Captain George Vancouver

Captain George Vancouver

Every now and again I find myself noticing small things that seem to hint at my subsequent moves around the world. Of course the connections are easy to spot in hindsight and are almost certainly mere coincidence but one such link between my hometown in the UK and my current home in Canada is quite interesting. Since I am feeling nostalgic for all things British at the moment I decided to do a bit of further research into this link between the two.

While I have lived in many cities in several countries and felt at home in more than one, I spent a large chunk of my childhood in King’s Lynn, a small (by European standards at least) market-town in rural Norfolk, England. Almost ten years after I left Norfolk to attend university I found myself moving to remote northern Vancouver Island, British Columia, Canada. Aside from the language, the two places could not be more different from one another but they do share a history in the form of a name.

Growing up I was aware that the shopping area of King’s Lynn town centre is called the Vancouver Quarter and that it was named after Captain George Vancouver, born in King’s Lynn 1757. What I didn’t consider was why he was famous enough to merit both a statue and a shopping centre in his honour. Canada, being on the other side of the world, didn’t even cross my mind. As I am sure you have guessed both the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island were named after him, along with a couple of other places in US, Canada and New Zealand!

Statue of Captain George Vancouver outside the Customs House in King’s Lynn

After learning a bit more about this English Officer of the Royal Navy who over 200 years ago made the journey from my hometown to my current home province I find myself imagining what similarities and differences we may have experienced. I have learnt that the parliamant buildings in Victoria also have a lifesize statue of Captain George Vancouver; just like home!

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