Vancouver - British Columbia - CANADA

History and significant dates

This series of dates and comments provide a context in which to view the birth and development of a European society on Burrard inlet. This list is not to be considered as comprehensive or 100% accurate. It is an interesting backdrop to the images and other content on this site

Exploration and expansion

Admiral Quadra sails from Mexico to Alaska and claims the Pacific Coast for Spain
Captain Cook sails up the west coast and becomes the first European to set foot on what is now the western shore of Canada
July 5, 1791
Spanish explorer Narvaez anchors off Isla de Langara now called Point Grey
June 12, 1792
Captain George Vancouver arrives, charts and names Point Grey, the Strait of Georgia, Point Atkinson, English Bay and Burrard Channel.
June 14, 1792
Spanish Explorers Galiano and Valdes arrive at Point Grey and meet Captain Vancouver upon his return from charting Howe Sound and Jervis Inlet. This occasion was marked by the naming of Spanish Banks.
Alexander Mackenzie becomes the first European to reach the west coast of Canada by land at what is now Bella Coola.
July 2, 1808
Simon Fraser becomes the first European to reach the area now known as Vancouver by land.
Hudson Bay Company trading post Fort Langley on the Fraser River is established.
June 15, 1846
The 49th parallel as the border with the US is extented west of the Rockies (Oregon Treaty).
Vancouver Island is made a Crown Colony with Fort Victoria as its capital.
Gold Rush on the Fraser
August 2, 1858
Crown Colony on the mainland of British Columbia is established.
February 14, 1859
Qeensborough becomes the capital of the colony. Name is changed to New Westminster on July 20, 1859.
Colonel Tom Moody constructs first road in the area, now known as North Road, connecting New Westminster and the Burrard Inlet.
July 16, 1860
City of New Westminster incorporated.


John Morton becomes the first settler in what is now known as the West End when he builds a cabin on the north side.
September 26, 1862
First settlers (the McCleery family)arrive on the north arm of the Fraser in what is now Vancouver. The land is now McCleery Golf Course.
Pioneer Mills begins operating on the Northshore in area known as Moodyville
Captain Edward Stamp logs 100 acres around what is now known as Brockton Point providing a clearing for settlement.
July 1865
Captain Edward Stamp establishes Stamp's Mill (later known as Hastings Mill - 1874)the generally accepted origin of what becomes Vancouver.
Colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island are united under the name of British Columbia.
First cannery is etablished in the area at Annieville accross from New Westminster
Daily stagecoach service is established between New Westminster and Hastings (New Brighton)
Ferry service is established between Moodyville and Stamp's Mill
March 28, 1867
The British North America Act (Canada's constitution) becomes law.
July 1, 1867
Canadian Confederation - Canada is born.
Logging by Jerry Rogers begins at Jerry's Cove now known as Jericho.
September 30, 1867
John Deighton "Gassy Jack" arrives at Stamp's Mill and opens first public saloon (The Globe Saloon) at a native site known as Lukluki which referred to a grove of maple trees (later Gastown). The original structure stood at the present day corner of Carral and Water streets.
May 25, 1868
Capital of colony is moved from New Westminster to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
April 11, 1869
First telegraph message is sent from Moody's Mill on the North Shore to Hastings Townsite to New Westminster.
March 1, 1870
Granville Townsite named but residents refer to it as Gastown after "Gassy Jack". Its borders were Carral, Cambie, Hastings and Water streets.
Vancouver Townsite is named.
July 20, 1871
British Columbia joins Canada and becomes a province.
October 2, 1872
First bridge over False Creek is opened connecting with a trail (later known as Kingsway) to New Westminster.
First European born in the area, a son to the Hastings Mill Manager.
The first school was set up at hastings Mill. The daughter of the mill machinist became the first school teacher.
As settlement extends along the fertile Fraser the Municipality of Richmond is formed.


December 12, 1883
First local telephone call is made between Port Moody and New Westminster.
November 7, 1885
The last spike is driven at Craigellachie in the Rockies. The transcontinental rail system is complete.
April 6, 1886
City of Vancouver incorporated, based in area around Gastown, population about 1000.
June 13, 1886
Fire destroys most of Vancouver. A clearing fire blazed out of control and in one hour only two of the 400 original buildings were left standing.
Due to the fire it is decided that replacement contruction should be of brick stone or cast iron.
May 23, 1887
First transcontinental train arrives in Vancouver - Engine #374. This engine is on display at the False Creek Community Centre.
June 13, 1887
S.S. Abyssinia arrives in Vancouver from Yokahama loaded with tea and silk. Cargo is placed on transcontinental train and arrives in New York a week later and in London a week after that. This series of events establishes Vancouver as a trade gateway.
August 8, 1887
First streetlights are turned on in Vancouver.
Construction of the first Hotel Vancouver
July 26, 1888
S.S. Beaver runs aground at Calamity Point
September 27, 1888
Official opening of Stanley Park by Mayor David Oppenheimer
October 29, 1889
Dedication of Stanley Park by Lord Stanley, Governor General of Canada.
June 28, 1890
The Vancouver Electric Railway and Lighting Company officially begins operations.
Population of Vancouver 15,000.
August 22, 1891
The district municipality of Coquitlam is incorporated.
September 11, 1891
The Interurban Rail system begins with a connection to New Westminster.
Spring 1892
Hastings Street becomes the first paved street in Vancouver.
September 8, 1892
City of Burnaby is incorporated.
Municipality of South Vancouver is formed.
August 15, 1895
Mark Twain lectures at the Vancouver Opera House.
The klondike Gold Rush has a significant economic impact on Vancouver as a transit and supply point.
March 28, 1898
The first long-distance telephone in Vancouver goes into operation.

Vancouver's first turn of a century

October 31, 1902
The Pacific Cable opens.
May 13, 1907
The city of North Vancouver is incorporated.
Ferry service begins to West Vancouver.
The Interurban rail system is completed to Chilliwack.
January 1, 1922
Traffic in Vancouver is switched to the right-hand system.
Vancouver population 100,000
August 27, 1929
The Graf Zeppelin visits Coal Harbour.
November 30, 1933
Approval granted by Vancouver for the building of the Lions Gate Bridge.
December 4, 1936
Current city hall is opened at 12th and Cambie Street.
November 11, 1938
Lions Gate Bridge opens.
May 25, 1939
The current Hotel Vancouver opens.
November 5, 1939
Dial telephone established in Vancouver.
February 4, 1954
Current Granville Street Bridge opens.
This area of Vancouver was almost demolished but groups of citizens interested in revitalization managed to save it from redevelopment minded bureaucracies. Similarly much of Chinatown and Strathcona were saved from becoming a freeway into the centre of town.
Through the generosity of Howard Meakin a bronze statue of Gassy Jack was commissioned. Artist Vern Simpson completed the work in six months. Its location has changed sevral times but it was always at Maple Tree Square close to the original Globe Saloon.
February 2, 1971
Gastown was designated a historic district.
September 24, 1977
The Gastown Steam Clock was officially dedicated to the the citizens of Vancouver. It was designed and built by horologist Raymond Saunders of Landmark Clocks. It is the most photographed "item" in Vancouver.

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Photographer: Maurice Jassak
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