Port Essington
Port Essington was a town on the south bank of the Skeena River estuary, between Prince Rupert and Terrace. Captain George Vancouver named the port after his friend William Essington, not realizing it was the estuary of the Skeena River.1 Later, the name Essington became associated with the community that was founded at the mouth of the Skeena.2 In the local Tsimshian language, the site of Port Essington is called Spaksuut, which means autumn camping place.3
In 1876, the first salmon cannery was built, and by 1900, Port Essington had seven more canneries, a sawmill, hotels, stores, brothels, and a peak population of 2,000.4 However, the town went into decline after Fort Rupert was built, and a fire destroyed what remained of Port Essington in the 1960s.5
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 471.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents
People in this document

Vancouver, George

Places in this document

Fort Rupert, or T'sakis

Skeena River

The Colonial Despatches Team. Port Essington. 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/port_essington.html.

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