British Columbia Community Namesakes

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Notables whom British Columbia villages, towns and cities are named after.

Armstrong - Armstrong was named after William Charles Heaton-Armstrong, a London banker who helped finance the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway in 1892 and local development at the turn of the century, relocating the townsite originally at Landsdowne to the confluence of the Valley's rail lines, and the City's current site.[1][2][3]

Barkerville - Named after miner, prospector, William "Billy" Barker

Cortes Island - The island was named in 1792 during the expedition of Galiano and Valdés, presumably after Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico.[4]

Courtenay - After Captain (later Rear Admiral) George William Conway Courtenay, HMS Constance[5]

Crofton - After Henry Croft, founder of the town.[6]

Denman Island - Europeans first mapped Denman Island during the 1791 voyage of the Spanish ship Santa Saturnin. The island was named Denman in 1864 by Admiral George Henry Richards, hydrographer (surveyor) for the British Admiralty. It is named for Rear Admiral Joseph Denman, who commanded the Pacific station from 1864 to 1866.[7]

Duncan - The community is named after William Chalmers Duncan (born 1836 in Sarnia, Ontario). He arrived in Victoria in May 1862, then in August of that year he was one of the party of a hundred settlers which Governor Douglas took to Cowichan Bay. After going off on several gold rushes, Duncan settled close to the present city of Duncan. He married in 1876, and his son Kenneth became the first mayor of Duncan. There is a Kenneth Street, as well as a Duncan Street, in the city.[8]

Fernie - After Peter and William Fernie, early settlers.[9]

Galiano Island - Dionisio Alcalá Galiano [10]

Hornby Island - In 1791 A.D., the Spaniards named the Island, Isla de Lerena but in 1850 the British renamed it Hornby Island, after Rear Admiral Phipps Hornby, at that time Commander of the Pacific Station.

Lytton - The village of Lytton was on the route of the Gold Rush in 1858. The same year, Lytton was named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the British Colonial Secretary and a novelist.[11]

Mayne Island - In 1857 Captain George Richards of the Royal Navy surveyed the area as captain of the Royal Navy vessel HMS Plumper, naming the island after his Lieutenant Richard Charles Mayne, son of the first commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police.[12]

Nelson - Formerly called Salisbury. Re-named in 1888 after Hon. Hugh Nelson, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia at the time[13]

Quadra Island - In 1903 it was named after the Spanish navigator Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.[14]

Revelstoke - After the first Lord Revelstoke, head of the British banking firm of Baring Brothers, whose taking over of $15,000,000 of the first bond issue of the Canadian Pacific Railway was an important event in its financial history; name first applied to CPR Railway Station.[15]

Topley – Named after photographer William James Topley.[16]

Vancouver - The city takes its name from George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour of Burrard Inlet in 1792 and gave various places British names.[17]

Vernon - Named after Forbes George Vernon, a former MLA of British Columbia who helped establish the famed Coldstream Ranch in nearby Coldstream.[18] His brother Charles Albert Vernon also owned property in this area.


  1. Wikipedia: Armstrong, British Columbia
  2. BC Geographical Names: Armstrong
  4. Wikipedia entry for Cortes Island
  5. BC Geographical Names: Courtenay
  6. Wikipedia: Crofton, British Columbia
  8. Wikipedia: Duncan, British Columbia
  9. BC Geographical Names: Fernie
  10. Wikipedia: Dionisio Alcalá Galiano
  11. Wikipedia: Lytton, British Columbia
  12. Wikipedia: Mayne Island
  13. BC Geographical Names: Nelson
  14. Wikipedia entry for Quadra Island
  15. BC Geographical Names: Revelstoke
  16. Dictionary of Canadian Biography
  17. Wikipedia: Vancouver
  18. Wikipedia: Vernon, British Columbia

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