Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Capilano Gardens

The development of a streetcar system by the British Columbia Electric Railway Co. made mountain access much easier. It linked up with the ferries at the foot of North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue, carrying passengers east to Lynn Valley (1910) and north up Lonsdale to the foot of Grouse Mountain or west to the Capilano River (1912). In this image, well-heeled patrons of the Hotel Capilano and Canyon View Hotel transfer from the streetcar at the end of the Capilano line to hotel-owned taxis. Regular day-trippers from Vancouver would take a streetcar to the ferry, cross Burrard Inlet and hop back on a streetcar to get within walking distance–about 2.5 km–of civilized woodland attractions such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Those who could afford it took independent taxis known as jitneys* to get directly from the ferry to their North Shore destination.

* Jitney: slang for a nickel; taxis or small busses also came to be called jitneys because the fare was five cents.

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This image shows a streetcar, hotel taxis and the Rustic Capilano Gardens and Store (the store was tucked behind the house).

The streetcar terminus was located on Capilano Road, at a point where the Trans-Canada Highway now crosses the Capilano valley.

This photo was taken in about 1912, the year that the streetcar line reached the Capilano area.

Day-trippers from Vancouver could take the Burrard Inlet ferry and then streetcars to get near mountain attractions.

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