Many came from the United States, where they had participated in the California gold rush of , while others came from across the continent and Europe.
The allure of gold attracted a diverse migrant population to the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. The gold rush was also a springboard for the arrival of several thousand Chinese migrant labourers, who continued to arrive throughout the late nineteenth century to work on projects like the Canadian Pacific Railway. With Confederation, the continued establishment of the British later Canadian naval and military headquarters on the Pacific Coast at Esquimalt, adjoining Victoria, was guaranteed.
In the 20th Century, Victoria evolved as a city of innovation, tourism and education. The city is home to Canada's western naval base and a major fishing fleet. Victoria is also known for its educational institutions, including the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University.
With a growing regional population, pleasant climate and scenic setting, Victoria has retained a vital but comfortable quality of life inspired by a relaxed island mindset. The Greater Victoria Region is proud of its rich heritage, historic downtown, beautiful natural island environment, and, of course, its Inner Harbour and scenic seascapes. Skip to main content.
History First Settlers Long before Captain James Cook became the first non-aboriginal person to set foot on Vancouver Island in , Victoria's rugged, pristine wilderness was home to First Nations people. Gold Fever In , gold was discovered on the lower Fraser River, resulting in a population explosion in the fledgling settlement of British Columbia.
Charles Sturt leads an expedition along the Murray River , arousing interest in settlement of land to the south. Victoria 's first permanent European settlement is established at Portland Bay by pioneer Edward Henty on 19 November. Early The Port Phillip Association originally the "Geelong and Dutigalla Association" is formed by fifteen of the leading colonists of Van Diemen's Land with a view to purchasing large tracts of land from the Aborigines on the unsettled South coast of Australia.
He signs two treaties with the local Aborigines by which he claims , acres north of Melbourne and Corio Bay and , acres around Geelong and Indented Head. He takes up his duties in October.
The first overland mail service between Melbourne and Sydney begins operating on 30 December. Melbourne 's first crossing of the Yarra River opens as a wooden trestle bridge at the site of what is now the Princes Bridge. Public meeting in Melbourne on 28 November demands separation from NSW and appoints a representative to take a petition to England.
Melbourne proclaimed a city on 25 June gazetted 5 February Australian Colonies Government Act receives royal assent in Britain on 5 August, providing for the separation from NSW of the Port Phillip District, to be known as Victoria as well as for the eventual self government of the Australian colonies. An election held for the Victorian Legislative Council in September with the official opening taking place on 13 November. Gold is discovered in Mount Alexander on 2 July and other areas in central Victoria soon after instigating a gold rush and a period of huge population growth and prosperity as immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold.