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Colonial Placenames in Victoria, B.C.

An examination of colonial placenames in and around Victoria, B.C., and the colonial figures for whom they are named.

British Royals and Colonialism

Canada maintains its tie to the British monarchy through its status in the Commonwealth, making the British King or Queen Canada’s official Head of State. British influence on B.C. persists beyond the name “British Columbia.” The provincial flag, with its Union Jack and crown, ties the province to the British monarchy. Symbols of monarchy are not only commemorating an imperial history, but are continuously updated to remind Canadians of our ties to the present British monarchy: look no further than the faces on Canadian coins, which are regularly redesigned to feature the face of the current monarch.  

Less visible, perhaps, is the status of language in this country. Canada has two official languages and neither of them are indigenous to this land. Ties to England and France are enforced and perpetuated through mandating that immigrants must speak one of these two colonial languages.  

Beyond the name of the province and its capital, locations across B.C. uphold a connection to the British royal family. These naming practices function to strengthen the tenuous relationship between this land and a royal family that has spent limited time here. While the history of this land and Indigenous Peoples go back for millennia, the royal family’s interest in his land is mere centuries old. Moreover, their interest in these territories stem from a desire to use land to amass power and wealth, not to call this place home.  

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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.