The origin of the name "Metchosin" dates back to the time when a dead whale was cast up on a local beach, causing the Native peoples to refer to the area as "Smets-Shosin", meaning "place of stinking fish" or "place smelling of fish oil". (Two vertebrae, allegedly from the whale, are on display in the Metchosin School Museum.)
Situated on Vancouver Island about 35 km SouthWest of Victoria, in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. The District of Metchosin was incorporated in 1984, has a population of about 4700 residents, and covers an area of about 30 square miles.
For information on the fire district of Metchosin, please see the Metchosin Volunteer Fire Department's Radio Room page.
Some Metchosin History
The first European contact with Metchosin probably took place on June 30, 1790 when Sub-Lieutenant Manuel Quimper landed at what was to be known as Albert Head. He was an Officer on board the vessel Princesa Real. The next written record of a visit is that of James Douglas who was sent in 1842 from Fort Vancouver to select a suitable site for a trading post on southern Vancouver Island. Of the area he wrote:
"Metchosin is an open Roadstead, One and a Half Mile East of the former Port. It is a very pretty Place and has a small fresh water Run near it. There is, however, no Harbor, and the anchorage is exposed, and must be insecure in Rough Weather. in addition to that Disadvantage, the Extent of clear Ground is much too small for the Demands of a large Establishment,.....".
In 1850 the land was purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company from the Native Peoples for the equivalent of about £43 and 68p (Sterling) in blankets. On the occasion of the consecration of St Mary the Virgin, James Douglas wrote to his daughter as follows; "Metchosin looked its best the beautiful slopes the richly tinted foliage, the bright clear sky, the warm sunshine, the glassy smooth sea and the grand mountains in the distance, formed a combination of indescribable beauty. I felt an exhilaration of mind which led me to wander away through the woods towards the white cliffs bordering the sea from whence I contemplated its placid waters with delight".
The above information is taken from the book "FOOTPRINTS, Pioneer Families of the Metchosin District, Southern Vancouver Island 1851 - 1900". This book was compiled and edited by Marion I Helgesen and Published by the Metchosin School Museum Society who we would like to thank for their kindness in allowing the extracts to be used. A visit to the Metchosin School Museum is highly recommended as is purchasing a copy of this excellent book.