North Vancouver (city)

North Vancouver
City
The Corporation of the City of North Vancouver
North Vancouver Canada.JPG
Location of City of North Vancouver within the Metro Vancouver area in British Columbia, Canada
Location of City of North Vancouver within the Metro Vancouver area in British Columbia, Canada
Coordinates: 49°19′N 123°4′W / 49°19′N 123°4′W / 49.317; -123.067
CountryCanada
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Regional DistrictMetro Vancouver
Incorporated1907
Government
 • MayorDarrell Mussatto
 • MPJonathan Wilkinson (Liberal)
 • MLABowinn Ma (BC NDP)
Area
 • City11.83 km2 (4.57 sq mi)
Elevation80 m (260 ft)
Population (2016)
 • City52,898 (ranked 100th)
 • Density4,465.1/km2 (11,565/sq mi)
 • Urban84,412
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
Forward sortation areaV7G - V7R
Area code(s)604, 778
WebsiteCity of North Vancouver official website
Flag of Canada.svg

The City of North Vancouver is a waterfront municipality on the north shore of Burrard Inlet, directly across from Vancouver, British Columbia. It is the smallest of the three North Shore municipalities, and the most urbanized as well. Although it has significant industry of its own, including shipping, chemical production, and film production, the city is usually considered to be a suburb of Vancouver. The city is served by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, British Columbia Ambulance Service, and the North Vancouver City Fire Department.

History

Moodyville (at the south end of Moody Avenue, now Moodyville Park), is the oldest settlement on Burrard Inlet, predating Vancouver; only New Westminster is the older non-native settlement in the region. Logging came to the virgin forests of Douglas Fir in North Vancouver, as sailing ships called in to load. A water-powered sawmill was set up in the 1860s at Moodyville, by Sewell Moody. Subsequently, post offices, schools and a village sprang up. In time, the municipality of North Vancouver (which encompassed the entire North Shore from Deep Cove to Dundarave) was incorporated. In the 1880s, Arthur Heywood-Lonsdale and a relation James Pemberton Fell, made substantial investments through their company, Lonsdale Estates, and in 1882 he financed the Moodyville investments. Several locations in the North Vancouver area are named after Lonsdale and his family.[1]

The cost of developing the raw mountainous terrain was high and the ocean foreshore was primarily swamp. The distances, rivers and streams that swelled in to destructive debris torrents with the annual snow melt and heavy rainfall, often washed out the many bridges that were required. Not long after the District was formed, an early land developer and second reeve of the new council, James Cooper Keith, personally underwrote a loan[2] to commence construction of a road which undulated from West Vancouver to Deep Cove amid the slashed sidehills, swamps, and burnt stumps. The road, sometimes under different names and not always contiguous, is still one of the most important east-west thoroughfare carrying traffic across the North Shore.

Development was slow at the outset. The population of the District in the 1901 census was only 365 people.[2] Keith joined Edwin Moody and together they controlled North Vancouver Land & Improvement Company. Soon the pace of development around the foot of Lonsdale began to pick up. The first school was opened in 1902. The District was able to build a municipal hall in 1903 and actually have meetings in North Vancouver (instead of in Vancouver where most of the landowners lived). The first bank and first newspaper arrived in 1905. In 1906 the BC Electric Railway Company opened up a street car line that extended from the ferry wharf up Lonsdale to 12th Street. By 1911 the streetcar system extended east to the Capilano River and west to Lynn Valley.

The owners of businesses who operated on Lonsdale, as part of an initiative lead by Keith and Mahon, brought a petition to District Council in 1905 calling for a new, compact city to be carved out of the unwieldy district.

During the ensuing two years there was much and sometimes heated debate. Some thought the new City should have a new name such as Northport, Hillmont or Parkhill. Burrard became the favourite of the new names but majority view was that North Vancouver remain in order to remain associated with the rising credibility of Vancouver in financial markets and as a place to attract immigrants.[3]

Some thought the boundary of the new City should reflect geography and extend from Lynn Creek or Seymour River west to the Capilano River and extend three miles up the mountainside. That the boundary of the City which came into existence in 1907 just happened to match that of the lands owned by the North Vancouver Land & Improvement Company and Lonsdale Estate was no accident. Since the motivation for creating the City was to reserve local tax revenue for the work of putting in services for the property owned by the major developers, there was little reason to take on any of the burden beyond the extent of their holdings.

Residents in west part of the District of North Vancouver now had less reason to be connected with what remained and they petitioned to create the District of West Vancouver (the west part of the North Shore, not the west side of Vancouver) in 1912. The eastern boundary of that new municipality is for the most part the Capilano River and a community that is easily distinguished from the two North Vancouvers has since developed.

Keith Road looking west, with Hollyburn Mtn in the distance

The City of North Vancouver continued to grow around the foot of Lonsdale Avenue. Serviced by the North Vancouver Ferries, it proved a popular area. Commuters used the ferries to work in Vancouver. Street cars and early land speculation, spurred interest in the area. Streets, city blocks and houses were slowly built around lower Lonsdale. Wallace Shipyards, and the Pacific Great Eastern Railway provided an industrial base, although, the late arrival of the Second Narrows railway bridge in 1925 controlled development.

City of North Vancouver as seen from Upper Lonsdale

Sawmills, logging, and small farms continued in the interwar years. Yet the nearby mountains also proved to be a permanent attraction. Ski areas were set up on Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour.

The North Vancouver mountains have many drainages: Capilano River, MacKay, Mosquito, and Lynn Creeks, and Seymour River. The Depression again bankrupted the city, while the Second World War turned North Vancouver into the Clydeside of Canada with a large shipbuilding program. Housing the shipyard workers provided a new building boom, which continued on through the post-war years. By that time, North Vancouver became a popular housing area.

The area around lower Lonsdale Avenue features several open community spaces, including Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay, Ship Builders Square and the Burrard Dry Dock Pier.

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