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Jan Advocate 2017

56 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE LEGAL TOPONYMY Vancouver can thank a judge for naming its most prominent geologic formation: the twin peaks of The Lions (elevation 1654 m (West Lion), 1606 m (East Lion)) were named around 1889 by British Columbia Supreme Court Justice John Hamilton Gray (1814 St George, Bermuda–1889 Victoria), after their resemblance to the lion statues in Trafalgar Square sculpted by Sir Edward Landseer.4 Before Gray’s popular suggestion, the Skxwumish (Squamish) people called them Chee-Chee-Yoh-Hee (“The Twins” or “The Sisters”), after their transformation legend,5 while lonely loggers and prospectors called them “Sheba’s Breasts” or “The Paps”. Gray was a pre- Confederation premier of New Brunswick and a father of Confederation. In 1872, as a consolation for not being named speaker of the House of Commons, he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and moved west. In 1878 he ruled that the provincial Chinese Tax Act was unconstitutional as its purpose was to “drive the Chinese from the country, thus interfering at once with the authority reserved to the Dominion Parliament as to the regulation of the trade and commerce, the rights of aliens, and the treaties of the empire.”6 Gray was constantly in debt: Chief Justice Begbie famously delayed a creditor’s application for Gray’s arrest over an unpaid judgment by an hour, thus allowing Gray to sail away on a holiday.7 Gray died in Victoria and is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery: the only 1867 father of Confederation buried west of Ontario.8 Graham Island on Haida Gwaii has not only a Mount Begbie (see below), but also has mountains named after many of his contemporary jurists.9 Two are named after Begbie’s rivals for the Chief Justice post. Mount Needham (803 m) is named for Chief Justice Joseph Needham (1812 England–1895 England) of the Colony of Vancouver Island. The 1866 union of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia brought awkwardness: it was unclear which of Chief Justice Begbie and Chief Justice Needham would become the new Chief Justice. The dispute simmered until 1870, when Needham was appointed Chief Justice of Trinidad; he later retired to England. 10 To the north, Crease Peak (671 m) is named for Justice Henry Pering Pellew Crease (1823 Cornwall, England–1905 Victoria), who vigorously lobbied the Dominion government to be Begbie’s successor.11 Upon Begbie’s death in 1895, Crease’s hopes were dashed when, instead, the government offered the post to the premier, Theodore Davie, Q.C. (1852 Brixton, England– 1898 Victoria). His peak, Davie Peak (422 m), is located in the middle of Graham Island. To the northwest is Drake Peak (614 m), named after Justice Montague William Tyrwhitt-Drake (1830 Kings Walls, England–1908 Victoria), who came to Victoria in 1851, was named Queen’s Counsel in


Jan Advocate 2017
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