The CPR's downtown tunnel opened July 17, 1932.
What was the Vancouver Board of Trade doing 78 years ago? Recommending wartime registry for every citizen, boasting of 45 new factories, welcoming the CPR’s new downtown tunnel, and marveling at the one-cent cafeteria!..... Read more here »

Archive - Sample Stories
The Vancouver Board of Trade -- 1900 to Present
Sunspots - Go Back in Time!
Discoveries - Writing We've Liked
Oddities - Odd stuff from Vancouver's Past
The Orpheum Theatre - Palace of Entertainment
Sample Chapters from the Book
VANCOUVER - A Brief History
Vancouver in Print - 100 Books From a Century Past


Chuck Davis Wins BC Book Prizes

BC Book Prizes

The late, great Chuck Davis won two awards for his bestselling book The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver May 14, 2012. Edna Davis, Chuck’s widow, accepted the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize and the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award on his behalf.

In his sweeping magnum opus, Chuck Davis tackled the history of metropolitan Vancouver with his characteristic flair for storytelling and quirky detail, an impressive work that was embraced by readers all across the province.

The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan VancouverChuck’s tome was up against some tough competition for the Bookseller’s Choice Award, beating out Eating Dirt by Charlotte Gill (Greystone Books in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation), Fred Herzog: Photographs by Fred Herzog (Douglas & McIntyre Publishers Inc.), Island Wineries of British Columbia by Gary Hynes (TouchWood Editions) and Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen.

The Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize is awarded to the author(s) of the book which contributes most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia. The Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award is presented to the originating publisher and author(s) of the best book overall book of the year in the opinion of BC booksellers.

'Mr Vancouver' is no more

Photo: Jason Vanderhill  

Chuck Davis, beloved keeper of Vancouver's historical flame and creator of this site, passed away after a long illness in the early hours of Saturday, November 20, 2010. Before leaving us, Chuck made arrangements with his publisher, Harbour Publishing, to oversee the completion of the History of Metropolitan Vancouver and maintain this web site for the foreseeable future. The book was completed by an all-star team of Chuck's colleagues and published November 15, 2011.

View Our Sponsors!

For a list of sponsors who have supported the years of work that went into the creation of this site and The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, click here »

Book Fulfills Chuck's Dream

In the last decade of his life, Chuck Davis, the creator of this web site, was hard at work writing a book on Metropolitan Vancouver that he boldly announced would be "the capstone of my writing career." Unfortunately, Chuck was taken from us before he could realize his dream, but his friends and colleagues assembled the work he left, added the missing pieces, and got the massive manuscript to press in time to appear during Vancouver's 125th Anniversary year. Look for The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver in BC bookstores.


Hundreds of books have been produced by Vancouver writers, and dozens more have been written about Vancouver. Now, researched exclusively for vancouverhistory.ca, Karen Cannon has compiled an annotated list of 945 Vancouver books. Ms. Cannon is a retired librarian. You'll make some fascinating discoveries in her collection.
Come on in!

The American Page

William Cornelius Van Horne  

Americans have had a major influence on the history of Metropolitan Vancouver. An American gave Vancouver its name! William Cornelius Van Horne, of Chelsea, Illinois, was the man who headed the CPR, the Canadian Pacific Railway that opened up the Canadian West... more »


History of Vancouver Foundries

Before Vancouver became the City of Glass, it was host to a strong industrial baseónecessary in supporting industry and development throughout BC.

Guest writer Bryce Tarling chronicles the history of foundries in Vancouver from their first appearance in the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

Read on »

Happy Birthday Vancouver!

April 26, 2011, marked Vancouver's 125th birthday. On that day 125 years earlier, the little sawmill community of Granville was reborn as the brand new city of Vancouver.

The story has often been told how the Canadian Pacific Railway chose to locate its Pacific terminus at Granville instead of Port Moody in return for a large land grant from the provincial government.

It was William Van Horne, the CPR's general manager, who apparently selected the name Vancouver, after the British naval explorerIt was William Van Horne (left), the CPR's general manager, who apparently selected the name Vancouver, after the British naval explorer. In 1885 Lauchlin Hamilton, the company's chief surveyor, began laying out the townsite, beginning at the downtown corner of Hamilton and Hastings where a plaque now marks the spot.

John RobsonAccording to Patricia Roy's illustrated history of the city, it is actually John Robson (left) who should be known as “the father of Vancouver”. Robson was the member of the legislature from New Westminster, the electoral district that included the future city, and the minister of finance in the provincial government. After he encouraged the residents of the area to incorporate, they struck a special committee to draw up a bill of incorporation, headed by R.H. Alexander, the manager of the Hastings Saw Mill. The bill was passed that spring of 1886 by the legislature and incorporation took place on April 6 at a modest ceremony at the home of Jonathan Miller, the town constable.

The City of Vancouver sponsored a full slate of events throughout its quasquicentennial year. And of course one of the biggest events was the launch of the book based on this website, Chuck Davis's The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, which was published in October, 2011 by Harbour Publishing.

Street Names

Street Names  

One of the more frequent requests we getóeither at this site or at the Vancouver Historical Society siteóis to explain the origin of a certain street name. Who was Hastings Street named for? How about Hornby? Or whatís the story behind the naming of Charles Street? Now, thanks to the Vancouver Historical Society, which commissioned the work from Elizabeth Walker, and to the Vancouver Public Library, which has put it on line, you can get the answers to those and other questions. Click here »

The Scottish Page

Explorer Simon Fraser  

Scottish influence in metropolitan Vancouver was important from the very beginning of our post-native history . . . and that’s not counting the statue of Robert Burns in Stanley Park, nor our first purpose-built library, the Carnegie, paid for by Scotland-born U.S. industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie... more »

Map of the Lower Mainland

Site administrator and developer:
Quasar Design & Data Management Inc.

Original site design:
Stephanie Davis
Photo accession and supplemental research:
Jim McGraw
Index page slideshow images:
Jason Vanderhill
Vancouver Books page:
Karen Cannon

Biographical research:
Constance Brissenden
Larry Loyie
Donna Jean MacKinnon

Please note: For optimum viewing experience, set monitor resolution at 1024 x 768 pixels or higher.

Chuck Davis © 2004 - 2011 [Chuck Davis] / [Site Administrator]

SiteUptime Web Site Monitoring Service



The Second Narrows Bridge opened in 1960
In 1960, Vancouver got its first independent TV station, BC ferries started to sail, the Second Narows Bridge opened and a massive blaze tested the fire department as no other had done before.
More 1960 events »

Some odd stuff has happened in Vancouver's past.
Click to view a sampling...

Visit the Vancouver Historical Society Website
Click here »

Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver has been remaking itself, and the results are worth a visit, both on line and in person.
Pay them a visit!

The BC Historical Federation has been keeping British Columbians well informed about their history for decades!
Drop in!

Vancouver Police Museum

The Vancouver Police Department has an excellent web site, including a page dedicated to fallen officers.
Visit them here.

City of Vancouver Archives

The always interesting web site of the City of Vancouver Archives now includes fascinating moving images.
Check them out here.

The Teacher's Page

Teacher's Aid

We’ve discovered that learning our local history can be fun AND interesting. Have a look at our Teacher’s Page, then let your students in on the adventure.
Click here »