This Week in History: A fascinating trek across Vancouver Island in the 1890s

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WatchEver wondered what Central and Northern Vancouver Island must have looked like back in the 1890's? That's what the Rev. William Washington Bolton, an Anglican minister originally from England, wondered too

Ever wondered what Central and Northern Vancouver Island must have looked like back in the 1890s?

That’s what the Rev. William Washington Bolton, an Anglican minister originally from England, wondered too.

So, Bolton decided to undertake an expedition to the western interior of Vancouver Island in the summer of 1894.

The fascinating trek was extremely well documented as Bolton kept a detailed diary of the journey.

He got hold of maps of the region and created other maps to document their travels.

Bolton also hired an artist and photographer to join the team, as well as a woodsman to check for timber and shoot game and even kept a pedometer record of how many steps were taken each day.

But, as can happen on the west coast, that summer was heavy with rain in that region. In fact, during the eight-week journey, the team had only four days without rain and were forced to cut the exploration short.

Undeterred, Bolton gathered another team together two years later and continued the trek where they had left off two years before.

All of those detailed documents of those remarkable journeys are now safely stored at the B.C. Archives, giving researchers fascinating insight into what that region of Vancouver Island looked like in the late 1800s.

Meanwhile, Bolton would go on to co-found St. Michael’s University School in 1906, eventually retired in the 1920s to New Zealand, then to Tahiti, where he died in 1946.

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