John Canessa (1835-????)

John Canessa, born 1835, is listed in the Nanaimo Census of 1881–occupation fisherman [1]. His wife, Nora (b. 1849), daughters Josaphine (b.1870), Philomena (b.1874), and Caroline (b. 1877), and son John (b.1879) are also listed. While he certainly owned land on Gabriola, there is no evidence that he lived here. Rather, he appears to have used it for fishing, and built an ice-house.

In 1882, he and his neighbour, Alexander Hoggan, began a six year dispute over who owned the land on which John Canessa had built[2]. In 1884, Canessa gave notice that he would prosecute trespassers[3], and in 1886 charged Hoggan with trespass and damages[4]. The judge decided that the copies of the surveys each had were inaccurate, that the land was Hoggan’s but that Hoggan should pay for Canessa’s buildings, which Hoggan was now renting to a third party[5].

In 1887, Canessa owed $1.50 in taxes on the land, and was threatened with a tax sale[6].

In 1888, Hoggan appealed the land decision, and also asked for a new trial–both requests were dismissed[7].

In 1891, John Canessa, now giving his address as the Europe Hotel, in Vancouver, offered the Southwest quarter of Section 20, Gabriola Island…about 83 acres… for sale . There are no further Gabriola references to him.

John Canessa Junior died in Vancouver[8] on April 15, 1970, aged 91.

1 – Census of B.C. 1881, Nanaimo, Family 242, Case 2182.
2 – Nanaimo Free Press, March 17, 1886.
3 – Nanaimo Free Press, November 8, 1884.
4 – Nanaimo Free Press, March 6, 1886.
5 – Nanaimo Free Press, March 17, 1886.
6 – Nanaimo Free Press, January 8, 1887.
7 – Nanaimo Free Press, June 23, July 7, October 6 , 1888.
8 – BC Vital Statistics, Deaths, Reg.#1970-09-005554 BCA micro #B13303