Did You Know? Victoria Voltigeurs
Posted by MNBC on
The Voltigeurs were primarily French Canadian half-breeds that Douglas referred to as half-white. They were the first official Police force in the history of BC.
The Virtual Museum of Métis History & Culture states:
The royal governor, James Douglas, did not have any troops to enforce regulations or to perform guard duty when needed. Thus, in mid-1851 Governor Douglas formed the Victoria Voltigeurs. This was a small corps of Métis men intended to lend an occasional hand in enforcing justice. [...] They were paid and fed for their periods of service and were given trade guns and a company "uniform." Their uniform was a sky-blue Canadian capote with a red woolen sash.
The Voltigeurs lived in a village on Colquitz Creek near the junction with Swan Creek; this was also called “Potage Inlet.” Each of the Voltigeur settlers was given a free grant of 20 acres of Hudson’s Bay Company land. Some of the Metis men given these grants were: Nicholas Auger, Jean Baptiste Jollibois and John Lemon.
In a letter of March 5, 1859, James Douglas informs Joseph Despard Pemberton that Nicholas Auger, John Lemon and Jean Baptiste Jollibois are each entitled to 20 acre grants on Portage Inlet (part of present day Victoria) in recognition for their service as Victoria Voltigeurs.