Leechtown Expedition

Members of VEMRA reenacted the Leechtown Gold-Rush this past weekend.  

After the discovery of Gold by the Vancouver Island Expedition, thousands of gold-miners and others made their way to Sooke in the summer of 1864. J.M. Foley, a member of the Expedition posted a notice in the Times Colonist to meet him at a specific location in the Sooke Harbour marked by a white flag with a Maltese Cross for the shortest and best routes to the mines.


Original advertisement courtesy of leechtownhistory.ca


Members of VEMRA met under a replica of that same flag.

Dressed in period correct historical clothing and accouterments, we made the 14 km round trip from the Sooke Potholes to Leechtown.

Walking along the Galloping Goose Trail, which follows a portion of the former Canadian National rail line that ran between Victoria and Youbou on the north shore of Cowichan Lake.

At Leechtown we surveyed the historic site and even panned for gold using historical tools.

Nothing is left of the settlement that was once at Leechtown.  Now there is only this sign and a cairn somewhere that we didn't manage to find.

Even though the original gold rush here didn't last very long, there is still some recreational gold mining being done here and a century and a half later some quantities of fine gold and flake are still being found...

The Leechtown Gold Rush was a significant event in Vancouver Island history. Not only did it make some wealthy, but it caused the population to grow enormously.

For all the photos of this expedition click here.