Bute Inlet Road
Alfred Waddington arrived in British Columbia in 1858, with hopes to to see if it was possible to transport goods from Victoria by way of Bute Inlet across the Chilcotin Plains to the rich gold fields of Cariboo, by a shorter route than that of the Fraser River; this project became known as the Bute Inlet Road.1
Waddington hoped to build a road from [Bute Inlet] up the valley of the Homathko River and thence eastward to the Fraser River in the vicinity of Alexandria; the distance would be about 160 miles.2 In March 1862, James Douglas authorized the route to proceed, and workers completed 53 km of road before November.3
The road crew made little progress in 1863, due to a 2 km long canyon with precipitous walls that required blasting.4 Waddington also found difficulty in funding the road, going as far as selling his property in Victoria to finance the next season's operations.5 In 1864, the road construction halted when the work crew was killed by a group of Tsilhqot'in peoples; this event is known as the Chilcotin War.6
After the Chilcotin War, Waddington unsuccessfully tried to obtain compensation from the government for the Bute Inlet Road, which was never completed.7 In this despatch, Waddington petitions Seymour for compensation for his losses.
  • 1. Robert Homfray, A Winter Journey in 1861, in High Slack: Waddington's Gold Road and the Bute Inlet Massacre of 1864, ed. Judith Williams 4 (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1996), 22.
  • 2. W. Kaye Lamb, Waddington, Alfred Penderell, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 10, 2003.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. W. Kaye Lamb, Waddington, Alfred Penderell, Dictionary of Canadian Biography 10, 2003; Adrian Kershaw and John Spittle, The Bute Inlet Route: Alfred Waddington's Wagon Road, 1862-1864 (Kelowna: Okanagan College), 1978.
  • 5. W. Kaye Lamb, Waddington, Alfred Penderell, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 10, 2003.
  • 6. Adrian Kershaw and John Spittle, The Bute Inlet Route: Alfred Waddington's Wagon Road, 1862-1864 (Kelowna: Okanagan College), 1978, 1.
  • 7. Ibid. 8.
Mentions of this place in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Bute Inlet Road. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria. https://bcgenesis.uvic.ca/bute_inlet_road.html.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)