Vancouver History Tidbits: Stanley Park Trails

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’m a big fan of Stanley Park — the park that hosts dozens of trails and pathways, not simply the paved and cemented Prospect Point lookout. As such, I’ve often wondered where the names for the trails originated. The other day I was poking around on the internet, as it is sometimes useful to do, and I came across a list of trails and their namesakes.


These are a few that we often walk along…

Merilees Trail namesake: Harold Merilees
Merilees was the General Manager of Tourism Vancouver in the 1960s (then called the Vancouver Tourist Association). He was known as “Vancouver’s first great ad man” and began the Spencer’s Department Store direct mail advertising department. He also worked for the B.C. Electric Railway Company, the National War Finance Committee to promote sales of Victory Bonds, and was President of the Advertising Association of the West. He also worked on several public projects such as Vancouver’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 1946, the British Empire Games in 1954 and the B.C. Centennial in 1958. [VancouverHistory]

Rawlings Trail namesake: W.S. Rawlings
This is the longest trail in the park so it’s only fitting that it’s named after the longest-serving Parks Superintendant. Rawlings was also credited with having the idea to build the Sea Wall around the park. “It is not difficult to imagine what the realization of such an undertaking would mean to the attractions of the park and personally I doubt if there exists anywhere on this continent such possibilities of a combined park and marine walk as we have in Stanley Park.” [wiki].

Tatlow Trail namesake: Robert Garnett Tatlow
Having moved to Vancouver from Ireland, Tatlow married into the Cambie family, and CPR wealth (as noted in this post). He then served as Park Commissioner from 1888 until 1905.

Thompson Trail namesake: Charlton William Thompson
Served as Fire Department Chief in 1929 following John Howe Carlisle who served for 42 years. Thompson was also Park Commissioner from 1937 to 1938 and again from 1940 until 1942.

Tisdall Trail namesake: Charles Tisdall
Vancouver Board of Trade member and Park Commissioner 1904 to 1909 and 1926 to 1934, Tisdall was also elected Mayor of Vancouver in 1922. In July of 1923 50,000 Vancouverites gathered in Stanley Park to hear U.S. President Warren Harding speak. “Premier John Oliver and Mayor Charles Tisdall hosted a lunch in his honor at the Hotel Vancouver.” [VancouverHistory]

You can read more local history tidbits in my series or feel free to suggest a local topic you’d like to know more about.

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  1. Vancouver History Tidbits: Stanley Park » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittTuesday, July 14th, 2009 — 11:45am PDT

    […] post: Vancouver History Tidbits: Stanley Park Trails & the history series. Published: July 14, 2009 Posted in: history, stanley […]

  2. Vancouver History Tidbits: Park Names » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittMonday, January 11th, 2010 — 9:43am PST

    […] played the name game with streets and trails before but I thought it would be exploring some namesakes of various Vancouver Parks in order to […]

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