Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gastown Grows Up

During the late 1870s and early 1880s, Burrard Inlet would see as many as 40 ships at one time loading or waiting to load timber. The logs were bound for places like Australia, California, China, South America, Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands, South Africa, Great Britain and Western Europe.

The population of Gastown grew but only as much as was needed. This little settlement didn't attract the speculators and minor capitalists who had been coming to BC since 1871 in anticipation of the railway.

There are events happening in Gastown during this time, which are interesting. In 1875, Gastown was re-surveyed by John Jane. Jane recommended the graveyard be transferred from Deadman's Island (now HMS Discovery) to Brockton Point.

Lots 14 and 16 in Block 6, near the Northwest corner of Abbott and Water Streets, were granted by the provincial government to William Pollard. Pollard transferred the land to a board of trustees to hold on behalf of the Methodist Church. The trustees were four Anglicans, two Methodists and one Presbyterian. The 16 by 30 foot church was built by volunteer white and Indian labour and completed in 1876 - known as the Indian Church.

Also in 175, a road was started to connect Gastown and Hastings, which was completed in 1877. The timber exports for the inlet for the year was 29 million board feet. During 1877, Morton, Brighouse and Hailstone divided the Brickmakers' Claim, Brighouse taking the eastern third abutting on Burrard Street, Hailstone the centre section and Morton that adjoining Stanley Park.

In 1879, Van Bramer replaced the Sea Foam with a new inlet ferry, the Senator - 51 feet, 6 inches long, 12 feet in the beam and 4 feet 6 inches draught.

The town's second church, Anglican St. James, was built on mill property and completed in 1880. It was dedicated by Bishop Sillitoe on May 15 and its rector was Reverend George Ditcham.

The following year, a two-plank-wide sidewaldk was laid by the chain gang. It ran from Gastown along Hastings road, past the church to the mill. (In 1915, Vancouver was still building these types of sidewalks.)

In the fall of 1881  Joseph Spratt of Victoria established a herring saltery and fish-oil plant on the south side of Coal Harbour.

Thanks to the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Really loved the pictures. The story was fine but the colors in the pictures were awesome.