Rumor or Fact: Was British Columbia’s 8th Premier, Alexander Davie, a gay man?
Should he be outed as a straight man?
Davie Street started out as a pathway cut through the forest. Now Davie Street is a bustling street and Davie Village is the section of that street that has become a hub to the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver and the lower mainland, and to a great extent to western Canada.
Was this street named after the first openly gay politician in British Columbia? Davie Street was named after Alexander Davie, British Columbia’s 8th Premier, serving from April 1, 1887– August 1, 1889.
CTV Vancouver aired a segment titled “The Last Word: Davie Street’s name” and it’s got a few tails wagging. It appears there is no actual proof to the claim that our 8th Premier was gay, and is it perhaps wishful thinking causing this rumor to enter the realm of BC’s LGBT history. McCardell, well known Vancouver personality picked up on this rumor that has been circulating in the community for 20 years, which is not a long time considering that historically it’s going back more than 125 years, and how could we really know? You can watch the video at the link below.
Alexander Davie served as BC’s 8th Premier and his brother also served as Premier a few years after Alexander died. Alexander Davie died a young man at the age of 42. The family had deep roots in BC and he was raised in and around Duncan, BC. He did spend some time in Vancouver and while Premier he lived in Victoria and is buried there. He was married and had several children.
BC Gay and Lesbian Archives Following the Story
Davie Village Post reached out to Ron Dutton to see if he has heard anything about this rumor and if in fact it may be true.
Ron Dutton, Manager/Curator of the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives, has been “unsuccessfully pursuing this story since it first appeared without any source references in a local gay newspaper about 20 years ago”.
“Periodically the story that Davie was openly gay has resurfaced (in the Ubyssey and the West Ender for instance), without source references” stated Dutton, “wishful thinking: wouldn’t it be cool if it was true”.
Dutton has reached out to CTV and asked if they have unearthed a credible source to substantiate this claim and has not yet heard back from CTV. Dutton finds the report worrisome, as it confidently states that Davie was “openly gay and nobody seemed to mind!”— this is patently untrue as at the time a BC conviction for homosexuality brought sentences of flogging and prison terms of 3 months to 5 years, and certainly ruined the accused’s life.
So as it stands, there is no evidence that Alexander Davie was gay and we just wish he was. If anyone has source material that needs to be looked at, the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives and Davie Village Post would be interested in taking a look.