The History of Leechtown – Part I,
“The VIEE and the Discovery of Gold on the Sooke and Leech Rivers”
Leechtown is a ghost town on the Southern end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
This book presents the most interesting story that has never been told before in so much detail and truth of what led to the most celebrated gold rush on Vancouver Island and subsequently the establishment of Leechtown.
In April 1864, Governor Arthur Edward Kennedy offered to contribute two dollars for every dollar raised by the public for the organization of an expedition to explore the still unknown interior of Vancouver Island. In May prominent citizens of Victoria formed a committee, public meetings were held and nine explorers, under command of Robert Brown, were chosen to form the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition (VIEE). On 7 June 1864 they left Victoria aboard the gunboat HMS Grappler for Cowichan Bay from where they would start their journey over the island for the next 136 days. After travelling towards Sooke Lake, on 18 July the Leech River was named and ‘payable’ gold was discovered. Ten days later the news reached Victoria and the gold rush was on.
This book is based on the authentic journals and letters of the expedition members supplemented by newspaper articles and other VIEE related documents. As a welcome bonus, these writings provide great details about the life, the perceptions of Indigenous cultures and the uncultivated landscape of Vancouver Island in the early days.