Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Harrison Hot Springs BC Place Name Origin


Harrison River © Stephen Mullock
The "Harrison" name is used a lot on the north side of the Fraser River between Mission and Agassiz BC. Some of the places identified with the name include Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Lake, Harrison River, Harrison Mills and the Harrison Knoll.  In addition there are well over 20+ businesses and organizations called Harrison Something .  An outsider might expect that given the heavy usage a statue of the person, a portrait, a lot might be known about these individual, Benjamin Harrison, but no, there isn't.


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Maybe for good reason, for one, Benjamin Harrison was English and never visited the area, or, North America for that matter, and secondly, his name got associated with this area a long time ago in 1828.

It was a era before settlers and gold rushes when the Hudson Bay Company ran a fur trade empire and a big chunk of North America as well, for their shareholders, called the Company of Adventurers.  British Columbia, known as New Caledonia, was a wilderness and especially on the heavily forested coastal area if there wasn't a trail or waterway it became very difficult to get around. Beaver pelts were in high demand and the HBC in need of making a profit.

We need your Pelts © Stephen Mullock

The Hudson Bay Company centred in Fort Langley was anxious to open up fur trading routes with the First Nation people of the interior.  An alternative to the ever dangerous Fraser River was sought after and a promising alternative river to the Fraser known to the Natives as "Pinkslitsa" explored.  Governor Sir George Simpson, had a look at the river in 1828 and was so pleased he sent the following dispatch to London "As it promises to become important to our interests, in this quarter, not only as a practicable route to and from the interior but as an opening to us a new tract of country, which the Natives say is Rich in Beaver, I have taken the liberty of naming it after one of the Members of Your Honble. Board "Harrisons River".*

Now, Sir George Simpson, nicknamed the "Little Emperor" while possessing great administrative skills was also, by many accounts a lousy human being.  Leading me to wonder what sort of man was Benjamin Harrison?  I will see what I can find and report back in the next post.

*The best information and the quote above comes from the excellent book "The People of the Harrison" (1990) by Daphne Sleigh and available for sale at the Agassiz Harrison Museum.

Imagine living here....

To find real estate property for sale in the Harrison Hot Springs Village, Harrison Mills or along Harrison Lake click here.  Should you have any questions on these properties I would be pleased to help as I am a local area Realtor©.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

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