Camels in British Columbia

The last Camel in BC ca. 1862

    In 1862, 23 pack camels arrived in Victoria from San Francisco.  Camels had been successful in the United States army for several years and it was believed that they would make excellent pack animals in the Cariboo gold rush.  Several Victoria businessmen, including Frank Laumeister and Charles Gowan, were involved in the venture  ( 

    Between their arrival in Victoria and the voyage to the mainland, the camels found a home behind Esquimalt Halfway House Saloon and Brewery.  This attraction brought crowds of Victorians and undoubtedly served as an excellent advertising tool for the brewery.

    The use of Camels in the gold rush was largely viewed as a failure.   The camels caused problems on the trail because they frightened other pack animals.  Also, the camel's feet were not designed to traverse the rocky terrain, being used to desert sand (Robinson, "The Halfway House").