Joseph Despard Pemberton becomes Colonial Surveyor

Joseph Despard Pemberton (1821-1893) is hired as a Hudson’s Bay Company colonial engineer and surveyor for Vancouver Island, as hundreds of colonists arrive from Britain. J.D. Pemberton is tasked with surveying the southern tip of Vancouver Island in preparation for colonial settlement and establishes the Wakefield system of land allocation which sought to create a wealthy land-owning class alongside a wage-earning class of European settlers. Pemberton himself comes to own a large farm estate near Victoria, aligning with the elite class. At the same time, Pemberton lays out Indian reserves, ensuring they are small (below 100 acres) and are confined within straight lines to make way for colonial settlement.

Johnston, H. J. M.  “WAKEFIELD, EDWARD GIBBON,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 9, University of Toronto/Université Laval (1976). Accessed March 6, 2021.

Harris, R. Cole. Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia. (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002), 27.

Harris, Cole. "The Spaces of Early Canada." The Canadian Historical Review 91, no. 4 (2010): 739.