This Week in Vancouver History

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

While researching this week’s history post it dawned on me that I could profile significant events that happened each day this week in Vancouver’s past. Here’s a glimpse at what was taking place in our city at this time of year, throughout the last century.

December 20, 1911
Frank and Lester Patrick opened the Denman Arena (where Devonian Harbour Park is today in Coal Harbour). At that time it was the largest indoor artificial ice rink in the world. It was also the home of the Vancouver Millionaires, who won our city’s first (and only) Stanley Cup.

1929 – Denman Arena from the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park. Archives Item# CVA 99-2080

December 21, 1894
Construction began on St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In the years to follow, it would become a continental leader in healthcare. It was the first hospital to have its own x-ray machine in 1906 and is a renowned for its work in the areas of heart disease, kidney disease, nutritional disorders, HIV/AIDS and the care of the disadvantaged.

1898 – St Paul’s on Burrard. Archives Item #Bu N426

December 22, 1956
A French adventurer completed a swim of the Fraser River from Prince George to New Westminster’s Pattullo Bridge on this December day. A fellow named Fin Donnelly would do the same thing in 1995.

December 23, 1860
English-born Captain George Henry Richards began a survey of the BC coast and Burrard Inlet. Richards Street downtown is named after him.

December 24, 1951
Yvonne de Carlo visited her home town of Vancouver after being dubbed the “most beautiful woman in the world” that year. Aside from her silver screen roles, she was also Lily Munster in the classic TV series.

December 25, 1932
Greater Vancouverites listen to the first Christmas radio message from the sovereign as George V speaks from Sandringham.

Every date listed here was researched, found, and compiled by Chuck Davis. Although we lost Chuck late in 2010, you can help his work live on by visiting the Vancouver History website. The hopes are that his book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver will be released in 2011, for Vancouver’s 125th anniversary.

3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Gary LittleMonday, December 20th, 2010 — 3:21pm PST

    A quick note on the December 23, 1860 entry. Capt. Richards actually arrived on Vancouver Island on November 9, 1857 to begin his coastal survey of BC/VI. By late 1860 he had just finished charting the Sunshine Coast area (he did the Vancouver area the previous year). See my article at on the 150th anniversary of his Sunshine Coast survey.


  2. Rebecca Bollwitt, Miss604 Rebecca BollwittMonday, December 20th, 2010 — 4:16pm PST

    Thanks, Gary.

    This was listed under the “December Quiz” on I’ll have to see if I can look up another “December 23rd” to compliment this listing.


  3. Gary LittleTuesday, December 21st, 2010 — 1:51pm PST

    Yes, Chuck D. (God bless him) got this one wrong. And, as my article says, Richards Street in Vancouver wasn’t named for Capt. Richards, it was named for a Lt.Gov. of BC.

    By the way, I’ve convinced the District of Sechelt to erect an historic marker to honour Capt. Richards. It should go up very soon, probably near the wharf on the Davis Bay seawall.


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