Front view of interurban streetcar

Front view of interurban streetcar

The City of Vancouver was once a small logging village a block long along the edge of Burrard Inlet. Born out of two sawmills and logging camps, the city of Granville exploded in growth as it announced in 1885 that it was to be the western terminal of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Granville became the City of Vancouver in 1886 was nicknamed “Terminal City”. This booming town now housed over 10,000 people. The working class moved to settle and live in the more affordable small housing lots of suburban South Vancouver, so a more efficient means of travel became necessary to help workers commute to shopping and their jobs downtown. By the 1890’s, the city expanded its means of transportation from horse, wagon, bicycle, and foot to include these new streetcars and rail system.

North Arm Road (renamed Fraser Street in 1910) had its first streetcar running north-south in 1909 to connect with the New Westminster Interurban Line (that ran along present day Vanness Avenue, near Kingsway). Named the Victory Line, it served to bring commuters downtown past Victory Square. As well, Bodwell Road (now 33rd Avenue) was one of the first streetcar lines and connected Granville Street to North Arm Road. Named the Mountain View Line, its streetcar played the important role of accessing the roadway past the Mountain View Cemetery.

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(source: Tom Snyders; with Jennifer O’Rourke (2001). Namely Vancouver, A Hidden History of Vancouver Place Names. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press)

(source: MacDonald, B (1992). Vancouver, A Visual History. Vancouver, BC: Talon Books.)