Flower Island, Ten Mile Point

Flower Island, Ten Mile Point

by | Jul 2, 2022

Flower Island is a small uninhabited islet about 250 feet (80 m) offshore from the southern end of Ten Mile Point, the local name for a neighborhood on a peninsula that forms the eastern shore of Cadboro Bay on Vancouver Island, about 15 miles (24 km) south-southeast of Sidney and 4 miles (6 km) east-northeast of Victoria, British Columbia. The island was originally labeled as Flower Island on British Admiralty charts in 1864, however, the significance of the name is no longer known. In 1934, the name was changed to Evans Island, and in 1975, it was changed back to the original name which was well known and used locally. The name Ten Mile Point comes from a small headland on the eastern shore of the peninsula that is 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) by sea from Esquimalt Harbour, the headquarters for the Pacific Station of the British Royal Navy from 1865 to 1905. The end of the peninsula is named Cadboro Point which at low tide extends east for 600 feet (180 m) to an islet with a lighted navigation aid in Ten Mile Point Ecological Reserve. Cadboro Bay takes its name from the Hudson’s Bay Company schooner Cadborough or Cadboro. The peninsula is formed by the Wrangellia terrane that underlies most of Vancouver Island. The Wrangellia terrane is a mixture of Devonian rocks composed of volcanic arc-related basalt and sedimentary rocks that accreted to the North American continental margin in the Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous time. Wrangellian rocks are also found on the Gulf Islands and along the coast of the mainland. The bedrock underlying the peninsula is part of an igneous intrusion called the Island Intrusions, a Middle Jurassic-aged belt of northwesterly aligned batholiths and stocks of mostly diorite to quartz diorite and granodiorite, and with lesser amounts of gabbro, tonalite, and granite. The bedrock is covered in most places by glacial till deposited after the retreat of the Cordilleran ice sheet of the Fraser Glaciation during the Pleistocene.

The Songhees First Nation or Lekwungen are a group of Coast Salish people who historically inhabited the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island, Discovery Island and the western coast of San Juan Island. Archaeological evidence indicates that they were preceded by a more ancient people. In the mid-1800s, stone mounds found near Cadboro Bay confirmed the area once served as an important settlement for an earlier Coast Salish group that vanished without a trace. By the late 1830s, when James Douglas first explored this coastline, a group known as the Sungayka, who were a band or family of the Songhees, were in residence. At the center of the Sungayka settlement was a stockade designed to protect the people from warlike tribes that attacked in the dead of night, killing men and boys and taking women and children as slaves. In 1843, Fort Victoria was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company at the present-day inner harbor. In 1849, the lands of Vancouver Island were granted to the company on condition that they be opened to settlement as a Crown colony. But before any lands could be titled, it was neces­sary to first settle the proprietary rights of native people by negotiating agreements or treaties. The task fell to James Douglas, chief factor of the company and after September 1851, governor of the colony, resulting in the Songhees, Klallam, Sooke, and Saanich treaties. The Songhees people were composed of many families that each possessed a portion of the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. The lands surrounding Cadboro Bay were family territories of the Chilcowitch and Chekonein and their principal village was on the shores of the bay. In 1850, these families were induced to sign a treaty that sold or transferred their rights to the lands and take up residence on about 90 acres (36 ha) at Fort Victoria held in trust by the Crown as the Songish Reserve. In 1859, efforts were started to remove the Songhees from the newly established reserve but instead Governor Douglas leased out unoccupied portions of the reserve and used the proceeds to improve their social and moral condition. This arrangement was successful until Douglas retired in 1864, after which disputes over the legality of the leases resulted in their cancellation and the Songhees were moved to 163 acres (66 ha) on Esquimalt Harbor.

The peninsula has many secluded beaches and coves that were used for boat landings by rum runners traveling back and forth to the United States starting within weeks after Prohibition took effect on January 17, 1920. Whiskey distilled in Canada was smuggled from Victoria on boats with false bottoms or beneath fish bins. The boats would anchored offshore at designated areas and waited for buyers who tossed aboard bundles of large-denomination bills bound by elastic bands, and loaded their liquor orders onto high speed boats headed for Seattle. One infamous western rum runner was Roy Olmstead who became the biggest bootlegger and one of the most well known personalities in Pacific Northwest history. He began as a police officer, learning the business of importing illegal liquor while making arrests. His own arrest got him fired from the police force, and he turned to bootlegging full time, eventually becoming one of the largest employers in Puget Sound, with a fleet of vessels, warehouses, accountants, salesmen, legal counsel, and messengers. Olmstead shipped Canadian whiskey from a distillery in Victoria across Haro Strait to D’Arcy Island where it was stashed for later transfer to other vessels. The business of rum running peaked in 1924 when Bureau of Prohibition agents, local police, and the Coast Guard mobilized to stop the smuggling. In October 1924, Canadian Customs Officials seized the Eva B, one of Olmstead’s rum running launches, arresting three men, and confiscating 784 cases of liquor. During their interrogation, the crewmembers implicated Roy Olmstead and his gang. On November 17, 1924, police arrested Olmstead, his wife Elise, 15 house guests, and seized all of the organization’s records. Prohibition agents also seized five automobiles, a King County Sheriff’s squad car, a boat known as the Three Deuces, and 240 cases of contraband liquor. In the early part of the 20th century, Ten Mile Point became a summer retreat and it gradually developed into the present suburb of Victoria. Read more here and here. Explore more of Ten Mile Point and Cadboro Bay here:

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About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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