Archive Photos of the Day: Cordova Street

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

Cordova Street, which runs through the most history-laden part of Vancouver, was once called Willow Street and Oppenheimer Street, before eventually being named after Don Antonio Maria Villaces y Cordova, Spanish Viceroy of Mexico thanks to L.A. Hamilton.

1886: View of Granville [Townsite] looking west from Westminster Ave (Main Street) and Oppenheimer (Cordova) Street. Archives# Dist P8.3.

Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton was a CPR land commissioner and surveyor that arrived in Vancouver in 1883 where he surveyed and named streets from English Bay to Hastings and as a city councilor he proposed Stanley Park and laid out its perimeter. Lisa Smedman of the Vancouver Courier writes:

A map of the township published in August 1885 shows only four streets, each little more than a block long. The mapmakers gave these streets arbitrary names: Front (now Water Street), Willow (now Cordova Street), Water (now Carrall Street), Wood (now Abbott Street). The map shows three hotels-Sunnyside Hotel, Granville Hotel, and “Gassy Jack’s” Deighton Hotel-as well as a dozen smaller buildings including shops, a meat packing plant, boarding houses, cow barn, real estate office and Chinese wash house.

Cordova Street

Hamilton helped shape and name the streets of Vancouver as we know most of them today. As for Cordova, it starts in Coal Harbour, splits past Gastown’s Water Street, runs past longstanding shops like Woodward’s and Army & Navy, borders the south of Oppenheimer Park, and leads into Powell to the east. As far as the archives go, it’s one of the most photographed streets in Vancouver history.

Taking a closer look at Cordova, it’s the theme for today’s collection of photos from the City of Vancouver Archives:

1886: June right after the The Great Vancouver Fire. H.T. Devine. Archives# LGN 455.

1886: Cordova, 5 weeks after The Great Vancouver Fire. Archives# Str P7.1.

1887: Inauguration of Vancouver, upon occasion of the terminus of the CP Railway being completed and arrival of first train from Montreal. Archives# CVA 677-25.

1890: George. T. Wadds. Archives# CVA 677-777.

1890s: Looking east on Cordova from Cambie. Canadian Pacific Scenery R.H. Trueman and Company. Archives# Str P89.

1890: Bailey Bros. Photo. Archives# CVA 1376-91.

1901: Arch on Cordova, between Cambie and Abbott, erected for visit of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York. Archives# SGN 928.

1902: Looking east on Cordova. Trueman Photo. Archives# CVA 2 – 143.

1960: Cordova at Carrall. Archives# CVA 780-768.

1914: Construction of the 3rd CPR building (at Seymour). Price Family. Archives# CVA 152-1.100.

1981: Cordova at Seymour. Archives# CVA 779-E04.03.

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