was one of Vancouver Island's first European farming communities, established
in 1853 along Victoria's Gorge Waterway. The Puget Sound Agricultural Company,
owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, established farms to reduce the need for importing
goods from abroad, and to meet the Hudson's Bay Company's obligations to Britain
to support colonization. On lands purchased from chiefs of the indigenous aboriginal
people, Kenneth McKenzie oversaw construction of a self-sufficient settlement.
- BC Heritage Photo
Long before the arrival
of the Craigflower settlers in the mid-1800s, the Kosapsom families occupied this
area, with their people using the Gorge waterway and its adjacent lands for shellfish
collection and processing during the 5,000 year period prior to European contact.
The descendants of the Kosapsom are the Esquimalt Nation, whose people still harvest
shellfish, salmon and herring from the tidal waters that separate the Manor from
Kosapsom Nation's ancestors left behind ash deposits, the shells from the seafood
they ate and used, and tools made from stone and bone. The oldest artifact found
so far is a crystal quartz microblade (like a small stone razor blade) dating
back approximately 2,500 years. Today, the original Georgian Manor house, partly
built on the old H.B.C. post-and-beam design, still stands amid fields and gardens,
and across the bridge, the oldest remaining schoolhouse in western Canada gives
children re-enactment opportunities to experience Victorian attitudes about schooling!
- BC Heritage Photo
The two-storey log home
is one of the last remaining links to original settlement farms established by
the Hudsonís Bay Company circa 1850s. It is the third oldest building in British
Columbia: only Helmcken House at the Royal BC
Museum and Tod House in Oak Bay are older.
occupies several open hectares at the junction of Craigflower Road (Old Island
Highway 1A, almost parallel with the main Trans-Canada Highway 1) and Admirals
Road. It is just a 10-minute drive from downtown Victoria and directly accessible
from the Trans-Canada via Admirals Road for those approaching Victoria from Duncan
and Goldstream Provincial Park. Craigflower is available year-round for booked
tours and groups. Program offerings vary widely to suit the needs of individual
tour groups. Daytime and evening programs can be arranged for any day of the week.
Please be sure to call in advance for group visits.
Manor came close to destruction by fire in January 2009. The source of the fire
appeared to be a heater under the stairs. Fire crews were credited for their quick
work for containing the flames to a hallway and kitchen on the bottom floor, saving
priceless and irreplaceable artifacts from damage in the dining room and living
room just metres away.
by a modern-day fire alarm system, heavy black smoke billowed out of the windows
when firefighters from Colwood, Esquimalt and View Royal arrived. Greeted by a
fireball when they kicked in the back door, firefighters prevented the flames
from entering the walls, where the fire would have traveled unimpeded to the attic
and quickly engulfed the entire house.
Between May 1st through
to September 30th, the site will be open to the public daily (including holidays),
between 11 am and 5 pm. The grounds and ancient Kosapsom Village Site are open
year round for self-guided tours.
Craigflower is managed by The Land Conservancy of British Columbia.
They can be contacted at telephone number (250) 479-8053.