Dallas Road below Beacon Hill
Death, Life and happiness are in the story of Beacon Hill. On these headlands where an ardent people once buried their dead, early settlers erected beacons to guide mariners past dangerous Brotchie Ledge. Here, too, ever since Victoria was founded in 1843, people have gathered to enjoy sports and a vista of timeless appeal.
Beacon Hill was named after primitive navigational beacons that warned approaching ships of Brotchie Ledge. They consisted of a large triangle made of boards framing an open space located near the top of the cliff overlooking the ocean and a wooden barrel mounted to the top of a pole on the top of Beacon Hill. By sighting the barrel through the triangular opening, a course could be set for the mouth of Victoria Harbour.
First Nations believe that the two dozen mounds visible on the hill until about 1890 were the burial places of the inhabitants of a village on Finlayson Point, who were slain by an evil spirit several centuries ago. Historians believe that the mounds, which were indeed found to contain human remains, pre-date the village and the evil spirit they identify with. They believe these people died due to some form of plague.
The hill was also popular as a place for outings, picnics, horse racing and cricket matches. First marked out for a park in 1858, it wasn’t until 1882 that the BC government donated the present 154 acres to the city. It was another seven years before development got underway.
Between the years 1878 & 1892 a two-gun battery stood guard on Finlayson Point against the possibility of a Russian invasion. A few years later an unknown American “sold” parts of the park to various citizens claiming to have purchased the site for the sack of the gold he had discovered there.