Finding Mr MacIver

Canada is a relatively new country – inaugurated on 1st July 1867 – but its history far pre-dates it’s official birthday.

Evidence of these roots are found all over but especially in the town of Fort Langley, situated in the city of Langley in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This was one of the first settlements in BC and was originally a port for the Hudson Bay Company. Today it’s a wonderful mixture of quaint town and old buildings with bustling, busy streets.

Fort Langley Town Hall

Fort Langley Town Hall

Fort Langley Residence

Fort Langley Residence

We visited Fort Langley with a bit of a mission. I’d been told that one of the town founders was named John MacIver from the Isle of Lewis and that he was buried in the local graveyard. We found his gravestone there, alongside many other Mac’s and Mc’s from Scotland. The stone reads that John McIver was born on 1st January 1832 in Knock, Carloway, Isle of Lewis and died in Port Hammond, BC on 3rd May 1913.

The story goes that he left Lewis and ended up working with the Hudson Bay Company as a cooper with his friend Kenneth Morrison from Barvas. This was after an arduous journey across Canada which eventually led them to British Columbia. Kenneth Morrison named his newly acquired land after his home – Barvis Ranch – whilst John MacIver left his own legacy…

MacIvor's Landing

You can see John MacIver’s photo here and Kenneth Morrison’s here

You can also read a great interview with John MacIver and his daughter here

Though I was aware of McIvor’s Landing, I only found out about Barvis Ranch through a slightly strange set of circumstances. Whilst being introduced to one of our lovely next door neighbours in Surrey, Sandie, I happened to make a throwaway comment about someone called Murdo.

Sandie asked whether the Murdo in question had the surname MacIver, as this was her friends father’s surname. Fast forward two days and I was on the phone to this very same gentleman being told a bit more about the history of John MacIver and Kenneth Morrison. It turns out that this same Murdo MacIver is also one of my dad’s friends and was in my house in Lewis a few years ago for dinner. Such a small world.

So it turns out I’ve joined a hundred year old MacIver legacy of travelling from Lewis to experience life in BC. We’re obviously an adventurous people!


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