Factoid 3

Greetings! Your eagle eye, intrepid spirit, and trusty smartphone have led you to some bonus information this holiday season.

We’ve placed ten QR Codes throughout the site, each one linking to a different holiday-related anecdote.

Now you can thrill your friends and family with amazing factoids of how of Christmas and New Year's Day were celebrated at Fort Vancouver in the past!

Factoid 3

The day before Christmas marked the start of many of the fort's religious activities.

Many of the HBC’s working class employees (known as engagés) and their families were of Catholic faith and French Canadian descent, and attended the traditional midnight mass.

The midnight mass of 1842 was of particular significance, as Dr. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor for the HBC at Fort Vancouver, made his first communion and officially joined the Catholic faith.

Catholic priest Francis N. Blanchet recalled the occasion, noting that the chapel at Fort Vancouver was “beautifully decorated and brilliantly illuminated…the chant of canticles of Noel, in French and Chinook jargon, alternately by the two choir of men and women, was impressive; as well as the holy performance around the altar; in a word, it was captivating and elevating to the minds of the faithful, commemorating the great day of the birth of our Saviour.”


Source: Gregory P. Shine, “A General Time of Indulgence and Festivity”: Early Winter Holiday Celebrations at the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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