Here are a couple of highlights from our discussion of Mount Pleasant’s early days. This discussion took place at our April monthly meeting and we used our Mount Pleasantries as a guide. A previous post, Brewery Creek Ravine As A Playground At The Turn Of 1900, is another.
Mount Pleasant was named in 1888 after a small Irish village outside Dublin – the birthplace of the wife of Henry Valentine Edmonds. In 1869 Edmonds, the clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, had acquired District Lot 200A, the wilderness south of False Creek in the future Mount Pleasant. “He was speculating that Vancouver’s unusually fine natural harbour would someday become home to the terminal of a transcontinental railway, since he had witnessed first hand the pandemonium that ensued when San Francisco had been declared a transcontinental railway terminal.”
Map by Bruce Macdonald based on the Dakin fire insurance map, 1889 (City of Vancouver Archives: AM54-S23-2– /Major Matthews Collection)
By 1888, a year after the arrival of the railway, Dr. Israel Powell, one of the people who had negotiated British Columbia’s confederation with Canada in 1871, was a co-owner of the lot. “The first street in Mount Pleasant had originally been an ancient First Nations and animal trail, now known as Kingsway…the super-Canadian and Ontario-born Powell named all his streets in Mount Pleasant after Canada’s provinces to create a representation of the map of Canada…The centre street of Vancouver’s grid system is Powell’s Ontario Street, in the 000 hundred block going east-west, probably since Ontario is known as central Canada…The western Canadian Streets are west of Ontario Street, and the eastern Canadian streets are east of it.”
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.