John Dean Park was designated a park in 1921, which makes it the third oldest Provincial park in BC. It is comprised of land donations from John Dean, Abraham Collins, Barret Montfort, Sidney Pickles, Ruth Woodward plus some Crown land.
John Dean was born in Cheshire, England on December 17, 1850 and immigrated to Victoria, BC in 1884. During his life he was a contractor, civic leader, realtor, and world traveller. He died in Vancouver on March 28, 1943 and is interred at Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria.
In 1895, Dean purchased 100 acres of land on Lauwelnew / Mount Newton. He built a cabin on the property in 1909, referring to it as Illahie, his mountain retreat. In 1921 he donated 80 acres to the Province to be used as parkland. He occupied the cabin as his country home until 1939. The remaining plot of 20 acres was added to the park after his death in 1943.
Key events in establishing the park:
|Dec 9, 1921||John Dean donated 80 acres to the Province to be preserved as parkland in perpetuity.|
|Mar 16, 1934||Park was registered with an irrevocable title of “Provincial Park”.|
|Oct 1, 1936||A group of 100 men were paid to develop trails from October 1936 to January 1939. This work was completed under the federal Young Forestry Training Plan, a work relief effort during the depression.|
|Nov 3, 1937||Abraham Collins donated 1.84 acres for the King Road (renamed Dean Park Road) right-of-way.|
|May 14, 1938||A public gathering was held to celebrate the opening of Dean Park.|
|Jun 14, 1939||Abraham Collins donated 2.76 acres to the Park, where the viewing platform bearing his name is located.|
|Aug 26, 1943||After his death, the Province purchased John Dean’s remaining 20 acres.|
|Dec 14, 1940||John Dean Park was classified as a Class A Provincial Park.|
|Apr 1, 1957||The Park was renamed as John Dean Provincial Park.|
|Sep 28, 1959||Ruth Woodward donated 80.1 acres to the park.|
|Oct 13, 1959||Sydney Pickles donated 18.9 acres to the park.|
|Jan 11, 1960||Barret Montfort donated 159.6 acres to the park.|
|Oct 17, 1960||The above land donations (258.6 acres) were officially added to the Park.|
|May 10, 1984||The Friends of John Dean Park Society was established under the leadership of Edo Nyland.|
|Aug 10, 1989||The Friends obtained the transfer of Crown land (47 acres) as part of the Park.|
|May 11, 2013||The Friends unveiled an interpretive sign commemorating John Dean at the former site of his cabin on the Illahie trail. Four more signs have been installed in the park since then. Click here to see all six of the Interpretive Signs.|