Friday, April 17, 2015

Who Named Vancouver?

The Canadian Pacific Railway made the arrangements necessary to get the land for the new terminus - in Granville - and the agreement included provisions for an immediate survey. Van Horne of the CPR sent L.A. Hamilton who, in 1885, laid out downtown Vancouver on the approximate lines it is today. Van Horne's final instructions to Hamilton contain some interesting words.

"Hamilton," the surveyor reports him as saying, "this eventually is destined to be a great city in Canada. We must see that it has a name that will designate its place on the  map of Canada.

"Vancouver it shall be, if I have the ultimate decision."

This is intriguing to me because there is also the story of Van Horne being taken in a rowboat out around what is now Stanley Park. Trying to show the CPR president that Coal Harbour and Granville was where the terminus should be. The rowboat operator - I can't remember who it is - and Van Horne discussed names and came up with Vancouver. I wonder if that happened before this.

It is possible the decision was Van Horne's since his wish would have carried great weight. However, it is also probable the name had been under general consideration for some time previously. As early as August 1884, it had been used in a Portland, Oregon, newspaper for the western terminus of the CPR.

Whatever the name, the railway's plans for the port pushed ahead.

By this time, it was public knowledge that the CPR was negotiating for a right-of-way to Granville but the public's reaction was interesting.

Investors and speculators, such as J.W. Horne of Brandon, who had "looked in" at Granville in 1883 and again in 1884 and a Victoria businessman, Frederick Buscombe, decided "it was too early yet" to invest in the Granville area. They put off their plans for a year or two.

A. W. Ross, M.P for Lisgar, Manitoba,was hard hit financially in Winnipeg and came west to see if he could retrieve his fortunes in Port Moody. When he got here though, he changed his mind. He invested all he had and borrowed all he could to purchase Granville lots in 1884. Perhaps his former connections with the CPR syndicate had something to do with his decisions.

This was a perfect time for Port Moody speculators - both local and from Victoria - to hedge, but they refused to do so. I guess they lost out.

Thanks to the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


There was square-built steam scow known as Spratt's Ark in 1883, which carried a floating salmon cannery. She was built by Spratt in Victoria and anchored in Coal Harbour. She operated in conjunction with the oilery and her refuse was discharged overboard. People blamed the pollution on the decline of the fish population, and it probably had something to do with it, but the over fishing didn't help either.

1884 was the year of the final railway settlement. The Dominion government had withdrawn its reserve from Burrard Inlet lands below Port Moody. The new premier of British Columbia, conferred with William Van Horne of the CPR earlier in the year and they had arranged a settlement where the federal reserve was replaced with a provincial one.

Van Horne formally opened negotiations with Smithe for extension of the line to Granville. He demanded all reserved lands, with a right-of-way to Kitsilano via False Creek. The terminal docks were to be erected on the present Indian Reserve there. The CPR was asking for a good half of the present peninsula on which metropolitan Vancouver stands.

By September 9, Smithe reduced the railway's demands down to about 11,000 acres but they still included the entire foreshore from First to Second Narrows. Van Horne said, "The depth of water necessitates docks along the shore - permanent piers and docks are not practicable." By October 6, the final terms were in place. They included:

Six thousand acres of land, comprising all unalienated lots in Granville Townsite not reserved for government offices or schools; most of Shaughnessy Heights and the remainder scattered through the present city.  The right-of-way included the north bank of False Creek in part, and the line to Kitsilano. Title of these lands passed to the CPR, but the company was obliged to offer to the occupiers $200 a lot, any land on which individuals had already settled without purchasing.

Hastings Mill lease was extended to 1890, on condition the mill give up 4000 acres at once and 1000 more each year. Large private landholder had to give one-third of the lots in each block they held to the CPR. Almost the entire waterfront from Gore Avenue to Stanley Park was given to the railway.

None of the residents of Granville or the surrounding area seemed to think these concessions were excessive. Looking back and with more knowledge, we can now see that the CPR had decided on Granville as the terminus and would have carried through with its plans even if they had to buy the necessary land.

Thanks to the book Vancouver From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dirty Bob

In July of 1882, Captain Raymur died. Raymur was an austere and lonely man who won the respect and admiration of the community but never their affection. But for more than a decade, he was steady and reliable influence on Gastown.

Another event in Gastown during 1882 deserves a mention. The settlement was visited again by royalty on October 19. The Marquis of Lorne arrived and from that visit comes a legend.

There was a huge tree at the water's edge and it was spared at the request of the Marquis' wife, Princess Louise. For years, this tree stood there, known to all as Princess Louise's tree. The only problem with that legend is that the Princess never saw the inlet. She preferred to stay in Victoria while her husband did all the travelling.

With the coming of 1883, the term Gastown became a term of derision, heard only in places such as Port Moody, where town lots were selling for as much as $2,000 each as the railroad drew near. Gastown was the little settlement shut in by forest whereas Granville was open to the world. And the world was coming in.

March 15, the ship Duke of Abercon passed Granville on its way to Port Moody with the first shipment of steel for the CPR; June 9, the barques King Ceolric and Karen F. Troop brought the second consignment; in October, a locomotive purchased from the Panama Railway was put at the head of the inlet and renamed the Lytton.

William Irving and his son, Captain John Irving were long active in Fraser River shipping. In 1883, they merged their Pioneer line with the Hudson's Bay Co. coastwise fleet to form the Canadian Navigation Co.

The CPN replaced the Irving's tiny Maude on the Burrard Inlet with the large Yosemite (called locally the Yo-se-mite) and would sometimes run with such famous vessels as the Enterprise, Reliance, and R.P. Rithet.

William Rogers, brother of the late Jerry, built and ran the Robert Dunsmuir. That ship earned the nickname the Dirty Bob since she carried coal for the railway builders on the Nanaimo-Port Moody route.

There was so much activity on the inlet - lumber ships coming and going and now the traffic for the railway - that it almost went unnoticed when the pioneer SS Beaver sank! Fortunately, someone noticed and she was raised, refitted and returned to work as a supply vessel for the northern logging camps.

Thanks to Alan Morley and his book, Vancouver from Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.