Maple Tree Square 1

Maple Tree Square

This iconic image captures the small townsite of Granville, just after it’s incorporation as the city of Vancouver. It’s not the earliest picture of the townsite, but it’s one of the last. Vancouver was incorporated in April 1886; the notice on the tree advertises the first election, held on May 3, 1886. Then disaster struck when everything – including the tree – was destroyed on 13 June 1886. A fire began as a brush fire to clear land between present-day Main and Cambie Streets and was spread out of control by a sudden strong wind.

James Hartney ran a general store on the corner of Carrall and Powell in a building owned by American A G Ferguson. Also American, Mr Hartney arrived in town in December 1885. After the fire Mr Ferguson rebuilt, but in fireproof materials, while Mr Hartney became a contractor. He logged on the north shore, and in 1888 he built the road around Stanley Park (using the historic shell midden built up over hundreds of years by the areas’s First Nations village residents).

Next door to the south was the Glory Hotel, which today has the two additional floors added by Frank Filion and designed by Parr and Fee. Beyond that was the Tremont Hotel, (which today has the name of a later occupant, John Abrams).

Today’s tree is close to, but not exactly located where the original tree stood. It was a bit further south, although not quite where Gassy Jack now stands on a barrel.

Image source: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 2011-010.1675



Posted 25 December 2014 by ChangingCity in Gastown, Gone

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