To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, we are taking a look at some local history from our own Canadian town, the City of Vancouver.
Check out these fun facts that contributed to creating the Vancouver we know today
- Vancouver is located in territory that was originally settled some 8000 years ago by the ancestors of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.
- The first European settlements were in what is now Fort Langley, New Westminster, and Port Moody.
- In 1884 the Canadian Pacific Railway moved its terminal from Port Moody to the area now known as Coal Harbour which resulted in a boom in the population in the area. The famous Joe Fortes landed in this area that same year. He became quite the fixture in this area. So much so that his funeral was a massive local event with tons of people lining up on the downtown streets to say goodbye.
- By 1870, what we know as Gastown was incorporated as the town of Granville. In 1886, it was changed to the City of Vancouver, boasting a population of about 1,000 residents.
- In June of 1886, a large area of the city burned to the ground. The Vancouver Sun has some really captivating images of that area before the fire destroyed it along with some newspaper reports of the fire published days after the fire. Many took refuge by jumping into Burrard Inlet. They were never able to determine exactly how many perished in the fire.
- Following the great fire, CP Rail who was the largest landowner worked to promote the development of the city by working with private real estate developers to encourage large companies to bring their industry to the city.
- In the 1920’s Vancouver replaced Winnipeg as Canada’s main western city, primarily as it had grown larger than Winnipeg which previously held that title. It was also this year that Houdini performed in Vancouver and on a challenge, suspended himself upside down from the Sun Tower while wearing a straight jacket. He successfully removed the jacket to the delight of a very large crowd who had appeared to watch the spectacle.
- The great depression in the 1930’s resulted in extensive unemployment in Vancouver. There were so many incidents among the unhappy residents of Vancouver that the mayor was forced to read the Riot Act in an attempt to restore order. After the war, business began to boom and was heightened in the 1960’s with the onset of trade with China.
- In 1959, the city’s first shopping mall, the Oakridge Centre; the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Vancouver Maritime Museum all open. All 3 of these still stand today.
- And of course, Canadians are known for their sport prowess: in 1964, BC won the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup; in 1970, the Canucks played their first NHL game, losing against the LA Kings; in 1979, the Vancouver White Caps won the North American Soccer League championship; Indy car races took place in downtown Vancouver from 1990 to 2004.
Share a few interesting facts about your city or town! Canada is rich in history, has a diverse population and is known globally for its incredible people. We’d love to learn more about the development of other areas of Canada.
Happy Canada Day, eh!