North Arm Road and King Edward Avenue

North Arm Road and King Edward Avenue

There are few who remember that Fraser Street played an important role in the early years of Vancouver’s history. With humble beginnings as the North Arm Trail of 1861, this rough roadway linked the three major areas of activity, from New Westminster to the east, the sawmills and logging camps along Burrard Inlet to the north, and down south to the farmlands Fraser River’s North Arm.

The Fraser River was an important source of food and transportation to the native peoples. Later, it was settled by pioneers who were first drawn by the gold rush and then by the rich farmland of the Fraser River Delta. In 1875, the North Arm Road was created as a wagon road that connected the booming Fraser River farming area to the False Creek Trail (now known as Kingsway). In 1905, the North Arm Road was able to continue over to Richmond via Mitchell Island with the completion of the Fraser Street Bridge. Now produce could be shipped from farms and dairy plants to the markets of Burrard Inlet, through the wooded area we know as today’s South Vancouver.

In 1910, the North Arm Road was renamed Fraser Avenue after Simon Fraser, a pioneer who explored much of the Pacific Coast and who also is the namesake of the adjoining river. After 1948, Fraser Avenue became known as Fraser Street.

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

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