British Columbia Exhibition Hall

British Columbia Exhibition Hall

BC Flag Stamp 1871

Early Time Line of British Columbia

[Thanks to Sarah Tobe]

  • (1793) Sir Alexander MacKenzie, first European to cross North America overland to Pacific Ocean, inscribed stone marker on shoreline of Dean Channel
  • (1808) Simon Fraser led expedition to descend his now namesake Fraser River
  • (1821) North West Company, Hudson Bay Company merged, B.C.’s fur trading departments organized into New Caledonia
  • (1843) Hudson Bay Company established Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island
  • (1846) Oregon Treaty between United States and Great Britain signed; Britain relinquished claims to territory south of 49th parallel
  • (1849) Vancouver Island proclaimed Crown Colony
  • (1857) Gold rush began after discovery at Fraser River
  • (1858) Colony of British Columbia formed
  • (1859) New Westminster named capital of British Columbia
  • (1866) Vancouver Island, British Columbia united with passage of Imperial Act
  • (1868) Victoria named capital of British Columbia
  • (1871) British Columbia became 6th Canadian province
  • (1885) Transcontinental railroad completed
  • (1886) City of Vancouver Incorporated

Jewish British Columbia

The Jewish presence in British Columbia (B.C.), has been part of the region’s history and development since the late 1850s, when gold was discovered in the Fraser River close to mainland areas.

By 1858, 100 or more Jewish merchants were operating in the port city of Victoria.

Most had business connections with merchandising firms in San Francisco and developed strong retail and wholesale distribution networks.

By the mid-1860s, Victoria’s Jewish population was about 250, and had developed a well-respected Jewish community, complete with a synagogue that is still operating today.

It was not uncommon for a Jew to be elected to civic offices, including Mayor and member of the Legislature.

In the early 1870’s, a British Columbian was the first Jew elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.


Abraham Blackman: Early Pioneer Jewish Community Leader of Victoria, BC

Joseph Boscowitz: Early Jewish Pioneer of the Fur and Mining Industries of Victoria, BC

Amelia Copperman: First Jewish Woman Licensed as an Independent “Indian Trader” in Victoria, 1858-1876

 Judah P. Davies: Pioneer Jewish Auctioneer of Victoria, BC

Kady Gambitz: Early Jewish Merchant of Victoria, BC, 1858 – 1865

Josephus Barnet Joseph and Lionel Barnet Joseph: Early Jewish Real Estate Investors of Victoria, BC

Henry Emanuel Levy: Early Jewish Pioneer Businessman, and Purveyor of Comox Oysters in Victoria, BC

Harris “Dutchy” Lewin & David Sokoloski: Unlucky Jewish Pioneer Merchants Supplying the Gold Rush Miners in British Columbia

Lewis Lewis: Early Pioneer Business & Jewish Community Leader of Victoria, BC

Morris Moss: Pioneer Jewish Fur Trader, Government Agent and More, Based Out of Victoria, BC

Alexander Aaron Phillips: First Recorded Jewish Resident of Victoria, 1858

Simon and Pauline Reinhart: Early Jewish Settlers of Victoria, BC

 Herman Schultz: Early Jewish Pioneer Businessman of Victoria, BC

Samuel Davies Schultz: First Hebrew in the Dominion of Canada Named to the Judiciary

Julius Silversmith: Early Jewish Educator & Publisher of Victoria, BC 

Francis Joseph & Cecelia Sylvester: Early Jewish Settlers & “Community Givers” of Victoria, BC

More Early Jewish Pioneers of British Columbia, 1858 – 1880’s

British Columbia Postcards, 1906

Map of British Columbia