Where Condos Stand
|... Was First Nations'
The site was known to the Lekwammen as Pallatsis, the place of cradles. Lekwammen parents had brought the cradles their children outgrew here because to do so would offer protection to the children. Young men also came here in preparation for initiation into the winter dance ceremonies and dove into the waters off the point opposite.
|The islands in the harbour and on Laurel
Point, south of the Lekwammen land, were centuries old
gravesites. In the 1850s white kids of the colonists
torched at least one of these islands. Even now, when
road work is being done near Laurel Point, skeletons are
As the town grew in 1858 with news of gold on the Fraser River, a call was immediately put out to move Indians away from the town. From 1858 to 1910 every city and provincial politician tried to find a way around the treaty that promised this land to the Lekwammen land that was increasingly valuable as the city grew. Having aboriginal people living in the middle of the city offended the sensibilities of the citizens of Victoria and they wanted them out.
Finally in 1910, by passing a special act of the federal parliament, the federal and provincial governments brokered a deal that got the Indians out of town and out of sight. For $10,000 per family, the Lekwammen agreed to move to the suburbs, to a new reserve established in Esquimalt. After half a century of trying Victorians got the Indians out of town.