In September 1881, Johan Adrian Jacobsen, a European artifact collector, observed "the streets of this town swarmed with Indians of all kinds, for Victoria is the Indian centre of the coast . . . . Indians come here each year to trade their furs, others came to seek employment, and fishermen came for commissions from canneries." The Songhees Reserve was a centre for the artifact and curio trade. Edgar Fawcett, a Victoria resident, wrote:
"Groups of men may have been seen carving miniature canoes with carved Indians . . . while three or four Indians would be at work shaping a full-grown canoe . . . . The women made fancy articles out of tanned deer hides embroidered with pearl buttons and beads, moccasins mostly . . . worn for slippers. I have bought many pairs at fifty cents a pair. The blankets they wore were decorated with rows of pearl beads down the front, red blankets being the favourite . . . All these articles, as well as . . . game, fish and potatoes and fruits, were brought to our door[s]."