Have you ever seen the flag of British Columbia? It reflects the culture of this province and the people who colonized it. The flag reproduces the province’s coat of arms. The Union Jack and golden crown at the top symbolize the province’s British colonial origins. The golden half sun and wavy blue stripes at the bottom represent the Pacific Ocean and British Columbia’s geographical location as Canada’s westernmost province.

As the province’s name and flag suggest, the attachment to England was very strong for these British colonists. In Victoria, a city named in honour of the Queen of England, these colonists recreated a small British world. The English lived together in neighbourhoods that were similar in almost every way to those of their former homeland. In 1901, three quarters of the population of British Columbia were originally from an English colony.

People lived in true Victorian fashion there. Family was very important and prosperity was essential because it allowed people to attain a higher social status. The province’s socialites tended to be people of the upper middle class, who were large traders and landowners. The British also placed a great emphasis on the arts. For example, learning a musical instrument was mandatory for young girls.

As good citizens of the British crown, these colonists always had to pay tribute to England and practice the Protestant religion. They also had to make sure they only associated with people of their social rank. This explains why the arrival of immigrants of various origins caused such a stir within the community of Victoria, because people wanted to preserve their English way of life.

 

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

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