2)    SPANISH BANKS 4:54

The late 1700’s marked an era of maritime exploration of North America’s Pacific coastline. English, Spanish, American & Russian traders had come and gone for decades, exchanging trade goods for valuable pelts from the local inhabitants. Explorers like Juan Joseph Perez Hernandez (1774) & James Cook (1778) had each sailed along this rugged coastline, each had bypassed Georgia Straight and each presumed that Nootka (on Vancouver’s Island) was part of the coastal mainland.

It wasn’t until 1792 that English explorations led by George Vancouver and Spanish explorations by Galiano  & Valdes entered the straight while charting the area. The two parties met near Point Gray at a place they named “Spanish Banks”. Imagine the impression their great winged ships must have made on the indigenous people whose villages for eons had lined these pristine waters.
 

Where the City of Vancouver reaches westward into the Gulf of Georgia there is a place called Spanish Banks. The name commemorates the meeting in 1792 of English explorer George Vancouver with Spanish explorers Galiano & Valdes. The two parties worked in tandem up the Discovery Pass, exchanging information and at times socializing. These were the first Europeans to contact many of the indigenous peoples whose villages for eons have lined these pristine waters. Many of the Pacific Northwest place names date back to these historic expeditions.

 

 

I walked the road to Spanish Banks
Where the cliffs rise o'er the sandy shoals below
And wondered, how it appeared to them
Two hundred years ago

In wooden ships the iron men
Braved the oceans from half the world away
Venturing on to each new horizon
And charting as they sailed

What if they had seen the years unfolding
Would they have believed a world so changed?
Could they have foreseen in all their wildest fantasies
The place that bares their names?

George Vancouver crossed the bay
There met the Spaniards; Galiano & Valdes
Names that leap from my atlas pages
Were present on that day

In tandem up the coast they faired
Through Salish, the Nootka Kwakwak’l & Haida Guaii
The ancient people saw them pass and they knew
Their world would never be the same

What if they had seen the years unfolding
Would they have believed a world so changed?
Could they have foreseen in all their wildest fantasies?
The place that bares their names?

I walked the sand at Spanish Banks
And where the cliffs rise o'er the sandy shoals below
I wondered how it felt to be alive
Two hundred years ago

Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)
From Tiller’s Folly:  Ghosts of the Mighty Fraser CD (1999)

 

Bruce Coughlanlead vocals, acoustic guitar 
Laurence Knightelectric bass
Mike Sanyshynfiddle
Victor Smithwhistle
Craig McGregor: electric guitar, octave mandolin
Shawn Soucydrums, percussion
Gord Maxwellvocals 

Produced by Laurence Knight
Engineered by John Ellis & Craig Stauffer
Recorded and mixed at Magic Lab Studios, Surrey, BC 

Mastered by Craig Waddell at Gotham City, Vancouver, BC.
Re-mastered by Joby Baker, Baker Studios, Victoria, BC.