Friday, April 10, 2015

Liverpool, BC

In the decade from 1870 to 1880, Burrard Inlet became more practical for a railway terminus. Steamships were used more on the seas although Windjammers still ruled the Pacific trade. However, the handwriting was on the wall that it wouldn't be long before the steamships took over and it is very likely that the leaders at the CPR were aware of this and had made their decision of where to put the terminus long before the 1882 public announcement.

The inlet was now more accessible and ideal. In 1881, the private railway syndicate sent its engineer, John Ross, to survey the inlet for a port site. His report of 1882 was strongly against Port Moody and the settled the question once and for all. Gastown was to be the terminus.

Of course, the Canadian Pacific Railway made no public announcement of this decision. Victoria and New Westminster continued to rely on the prime minister's casual nomination of Port Moody as the terminus. Admiral Richards reported to the Admiralty that the head of the inlet offered safe anchorage. It looked as if Port Moody was going to get the boon of being the terminus.

Yet, there was that report by John Ross. And how secret it actually was is difficult to say. Sam Brighouse disposed of some of his Fraser River interests and returned to Gastown. Hailstone and Morton exchanged their thirds of the Brickmaker's Claim and Morton and Brighouse merged the eastern two-thirds of the West End. On March 15, 1882, almost twenty years after they had taken up the homestead, the old partners registered the subdivided plan of the "City of Liverpool". Liverpool, BC disappeared almost without a trace in subsequent events but the plan showed a railway line located almost exactly where the CPR eventually laid its tracks.

Gastown was vastly enlarged in 1881. Partially because Gastown and Hastings were lumped together as one community. The incomplete Victoria Directory and the provincial voter's list listed six general merchants (in Gastown), seven hotels (two in Hastings) four butchers, eight fishermen, two shoemakers, one harnessmaker, one sailmaker, one wine merchant (James A. "Pete Donnelly" Robertson), three carpenters, two accountants one blacksmith, one customs collector, one telegraphed operator, four teamsters, three lumbermen, one physician , three stevedores, one constable,, two longshoremen, one postmaster, one salmon canner, 20 employees of Hastings Mill, 44 loggers, 11 millmen (two Hawaiian), three logging camp proprietors (all in Point Grey), two churches, two ministers, one school teacher, two societies (Hastings Literary Institute and the Ancient Order of United Workmen) three industries (Hastings Mill and the Burrard Inlet Fishing and Oil Companies - the latter two probably comprised Spratt's Oilery), two farmers and two justices of the peace. The stage terminal was no longer in Hastings but now in Gastown.

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

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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