A crowd gathered at Queen's Park on Sunday to celebrate the first B.C. Loyalist Day in British Columbia.
The four Pacific regional branches of the united Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada - Vancouver, Chilliwack, Thompson-Okanagan and Victoria - gathered to celebrate B.C. Loyalist Day. The provincial government declared July 22 as Loyalist Day in British Columbia.
The event gave the groups a chance to celebrate their Loyalist ancestors.
"Many British Columbians are direct descendants of the first Loyalists who arrived in what is now eastern Canada in 1783 after the American Revolution," said a press release about the event. "Following the French settlements in Acadia and New France in the 1600s and early 1700s, there was second major wave of immigration starting in the 1770s. The number of Loyalists varies depending on which historian you cite, but it is estimated that 50,000 to 100,000 displaced Loyalists came as the 'first boat people' to what is now Canada. These were British subjects who had originally settled in the 13 colonies but were more loyal to the British Crown following the start to the American Revolution. The patriots would go on to win the war. These new settlers were called the Loyalists and are considered Canada's first political refugees."
At the July 22 event in New Westminster, the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada read a proclamation about Loyalist Day, unfurled the Loyalist flag and enjoyed a picnic.