Hastings - Sunrise History and Heritage
First of a 4 Part series
In the Beginning...
In 1998, after living in an apartment in Kits for 10 years, I decided a house was in order. As a guy who tends to fault on the side of financial conservatism, I established a budget and started hunting. All I knew about the Sunrise district (specifically Hastings East in Realtor lingo) was that's where the PNE was. I found just the right house for the budget and moved in.
My first surprise was with the Title documents. They didn't read "City of Vancouver" like all the titles I had seen, but rather "Old Hastings Town"; interesting.
I've really come to love this area, rich in its working class character, anchored with strong Italian, Portuguese and Asian roots. Truly a family neighbourhood, with tons of parks, safe streets and great schools. The biggest challenge of life here is trying to get a chair at the Laughing Bean Coffee House before or after school. It's stroller central!
Rio Friendly Meats just a few blocks away has been here since 1982 . Others like Donald's Market have served for 25 years. Neighbourhood landmarks like Ugo and Joe's and the Hastings Street Barber Shop are so old school, they don't even have websites! And then all of the Italian specialty shops...beautiful!
The location is perfectly matched for both Wendy and I. It's a 15 minute commute to Wendy's teaching position half way up Cypress Mountain, and a 15 minute commute downtown (and that's in rush hour) for me.
Okay, now REALLY in the beginning.....
Hastings-Sunrise is located on the northern half of a piece of land that the provincial government set aside in 1863. They had great plans to develop a community along the shores of what was then considered to be one of the best harbours on the West Coast. Gastown (farther west) eventually developed into that major port.
. New Brighton Park Today
Our province’s capital city, New Westminster was 16 kilometres away, and New Brighton became a popular weekend retreat for its residents. By 1868, it was possible for vacationers, loggers and mill workers to make the journey from New Westminster to the well-established Brighton Hotel via stage coach. The Sea Foam ferry then transported people on a triangular route, first across Burrard Inlet to the logging operation at Moodyville (now North Vancouver) , then back to Stamp's Mill (at the foot of Dunlevy Street), then along the northern shore of the inlet back to New Brighton.
Opposite is a 1946 Photograph of the 1820 Dobby horses at New Brighton Park. The name Dobby Horse is simply one of many names for a carved horse to ride on at an amusement park, rocking or still. This photo is from an amazing website called The MagicEye, which is completely devoted to amusement parks and rides from all over the world - well-worth checking out.
New Brighton’s name was changed to Hastings (officially the Hastings Townsite) in 1869 to commemorate the visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Navy Rear AdmiralGeorge Fowler Hastings. As the town of Hastings grew, it claimed almost every “first” for Vancouver: the first road, the first wharf, the first hotel, the first post office, the first museum, the first telephone, the first real estate transaction, the first subdivision, and even the first ferry between Burrard Inlet and Victoria.
This is a photo from 1928 of the Hastings Townsite, from the website called The City of Vancouver Archives.
The community of Hastings continued as a resort until the early 1900’s, with vacationers attracted to the area by the New Brighton Hotel (destroyed by fire in 1905) and the half-mile race track at Hastings Park. Local residents then began pressuring the government for more community-oriented activities such as trade-shows for dairy farmers, loggers, and horticulturists. Their lobbying resulted in 1910 in the first exhibition, staged by the Vancouver Exhibition Association. By 1946, the event's popularity resulted in the site being renamed "Exhibition Park."
In this 1914 shot of the Exhibition Fairway are a ferris wheel, one or perhaps two carousels, games and merchandise tents, and side shows. The racetrack may be seen in the background.
The New Brighton Hotel 1886
Welcoming Sir Wilfred Laurier to the first opening of the Exhibition 1910
And, that's how it was in the beginning. Check back here soon for the subsequent postings. Part 2 of the Hastings - Sunrise Story is called "Development".
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Hope you've enjoyed this posting. If you have any questions, any little known facts or interesting Vancouver Stories or pictures you'd like to share, please feel free to contact me at:
For all your Vancouver Real Estate needs, call me,
Gerry Gramek, direct at: 604-551-2747