Kilts on the Coast

Kilts on the Coast

The Scots Who Built BC

By (author): Jan Peterson
ISBN 9781927051276
Softcover | Publication Date: February 15, 2012
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
272 Pages
$22.95 CAD
E-Book Price: $9.99 CAD

About the Book

When the Hudson’s Bay Company decided to establish its new Pacific coast headquarters at Fort Victoria on Vancouver Island in 1843, the Island was a pristine paradise—or an isolated wilderness, depending on one’s point of view—that had sustained its First Nations inhabitants for millennia. It was one of the last places to be discovered and settled by Europeans in North America.

It was Scots who came to the Island to manage the Company’s business in Fort Victoria, engaging in the fur trade and establishing coal-mining ventures around what is now Nanaimo, where “black diamonds” were found in abundance.

From founding father James Douglas and other high-placed Company men to the humble miners from Orkney and Ayrshire who were brought over on harsh voyages around Cape Horn to work Nanaimo’s mines, the Scottish influence on the young Colony of Vancouver Island was indelible. Nanaimo author and historian Jan Peterson focuses on events and people who sparked settlement and growth in BC’s first Crown Colony over six critical years, 1848 to 1854, and delves deep into the roots of the Island’s Scottish presence, tracing the lives of such pioneers as Dr. William Tolmie, Robert Dunsmuir and their descendants.

About the Author(s)

Born and educated in Scotland, Jan Peterson immigrated with her family to Kingston, Ontario, in 1957. In 1972, she moved with her husband, Ray, and their three children to Port Alberni. With a lifelong interest in painting, writing, and history, she is recognized for her many years of involvement in the arts and community service. As a reporter for the Alberni Valley Times, she won a Jack Wasserman Award for investigative journalism. Jan and Ray retired to Nanaimo in 1996, where she continues to research and write. She is the author of eleven books, including Mark Bate: Nanaimo’s First Mayor; Port Alberni: More Than Just a Mill Town; and Kilts on the Coast: The Scots Who Built BC.


"Together, the biographies result in a comprehensive story of the Scots on the Island. It's hard to argue with the notion that they planted the seeds for much of what we know today . . . [Kilts on the Coast] is a worthy addition to the history of Vancouver Island.” —Dave Obee, Times Colonist
"It . . . provide[s] interesting glimpses into the experiences of a number of pioneer immigrants who carved out new lives on Vancouver Island in the middle of the nineteenth century.” —Jack Little, BC Studies