Monday, May 4, 2015

Never Amount to Anything

We look around Vancouver now and think, Wow! This city is really growing! However, if we go back to 1886, then we can truly see a growth. At the end of February - before Granville was Vancouver - there were 100 habitable buildings. By mid-May there were 600 and two weeks later, 800 with more under construction.  In March, lots were selling for less than $300 but by May, those same lots were being sold for $1,000.

A telegraph cable was laid to Victoria, Vancouver's first County Court session was scheduled for June 15, a huge Dominion Day celebration planned for July 1. The new city of Vancouver was busy and it must have been so exciting.

There was a new and larger Methodist church, which opened on Water Street on May 2. A Presbyterian church opened on Oppenheimer Street June 6 and that same day Vancouver's first beer garden and cabaret opened. It was called Columbia Hall and was completed by Frank Fooks.

Over 300 Vancouverites attending the opening of the hall at which the New Westminster Brass Band played, Pearl Anderson and C.E. Dunbar sang, Miss Grayson recited and the "acrobatic song and dance experts" Websterr and Steel charmed the crowd.

"Big George" of the North Shore reserve threw a potlactch which attracted 4,000 Indians and whites. Some in attendance remarked on the extravagance of Indian ways.

Joe Mannion had enlarged the Granville Hotel and now he sold it for a good profit before retiring to a private life. Sam Bierly died and was buried on Deadman's Island. It was already crowded with 25 graves and Vancouver decided it was high time the provincial government came through with its promise of 25 acres to be used as a cemetery.

The Bank of Montreal bought a lot at Granville and Dunsmuir Streets on May 27. The general manager, Buchann, got stuck in Granville mud earlier in the year and had returned to the east with a bad cold and declared Vancouver "would never amount to anything."

I am grateful to Alan Morley and his book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. So much Buchann for his prophecy. Poor guy was under the weather. lol

    1. There were many people who reportedly never thought Vancouver would succeed. Then there were those who predicted great things for this area even before Vancouver was incorporated. Thanks for reading and commenting Lee.