Bank of British Columbia
The British government founded the Bank of British Columbia, also known as the Chartered Bank of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island, in 1862 and appointed Mr. James Davidson Walker as manager.1
The bank's head office was in London with its chief colonial establishment in Victoria. Its responsibility was to issue notes, receive deposits, and conduct exchanges with Canada, China, India, Australia, Japan, and other countries. It also functioned as the Agency for the Loan for the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island.2
The discovery of gold in the BC region led to the establishment of the main branch of the bank in London and its subsequent expansion. The bank then became a major lender to the financially struggling colonial government. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, the bank was unable to compete against the formation of other banks and had to merge with the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1901.3
  • 1. Pelham-Clinton to Douglas, 31 May 1862, CO 410/1, p.373; Bank of British Columbia, Canada's Historic Places.
  • 2. Duncan George Forbes Macdonald, British Columbia and Vancouver's Island: comprising a description of these dependencies, their physical character, climate, capabilities, population, trade, natural history, geology, ethnology, gold-fields, and future prospects: also an account of the manners and customs of the native Indians, (London: Longman Green, 1862); Pelham-Clinton to Douglas, 12 November 1862, NAC RG7:G8C/10, p.281.
  • 3. Bank of British Columbia, Canada's Historic Places.
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Walker, James Davidson

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British Columbia


Vancouver Island