Dr. Patrick Lydon has been an active member of the Old Cemeteries Society for many years and has always shown a great interest in Peter Leech and the discovery of gold at Leechtown in 1864. He was instrumental in the unveiling of a new headstone for Peter Leech at Ross Bay Cemetery and in 2012 he led a large group of members to a special outing to Sooke Regional Museum and to the remains of Leechtown itself. Dr Lydon describes his book as a “scrap-book”, but it skillfully combines previously overlooked historical material, wonderful photographs from the BC Archives, and copies of newspaper articles to document an important and amazing era in the history of Sooke and Victoria. July 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the finding of gold on the Sooke and Leech River and I am delighted to support Dr. Lydon’s efforts to promote this facet of our history.
John Adams, local author, historian and founding President of the Old Cemeteries Society. June 2013.
This book is more like a scrap-book than a book, but the visual images, and old newspaper articles are too good to discard and some of the photo’s are outstanding. The photo’s of Mary MacDonald and Mazzie Tuttle, grand-daughter of Chief Lazzare, will give this book great impact.
I have been fascinated with gold-panning and Canada since I was a child and “The Spell of the Yukon” by Robert Service remains one of my favorite poems. Little did I know, that years later, I would pan for gold in the Wild Horse Creek near Fort Steel and Cranbrook and a few years later I would pan at Bonanza Creek in the Yukon and participate in the Dawson City International gold-panning competition in 1997. I have been a member of VIPMA for many years and I am chairman of the Leechtown Commemorative Committee. I hope I am in a position to comment on the Leechtown Goldrush of 1864.
July 2014 is the 150 anniversary of the finding of gold at Leechtown. Major events are planned for Ross Bay Cemetery at the grave of Peter Leech and at the Leechtown Railway Station on the Galloping Goose Trail. The CRD Parks Department are very involved in the latter. I hope that the community will respond to the call to honor this important anniversary. I hope that the people who live in the Victoria and Sooke region become aware of the rich heritage that lies in this area, and to paraphrase the words of Lt. Peter Leech, I hope that “The Book will speak for itself.”
Dr. Patrick P. Lydon