Lost Streams of Vancouver

James, Herbert and Hugh Matthews in a canoe on the south shore of False Creek c. 1902

It was not so long ago that Vancouver was home to over 50 wild salmon streams. Today, Vancouver’s streams are mostly lost, covered by houses, roads, businesses or buried underneath sewers or culverts. Several major creeks ran through the Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhoods in the 1880’s, such as China Creek and Brewer’s Creek. They teemed with salmon and trout while winding their way through the forest down to False Creek.

Brewer’s Creek began high up on the hill of Mountain View near 37th and Fraser, flowing down to the “Tea Swamp” of 20th to 15th Avenues between Main and Fraser. The evidence of this lost stream is still present in the bumpy roads that dip along this area. This swamp got its name after the Labrador tea plant that grew here. China Creek had many streams that fed into the larger estuary, one of which began by Kensington Park at 33rd and Knight. It flowed down the length of Knight Street and into False Creek. It got its name from the Chinese settlers who lived, gardened, and fished along its banks.

Both creeks fostered the soda and beer breweries, like the Cedar Cottage Brewery located at the corner of Knight Road and Westminster Highway (now Knight & Kingsway).

Today, some old streams are being uncovered and there is the possibility of hearing those gurgling streams flowing once again.

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cedar cottage brewery

heather st creek overflowing, broadway 1909