A walk through our James Bay Village

Posted by Kitara Julian On 9:16 AM

The Swengwhung people lived here first. Hudson’s Bay Company ‘bought’ the peninsula for 75 English pounds. Immortal artist Emily Carr was born just a few blocks away. Sadly, like Vincent van Gogh, in her lifetime she was mocked and ridiculed. Now we have Emily Carr House, Emily Carr College of Art, an Emily Carr statue, in fact Emily Carr here there and everywhere. We’re so sorry, Emily . . . Never mind, she continued on doing what she believed in despite adversity and scorn, to fulfill her calling. All those critics and people who made life difficult for her are gone, while Emily’s status as an icon continues to grow.

Most of the street names here were coined by Hudson’s Bay officers. They must have been homesick or lacking in imagination since we’ve ended up with streets named Montreal, Superior, Toronto, Huron, Ontario, Michigan and Erie (?), Belleville, Oswego, Quebec and Niagara, just to name just a few.

Nowadays we have horse-drawn carriages (which I mentioned in an earlier post) that carry visitors from all directions of the compass. While they zigzag through James Bay village, at least they also get to know “Canada” a bit with all those names from other parts of the country.

James Bay village is a sidekick of Victoria. It’s a quaint and pleasant neighbourhood for walking (if it's not raining) en route to shop for groceries, strolling past many small gardens and old houses.

And how about those street names? In a way they provide a strange kind of history and geography lesson for all those visitors, so perhaps the Hudson’s Bay officers weren’t nostalgic or short on imagination after all. Signing off, Henri

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