Vancouver history timeline Fact Sheet

Important dates to note relating to Vancouver's history

  • April 6th, 1886: The city of Vancouver is incorporated.
  • June 13th, 1886: A large fire, beginning when flames from a brush clearing fire blew into dry brush on the west side of the city, destroyed the city almost in its entirety. The city was built of wooden structures, and was consumed by flames. At least 8 people died in the disaster.
  • January 17th, 1887: The first Hudson's Bay Company store opened in Vancouver on Cordova (their property was leased to them by the CPR).
  • May 23rd, 1887: The first CPR transcontinental passenger train arrives in Vancouver from Montreal.
  • August 8th, 1887: The first electric lights are turned on in Vancouver.
  • 1888: The first Hotel Vancouver is opened.
  • March 26, 1889: Fresh water arrives in Vancouver redirected from Capilano River.
  • June 28th Granville Street Bridge to Union and Main Street).
  • February 9th, 1891: The CPR builds the Vancouver Opera House, seating up to 1300 people.
  • March 3rd, 1892: Charles Woodward opened a dry goods store in Vancouver at Main and Hastings.
  • July 1897: Discovery of gold in the Alaska-Yukon region in later June results in the Klondike Gold Rush.
  • February 10th, 1898: The Provincial Legislature Buildings in Victoria design by Francis Rattenbury are opened.
  • July 6th, 1899: City sewer works are under construction. Water and sewer lines reach West Eind in 1901.
  • 1890: Street Cars service began on Robson St.
  • January 22nd, 1901: Queen Victoria dies, Edward VII becomes King.
  • August 26th, 1903: The Art, Historical and Scientific Association leads to the creation of the Vancouver Museum.
  • December 17th, 1903: Electricity is transmitted to Vancouver from BC Electric.
  • 1903: The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is formed. William Roedde was an active member and avid sailor.
  • 1906: Construction begins on the provincial courthouse on Georgia; what is now the Vancouver Art Gallery. The courthouse opened in 1911.
  • 1907: Firehall no. 6 was built at 1001 Nicola (firefighters from this hall attended the Roedde House fire of 1913). Also a historic building.
  • 1909: Hycroft Manor was built for Alexander Duncan McRae (a prominent businessman and politician in Western Canada) and designed by Thomas Hooper, who also designed the Sinclair center and the provincial court houses in Vernon and Revelstoke.
    February 12th, 1912: First appearance of the Vancouver Morning Sun (later, the Vancouver Sun).
    April 14-15th, 1912: Sinking of the Titanic. A memorial service in aid of the families of the victims was held at the Vancouver Opera House on April 21st.
  • 1912: Registered Nurses Association of BC was founded. Women wishing to practice as nurses in the city must be registered with the association.
  • 1913: The rapid rate of construction came to a halt with a general financial depression settling in Vancouver.
  • May 23rd, 1914: The Komagata Maru, carrying 376 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs arrived in the Burrard inlet. All but 20 passengers were refused permission to disembark. The ship would not leave without sufficient supplies for a return trip, but the Royal Canadian Navy (as their first mission) eventually forced the ship to depart on July 23rd.
  • August 4th, 1914: World War I begins. Canada declares war on Germany and Austria- Hungary the following day, and the first troop train leaves Vancouver for Europe on August 21st.
  • 1916: Civic offices in Vancouver are now open to women. Women were granted permission to vote in provincial election as of April 4th. Permission to vote in the federal elections was granted on May 24th, 1918.
  • October 1st, 1917: Prohibition begins in BC, ending in 1921.
  • November 11th, 1918: Vancouver celebrates the Armistice and the end of the war.
  • January 16th, 1920: Prohibition begins in the United States, ending in 1933.
  • 1949: Native Canadians and Orientals gain the right to vote in British Columbia.
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