Fun fact: the City of Vancouver is only around 137 years old, which makes it pretty young compared to the rest of Canada. Nonetheless, the City has undergone quite a transformation since its creation in 1886, revealing just how different life was in downtown Vancouver in the late 1800s. Horse-drawn carriages, top hats, and saloons are just the start!
Deep in the City’s archives are digital copies of some pretty fascinating moments throughout history, including these photographs taken between the years 1880 and 1898. So if you’ve ever wondered what Vancouver looked like as the City itself came to be, this is your chance to find out.
Here are 7 photos that reveal what life was like in 19th-century Vancouver, and where they were taken.
1880 to 1898:
This photograph was taken outside of the Cosmopolitan Hotel Saloon on Cordova Street sometime in the 1880s.
Also taken during the 1880s, this photo reveals the Saloon’s interior as several men are seated at the bar, presumably awaiting their drinks.
This photograph was taken in 1889 of the first Hudson’s Bay Company storefront in Vancouver at 150 Cordova Street.
This photo was taken of the view of Cordova Street looking west from Carall Street in the year 1890.
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Also taken in 1890, this photograph shows the interior of a bookstore, where two women and two men stand in the back.
This photo was taken in 1895 of the BC Telephone Company’s switchboards in an office on West Hastings, formerly the Lefevre Block.
Last but not least, we come to this photo taken in 1896. This photograph reveals the street view of Hastings along the 600 block, looking east.
And that’s a wrap on a slice of local history, Vancouver. All said and done – we’d definitely recommend exploring the City’s digital archives a bit to see what’s out there!
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