Colwood

Colwood, BC, incorporated as a city in 1985, population 16 093 (2011c), 14 687 (2006c). The City of Colwood is part of Greater Victoria and located ten kilometres west of downtown VICTORIA. Colwood takes its name from the farm run by Captain Edward E.

Colwood, BC, incorporated as a city in 1985, population 16 093 (2011c), 14 687 (2006c). The City of Colwood is part of Greater Victoria and located ten kilometres west of downtown VICTORIA. Colwood takes its name from the farm run by Captain Edward E. Langford for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. Langford called the farm Colwood after his home in Sussex, England.

Fisgard Lighthouse
Fisgard Light House, 1860, Esquimalt Harbour, Victoria (National Historic Site) (photo by Martin Segger).

In 1843 FORT VICTORIA was founded by the HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY, and soon a number of enterprises, including the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, grew up around the post. In 1860 Fisgard Lighthouse, one of the first lighthouses on the west coast, was constructed at the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour. In the 1860s and 1870s the Colwood area was home to a sawmill, tannery and shoe factory. Later in the century Fort Rodd Hill, now a national HISTORIC SITE, was built in what would become Colwood to protect the Naval Yards at ESQUIMALT.

In 1906 James DUNSMUIR, premier of British Columbia from 1900 to 1902, purchased a property fronting on Esquimalt Lagoon called Hatley Park. The home he had built, Hatley Castle, designed by Samuel MACLURE, was completed in 1909. In 1940 the federal government purchased Hatley Park from the Dunsmuir estate and converted Hatley Castle and the grounds into a naval training school, which evolved into Royal Roads Military College. In 1995 the military college was turned over to the province and is now Royal Roads University.

For most of its history Colwood was primarily a rural community, with the nearby naval facilities and the military college playing a significant role in its development. The rapid growth of population in the Greater Victoria area since the 1970s has changed the character of Colwood into what is now largely a residential community.