plaque at Irving Park was unveiled.  The Study Room is located in the sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay Branch library at 385 Menzies Street diagonal to Irving Park.  Dr. Verna Gibbs, great, great grandniece, officially opened the room.  She is pictured here with then BCBHAS President, Mavis DeGirolamo.
On June 11, 2022 the unveiling ceremony took place at the branch for this montage (below) installed in the study room. This montage is a tribute to the exhibit “British Columbia Black Pioneers: Their Industry and Character Influenced the Vision of Canada” This online exhibit was designed and developed by BCBHAS and is hosted by Digital Museums Canada.
montage with text and portrait images, 1858 street scene in background
All images courtesy of Royal BC Museum and Archives. Montage Graphic Designer: Susie Jones, Greater Victoria Public Library. ©BC Black History Awareness Society

The background for this montage is Yates Street, the business hub in Victoria in the 1850’s. Pictured are Mary (nee Lowe) Barnswell (1853-1947), grew up in Victoria, wife, mother, community leader; Samuel Booth (1826-1917), business man, prospector; Mifflin Wistar Gibbs (1823-1915), entrepreneur, politician, judge; Fielding William Spotts Jr. (1857-1937) grew up in Saanich, then resident and business man in Hogan’s Alley, Strathcona, Vancouver.

Visit the exhibit

2 story front-gabled house, verandah, gray with burgundy trim, fenced garden
Dandridge House in 2021. Photographer Tracy Guinchard, ©BC Black History Awareness Society

Dandridge House, 1243 Rudlin Street, Victoria.
This house was originally occupied by Black Pioneers Charlotte and John Dandridge from 1861 to 1871.  From 1864-1871 Sydnia Francis and Peter Lester of Lester and Gibbs actually owned the property and paid the taxes.  A plaque was unveiled at this location on February 9, 2014 through the efforts to the B.C. Black History Awareness Society and the current owners.  Victoria Heritage Foundation

Ross Bay Cemetery showing walkways and a variety of gravemarkers in parklike stting
Black History Month 2022 Cemetery Tour. Photographer Fran Morrison, ©BC Black History Awareness Society

Ross Bay Cemetery, 1516 Fairfield Rd. Victoria.
The Ross Bay Cemetery is “a superb example of a Victorian-era burial ground” where a number of Black Pioneers are buried.  The Old Cemeteries Society in partnership with our Society offers a “Black History” tour of the gravesites of Black Pioneers every year in February; and there are numerous other tours of interest throughout the year on most Sunday’s.   
Their website also provides information on other cemeteries in the Victoria area including Shady Creek Church Cemetery, Chinese Cemetery, the Jewish Cemetery and a number of church cemeteries.

foreground is grassy cemetery with various grave markers, background is very tall trees, shrubbery with a side view of the Shady Creek Church with white clapboard siding, lancet-style windows along the side of the church
Photographer Fran Morrison, ©BC Black History Awareness Society

Central Saanich United Church formerly known as Shady Creek United Church 7180 West Saanich Road, Saanichton.  In February 2024  this church was designated a Heritage Building by the District of Central Saanich. 

Charles Alexander initiated and assisted in the building of the first Shady Creek Church and was one of its first lay preachers. One of the largest family plots at Shady Creek is that of the Alexander family. Charles and Nancy and some of their descendants are buried here. Also located in the graveyard beside the church you will find the Plaque Commemorating the Arrival of Black Pioneers:  February 20, 2000, a ceremony took place at this church with Parks Canada to unveil this plaque.  Find out more about Why They Came

Grave markers for Charles and Nancy Alexander: In 2014 our Society partnered with Alexander Family descendants to restore their grave markers. The restored markers were unveiled at a ceremony held on August 16, 2014.   

elevated 1 story extra-wide log cabin with concrete ramp leading to entrance

Saanich Pioneer Museum  7910 Polo Park Crescent, Saanichton, B.C.
Several Black Pioneers settled and farmed in the Saanich Districts. The museum is an archives and museum housing collections from pioneer families, both textual and in artifact form with ongoing and changing displays about local history.  The museum also has a simulated pioneer kitchen.  

Directions: The log cabin museum is located north of Victoria at 7910 Polo Park Crescent, Saanichton. (off the 7900 block of East Saanich Road, 2 blocks north of the Prairie Inn just behind Thrifty Foods Grocery.)

July 2023- Read the Times Colonist article by Pedro Arrais about their 90th anniversary

newspaper advertisement about the gold find
Colonist 1864-08-04, pg. 3

Leechtown near Sooke on the west shore of Vancouver Island.
Leechtown is now a ghost town but in 1864, Samuel Booth was a prospector and in this newspaper article August 1864, headline shown, tells about the sizeable gold nugget he and his partners found on the Leech River near Victoria that precipitated the 1864 gold rush.  He and three other black men, John Tyril, George Munro and George Dyer, formed the Industry Company to pan for gold on the Leech River near Sooke.  

Map with Salt Spring Island indicated in middle of Gulf Islands and proximity to Vancouver IslandThe solid blue line is the Canada-US border

Salt Spring Island Archives, 129 McPhillips Ave. Salt Spring Island.
The Salt Spring Island Archives provides significant information about the Black Pioneers that settled there beginning in circa 1858; as well as the generations that continue to live in BC today. Their website also has a map which shows the location of 26 homesteads for well-known pioneers that settled there in the 1850's/1860's including Jim Anderson, Abraham Copeland, the Harrison family, John Craven Jones, and the Starks.  

plaque on brick wall
Image courtesy Barbra Hudlin

Emily (Emma) Stark’s house  331 Wesley Street, Nanaimo.
A plague is placed there in recognition of her being the first Black teacher on Vancouver Island.  Image courtesy of Barb Hudlin. The plaque reads:

"In memory of Emily Arabella (Emma) Stark
1856 - 1890
Emily was the daughter of Louis and Sylvia Stark. She was appointed the first teacher in the new North Cedar School in 1874, thereby becoming the first black teacher on Vancouver Island. When Emily moved to Nanaimo she owned a home at 331 Wesley Street".

Emma's story

Interpretive Sign for Chase River Pioneers with Stark's Barn in the background

Stark’s Barn, 1526 Extension Road, Nanaimo.
While this structure is known as Stark’s Barn – there is little evidence that this barn was built by or belonged to Louis Stark.  Built circa 1880, the barn is an excellent example of an early agricultural building and serves as a reminder of the area’s farming heritage.

The image is the interpretive sign for Chase River Pioneers,  with the barn in the background. Christine Meutzner, Nanaimo Community Archives manager. “There’s a Starks [railway] crossing near there, so I think it’s possible that people, by extension, just ended up calling it Stark’s barn. We’ve never been able to say definitively that was Stark’s barn. Nanaimo Heritage Register
Article "If this old barn could talk"


BC - Lower Mainland

Deas Island Regional Park.
John Sullivan Deas began canning salmon in 1871 for a man named Edward Stamp. In 1873 he built his own cannery on what has been named Deas Island; initially he was the leading canner on the Fraser River but in the next several years more canneries opened on the Fraser.  Deas Cannery closed in 1878 but today thousands of motorists pass by its former location. Highway 99 on the lower mainland crosses Deas Island in the south arm of the Fraser River. The road side sign reads Deas Slough (or Deas Crossing) near George Massey Tunnel.   Read more about Deas

Statue depicting man running with arms outstretched mounted on granbroite block next to enlarged view of bronze plaque on the base of the statue

Harry Jerome Statue and Plaque, Stanley Park, Vancouver.
The statue and plaque was unveiled in 1988. Every year in the Vancouver area they hold the Harry Jerome International Track Classic which is a two day international track meet.  His story.


map showing streets and landmarks

Hogan's Alley ran through the southwestern corner of Strathcona in Vancouver during the first six decades of the twentieth century.   “Hogan’s Alley was part of the ethnically diverse East End, centered between Prior and Union and Main and Jackson. It was home for many of Vancouver’s Black community and included businesses such as Vie’s Chicken and Steak House on Union and the Pullman Porters’ Club on Main. The neighbourhood was a popular cultural hub before mid-twentieth century urban renewal schemes and the Georgia Viaduct Replacement Project demolished many of its buildings.” Visit the Hogan's Alley website.  Here you will find videos and stories that celebrate some of the remarkable people and places that made this community vibrant and unique. 

Image: Footprint of the historic Hogan's Alley in the present day context. Courtesy Vancouver Heritage Foundation.


Black History Month Commemorative StampThis Hogan's Alley commemorative stamp was issued in 2014.  William Spotts arrived as a child to Vancouver Island and grew up there on a farm with seven siblings. His father Fielding Spotts had been a school trustee. William moved to Strathcona and ran a shoe repair business on Main Street; his home was at 217½ Prior Street, seen in the background.   Nora Hendrix, the grandmother of famed musician Jimi Hendrix, arrived circa 1912 was a community leader and a co-founder of Vancouver’s first Black church, the African Methodist Episcopal Fountain Chapel at Prior and Jackson Avenue.
Barabara Howard
Image courtesy of Vancouver Archives, Public Domain, Photographer: Major James Matthews.

Barbara Howard Plaza.
Barbara Howard was the first black woman athlete to represent Canada in an International competition and the first person from a visible minority to be hired as a teacher by the Vancouver School Board.  The photo is Barbara, age 17 holding a stuffed koala bear, a gift from a fan at the 1938 British Empire Games in Australia. In September 2018 the City of Vancouver renamed 15 public spaces to commemorate the work of prominent local residents. The Cambie Street Plaza, located on the south side of the Cambie Street Bridge and north of the east off ramp was renamed the Barbara Howard Plaza.  Barbara's story

park setting with plants in foreground, view of treed playground, high rises in background
Rosemary Brown Park, Kitsilano. Courtesy of Vancouver Park Board
Rosemary Brown Park: Rosemary Brown (1930–2003) was an acclaimed community leader and elected representative. She was distinguished by many awards and recognition before and after being invested into the Order of Canada in 1996. Her earliest foray into provincial politics was in the 1972 provincial election. Rosemary Brown won the riding of Vancouver-Burrard, becoming the first Black woman to sit in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and the first Black woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada. She served as an MLA for 14 years. This park was opened in 2005. In 2021 a new public school in the Durham District School board in Ajax, Ontario was named Rosemary Brown Public School. The Rosemary Brown Arena is under construction in Burnaby and is expected to be open by December 2023.
Historical plaque on post white lettering on black background

Henry Houston Scott Park in Surrey 
Henry Scott was one of the first African American families to settle in the Surrey area in 1912. The park site is located in Cloverdale at 64 Avenue and 181A Street, which is part of the original Scott family property.  The plaque reads: NEIGHBOURHOOD HISTORY, HENRY HOUSTON SCOTT PARK

In March 1912 African-American settlers Henry Houston Scott (b.1854), his wife Amy (b. 1864) and their three youngest children Roy, Jesse and Benola left their Oklahoma homestead and immigrated to Canada. 
Henry purchased a rough seven-acre parcel of land along future Bose Road, across 64 Avenue from where you now stand. The family took up farming and became well known residents of Cloverdale.

Roy worked at the local lumber mill and for CPR and Jesse became a dairy farmer, oil refinery worker and celebratedbaseball player for the local team. After her parents died in 1934, Benola took over care of the house. When Benola died in 1971, she joined her family in unmarked graves at Surrey Centre Cemetery.

The current power transmission line crossed the Scott farm in 1952 and the farm was subdivided in 1978. The orchard is all that remains. In spring the blossoms tell of the Scott family’s endeavours to build a new life in Canada
In 2018 the City of Surrey installed a family grave marker at the Surrey Cemetery.

Concrete fountain, engraved high back with fountain protrusion in front

Joe Fortes Memorial Drinking Fountain in the West End's Alexandra Park.  Sculptor: Charles Marega.  Created in 1927.     Initially, Joe was recognized as the unofficial guardian of English Bay;  in 1900, Joe became an official employee of the city.  He is credited with saving at least 29 lives from drowning, as well as teaching three generations of Vancouver children to swim.  On May 20, 1976, the Joe Fortes Branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 870 Denman Street was opened.  In 1986 the Vancouver Historical Society formally declared Joe as “Vancouver Citizen of the Century”.  Joe's story
Image credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Pullman Porter street sign

Pullman Porter Street, Vancouver.
In 2014 the Vancouver Civic Asset Naming Committee named a street “Pullman Porter Street” in recognition of the role sleeping car porters played in both Black labour history and the history of the railway. The street is in close proximity to the two train stations on Main Street: Union Station and the Canadian National which now serves as the bus, VIA and Amtrak station. The Pullman Porters’ Club, a popular Main Street gathering place for the predominantly Black porters, was located nearby, backing on to Hogan’s Alley. Many residents of Hogan’s Alley worked as railway porters and they played an important role in Black labour history. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters signed its first collective agreement with CP Rail on May 18, 1945, the first time a trade union organized by and for Black men signed an agreement with a Canadian company

Park setting with concrete waterway running the length of the park, paved walkway, seating, greenspace on either side
Emery Barnes Park, © Vancouver Park Board

Emery Barnes Park, 1100 Seymour Street, Vancouver.

The Vancouver Park Board describes this .85 hectares as “an urban oasis”. The park amenities include promenades, quiet seating areas, water features, trees, lawn, flowers and shrubbery, playground and off-leash dog park. The park grounds were developed over a decade in three phases from 2002 to 2012 including a plaque in his honour.

In addition to his athletic career, and an advocate for youth, the Honourable Emery Barnes served the residents of Vancouver over a long and distinguished career. He was one of the first Black members elected to the Legislative
Assembly in 1972 and was re-elected five times. Barnes was Speaker of the
BC Legislature from 1994-1996.   Read more about Honourable Emery Barnes

John Braithwaite Community Centre.
John Braithwaite was first elected to North Vancouver City Council in 1972, In spite of taking a break from politics for a few years, he served 23 years as an elected official. The John Braithwaite Community Centre (JBCC) was opened in October 2004. Located at 145 West 1st Street, North Vancouver (Lower Lonsdale). The center is 35,000 square feet and offers a range of facilities and services.

BC - Lower Mainland

wood framed office sign hanging from post
Photo courtesy Peter Schildwächter, Düsseldorf, Germany

Blacks who resided in Barkerville during the gold rush include:
Isaac Dickson, a barber and another man named Steele who owned a restaurant there.
Wellington Delaney Moses owned a barbershop and general store in Barkerville in 1862 and is noted as having the first bathtub in the city of Barkerville in his salon.   Moses was an avid “recorder” and his accounts and diaries are in the Public Archives in Victoria where he recorded his business affairs and activities in Barkerville from 1860 – 1870’s. 
Rebecca Gibbs established a laundry in Barkerville circa 1868 and published poems in the Cariboo Sentinel.  Her most memorable poem is “The Old Red Shirt” that is engraved on her grave marker in the Ross Bay Cemetery.
William Allen Jones – Dentist:  In the British Columbia Directory of 1877 - 1889 William Allen Jones is listed as a miner but in recognition of the skills he had acquired as a dentist at Oberlin College, he was granted a licence on June 26, 1886 under the British Columbia Dental Act, although he may have been practicing dentistry as early as 1865. He had the distinction of being the first person to register under the act.

Mount Clore and Clore River.
In Crawford Kilian’s book “Go Do Some Great Thing” p. 140, 141.  Kilian writes “ In 1910, prospector Arthur Clore began a long career in the northern interior.  Clore Mountain and Clore River are named after him.” 
Newspaper articles about Arthur Clore:
Northern Sentinel, September 8, 1960. P. 4. – Clore, Arthur File.
“I’ve stood on my own two feet so long ..” by Stan Rough.
This article reports an interview with Arthur Clore who describes his life since arriving in Prince Rupert 1910.  He first worked as a logger and later as a miner in 1932.  He was also a placer miner and later prospected for gold as well as copper.

Terrace Herald, January 30, 1963, p.4. “Old Timer’s Story As Displayed at Chamber of Commerce Convention”.
The article reports the story of Arthur Clore since he arrived in British Columbia.

Terrace Herald, July 24, 1968. P. 2. “Veteran Prospector Arthur Clore dies”.
This insertion reports the death of Clore on July 23, at the age of 81

Giscome Portage Trail sign hanging from timber arch
Image courtesy of Kevin Creamore, Prince George

Giscome Portage, Giscome Canyon and Giscome Rapids.
John Robert Giscome and Henry McDame were partners.
Giscome Portage, named after John Robert Giscome  is a designated heritage trail by BC Parks.  

Kilian, C.  Go Do Some Great Thing (2nd edition).  Pp. 125. “Giscome was born in Jamaica in 1832, was part of the migration in 1858.  He prospected and mined in the mid and northern parts of B.C.  He did well as a miner; he died at the age of 75 in 1907 and is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery”. Read more about John Robert Giscome

McDame Creek  
Books and articles:

Kilian, C, "Go Do Some Great Thing” , 2nd edition pp.124-125 "McDame Creek is located in the Cassiar land district of British Columbia. Henry McDame, a prospector in 1870, discovered the creek. Initally called 'Nigger Creek'"  The name McDame Creek was established by the Geographic Board of Canada in 1898. "Another gold discovery was made by McDame 90 miles from Deas Lake in 1874, and with a group of predominately Black miners, he formed The Charity Company."
The Beaver British Columbia Posts (Hudson's Bay Co.) August 24, 1942, p. 395. This article mentions McDame Creek Post as being named after a Black miner.
Colonist July 28, 1974 pp 4-5. "Yes! B.C. is celebrating Another Centennial" by Lyn Hancock. This article credits McDame with bringing life to an area known as Centreville, a town which housed numerous miners in the 1870's. Previously recorded history of McDame's life in the area is mentioned briefly. McDame Creek, is reported here, as producing the largest all-gold nugget ever recovered in BC.



The Huble Homestead Historic Site located 40km north of Prince George; housed in an historic house, their artifacts and website includes content about Giscome and McDame.

Other places of Interest - Canada and the United States

Church with clapboard siding
Image Credit: Hantsheroes, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Africville Church (est. 1849), reconstructed in 2011 as part of the Africville Apology delivered on 24 February 2010 by the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia for the eviction and eventual destruction in 1970 of Africville

Africville, Nova Scotia
For over 150 years, Africville was home to hundreds of individuals and families who settled there, some of whom could trace their roots in Nova Scotia back to the late 1700s. The majority of those who lived in Africville were landowners; the first registered deed dates back to 1848.  Africville was destroyed to make way for industrial development in the 1960s.  In 2010, the people of Africville finally received an apology for the heartbreak and loss of their community. Now, a replica of the Church that was the heart of the community celebrates their spirit and houses exhibits and displays that tells the story of survival of the community.
Excerpt from a display in the church  “This is Africville. At the end of Barrington Street where the pavement ended, Africville bgan. It was a community filled with special places, each with their own name. Up the Road, located where the park now stands, was where the majority of residents lived and where the school was located. To the west, where you can now see the busy container pier was called Round the Turn. If you wanted to play football you went to Back the Field, which overlooked all of Africville. Kildare’s Field was the spot for picnics and close to swimming at Tibby’s Pond. And of course, in the centre of everything was the Church.”

Buxton National Historic Site & Museum, Ontario. Buxton was a terminus of the Underground Railroad, a rural community in southwestern Ontario, established in 1849 as a community for and by former enslaved from the United States who escaped to Canada.  Some descendants of the original residents still live there.
b&w portrait Josiah Henson
Josiah Henson in 1877 (June 15,1789 – May 5, 1883), unattributed, Public Domain

Josiah Henson Museum of African-Canadian History

"An estimated 30,000 Black refugees from slavery in the United States fled to Canada along the silent tracks of the Underground Railroad – a network of people who aided these refugees as they followed the North Star to freedom. One of these freedom seekers was abolitionist, preacher and author Josiah Henson."

underground railroad memorial
Underground Railroad Memorial, Windsor, Ontario

Aboard the Underground Railroad
This site is hosted by the U.S. National Park Service providing descriptions and photographs on 60 historic places associated with the UGRR that are listed in the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.

Pictured on the left is the International Memorial to the Underground Railroad is a two part installation on either side of the Detroit River. Equally sited in Windsor and Detroit, the 22 foot high monuments face each other and pay tribute to the thousands that searched for freedom. The Tower of Freedom in Windsor, Ontario depicts the refugees’ arrival into Canada and their overwhelming emotion upon encountering freedom. The monument features four life-size bronze figures on the north side, two women with a baby and a man standing behind with his arms outstretched in praise. On the south side of the monolith a young girl holds a doll and looks back across the river.

Canada's Historic Places
The Canadian Register of Historic Places (CRHP) is Canada's definitive source of information on more than 13,000 historic places.