James Dunsmuir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Dunsmuir
James Dunsmuir.jpg
James Dunsmuir (1914)
14th Premier of British Columbia
In office
June 15, 1900 – November 21, 1902
Monarch Victoria
Edward VII
Lieutenant Governor Thomas Robert McInnes
Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
Preceded by Joseph Martin
Succeeded by Edward Gawler Prior
8th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
May 11, 1906 – December 3, 1909
Monarch Edward VII
Governor General The Earl Grey
Premier Richard McBride
Preceded by Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
Succeeded by Thomas Wilson Paterson
MLA for Comox
In office
July 9, 1898 – June 9, 1900
Preceded by Joseph Hunter
Succeeded by Lewis Alfred Mounce
MLA for South Nanaimo
In office
June 9, 1900 – October 3, 1903
Preceded by Ralph Smith
Succeeded by district abolished
Personal details
Born (1851-07-08)July 8, 1851
Fort Vancouver
Died June 6, 1920(1920-06-06) (aged 68)
Cowichan Bay, British Columbia
Nationality Canadian
Political party No party affiliation
Spouse(s) Laura Miller Surles (m. 1876)
Relations Robert Dunsmuir, father
Children 3 sons and 9 daughters
Alma mater Virginia Tech
Occupation machinist, entrepreneur, industrialist
Profession politician

James Dunsmuir (July 8, 1851 – June 6, 1920) was a British Columbian industrialist and politician.

Hatley Castle circa 2006
Grave monument of James Dunsmuir at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia
Grave monument of James Dunsmuir at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia

Son of Robert Dunsmuir, he was heir to his family's coal fortune. The Dunsmuir family dominated the province's economy in the late nineteenth century and were a leading force in opposing organized labour. Dunsmuir managed his family's coal business from 1876 until 1910 increasing profits and violently putting down efforts to unionize. In 1905 he sold his Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway to the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1910 he sold his coal mining company, Union Colliery of British Columbia and R. Dunsmuir and Sons to Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd (CCD).

Dunsmuir entered provincial politics in 1898 winning a seat in the provincial legislature and became the 14th Premier in 1900. His government attempted to resist popular pressure to curtail Asian labour and immigration not for humanitarian reasons but to ensure a cheap labour pool for business. It also promoted railway construction and accomplished a redistribution of seats to better represent population distribution in the province. Dunsmuir disliked politics and resigned as Premier in 1902. In 1906 he became the province's eighth Lieutenant Governor but retired in 1909 and lived out his years at the baronial mansion he had constructed at Hatley Park. James Dunsmuir founded the town of Ladysmith, British Columbia. He is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.

One of his eight daughters, Jessie Muriel, married, as her first husband, the couturier Edward Molyneux. His second-born son, James A. Dunsmuir, Jr., died in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.


  • Reksten, Terry (1991). The Dunsmuir Saga. Vancouver:Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 0-88894-742-9. 

External links[edit]