Joseph William McKay

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Joseph William McKay
Born (1829-01-31)January 31, 1829
(Rupert’s House) Waskaganish, Quebec
Died December 17, 1900(1900-12-17) (aged 71)
Victoria, British Columbia
Occupation Fur trader, Explorer, Politician and Justice of the Peace
Spouse(s) Helen Holmes
Children 4 daughters and 2 sons
Parents William McKay and Mary Bunn

Joseph William McKay (Mackay) (31 January 1829 – 17 December 1900) was a fur trader, politician and explorer who had a long career in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada. Born in Quebec, he was the son of William McKay and Mary Bunn. His grandfather was John McKay. He married Helen Holmes at Victoria, British Columbia on June 16, 1860. Both were of mixed blood. Together they had four daughters and two sons.[1]


He began working for the Hudson's Bay Company in Fort Vancouver in 1844 at the age of 14 years. Two years later he was transferred to Fort Victoria where he rose to become second-in-command under Governor James Douglas. He played a significant role in the negotiation of the Douglas Treaties in the Colony of Vancouver Island and was elected to the pre-confederation House of Assembly in 1856. He was released by the company in 1878 because of the extent of his outside business interests. After leaving the company he was a cannery manager and then an Indian agent. He was assistant superintendent of Indian Affairs in BC at the time of his death.[2]

The HBC promoted him to factor in 1872 and he was a justice of the peace from 1876 to until 1885.[1]


Plaque crediting MacKay as builder of the Nanaimo Bastion and Founder of Nanaimo

McKay was instrumental in the discovery of coal at Nanaimo. He moved there in 1849 and took possession of the coal fields for the HBC in 1852.[3] He is credited with the construction of the Nanaimo Bastion.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Richard Mackie, "Joseph William McKay in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
  2. ^ Francis (ed), Daniel (2000) [1999], Francis, Daniel, ed., Encyclopedia of British Columbia, Harbour Publishing, p. 435, ISBN 1-55017-200-X 
  3. ^ "Joseph William McKay". Scribd. Retrieved 2011-11-01.