How New West Got Its ‘Royal City’ Nickname

photo:  ·júbilo·haku· / flickr

photo: ·júbilo·haku· / flickr

New Westminster is often referred to as ‘The Royal City’.

It happens so often that people probably don’t even stop to think about it. But do you know where that nickname comes from?

The key is in the city’s history (which it has a lot of, being the oldest city in Western Canada).

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It goes back, as you might expect, to a royal connection. The settlement that became New Westminster was originally called Queensborough. But the bigwigs in London weren’t keen on that moniker, and in 1859, Queen Victoria was asked to rename the city.

Her choice? To name it after her favourite part of London – Westminster.

So, the city became New Westminster. It was this royal naming that led to the nickname we still use today.

The royal connection doesn’t stop there, though.

New Westminster was the original capital of British Columbia. The city lost this status in 1866 when the Colony of British Columbia was merged with the Vancouver Island colony, and Victoria took the top spot.

Even after that, New West stayed the Mainland’s biggest city until the 1900s.

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Tom Ireland

Brit in Vancouver. Exploring the local rock music and craft beer scenes.