Harry Helmcken was born in December 1859. When Harry was six years old, he and his brother Jimmy went to the Collegiate School for boys. His father John remembers helping the boys with lessons like Latin and bible lessons on Sundays. John recalls "My boys tell me now that I used to whip them pretty severely on account of unwillingness or slowness about their lessons." John Helmcken (BCARS:ADD.MSS.505, v.12)

Harry later went overseas to school in Jedurgh, Scotland at the Nest Academy, where he had many schoolmates from Victoria. Harry went on to attend Edinburgh University, London University, and got his law degree at Osgood Hall, in Toronto, Ontario.

Harry grew into a handsome and charming young man, and no event in Victoria was complete without him, said his friends. While a student at Toronto, he gained quite a reputation as an athlete. He would later be the founder of the James Bay Athletic Association. Mr. JH Senkler, an old schoolmate of Harry's said of him:

"-He was one of the finest cricketers that ever wielded a bat and one of the best football full backs Toronto Varsity ever had -Whenever he went into anything he did so with whole-souled, infectious enthusiasm, and clean, healthy sport in the province owes a lot to him.

Harry went on to pursue a career in law and politics, serving as a Conservative Member of the BC Legislature between 1894-1903. He married a San Francisco widow by the name of Mrs. Hannah Jane Goodwin in August 1895. Mr. and Mrs. H. Dallas Helmcken had moved into Victoria's grand Empress hotel just a few days before it opened. In December 1908, the first winter season of The Empress, the staff gave a Christmas Eve ball to which 750 people were invited. In the center of the lobby was a spectacular Christmas tree loaded with gifts, most of which were donated by Harry and his wife to thank the staff.

Harry was known for his interests in the problems of the young city of Victoria. He became the Director of the Jubilee Hospital, with the responsibility of presiding over the hospital Board. He also presided over the St. Andrew's Society. The First Nations People of the area also had respect for Harry Helmcken, as he gained the confidence of the local tribe through his strict policy of integrity he when doing business for them. To thank Harry they gave him a gold pocket match-box with the inscription: "from the members of the Songhees Band to Harry Dallas Helmcken, for many kindness', April 15, 1911, Victoria, BC"

To James Helmcken To Edith Louisa


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