Monday, February 10, 2014
The Nicest of Harbours
That year, the Hastings Mill Company built a tiny, wooden schoolhouse. In the beginning, the mill operated the school privately but in 1873, it became the Granville School. The school had a wood stove, coal oil lamps, slates for the fifteen pupils to write on and an organ for music. Granville School operated under the Free Public School act of 1872 and the teacher was Miss Georgia Sweney of Granville. Her wage was $40 a month.
The gold rush had collapsed and the lumber market - Burrard Inlet's main resource - fluctuated. There was also the question of what would happen when the forest was cleared. Most of the land wasn't any good for farming.
Things looked even more dismal when British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation in 1871. The Canadian government promised to build a railroad to the Pacific ocean and it was to be finished by 1881. One of the many routes suggested would reach the west coast 130 miles north at Bute Inlet, cross Seymour Narrows and go down Vancouver Island to Victoria. Burrard Inlet would be a hole in the coastline and Granville Townsite a dot on the map.
Then one day William Cornelius Van Horne - General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway - came from Port Moody to Granville. He was there to look over land but was impressed by the Inlet. "What a wonderful location for a seaport!" he said.
Funny. Fifteen years earlier, Gassy Jack had said "...this inlet would make the nicest of harbours. It will be a port some day." And so it is!
If you are on Facebook, I will be having an book release party on March 5. There will be prizes galore and it should be a lot of fun. Here's the link if you are interested.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Vancouver, CPR, History, Port Moody,Van Horne, Granville School, Burrard Inlet, lumber, Hastings Mill, Facebook