The American Page
Americans have had a major influence on the history
of Metropolitan Vancouver.
Simon Fraser, after
whom the Fraser River and Fraser Valley and Simon Fraser University
and Fraser Street and more are named, was born in 1776just
before the American Revolutionin a tiny place called Mapleton
in what is now New York State. His family were Loyalists, so when
the Revolution began they lit out for Canada. Simon was about eight
at the time.
American gave Vancouver its name! William Cornelius Van Horne,
of Chelsea, Illinois, was the man who headed the CPR, the Canadian
Pacific Railway that opened up the Canadian West. During one of
Van Hornes visits he was rowed around the area by Lauchlan
Hamilton, the CPRs local land commissioner, and told him,
Hamilton, this is destined to be a great city! It needed,
he said, a name that told people where it was. Granville (its name
then) wouldnt work. No one would know where "Granville"
was. But everyone knew about George Vancouvers explorations
of the Pacific northwest.
Vancouver mayor who served more terms than any otherL.D.
Taylorwas an American, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
He served eight terms, although not consecutively. We have recently
learned, thanks to a fascinating book by Daniel Francis (L.D. Taylor
and the Rise of Vancouver) that Taylor left Chicagowhere he
had an interest in a bankin a bit of a hurry, and fled to
Canada when the cops started sniffing around. And we also learned
that he was briefly married to two women at the same time.
The old-money part of Vancouver,
Shaughnessy, where a million-dollar-house is in the poorer part
of the neighborhood, was named for an American: Thomas George
Shaughnessy of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was another president
of the CPR.
The first major industrialist on
Burrard Inlet, lumberman Sewell Moody, was from Maine.
He had a big mill on the north shore.
The first big industry in Vancouver
was the B.C. Sugar Refinery, still here after more than 100 years,
and started byyou guessed it, an American. He was the splendidly-named
Benjamin Tingley Rogers, of Pennsylvania.
see a popular chain of restaurants here called White Spots. The
first one under that name opened June 16, 1928. They were started
by a fellow named Nat Bailey, doubly famous here for his
promotion of local baseball. Nat Bailey was born in 1902 in St.
Our most famous archaeologist, the late Charles Borden,
was born in New York City.
The Cates brothers,
who started our most well-known tugboat company, were from Maine.
Sam Cohen, who started
the Army & Navy chain here, a local fixture for decades, hailed
from San Francisco.
The Europe Hotel, the famed wedge-shaped
Gastown building, was constructed by a firm from Cincinnati, Ohio.
There are many more examples. But
the ethnic group that trumps everyone in its numbers and influence
on the early history of Metropolitan Vancouver is . . . the Scottish!
See the article
on that bonny group here »
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