II. Victoria’s experience of the Great Pandemic

The deadly pandemic Spanish Influenza virus came to Victoria, British Columbia at the end of September 1918. Its first known victim here was a theatre manager who died on October 6. Soldiers bound for Siberia were carrying it when they arrived  at Willows Camp, in the District of Oak Bay, beginning on October 2, and eight young men died within three weeks of arrival.

In three waves over eighteen months, Spanish influenza visited thousands, residents and visitors alike, and it proved fatal to two or three hundred people in the four municipalities of Greater Victoria.

In this section:

• A historical and geographic sketch of Victoria in 1918;

The state of health care in Victoria in 1918: an inventory of personnel and infrastructure;

The virus’s spread into Canada in a second wave, westward to Victoria;

• The various jurisdictions’ responses to the threat; notably, the ban on public meetings in the city of Victoria; with special attention to the care provided in the rural municipality of Saanich by the Victorian Order of Nurses during the epidemic; with an article tracing the coming-of-age of public health nursing during the Great War, and another profiling Jessie Forshaw, a local pioneer in the field.

• the course of the three local waves of the epidemic ending in the winter of 1920;

Statistical review of the local and provincial impacts of the epidemics.