Unlocking North Vancouver History

Wilderness on the Doorstep: Vancouver’s Mountain Playground

Vancouver’s Playground, 1927.

The peaks of the Coast Range (900 to 1,800 m) create a spectacular and inviting panorama on Vancouver’s North Shore. This bird’s-eye map from the late 1920s or early 1930s shows just how close this wilderness lies to the centre of the city. At that time, ferries took about 20 minutes to cross Burrard Inlet from the foot of East Vancouver’s Columbia Street, with docks at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver and in West Vancouver. The only other transportation option to get there was the Second Narrows Bridge, a road-and-rail span completed in 1925. This physical crossing was key to opening access to Grouse Mountain via the Grouse Mountain Scenic Highway; it gave people an easy way to reach the Grouse Mountain Chalet, a base for skiing and hiking excursions. At this time, the North Shore was still sparsely populated, with a population of about 18,000 in 1926.

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This map was published in a pamphlet titled North Vancouver: “Vancouver’s Playground,” which highlighted the city’s recreational and residential opportunities.

The map shows an aerial view of the city of Vancouver and its North Shore mountains.

The brochure was produced in the late 1920s or early 1930s, when the North Shore population was still relatively low.

The City of North Vancouver’s publicity department published the pamphlet to attract new residents and raise the city’s profile.

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