BC Black History Awareness Society
This plaque was commissioned by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and was unveiled on February 20, 2000 at the Shady Creek United Church (now Central Saanich United Church) at 7180 East Saanich Road, Victoria, B.C. Several Black families were instrumental in erecting the original church and were active members.
The plaque states:
BLACK PIONEERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
In 1858, nearly 800 free Blacks left the oppressive racial conditions of San Francisco for a new life on Vancouver Island. Governor James Douglas had invited them here as promising settlers. Though still faced with intense discrimination, these pioneers enriched the political, religious and economic life of the colony. For example, Mifflin Gibbs became a prominent politician; Charles and Nancy Alexander initiated the Shady Creek Methodist Church; John Deas established a salmon cannery; and the group formed one of the earliest colonial militia units, the Victoria Pioneer Rifle Corps.