July 22, 2010
How often do we give thanks for Governor James Douglas, Father of BC? BC still bears the mark of Douglas’ vision. Douglas had little to work with in terms of men, money and materials; the only thing not lacking was Douglas’ determination. Governor Douglas prophetically said: ‘It is the bold, resolute, strong, self-reliant man, who fights his own way through every obstacle and wins the confidence and respect of his fellows. As with men, so it is with nations.’
Douglas had a vision of a great highway of commerce down the centre of the mainland colony. In little more than two years, he was to achieve what seems almost a miracle: a wagon road, eighteen feet wide and four hundred miles long, connecting the wealthy new gold fields of the Cariboo to the older coastal settlements
Douglas was born in Guyana. His mom Martha Ann Ritchie, originally from Barbados, was a free Creole whose family moved to Guyana for better employment in the late 1790’s. His father John Douglas, a Scottish merchant planter, took James and his brother to Scotland at age nine. James never saw his mom again, never returning to Guyana. After schooling, James moved at age sixteen to Canada and apprenticed with the Northwest Company, which eventually merged with the rival Hudson’s Bay Company. James spoke French so well that he was even able to lead Prayer Book worship services in French with the other voyageurs.
At Fort St. James he married Amelia Connolly, whose father was an Irish-French fur trader and whose mother was a Cree Chief’s daughter. The Douglas family moved to Fort Vancouver, Washington where James quickly became the Hudson Bay Company Chief Factor in 1839. While still at Fort Vancouver, he had set down in a notebook four tasks that he hoped to achieve. These were: “The moral renovation of this place; Abolition of slavery within our limits; Lay down a principle and act upon it with confidence; The building of a church of Christ in this place.”
As it became more obvious that everything below the 49th Parallel would become American territory, James Douglas was sent to Vancouver Island to relocate the Hudson’s Bay Fort. On March 14, 1843 Douglas founded the new capital Fort Victoria. In 1851 Douglas was appointed the second Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island.
When the1858 Gold rush struck BC, Douglas noted: “this country and Fraser’s River have gained an increase of 10,000 inhabitants within the last six weeks, and the tide of immigration continues to roll onward without any prospect of abatement.” Writing to Lord Stanley, Douglas predicted that ‘in the course of a few months there may be one hundred thousand people in the country.’
James Douglas preserved BC from absolute chaos during the 1858 Gold rush. With tens of thousands of American gold miners descending upon BC, James Douglas held back a avalanche that would have irrevocably swept BC out of any Canadian orbit. As historian Derek Pethick commented, “It is in the hour of crisis, when all but the bravest would have abandoned the unequal struggle, one man stood up and was counted. That man was James Douglas.” There is no doubt that Canada as we know it ‘from sea to shining sea’, would not exist today without Governor Douglas, one of the greatest of the Fathers of Confederation.
Governor Douglas had an outer exterior of implacability, but in his private family life he showed great depths of feeling. Upon the death of his daughter Cecilia, Douglas lamented: ‘She was the joy of my eyes, the light of my life; her ear was ever open to the calls of distress; the poor and afflicted never appealed to her in vain; they will miss her sympathizing heart and helping hand.’
Douglas deeply loved nature as seen in a letter to his daughter Martha: ‘The sweet little robin is pouring out his heart in melody, making the welkin ring with his morning song of praise and thanksgiving. Would that we were equally grateful to the Author of all good.” In giving advice to his son James, Douglas commented: “We are all poor frail creatures when left to ourselves; our sufficiency is of the Lord; we must look to him for strength and guidance in the hour of trial. His power is sufficient for us…”
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector, BSW, MDiv, DMin
St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver
Anglican Mission in the Americas (Canada)
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
p.s. In order to obtain a copy of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘ED HIRD’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD. This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail email@example.com . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.
-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide : Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada
You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide
July 11, 2010
I love sunny Deep Cove days! One sunny day in Deep Cove is worth a hundred rainy ones. The brilliant green trees, the sun on the water, the sense of being at home, all beckon us back to Deep Cove again and again. Within five minutes in either direction, there is an abundance of beaches, mountains, forests, and parks. There is something about Deep Cove that allows one to feel totally freed from the stress of urban madness, while only being just across the bridge from Vancouver, the third largest city in Canada. Described by one California mountain biker as the ‘sleepy sea side village of Deep Cove’, it was birthed in the early 20th century as a summer vacation resort, only accessible by water. Despite easy road access, the Cove still carries that ‘genetic code’ of ‘letting go of one’s work-a-day world’. Unlike many suburbs, Deep Cove has such a deep sense of roots that it even has a thriving Deep Cove Heritage Society , a Deep Cove Cultural Centre, two Deep Cove history books, and even our well-known annual Deep Cove Daze.
There is something about the Cove that calls forth the artist, the painter, and poet deep within us. Michael Hayward, an SFU Computer expert and Deep Cove resident, reminds us in his striking Quicktime VR Panorama of Deep Cove of the fascination that so many of us experience in the midst of such beauty and peace.
Maurice Jasaak in his beautiful photographic website of Deep Cove comments that “Deep Cove is as much a concept as it is a location.” “There is no community in the lower Mainland”, says Jasaak, ” with more of a mystique. Deep Cove is that place that seems forever shrouded in clouds and mists, getting the highest rainfall totals in the region. It is where two bodies of water meet, Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm. It has more recreational opportunities within reach than most other communities. Residents are very possessive of this image. All things considered it is one of my favourite destinations when getting away for a short while is the goal.”
At the visual heart of Deep Cove is the striking Deep Cove Yacht Club which has been in existence since July 31st 1936. During World War II, the clubhouse was requisitioned as an elementary school and it also served as a meeting place for the local Red Cross and Air Raid Precaution organizations. During its early years, the clubhouse was the focal point for most of the Cove’s social and recreational activities and present Cultural Centre.
Deep Cove is the starting point for hikes along the Baden-Powell Trail that cross the North Shore to Horseshoe Bay, as well as canoe and kayak excursions on Indian Arm. Its waterfront location, only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, makes the Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre defined. a favorite departure spot for people wishing to enjoy the relatively still waters of the Indian Arm. Everything about Deep Cove is laid back and yet pushing the boundaries.
As I wrote in the Deep Cove Crier 19 years ago, “Everywhere I look from Panorama Park, my eyes are pierced by trees, a ring of unending trees like a green cocoon that encircles and protects Deep Cove from the intrusions of that other world. There is a stillness about Deep Cove that grips me and will not let go.” I have been privileged to baptize two groups of people at Panorama Park in Deep Cove. What a beautiful place to worship God. How the heavens declare the glory of God at Deep Cove. (Psalm 19). I thank you, Father, for ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ in this irreplacable setting.