The Mouth of Rock Bay Creek
Before contact, Rock Bay Creek was a coho stream that poured into what is now Victoria's Upper Harbour. Its water would have been cold, kept chill by overhanging old growth forest. Its bottom would have been gravel. Its mouth might have supported sedges, eelgrass, and a tapestry of berry plants buzzed by mayflies, and a twitter of small birds. Eagles, raptors and bears would have hunted the coho, now in their red breeding colours as they returned from the ocean to the pools where they were born.
When early settlers built Fort Victoria, Lekwungen people moved from their village at Cadboro Bay to set up camp around the mouth of the creek. Other First Nations came from farther north to camp there and trade with the newcomers at the fort.
In autumn, coho returning from their sojourn in the ocean could have been seen leaping the falls just above the mouth of the creek. Early settlers named them Finlayson Falls, then blasted out the rocks and paved them into the steep section along lower Queens Street.
Finlayson Falls where Rock Bay Creek outfalls into Rock Bay (~mid 1800).
(photo BC Archives, colourized by Steve Thompson)
Rock Bay - historical photos
Bivouac 1848 Detail - Haverfeld