Who named the points and hills, roads, bays of Galiano,
and, in fact , the island, itself ?

Remember those who borrowed the land for a season.

The Pope having given half the New World into the care of Spain to promote Christianity, the Spanish spread their influence along the Pacific Coast from their base in Mexico. Briefly, because it was an outpost that could not easily be supplied and defended so far north there was a Spanish settlement at Nootka, on Vancouver Island. The natives there were told as the Pope has directed that God created the world in seven days. The natives countered that Raven made the world, and all its creatures, and Eagle with his head of white. But Raven's head was black after he trod on a herring rake through not looking.
In 1791 Jose Maria Narvaez, having charted the coast of Florida, made an exploratory trip northwards and encountered the Gulf Islands. The pass that separated Galiano Island from Valdes he called Boca de Porlier.

The following year Captain George Vancouver charted all waters between the mainland and Vancouver Island.

George Vancouver was an Englishman and a practical man. He came from the county of Yorkshire, where men are known to be of few words. When he encountered an inland sea charted and named by the Spanish Lieutenant Commander Francisco Eliza as Gran Canal de Nuestra Senora del Rosario La Marinera, he simply renamed it Gulf of Georgia after King George III.

When he came to the mainland, at what is now known as Spanish Banks, Vancouver met the unexpected - two Spanish schooners built in Mexico, the Sutil and the Mexicana. They were friendly and joined Vancouver in the survey, the Sutil under the command of Dionisio Alcala Galiano with second in command Salamanca, and the Mexicana under Cayatano Valdes.

In 1858 a boundary commission was set up by Washington and London. The British Commissioner was Captain James Charles Prevost, and his surveyor Captain George Henry Richards. They immortalized the Spanish explorers in their place names. The larger of the two islands at Porlier Pass was named Galiano, the smaller Valdes. The highest hill on Galiano was named Mount Sutil and the lesser Galiano ( through the years the names have become switched) and the highest hill on Valdes was called Mexicana.
The name of the Spaniard in charge at Nootka in Galiano's time was Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. A hill on Galiano was called Quadra, and the hill north of Retreat Cove, Bodega Hill ( see Commander Parry's resurvey).

During the search for the North west passage the crew of the sailing ship would put into a harbor near high land, and climb up to survey the sea, in the absence of charts. Records show that Montague Harbor was known as the Bay of Whales, though we have no further description at the time of these abundant sea mammals.

Enclosing Montague harbor is Parker Island, named for Lieuteneant George Ferdinand Parker serving under Prevost. Lieutenant Henry Bouchier Phillimore gave his name to Phillimore Point. Between Galiano and Salt Spring Island, the Secretary Islands were named for Admiral Baynes' Secretary, James Lowther Southey. Baynes Bay was named, at the north of Galiano.

When naming the pass between Galiano and Mayne Islands, Captain Richards discovered that, three years earlier, the American survey ship Active was the first steamship to go through the pass. She was a 750 ton paddle-steamer, so he called the pass Active and it has certainly lived up to its name.

In 1905 Commander Parry carried out a re-survey naming the northerly points of Dionisio and Alcala and a point on the Gulf side toward the south, Salamanca. He called the hill just north of Retreat Cove, Bodega. He named Wallace Island after Captain Wallace Houston.

Early settlers have been on the Galiano map. Collinson Point joined by an under-water spit to Collinson Rock, off Georgeson Bay, recalls William Tomkins Collinson JP, one of the earlist settlers on Mayne Island. Matthews Point, Burrill Point, Sturdies Bay, Winstanley Point, Georgeson Bay all celebrate people who came to the island to brave the tough times of necessary self-sufficiency and isolation. Some roads, such as Deacon, celebrate men who worked on them years ago. Harry Baines operated a boat repair shop in Baynes Bay, North Galiano. He married Devina in 1928. She was the older daughter of Sticks Allison and his wife Matilda, nee Georgeson. Devina operated the Spanish Hills Store and North Galiano Post Office and worked vigorously for the Red Cross. Her name lives on in Devina Drive. Sticks Allsion's wife left him and moved to a Home Oil barge, anchored and tied in Lighthouse Bay. The Cooks had a farm of 262 acres. Granny Cook was the island mid-wife.

Cyril Morgan and his wife Kathleen (who chained herself to railings in the cause of the suffragette movement) created a farm and flower garden at the end of what is now Morgan Road. In 1928 Cyril Morgan became Assessor and collector for Galiano, later a Justice of the Peace with Paul Scoones both busy with rum runners in Montague Harbor. Cyril's son Nigel won a scholarship to Vancouver College and then was appointed Secretary of the BC Communist Party.

Paul Scoones held musical evenings for the pleasure of the islanders, lent books from his large library and played from his collection of 3000 classical records on his EMG gramophone. A tin at the door for collections made a considerable contribution to purchase of Bluffs Park after Max Enke (Enke Point) offered to sell to the community, in the late 1930s, 80 acres for $1000. Later his son and daughter, Stephen and Ruth, made a donation of the remaining 237 acres to bless the community.

Paul Scoones, with his brother Alec, purchased a property they called Lyons, which included Lion Island.
Captain Edward McCoskie came to Galiano in 1890 and built on 160 acres of pre-empted land raising 3 children, including Melissa, born 1882. Their names live on in road names. In the 1860s Lot 51 was owned by a man named Ganner, who left his name for a road and then faded into oblivion. The property was bought by Shopland, whose son subdivided the Shopland Road area.

Saltery Bay. In 1911 a man called Yip Sang built a herring saltery. Salt fish was exported to China. The camp was destroyed by fire, and soon after the land was auctioned by the Dept. of Enemy Aliens.

Galiano Elementary School. Built in 1952 on land donated by Fred and Margaret Robson. The old North Galiano school is the N. Galiano Community Hall.

The Mission Room and the Church. The Mission Room was built in 1917 on Sturdies Bay Road and served as a Church. All fittings, communion vessels, harmonium, kneelers, candlesticks were supplied by the people of Galiano. The Church of St. Margaret of Scotland was built entirely by the residents on land donated by Fred and Margaret Robson. In the evening of July 26 1952 the final service was held in the Mission Room, then the congregation climbed the hill to the new Church to the chanting of the Litany, for evensong. The pews and pulpit were a labor of love by local carpenters, handed on to future generations of worshippers.

The Galiano Hall. The Galiano Club, founded in 1925, was to build a hall on land donated by Stanley Page. The Hall was for community functions, and was built with volunteer labor, heated from a steel drum, lit by gas lamps. When the building ws finished in 1928 it was opened by Lieutenant Governor Randolph Bruce and that night there was a party under the gas lamps.

The Hall has seen many occasions since, perhaps few as joyous as the wedding reception of Georgina Birdie Georgeson in 1936. Music was by Joe Burrill at the piano, George York on guitar, H Harris piano, Miss S Georgeson guitar, Archie Georgeson violin.

The Galiano cemetery. In 1927 the Anglican Synod accepted title to 2 acres donated by the Georgeson family. There was to be no charge for burying island residents, and a plot must be set aside for the Georgeson family. The site is peaceful and beautiful and a gift indeed to Galiano.

We should thank and remember the generosity and community spirit of those who passed this way, enjoyed the island, worked hard, and left it to the future. Their names are remembered along with the first explorers and chart makers to sail by these wooded slopes to the sea.

"British Columbia Coast Names" by Walbran 1909.
Gulf Island Names Donald A New 1966.
Galiano. Houses and People. Elizabeth Steward 1994.