About 600 African-Americans from California move to Victoria, British Columbia by invitation of Governor James Douglas as part of the gold rush migration. One of them, Mifflin Gibbs, later plays a key role in persuading British Columbia to become part of Canada. Douglas declares Emancipation Day, August 1, the anniversary of the end of slavery in the British Empire, as the colonies' first official holiday August 1, to the chagrin of the white American element in the colony, though Victoria's West Indian police force, recruited by Douglas, was necessarily disbanded because of the hostility from the numerous Americans in the emerging city. Also among the African-Americans who came with the gold rush was Isaac "Ikey" Dixon, whose brawl in his Yale barbershop and subsequent safe-custody arrest triggered off the events known as McGowan's War, and who soon after became a noted and popular columnist for the Barkerville newspaper The Cariboo Sentinel.
The Toronto Islands are created after a fierce storm detaches the island from the mainland at the Eastern gap.