August 1864: Gold is discovered at Leech River on Vancouver Island

In the summer of 1864, four Black men, Samuel Booth, George Munro, John Tyril and William Dyer discovered gold on the Leech River in Sooke, about 40 miles west of Victoria. On August 4, 1864 the local newspaper reported on the high purity of the specimen found. It was worth $73.20 (about $2,500.00 in 2020 Canadian dollars). The four men formed the Industry Company. Unlike the distant Fraser and Caribou gold finds, prospectors could travel from Victoria overland by trail or by steamer within a day. Stores, hotels and other mining-related businesses were quickly established but within 18 months were abandoned.