Friday, April 17, 2015

Who Named Vancouver?

The Canadian Pacific Railway made the arrangements necessary to get the land for the new terminus - in Granville - and the agreement included provisions for an immediate survey. Van Horne of the CPR sent L.A. Hamilton who, in 1885, laid out downtown Vancouver on the approximate lines it is today. Van Horne's final instructions to Hamilton contain some interesting words.

"Hamilton," the surveyor reports him as saying, "this eventually is destined to be a great city in Canada. We must see that it has a name that will designate its place on the  map of Canada.

"Vancouver it shall be, if I have the ultimate decision."

This is intriguing to me because there is also the story of Van Horne being taken in a rowboat out around what is now Stanley Park. Trying to show the CPR president that Coal Harbour and Granville was where the terminus should be. The rowboat operator - I can't remember who it is - and Van Horne discussed names and came up with Vancouver. I wonder if that happened before this.

It is possible the decision was Van Horne's since his wish would have carried great weight. However, it is also probable the name had been under general consideration for some time previously. As early as August 1884, it had been used in a Portland, Oregon, newspaper for the western terminus of the CPR.

Whatever the name, the railway's plans for the port pushed ahead.

By this time, it was public knowledge that the CPR was negotiating for a right-of-way to Granville but the public's reaction was interesting.

Investors and speculators, such as J.W. Horne of Brandon, who had "looked in" at Granville in 1883 and again in 1884 and a Victoria businessman, Frederick Buscombe, decided "it was too early yet" to invest in the Granville area. They put off their plans for a year or two.

A. W. Ross, M.P for Lisgar, Manitoba,was hard hit financially in Winnipeg and came west to see if he could retrieve his fortunes in Port Moody. When he got here though, he changed his mind. He invested all he had and borrowed all he could to purchase Granville lots in 1884. Perhaps his former connections with the CPR syndicate had something to do with his decisions.

This was a perfect time for Port Moody speculators - both local and from Victoria - to hedge, but they refused to do so. I guess they lost out.

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

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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