Friday, September 21, 2012

Tribute to Trees

This building has stood in this spot since 1914. In 1915, it was listed as the East Broadway Grocery. Located on East Broadway, it is just past Lakewood Drive.

Lakewood Drive got its name because at one time this road, which leads to Trout Lake, was surrounded by woods.

Vancouver was once awash in trees, great ones, and those natural sentries are what led to the creation of this city. The trees fed the mills which in turn led to the city's growth and more clearing. Then there was a voracious hunger for land with the railway coming in.

But the flora is important to our city and the first street to recognized that was Heather Street. William Mackie named the street around 1874.

Mackie was a pioneer logger who tried gold mining in the Cariboo. His 65 hectares was sold and subdivided for housing in 1887. Now it is part of the Riley Park - Little Mountain area.

In 1991, a park at 1592 West 71st Avenue in the Marpole district was named the William Mackie Park.

 The same year, 1887, CPR surveyor Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton, named many streets after trees. There weren't many trees left thanks to logging and the Great Fire of 1886. Hamilton laid out what became known as Fairview or Fairview Slopes. Apparently, the first true suburb of Vancouver. The area was inspired by Heather Street.

Hamilton left town for a bit but he left a list of trees to use for names with his draughtsman. However, the man did not remember that the names were supposed to go alphabetically. If he had, we wouldn't have tree street names that start with Maple and end with Ash! It should have read Alder, Arbutus, Ash, Birch, Cypress, Fir, Hemlock (named for the indigenous Western Hemlock tree, not the poisonous hemlock weed), Laurel, Maple (there are three other streets that have once had this name) Oak (the longest of Vancouver's tree streets. A might Oak.) Pine (residents changed the name to Cherry Street in 1911 but eight years later it was switched back), Spruce, Vine, Willow and Yew. Almost all of these are native to B.C. too.

Here we have a majestic home built in 1910. A contractor and builder by the name of James Bell is listed as the first occupant.

The tree theme was continued in Kitsilano, Shaughnessy and Point Grey. It is a recognition of the importance of trees as well as their removal, to the city's devopment.

Originally, Kitislano was intended to be a mega dock for the CPR but when it became clear that those plans were doomed, the CPR developed the Kitsilano Point holdings for housing.  Hamilton's tree theme was continued here: Balsam and Larch Streets were named in 1902. (Larch trees are indigenous to B.C.) Seven years later Chestnut, Laburnum and Walnut Streets were named.

In 1912, Kerrisdale's Elm Street was named and Lime Street in 1914; Poplar Street in Marpole was named in 1913.

In Point Grey Aspen Avenue was named in 1926, which is the same year Kerrisdale acquired Linden Road. Later additions to 'Hamilton's Arbor' include Magnolia Street in Arbutus in 1963 and Salal Drive in 1996.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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