Vancouver History Tidbits: Stanley Park Trail Names Part 2

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

I love stepping under the canopy of Stanley Park‘s forest trails, detouring from the concrete paths of the Sea Wall and surrounding thoroughfares. A few years ago I profiled the origins of several Stanley Park Trail Names including Merilees, Rawlings, Tatlow, Thompson, and Tisdall. Tourism Vancouver recently launched their ultimate guide to Stanley Park (useful to visitors and locals alike) so I thought I would profile just a few more trail names in the hopes that some of you might be enticed to explore the mulch-covered routes through the park.

Avison Trail Namesake: Henry Avison, Stanley Park Superintendent 1888-1895
History: Henry Avison was the first employee of the Vancouver Park Board. He cut Stanley Park’s first trails and was its first zoo keeper, designed the park’s first gardens, and lived in a lodge by its entrance. [Source: VancouverHistory]

1898- Avison’s cottage at the entrance to Stanley Park. Archives item# St Pk P250.

Eldon Trail Namesake: G. Eldon, Park Board Superintendent 1896-1909
History: George Eldon was Park Board Chair from 1910-1911. In 1916, Eldon and other commissioners planted an oak tree near Pipeline Road to commemorate William Shakespeare’s tercentenary. There’s a monument for the bard to this day at the north end of the rose garden. [Source: Vancouver Archives]

1916 – A tree for Shakespeare. Archives item# Tr P24. Photographer: Frank Gowen.

Lees Trail Namesake: A.E. Lees, Park Commissioner 1902-1917
History: It took me a few minutes to find information about Andrew E. Lees but thanks to House Historian, James Johnstone, I came upon an incredibly interesting read about A.E.Lee’s old yellow house on Richards Street. Johnstone was hired to look up some history on the house before it was demolished to make room for a new development.

Photos from House Historian – James Johnstone

Here’s is just a snippet from Johnstone’s research that applies in this case: “Lees was Vancouver’s Parks Board Commissioner from 1902 to 1915… …During his tenure as Parks Board Commissioner, work commenced on both the Stanley Park Sea Wall and the Stanley Park Zoo. Lees lived at 909 Richards with his wife, Anna Elizabeth Lees, and their five children from 1890 to 1906.” [Source: House Historian]

Other trail names like Squirrel, Wren, South Creek, and even Bridle are pretty self-explanatory. Next time you’re in the park take a stroll down Lovers Walk, head up the Ravine Trail to the Beaver Lake Trail, or take the Raccoon Trail to the Meadow. You can take this handy PDF map along with you for guidance or plot your route on this interactive online map.

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