Friday, July 6, 2012

Important Trails

Located at 1945 Manitoba Street, this building's claim to fame is that in 1926, it had water connected.

I am back today to discuss Mount Pleasant. 

What we now call Main Street was originally Westminster Avenue and developed along the path of Brewery Creek.

This is one of the oldest streets in the city. As early as 1888, Westminster Avenue ran across False Creek so that the mill workers who lived in the new neighbourhood could get to work at the mill sites on the Burrard Inlet. Within twenty years, the Great Northern and Canadian Northern Pacific Railways filled in the eastern third of False Creek. Therefore, Westminster Avenue was no longer waterfront.

The original Westminster Road signs were made of vitreous enamel. The brittle material didn't last long under the assault of mischievous children armed with slingshots.

The upper sections of Mount Pleasant contained swampland, as is sort of remembered by the Tea Swamp Park at 16th and Sophia. This is also the former site of a swampy lake filled with labrador tea and created by beaver dams. Which flooded Brewery Creek.

An animal and First Nation's trail dissected Mount Pleasant. Originally called New Westminster Road, this pathway is now Kingsway. This trail became the first upgraded road in Mount Pleasant due to its importance as a link between early Vancouver and New Westminster.

For thousands of years this trail linked the Musqueam settlements on English Bay and the Stalo (Fraser River) at New Westminster. In 1858, during the gold rush, Colonel Moody of the Royal Engineers set up a military camp at one of the Musqueam settlements, renaming it Sapperton. 

Because Moody wanted to be able to give advance warning of an American Naval attack, he had the old trail upgraded to link his headquarters with his new British Naval Reserve on English Bay.

Moody's 'False Creek' trail was ready in 1861 and by 1875, a wooden bridge was built to cross Brewery Creek. This trail then became Westminster Road for stagecoaches and 'waggons' in 1884. With the introduction of automobiles, the once dirt trail was paved and its name changed to Kingsway. It continues with its original function of linking Vancouver and New Westminster.

For the information I have supplied here I have consulted the book Namely Vancouver by Tom Snyders and Jennifer O'Rourke,the History of Mount Pleasant webpage and Bob_2006 at

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. You can actually find a spot on the sidewalk at Kingsway and 11th with the original street name "Westminster Avenuue" cast in the cement. It's on the north or south east corner (can't remember which). Probably the only remaining artifact of the original street.