Ages: 16-18

  • British Columbia History
  • Canadian History
  • British North American Colonial History
Key Topics
  • Daily life in the Crown Colony of Vancouver Island around 1858
  • Important events in the historical development of British Columbia
  • Primary and secondary source analysis including visual sources
  • Continuity and change in history

Author: Lindsay Gibson
Editors: Roland Case, John Lutz and Jenny Clayton
Historical Researcher: Jenny Clayton
Developed by: The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2)

Daily Life in Victoria before and after the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush

Step 2: Set the historical context

Before exploring other textual and visual documents, use the ideas described above in the Introduction to explain to students the focus of the lesson and outline the activities they will undertake.

Explain that one purpose of the lesson is to explore how change and continuity are ongoing and ever present in history. In every aspect of our daily lives, things are changing and in other respects they remain constant. For example, the form of houses and much of the building materials used in homes in North America have remained fairly constant over the last century. In many other respects—heating, plumbing and sewage, appliances, insulating materials and fire retardants—housing has changed dramatically and with them the way we live. Invite students to suggest several ways in which schools have changed and have remained the same since students started attending school.

To reinforce the idea of ongoing change and continuity, and to provide background about the history of this region, invite students to speculate on the things that might have changed and not changed as a result of key events in the history of Colonial British Columbia. Duplicate copies of the four-page timeline, #6 Colonial British Columbia Timeline. You may choose to distribute one page of the timeline to different group of students. Their task is to discuss each of the dozen or so events in their assigned time period and to speculate on some of the changes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people as a result of each incident. As well, encourage students to mention a few (non-trivial) things that would likely not have changed as a result of each event. If students need more context to complete this task, use the briefing sheet, #5 Colonial British Columbia Before the Gold Rush, as speaking notes to provide an overview or invite students to read the background document aloud.

Once students have speculated on changes and continuity for each event in their section of the timeline, invite each group to prepare a one-minute summary of some of the main changes and constants for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from the time of the first event on their list to the last event. Arrange for each group to share its summary with the rest of the class. Encourage other members of the class to offer alternative suggestions about the major changes and constants during each time period.

horizontal divider

Suggested Activities