Fraser, Donald
b. 1811(?)
d. 1897
Donald Fraser was born in Inverness, Scotland, where he was a schoolmate of Alexander Grant Dallas, who in 1860 succeeded Sir George Simpson as governor of Rupert's Land for the Hudson's Bay Company, and John Cameron Macdonald, who later became the managing editor of the London Times. Fraser evidently obtained a legal education before becoming a journalist for the Times, in which capacity he travelled to California in 1849 to cover the gold rush. In 1858 he came to Victoria from California on a similar assignment, and the glowing reports he sent back of the prospects of the new colony became one of the most significant sources of information to the popular mind.1
Fraser quickly became an intimate advisor to James Douglas, who appointed him to the Council of Vancouver Island in November 1858, invested heavily in Victoria real estate, and quickly became one of the island's biggest boosters. After returing to London in 1862, he combined forces with Dallas, Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, and others to mount a formidable lobby to maintain the supremacy of the island colony over that of the mainland. Fraser paid a last visit to Vancouver Island in 1865.2
  • 1. James E. Hendrikson, Fraser, Donald, Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
  • 2. Ibid.
British Colonist, 7 October 1897, p. 8. John Emmerson included a chapter on Donald Fraser, entitled Mr. Fraser and the Cariboo Gold Mines, in British Columbia and Vancouver Island: Voyages, Travels & Adventures (Durham, England: W. Ainsley, 1865), pp. 92-104.BCDES 7.2.
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