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History of English Bay

English Bay & the West End, the beginning

Some of the origins of this grand city were stemmed from a great deal of foresight by a number of clever pioneers. Beneath the glitz and slick lines of this rapidly growing urban centre lies an interesting, simple and honest heritage, crafted by individuals who knew a good thing when they saw it. A fair amount of this success stems from some wise moves made little over a century ago in what is now the West End…

Stepping back to 1862, a District Lot – number 185 – was bought for $550.75 by a John Morton, potter, plus two mates – Samuel Brighouse and William Hailstone. The lot comprised of what is now the entire West End – 540 acres. Morton was the first to have some insight unto the area’s great future, but his speculation was in the form of a hope that they could farm, mine and make bricks on the land. Their investment in this remote piece of rainforest was considered a frivolous one by many, earning them the nickname, “Three Greenhorns”. Brickmaking in this area did indeed fail however, as it was too far from industrial New Westminster, where many of their buyers resided. Instead, they turned their attention to selling the land as lots, claiming “New Liverpool” would soon be a major city. Once again they had little success.

Eventually, in 1886, they were persuaded to donate 1/3 of the property to Canadian Pacific Rail (CPR) as an incentive for them to build their railway through to Coal Harbour, hoping that this may bring people to the area to buy the lots. By the time CPR had made it to Gastown however, the “Three Greenhorns” had parted ways, feeling that they had been cheated.

Read more at The History of English Bay