Monday, October 15, 2012

Before We Was

This house at 104 West 11th is a Queen Style building. A fruit and game dealer on Cordova Street by the name of Charles Philp had the home built.

I am looking at a few years before Vancouver was incorporated. I am just going to fill you in on little details.

Like how on April 11, 1860, Samuel Maclure was born. Samuel was the son of a Royal Engineer surveyor and reputedly the first white child born in New Westminster. You may remember Maclure's name since he went on to become one of our most renowned early architects. He designed many buildings in Vancouver that I have written on.

The incorporation date for New Westminster is July 17, 1860. This makes it the oldest incorporated municipality west of Ontario.

1860 was also the year that the colonial government banned the sale of alcohol to Native people.

February 13, 1861, saw the first issue of New Westminster's British Columbian paper. It folded in November 1983 - more than 122 years later. This was BC's longest-lasting newspaper.

The first Chinese baby born in what became Canada was Won Alexander Cumyow. He was born on March 17, 1861, in Port Douglas. His father was Won Ling Sing - one of the first Chinese migrants to arrive in BC from California. Sing was attracted by the discovery of gold in the Fraser River.

1861 was also the year that the first Chinese laundry - the Hi Sing House - was established in New Westminster.

Hugh McRoberts established Richmond (or Richmond View) farm on Sea Island in 1861. McRoberts was the first white settler on the island and his farm was one of BC's earliest and largest farms.

The Kwantlen hosted a great potlatch on McMillan Island that year. The island is near Fort Langley and almost 4,000 people attended.

In 1861, Father Leon Fouquet of the Oblates established St. Mary's Catholic mission near what is now the city of Mission. A school built by the Oblates opened in 1863 and had an attendance of 42 Sto:lo boys. Five years later, the Sisters of St. Ann opened a convent for girls at the mission.

In 1862 a potter from Yorkshire by the name of John Morton saw a chunk of Burrard Inlet coal on display in a New Westminster shop window. Morton wondered if the clay would be suitable for pottery. The clay wasn't good for that purpose, its quality only good for bricks.

This didn't deter Morton. He and two associates - his cousin Sam Brighouse and another man, William Hailstone - purchased about 225 hectares (550 acres) on November 3. Some thought the men foolish since they paid $2.50 per hectare ($1.00 an acres). Although the men were planning on become brick makers, the three greenhorns built a cabin near the north foot of what is now known as Burrard Street and began to raise cows. That was before they sold the land to the CPR.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. I lived there as a renter from 2001-2005! It's owned and run by slumlords. The house hasn't been cared for for the last 50 or so years. But it's still a lovey old house (from the outside) and it sits there like a relic from the past in a now thoroughly cleaned up and gentrified (and impossibly expensive) neighborhood.

    1. It's so sad when homes like this land in the hands of those who don't care. Thanks for commenting Chris.

  2. This was my husband's grandparents, Charles and Annie Philp home! So exciting to see all the photos as we don't have any. Do you have any more or any stories? How wonderful of you to post this- thank you! Julie Pratt

    1. Hi Julie. I don't have any more stories but if you do a search, you might find more. It is so thrilling when I find someone who has a personal connection to one of my blog entries.