Location: Mahaica District, East Coast Demerara
Classification: Commemorative Monument
Period/ Year Built: 2008
Historical Background / Description:
Sir James Douglas was born in British Guiana on August 15, 1803. He was the son of Scottish man, Mr. John Douglas and Barbadian mulatto woman, Ms. Martha Ann Telfer. During his early years, he lived on his father’s plantation named Belmont in the Mahaica District along with his two other siblings; his parents were never formally married. In 1812, he and his father travelled to Scotland where he continued his education. In 1819, he moved to Canada where he started his apprenticeship at the North West Company. In 1821, after the company was merged with Hudson Bay Company, he was hired as an employee. Sir James Douglas would go on to become the chief trader for the organisation.
Douglas is hailed as the ‘The Father of British Colombia’ which is now a part of Canada’s sovereignty for his many contributions made to the then British colony. He held a number of titles such as the first Governor of British Colombia from 1858 and Governor of the colony of Vancouver Island from 1851. Douglas was married to Amelia Connolly and together they produced ten children. He remained Governor for both Vancouver Island and British Columbia until 1864, when he retired. He died on August 2, 1877. The Guyanese-Canadian Association of British Columbia, in close collaboration with the National Trust of Guyana, erected a statue of Sir James Douglas in honour of his contributions to Canada and to pay homage to his place of birth. It was unveiled on August 27, 2008, by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds in the presence of numerous patrons including Canadian High Commissioner Mr. Charles Court and President of the Guyanese-Canadian Association of British Columbia, Mr. Clyde Duncan.