My Canada Is…In My Backyard

Have you ever wondered why Mount Pleasant’s streets are named after the Canadian provinces/territories & why Ontario Street is the centre/000 block of Vancouver?

In 1869 Henry Valentine Edmonds, the clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, acquired District Lot 200A – the wilderness south of False Creek and north of today’s Broadway that would later become Mount Pleasant. By 1888, a year after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Dr. Israel Powell, who hailed from Ontario, was a co-owner of the land with Edmonds. In 1871 Dr. Powell had been one of the key people to negotiate the entry of the British colony of British Columbia into the country of Canada, which had been created in 1867.

Dr. Powell named all his streets in Mount Pleasant after the seven provinces that made up Canada in 1888, when the neighbourhood was established; thus creating a representation of the map of Canada. The centre street of Vancouver’s grid system is Powell’s Ontario Street, the 000 hundred block going east-west. He probably did this because Ontario is known as central Canada and it was Powell’s birthplace. The eastern province streets are east of Ontario Street with the western province streets west of it.

“The original map of Canada street name system in Mount Pleasant was later extended to include two new north-south streets after a new province and a new territory were formed: Alberta Street, in the 300 block west (Alberta was formed in 1905) and Yukon Street in the 400 block west (the Yukon territory was formed in 1898).”

Information, quotes and map from the ‘Mount Pleasant Historic Context Statement’ (pages 2-5) written by Bruce Macdonald in 2008 for Donald Luxton and Associates and the City of Vancouver.

MPHG would like to thank the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area (MPBIA) and Rath Art Supplies for their generous support of this project.

This Heritage Week 2017 project brought to you by Alyssa, Danielle and Jennifer.

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