Friday, August 17, 2012

Hastings History

This building is at the corner of Vernon and Hastings Streets. It was built in 1905.

The information I have on this building came from word of mouth. Two young men are turning the 'Shoprite' location into a coffee shop/small grocery and were pleased to inform me of what they knew.

Originally, this building was a stable and workers going to work at the sugar refinery down the hill as well as other employers in the area.

It took a bit of investigation but I did find out that Shoprite stores were bought by the Hudson's Bay Company. However, I was unable to find out more than that.

Another person told me that he thought this building was built in the 1940s. I wonder if perhaps that is the upper floors or any other additions?

If you spend any time around Vancouver, you will notice that name Hastings is used a few times. There is the Hastings Mill Park where the old Hastings Mill Store, from the original Hastings Mill site, there is Hastings Street and Townsite and then there is the Hastings Sunrise district.

I could be lazy, tell you that the name is in honour of Rear Admiral George Fowler Hastings (1814-1876) who was commander-in-chief of the Pacific Station of the Royal Navy from 1866 to 1869, and leave it at that. If I did though, this would be a very boring - and short - entry. So I will go into more detail.

Hastings - Sunrise and Hastings Park are on a site once used by the First Nations people as a stopping place. A trail led from the Burrard Inlet shoreline to the Fraser River. This trail became a coach road linking New Westminster and New Brighton by 1865.

New Brighton was renamed Hastings and Colonel Moody designated it as a town site. Moody subdivided the area in the 1860s and the community boasted a hotel, post office, and wharf. Soon though speculators' interest moved to the town of Granville since it was destined to be the CPR railway terminus. In 1888, the city set aside 65 hectares along the shoreline as Hastings Park. Eventually this became the PNE grounds.

We know where the Hastings came from but, since this area faces north, we're not sure where "Sunrise" came from. Wishful thinking?

West of the Hastings community was Captain Stamp's sawmill on Burrard Inlet, near the present day Dunlevy Street. It was soon named Hastings Mill. There was a waterfront Hastings Mill store that happened to be one of the few buildings that were untouched by the Great Fire of 1886. It served as a refuge for people escaping the flames by boat.

In 1929, the store was slated to be torn down. But the Native Daughters of B.C. saved it and had the building barged to a site in Pioneer Park (Alma Street and English Bay). There it was restored as a heritage building.

As we know, the town site named Hastings was well established by the time that Hamilton named the road to Hastings, Hastings in 1885.  The town site was administered by the Province from the time it was formed until 1911. That was the year that residents voted 1,200 to one to join Vancouver. (I wonder who the lone stand out was?)

At that time, the town site ran from the Burrard Inlet to where 29th Avenue is today and from Nanaimo Street to Boundary Road.

The Rear-Admiral was a man who left quite an impression in the short time he was here. There was town site named after him as well as a street; an elementary school, park, an early (very important) mill and part of the Observatory Inlet, which is north of Prince Rupert. New Westminster and Port Coquitlam also have streets named Hastings.

Thanks go to Tom Snyders and Jennifer O'Rourke and their book Namely Vancouver for the information included in this entry.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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