Archives & Heritage

Incorporated in 1988, View Royal is a young town that invites you to step back in time.

Documented history begins in the 1850s when the Puget Sound Agricultural Company (PSAC) commenced corporate farming along the shores of Esquimalt Harbour within the traditional Songhees territory and home of the Kosampson and Whyomilth families. As a subsidiary of the Hudson’s Bay Company, PSAC undertook their parent organization’s obligation to help settle Vancouver Island under a Royal Charter of Grant from the British Empire. This was a transition from the fur trading economy to agricultural enterprise and administered settlement.  

Work began at Maple Point farm in 1853 by Mr. Kenneth McKenzie and contracted carpenters and labourers that sailed with him from Scotland. The area was soon renamed Craigflower Country. Motivated to provide his family the living accommodations promised, but not in place for his arrival, McKenzie quickly had his team working on the farm dwellings and residences. Completed in 1856, the site ran several operations including a sawmill, a flour mill, a blacksmith’s shop, a brick kiln, slaughterhouse, and general store. McKenzie lived with his wife and six children in Craigflower Manor as the inaugural farm bailiff from 1856 to 1866.

Originally called Maple Point School, Craigflower Schoolhouse was completed in 1855. Children from Craigflower Farm and surrounding areas learned in the one schoolroom downstairs and the teacher’s family and boarders resided in the living quarters upstairs. It is the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada.

Craigflower Manor can be found at 1801 Admirals Road at Island Highway. Craigflower Schoolhouse is located on the other side of Craigflower Bridge at 2755 Admirals Road on the Gorge Waterway within the District of Saanich. These companion structures are designated as National Historic Sites of Canada.

The Town also hosts such landmarks as the Four Mile Pub at 199 Island Highway, and Six Mile Pub at 494 Island Highway. These two historic ‘roadhouses’ have been serving patrons for over 160 years. Stagecoaches used these stops as mail drop-off points with the postal addresses being 4 and 6 miles respectively from Victoria. The Six Mile Pub stands at the site of the former Millstream sawmill.

The name View Royal was coined circa 1910 by a real estate developer promoting the "Royal Views" of Esquimalt Harbour. Once a get-away with seasonal cottages, the Town has become a thriving community and gateway between Victoria and the West Shore.