Created By: NRCan
This site was once home to Fort Victoria. Fort Victoria, was established in 1843 by the Hudson's Bay Company as a fur trading post. The fort served as an important hub for the trading company to ship goods from the land to the sea. A plaque near the Empress Hotel provides a historical account of the Fort’s significance.
Prior to the 1900s this site was a wide tidal mudflat, known by the Lekwungen speaking people to have some of the “best clam beds on the coast”. In the 1900s, the inlet was filled in to expand land available for residential and commercial development. A wooden bridge was built in 1900 across the James Bay tidal flats connecting the James Bay neighbourhood with downtown Victoria, and subsequently, a stone causeway built in 1903 to allow the tidal flats to be infilled for the construction of the Empress Hoteli. Over time, the infill of James Bay transformed the natural shoreline of marshes and tidal flats into the neighbourhood we see today with parks, shops and residences, see Figure X. A tidal creek once connected James Bay to Ross Bay (see Trip 2 stop 6) providing First Nations in the area with a passage that avoided the rough outer waters of the harbour. However, the tidal creek has since been channelized in culverts and pipes and built upon over time.
As a seismically active region, where parts of the harbour have been infilled, the development in this area is more vulnerable to ground shaking during an earthquake. This can result in increased damage to buildings and infrastructures located on these sites.
While at this stop, take a detour to the Empress Hotel to enjoy a special experience of tea at the Empress: https://www.teaattheempress.com/menu/afternoon-tea/.
This point of interest is part of the tour: CZC Trip 1 Victoria Inner Harbour