Play Green City Smackdown.

When you see something every day, it is easy to miss subtle changes. This exhibit is designed to show people that cities are constantly evolving and changing. Click on the video player to see some of the recent history of False Creek. Explore the changes in the city of Vancouver as it prepares for the 2010 Olympics.

What do you know about the history of False Creek? Read the brief history that follows. Discuss any events or changes that you found surprising.

A brief history of False Creek

If you could rewind time and look at False Creek 200 years ago, you would have seen members of the Squamish nation hunting and fishing around mudflats covered in seaweed. In 1880, about 50 people lived in a dozen buildings that comprised a village named Snauq, which sat on Kits Point, now Vanier Park. You might be surprised that the area of the inlet was more than twice what it is now.

False Creek went unnoticed by Captain George Vancouver when he passed and named Point Grey on June 13, 1792 to stop in what he called Burrard’s Canal (now called Burrard Inlet). A week later Don Dionisio Galiano entered the same inlet, made a detailed map and also missed False Creek.

False Creek was named as such by Admiral Sir George Henry Richards, a hydrographer mapping winds, currents and tides on the coast of B.C. in 1856-63.

In the 1850s and 60s there were some unsuccessful attempts to mine coal in False Creek and in 1865, the first sawmill was constructed on the south shore, near Main Street, very close to where Science World at TELUS World of Science now sits.

In 1889, a bridge was constructed to link the north and south shores. This was the first of 3 Granville Street bridges. The bridge sparked interest in the area, especially the south end, where there were plans for a sawmill and booming grounds, a rail terminal, and a seaport. In 1915, 760,000 cubic metres of mud from the bottom of the creek was piled onto the sandbars to form an island that, when opened for business in 1916 was officially called Industrial Island and unofficially called Granville Island.

During World War I, the eastern end of False Creek which extended all the way to Clark Drive, was filled in by the Great Northern Railway and Canadian Northern Pacific Railway to create new land they could use for their rail yards.

By 1930, about 1200 people worked on Granville Island in factories that made rivets, bolts, chains, barrels, ropes, paint and cement for the forestry and mining industries. After World War II, Granville Island’s larger customers moved out, looking for more and land at a cheaper cost. Other companies were destroyed by fires.

For years after World War II, False Creek was considered a “filthy ditch”. In 1972, however, plans were made to remake Granville Island as an “urban park” and in 1979, the Public Market opened. The rest of False Creek was treated to removal of industrial waste from along the shore, dredging of the seafloor, creation of bays, construction of seawall margins and the allocation of land for housing developments on the south side.

The rail yards on the north side became the site for EXPO 86 with development plans similar to the south side for after the fair. But in 1988, Li Ka-Shing, one of the world’s richest men, bought the whole site and began a $3 billion development that, when complete, will include housing for about 15,000 people.

1988 was also the year that one of the most visible legacy buildings from EXPO 86, the Expo Centre, re-opened as Science World.

Science World

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA
Montreal, Quebec, CANADA
© 2007, Science World British Columbia. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Students will uncover six of the environmental, social and economic indicators that contribute to the health and sustainability of a community.  By interacting with this learning object, students will compare and contrast the “greenness” of twelve major Canadian cities revealing history, unique regional facts and points of pride to generate discussion and debate about what characteristics of a city are important.

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