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Victoria West officially came into being when the boundaries of Victoria were changed in 1890. It occupies the peninsula bounded by the Gorge/Selkirk waterway, the Victoria Harbour, and the eastern border of Esquimalt. Its 155 hectares (380 acres) represents eight percent of Victoria’s land base. In 1844, the Hudson’s bay Company’s Alexander Caulfield Anderson requested that the Songhees people build their village along the west shore of the Inner Harbour, across the watre from the HBC’s Fort Victoria. Bridges between Vic West and Fort Victoria were put up and taken down depending on the politics of the day. In 1886, the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway’s (E&N) Russell Station was built on the south side of Esquimalt Rd. between Catherine and Mary Sts. Vic West was desirable for its direct acces to the Inner Harbour and the Gorge, its hills with view of the Olympics, and its meandering shorline dotted with sandy beaches. These attributes made it a favourite spot for the prominent families of the 1880’s and 90’s. Families such as Dunsmuir (coal and E&N), Gray (Albion Iron Works), Muirhead (lumber and milling), Barnard (BC Coast Steamship Co.) and Fairall (brewers), all lived in elegant homes in Vic West.
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