Stanley Park – Leasing the land

In 1886, as its first order of business, Vancouver’s City Council voted to petition the dominion government to lease the military reserve for use as a park. To manage their new acquisition, city council appointed a six-person park committee, which in 1890 was replaced with an elected body, the Vancouver Park Board.

In 1908, 20 years after the first lease, the federal government renewed the lease for 99 more years.

In 2006, a letter from Parks Canada stated that “the Stanley Park lease is perpetually renewable and no action is required by the Park Board in relation to the renewal.”

Opening and dedication

On September 27, 1888, the park was officially opened (although the legal status of Deadman’s Island as part of the park would remain ambiguous for many years). The park was named after Lord Stanley, who had recently become Canada’s sixth governor general (and who is perhaps best known today for having donated the Stanley Cup that was later handed down to the National Hockey League). Mayor David Oppenheimer gave a formal speech opening the park to the public and delivering authority for its management to the park committee.

1928 photo of the home of Tim Cummings, the last person to live at Brockton Point.

The following year, Lord Stanley became the first governor general to visit British Columbia when he officially dedicated the park. Mayor Oppenheimer led a procession of vehicles around Brockton Point along the newly completed Park Road to the clearing at Prospect Point. An observer at the event wrote:

Lord Stanley threw his arms to the heavens, as though embracing within them the whole of 1,000 acres [400 ha] of primeval forest, and dedicated it ‘to the use and enjoyment of peoples of all colours, creeds, and customs, for all time. I name thee, Stanley Park.

Eviction of pre-park residents

When Lord Stanley made his declaration, there were still a number of homes on lands he had claimed for the park. Some, who had built their homes less than twenty years earlier, would continue to live on the land for years. Most were evicted by the park board in 1931, but the last resident, Tim Cummings, lived at Brockton Point until his death in 1958.

Sarah Avison, the daughter of the first park ranger, recalled when the city evicted the Chinese settlers at Anderson Point in 1889:

The Park Board ordered the to leave the park; they were trespassers; but would not go, so the Park Board told my father to set fire to the buildings. I saw them burn; there were five of us children, and you know what children are like when there is a fire. So father set fire to the shacks; what happened to the Chinese I do not know.

Most of the dwellings at Xwayxway were reported vacant by 1899, and in 1900, two of such houses were purchased by the Park Board for $25 each and burned. One Squamish family, “Howe Sound Jack” and Sexwalia “Aunt Sally” Kulkalem, continued to live at Xwayxway until Sally died in 1923. Sally’s ownership of the property surrounding her home was accepted by authorities in the 1920s, and following her death, the property was purchased from her heir, Mariah Kulkalem, for $15,500 and resold to the federal government.

Source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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