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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Celebrating Heritage Week 2017 and the theme ‘My Canada Is…’

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?

For an explanation check out our Heritage Week 2017 banner display ‘My Canada Is…In My Backyard’.

my-canada-is

The banner is in the window of Rath Art Supplies, located in the Triangle Building at 2412 Main Street, right in the centre of Mount Pleasant’s ‘Heritage Heart’.

It will be up until February 26th, 2017.

Mount Pleasant Heritage Lives!      window-on-side-of-crosbie-blk-on-sw-corner-of-main-8th

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

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The Naming of Mount Pleasant and Its Map of Canada Streets

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)

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.

 

 

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