Secret Victoria: Rush to Freedom
A Victoria-based documentary explores the important role of black pioneers in B.C.’s history.
Secret Victoria: Rush to Freedom was created by Vancouver-based producer Anthony Brown and Telus Originals director Melinda Friedman. It looks at how a rush of black immigrants in the 1850s helped shaped the Victoria we know today.
READ MORE: Black History Month – The Alexander family was among the first Black pioneers in B.C.
In 1850, then Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island, James Douglas – a man many people don’t realize was of mixed heritage himself – invited American black people from San Francisco to come settle in Victoria as free British citizens to combat the growing threat of American invasion. In California at the time, black people did not hold many rights, including proper citizenship. As a result, hundreds of black people took the chance of heading north.
The documentary picks the brains of local historians to understand the context of the migration, and the ripple effect it had on the capital’s history.
Brown has produced several documentaries, including a full-length documentary titled “Go Do Something Great” which explores black history in the province and is shown in local school systems. When Telus asked him to help with the Secret Victoria project he was delighted.
ALSO READ: Black History Month – ‘My family has been here since before Canada was a country’
“When I was growing up as a kid I wanted to learn something like that … as a person of colour I felt myself being left out,” Brown said. “We learned a lot about the British, a little bit about native history, but not a lot about black people.”
Brown had a lot of fun putting the documentary together, and said he’s glad to offer another opportunity for people to learn about Victoria’s real history.
Go to this link for more information and links to youtube for viewing the documentary:
“Tod Creek Watershed Connections”
As one of the Saanich Peninsula environmental groups, Friends of Tod Creek Watershed, have written a book about their first 20 years of stewardship under the leadership of Mary Haig-Brown. When Mary stepped down as Chair, two members of FTCW decided to recognize and celebrate her vision, leadership and commitment to restoring our watershed. Thus their book “Tod Creek Watershed Connections” was created. It is dedicated to Mary and sales are available now. It is a print-on-demand book and the price reflects that: $90.00 for Standard Landscape size, and $140.00 for Large Landscape size.
Some examples of two page spreads in the book:
The spring edition of StreamTalk
This edition contains Updates on exciting projects, International Year of the Salmon and the SEP Community Workshop:
FTCW Display Poster Board
created by Carmel Thomson,
Tod Creek Flats: permanent instillation on West Saanich Road, just north of the Red Barn.
Heritage Walking Tour: Prospect Lake Brochure
Prospect Lake Area [see link below]:
Prospect Lake talks of the growth of the area and the families who settled there.
European Settlement of the Prospect Lake area began with pioneer farmers in the mid 1800s. Jack Durrance arrived in 1852 and paddled up Tod Inlet and Tod Creek to find good farmland. Other early European settlers included Frank Campbell, Horace Oldfield, Sam McCullough, Fred Duval and Tony Williams.
Prospect Lake soon became a popular area for fishing and hunting. An 1866 article from the Colonist newspaper describes the lake as being “thronged with anglers.” An 1888 Victoria Water Supply map shows that a dirt track named West Road (now Old West Saanich Road) provided access in the vicinity of the northern end of the lake. By 1895 people could access the lake by taking “the Victoria & Sidney Railroad to Beaver Lake station, and (then) an interesting tramp of two and a half miles to Prospect Lake.” Daily Colonist.
A Salmon’s Sky View
Local Author Carol McDougall
ISBN 978 1 926747-14-9
Printed and Bound by First Choice Books
Anna, Like Thunder
Local author: Peggy Herring
Local editor: Claire Mulligan
Local publisher: Brindle & Glass
Although the novel is not set in the Tod Creek watershed, the story of the St. Nikolai is part of the Pacific Northwest shared history. The Russian schooner was marooned off La Push, at the mouth of the Quillayute River in Clallam County, Washinton, during a storm in November 1808. Peggy Herring has written this historical fiction about one of the survivors: Anna Bulygina, the 18-year-old wife of expedition commander Nikolai Bulygin.
“Returning the Loon to Prospect Lake”
Writing/ Editing: Shelagh Levey
Editing: Jana Kotasha
Design/ Production: Frances Hunter
Photography: Ivan Hunter [Portraits of Giff Calvert, Rick Todd, Pat Carfra and Shelagh Levey]
“Watershed Connections” Publications
Six issues of a journal, “Watershed Connections”, were produced. The purpose was to develop an awareness, understanding and appreciation for the watershed and to educate and encourage the residents to live in harmony with the environment, wildlife and each other.
See our publications – click to download
“Watershed Connections”.pdf files:
“Prospect Lake Reflections A Photographic Tribute of Significant Heritage Stories”
Presented by: The Prospect Lake Heritage Society