David Spencer

Virtual Tour of Ross Bay Cemetery
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23. David Spencer

The Spencer obelisk is the tallest at Ross Bay Cemetery, representing the family’s great wealth. Obelisks were Egyptian in origin and became popular in North America after the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922.

Block: Q
Plot: 61 W X


BC Archives Image H-00923 

David Spencer was born in 1837 on a farm in Southern Wales. He arrived in Victoria in 1862 and opened a dry goods store.

The first David Spencer department store opened on Government Street in Victoria in 1878. Branches were later opened in other BC towns such as Nanaimo, Chilliwack and New Westminster. David Spencer Ltd. eventually expanded into other businesses, including ranches in the interior of BC and the Victoria Times newspaper. Eaton’s bought the eight Spencer’s stores from the family in 1946.

The family became prominent in Victoria society and for many years he occupied a mansion in the Rockland area with his wife, Emma and thirteen children. It was just down the street from Government House and Craigdarroch Castle. The Spencer family later donated the house to the City of Victoria and today it houses the Victoria Art Gallery.