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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)

Finlayson Falls


Rock Bay - historical photos


Bivouac 1848 Detail - Haverfeld

Songhees Reserve Looking Towards Victoria Waterfront 1868
Victoria from the Songhees Reserve looking S.E. towards James Bay 1890
Sayward's Sawmill, Rock Bay,
Sayward's Sawmill, Rock Bay
Capital Planing Mills, Rock Bay, ca1890
Fort Victoria by James Madison Alden
Songhees Reserve, Victoria.jpg
First Nations Canoes at Songhees Reserve 1900
Potlatch on Songhees Reserve 1910
Rock Bay Bridge, Victoria, Decorated For
Rock Bay Bridge, Victoria
Decorated for visit of the Governor General 1876
Songhees Reserve, Victoria Railroad tres
Songhees Reserve, Victoria Railroad trestle in background
Songhees Village looking north toward Johnson Street bridge
painting by James Madison Alden ca.1857
Songhees village from Fort Victoria 1851
sketch by Linton Palmer
The Songhees Reserve, Victoria waterfron
The Songhees Reserve, Victoria waterfront in back; ca.1864
Victoria harbour from the Songhees Reserve 1858
Songhees Reserve, Victoria Along waterfr
Songhees Reserve, Victoria, along waterfront; boats on beach
Capital Planing Mills, Rock Bay, Victori
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