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The Heritage and History of the Neighbourhood
Kerrisdale’s initial settlers were the McCleery brothers from Ireland, who arrived in 1867. They farmed the area that the golf course which now bears their name lies. Once Steveston fish canneries started to prosper, the demand for workers resulted in the CPR building a railway to Lulu Island from Vancouver. This was known as the ‘Sockeye Special,’ and it passed through the center of Kerrisdale offering transport services to the first settlers.
In 1905, Kerrisdale obtained its’ name once the BC Electric Railway replaced the CPR. An early resident of the area, Mrs. MacKinnon, was asked to give the Wilson Road tram stop (now forty-first) a name by the general manager of the line. She opted for ‘Kerrisdale,’ which was the name of her Scottish family home.
During 1908, Kerrisdale joined the Point Grey municipality and held its’ first election on January 11. Because Kerrisdale is located in the middle of the area, it became a focal point for politics. The current Kerrisdale Centennial Park is where the first City Hall was located. Formerly this housed municipal offices, the Council chamber, a dual cell jail and a police court.
Between 1904 and 1912, Kerrisdale acquired a post office and general store, a real estate agent and a hardware shop in the area where West Boulevard and Wilson Road intersect. During 1912, Frank Burd and Frank Bowser constructed the Bowser Block. This still stands on the intersection’s southwestern corner.
In 1912, streetcar service was introduced on Forty-First Avenue, traveling through the evolving commercial area there and West Boulevard. In 1929, Kerrisdale joined Vancouver City after it became part of Point Grey.
Kerrisdale has the same fundamental development characteristics of its’ early years, facilitated by the train tracks of Vancouver Lulu island and Wilson Road.
Understanding the Heritage
The first Kerrisdale settlers, who appreciated the part rural environment, built many properties in various styles which are still around today. Styles of architecture include Spanish Colonial Revival, English Crafts, and Arts, the Beaux Arts and Tudor Revival. Kerrisdale has kept lots of its’ initial properties and is still among Vancouver’s best neighborhoods.
Examples of the estates bordering the Marine Drive in the south-west are several splendid mansions from an earlier period. Situated on Southwest Marine Drive, the Barton Home was conceived by well-known architects Fox and Maclure in 1913. This is an excellent depiction of Tudor Revival styles. The Casa Maria and Rio Vista Estates (also on Southwest Marine Drive) were constructed for Reifel family members. These are fantastic examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Situated on West Forty-Fifth Ave, Ryerson United Church is a local landmark, with an unmissable corner tower and steeply angled gable roof. Constructed in 1927, this church is still a focal point for community gatherings.
The sublime Granville Street Shannon Estate is another famous landmark. This Beaux Arts palatial property was initially constructed for Benjamin Rogers over a ten year period from 1915. Subsequently, it was owned by the renowned financier Austin Taylor. This building was redeveloped after Taylor died in 1965.
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