Excerpt: Biographical dictionary of well-known British Columbians : with a historical sketch

This section is from the year 1890, authored by J.B. Kerr and published by Kerr and Begg. It is no longer held under copyright.

Gray, Alexander Blair, (Victoria),
was born in Edinburgh, on November 6th, 1841, and attended school in that city till he was fifteen years of age. During the next five years he resided in Dublin, Ireland, where he served his apprenticeship to the dry goods business in the large wholesale and retail establishment of Todd, Burns & Co.

In 1862 he left the old country for British Columbia, coming by way of Panama. He arrived in Victoria in June, and occupied several positions in Victoria and New Westminster till 1864, when he was seized with the gold fever and set out from New Westminster, with a company of fellow prospectors, for the Cariboo mines. They covered the distance, five hundred miles, on foot. Mr. Gray held an interest in the John Bull mining claim during the summer, and in the autumn he started back to the coast lighter in pocket than when he reached the gold fields and using the same means of locomotion on his return journey that he had in getting to that auriferous region.

When he got to Victoria again, he entered the establishment of John Wilkie & Co. and continued in the employ of this firm for three years. He then crossed to New Westminster, where he opened a business of his own. When the capital was removed from New Westminster, Mr. Gray returned to Victoria and bought out the dry goods firm of Fabien Mitchell, on Government street, and subsequently put up the large building now know as the Albion House, into which he moved his business, and which seven years ago he transferred to the present occupants, Messrs. Brown & White. He then removed to his present premises on Wharf street, and has since been engaged exclusively in the wholesale trade.

Mr. Gray took an active interest in Provincial politics during the Elliott administration, though he never stood for any public office. He was one of the strongest and earliest advocates of confederation with the Dominion. Of late years, however, he has eschewed politics entirely. He is a, member of the St. Andrew's and Caledonian Society, and connected with the Oddfellows' Order. In religion he is a Presbyterian, and is one of the oldest members of St. Andrew's Church. He is a Justice of the Peace for the Province. Mr. Gray is an ardent Imperial Federationist and considers that this scheme which he firmly believes will be accomplished, is simply a step towords a federation. of the English speaking races throughout the world.