Sir James Douglas is coming to Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner tonight… at Floata Restaurant in Chinatown. We are very pleased because the first Governor of British Columbia visioned the Colony of British Columbia as a place where people from all around the world could come to live in peaceful harmony.
Here is Sir James Douglas, with his wife, the Lady Amelia, at the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Colony of British Columbia, now called Douglas Day in his honour. This picture is from Nov 28, 2008 at Historic Ft. Langley.
Douglas was born in the Caribbean country of British Guyana. His father was Scottish and his mother was Creole, a Free Black from Barbados. He was educated in Lanark, Scotland, before arriving in Canada to work with the North West Company, and later for the Hudson’s Bay Company becoming a high-ranking company officer. From 1851 to 1864, he was Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island. In 1858 he also became the first Governor of the Colony of British Columbia, in order to assert British authority during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, which had the potential to turn the B.C. Mainland into an American state. He remained governor of both Vancouver Island and British Columbia until his retirement in 1864. He is often credited as “The Father of British Columbia”.
Here is a picture from the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner – with Sir James Douglas on the far right in Black & White. All the life-size pictures are from Royal BC Museum exhibit “The Party” which envisioned inviting 150 of BC’s builders of culture and society. So in the background the pictures are Emily Carr, Todd Wong, Lt. Richardson (bagpipes), John Foster McCreight (first premier), Chief from Songhees nation, Emery Barnes + Sir James Douglas. The live people in front are elected officials at the time reading verses of a Robert Burns Poem, then Parks Commisioners Stuart Mackinnon, then Councilor Ellen Woodsworth, present city councilor Kerry Jang, former councilor Suzanne Anton, and current Commisioners Sara Blyth and Constance Barnes (also daughter of Emery Barnes).