Along the exterior of the Legislative Library are 14 statues of individuals who held prominence in the earlier history of the territory now known as British Columbia. One of those statues depicts David Thompson.
David Thompson was born on April 30, 1770, in London, England. He would receive an education at the Grey Coat School, where he had strict training in the technical skills required for working in the navy. At age 15, Thompson was selected as an apprentice for the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is at Fort Churchill and York Factory - along the shores of Hudson Bay - that Thompson furthered his knowledge in trekking, map-making and surveying. Thompson’s loyalty did not rest with any particular fur trading company - he worked for both, leaving the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1797 to join the North West Company, where his interests in astronomy, mathematics and map-making were valued over his fur trading experience. Thompson was responsible for plotting and mapping nearly 4 million square kilometres (1.5 million square miles), including the Athabasca Pass and the entire Columbia River from the Upper Columbia Valley to the Pacific Ocean; a task previously failed by both Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser. David Thompson died on February 10, 1857, in Longueuil, Quebec, and is buried in Montreal, Quebec.