THE ENGLISH IN
Hewitt Bostock, cattle rancher, fruit grower,
and politician with his family c. 1895 at Monte
Creek, British Columbia.
Born in Surrey in England, he founded the
Province, a weekly Victoria newspaper
and served as the Member of Parliament from 1896 to 1904.
Unlike the Prairie
Provinces, which attracted large numbers of settlers from the United States
and Europe, British Columbia’s main influx during the late 19th
and early 20th centuries came from Britain, with the English
accounting for sixty percent of the total British arrivals. By 1911 people
with English ancestry accounted for one third of the entire population and
ten years later they represented 42 % of it.
British Columbia’s gold and
coal deposits brought many English miners to its industrial regions.
The Hudson’s Bay Company began mining operations
at Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in 1852, employing some Staffordshire miners.
Joining them were Cornishmen and their families who were said later to be
present in substantial numbers.
George Baker, a Staffordshire miner.
He became the
owner of the Dew Drop
Inn in Nanaimo, British Columbia
The fruit farming potential of the Okanagan
Valley attracted large numbers of genteel English. They were generally retired
professionals, businessmen and military officers, who came, not only to make
their fortune, but to enjoy the limitless opportunities for hunting,
shooting and fishing in a congenial environment.
The wealthy English
who came to live in the province formed a distinct social set and thought
themselves superior to mere colonials. As late as 1926 a British
visitor to the Okanagan Valley met “English people who cannot remember that
they are not still in England, who never fail to apologize for the climate,
the silver and the lack of servants, and end by asking you to tea next
By 1911 people with
English ancestry accounted for fifty percent of Victoria’s population who,
through their numbers and influence, created an aura of Englishness which
pervaded the general society.
For further details see Chapter 5 of Ignored
but not Forgotten; Canada’s English Immigrants