Happy 127th Birthday Vancouver


Saturday, April 6th, 2013 — 9:05am PST
Comments 3

Happy 127th Birthday Vancouver! It was on this day in 1886 that the City of Vancouver was incorporated. Our beloved city, built up within the traditional territory of the Coast Salish First Nations, is more than a place we call home. It’s a natural playground, an inspiration, a melting pot of cultures.

cityhall-1886
First City Council meeting after the great fire in 1886. VPL Accession Number: 1089.

I know that I could never describe Vancouver as well as so many of our talented artists, musicians, writers, and poets so I’ll simply raise my glass and share a poem from one of my favourite writers and performers who called the city home a hundred years ago, E. Pauline Johnson:

A Toast

By E. Pauline Johnson

There’s wine in the cup, Vancouver,
And there’s warmth in my heart for you,
While I drink to your health, your youth, and your wealth,
And the things that you yet will do.
In a vintage rare and olden,
With a flavour fine and keen,
Fill the glass to the edge, while I stand up to pledge
My faith to my western queen.

Then here’s a Ho! Vancouver, in wine of the bonniest hue,
With a hand on my hip and the cup at my lip,
And a love in my life for you.
For you are a jolly good fellow, with a great, big heart, I know;
So I drink this toast
To the “Queen of the Coast.”
Vancouver, here’s a Ho!

And here’s to the days that are coming,
And here’s to the days that are gone,
And here’s to your gold and your spirit bold,
And your luck that has held its own;
And here’s to your hands so sturdy,
And here’s to your hearts so true,
And here’s to the speed of the day decreed
That brings me again to you.

Then here’s a Ho! Vancouver, in wine of the bonniest hue,
With a hand on my hip and the cup at my lip,
And a love in my life for you.
For you are a jolly good fellow, with a great, big heart, I know;
So I drink this toast
To the “Queen of the Coast.”
Vancouver, here’s a Ho!

[Source: Canadian Poetry]

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3 comments

  1. dianadaydream says:

    remembers 27 years ago, when I heard of Vancouver’s birthday, brought tears to my eyes to think the peoples paradise, freedom and independence was stolen, longhouses and villages were destroyed and the people were put on reserves, not a happy time for all.

  2. Wayne Cummings says:

    Back in 1867, a guy named John Deighton, also known as “Jack Deighton”, ran a saloon in New West., with an American partner. Now these two guys were doing pretty good financially, but Jack was a sickly sort, and at least once a year he had to go to a place called “Douglas Springs” for his health. One day Jack tells his partner that he has to go away for a few months, and while he was gone, he sould take care of the saloon. “No problem”, his partner said,”The saloon will be fine, you take care of yourself,I’ll see you when you get back”. But, while he was gone, the forth of July came around. Now this guy, being a good American, decides to have a party. Well, as you know,sometimes when you mix alcohol into a situation, things can get out of hand. As it was, half of New West. was at that party, and they drank up all of Jacks booze! So when he comes back, he fines that his partner has buggered off, because he didn’t want to be held responsible. Now Jack has no money, he’s got no booze, he’s out of buisness! But, he has an idea. He knows that there is a sawmill at what is now Centenial pier. This mill is run by a man named “Capt. Edward Stamp, and he is a teatotaler. No booze in the area. But, he has 75 people that work at that mill. If these people want a drink, they have to walk 10 miles thru the woods to New West., one way. Jack figures, “20 mile round trip for a shot of Whiskey is a long walk. If he could get a key of Whiskey close to that mill, he would have a buisness!” So he goes around New West., talking to his friends, [he is a well liked guy,he has lots of friends]and he tries to borrow the money from these people to get that keg of Whiskey. Now he doesn’t mind asking them,because he figures these people, are the same people that drank his booze in the first place. So, he gets the keg of Whiskey,and puts it in a canoe. He padels down the Frasier River, around whats now UBC, past English Bay, around Stanley Park, and up Burrard inlet, to about a quarter mile away from the mill. Now while he was pulling his canoe up on shore, a group of millworkers walked by, and he managed to talk these guys into helping him build his saloon, with the promise free booze for awhile. Well, these guys new a good deal when they seen it,and jumped on that one. With in a week the saloon was built,he’s calling it “The Globe Saloon”,with in a year, people are building homes around his saloon, thinking of nameing the new town after him, and electing him the Mayor! Because if it wasn’t for him and his saloon, the town would not exsit. Now this guy Jack, when he is serving alcohol, and in general, he liked to talk a lot.Back then if you talked a lot, you were known as being “Gassy”, so they called this guy “Gassy Jack”. They named the town after him, called it Gastown. With in a few years Gastown has got much bigger. In 1870 they have a new Mayor, and a new City councel. Now these people want to change the name of the town. They want to keep that one section called Gastown, but they want to name the whole thing, “The Township of Granville” So, in 1870,it becomes known as the “Township of Granville”, and it stays that way until 1886. When this guy named “William Cornilius VanHorne”,the general manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, was given the task to extend the railway to the captial Victoria. Now he was going to do this in the most economical manner. He was going to lay the track 130 miles north of the Township of Granville, to Bute inlet, bridge the Seymour narrows, and run the track down to Victoria from there. Well, the people in the Township of Granville didn’t like that idea at all! They figured with the track 130 miles north of them, they would be stuck out in the middle of nowhere! So they invited William to come to the Township of Granville and check-out their town. They said it had great potencial. It was situated on an inlet that never froze over, it was deep….”Could be an important harbour one day” they said. “You should come and check the place out, and bring the train with you!” So William came to the Township of Granville, looked around, and agreed. He said “Your right! This could be one of the biggest cities in the country in the future, and the train will come here. But, if it is going to be one of the bigest cities in the county, it has to have a name that would reflect it’s honour, and it’s dignaty.”I think from now on we should refer to this place as “The City of Vancouver”. So, on April 6th, 1886, “The Township of Granville”, became known as, “The City of Vancouver”, and that’s how the city was started because of… THE LACK OF BOOZE. [ W.E.Cummings. Member of the Vancouver Historical Society.]

  3. Wayne Cummings says:

    I work with the public, and entertain them with stories about the history of Vancouver. The Lack of Booze story is memorized. It takes four minutes to recite. I have others. I hope you all enjoyed it. Wayne.

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