The History of Jericho Beach

Posted by Jhan Dudley on

19th Century Jericho

Canoes on what is now known as Jericho Beach in 1883.


When Captains George Vancouver and Dionisio Galiano arrived in English Bay in 1792, Jericho Beach was the site of a native Musqueum Nation village (Ee’yullmough).  The wood used to repair those first European ships came, in fact, from Jericho Beach.

“Jericho” refers to 'Jerry’s Cove', the name for the area at that time. It was named after Jeremiah Rogers, one of the first men to log that area in the 1860s.  A few of the original stumps can still be found here and there in the area.

Thereafter, in subsequent years, Jericho Beach became a park and popular picnic destination. In those days, though, there was no road. People came by barge from downtown Vancouver.  Later, from 1890 to 1919, a large part of the area was leased to the Jericho Country Club, where the first golf course in Canada west of Ontario was built.

Post War Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach Air Station: Vancouver’s First Airport.


After WWI, the Colonial government saw potential in the land as a strategic military site, and set up military reserves at the point, where UBC is now, and just up the coast where the Vancouver Sailing Club is now located. They built a small airstrip in 1920 and established the Jericho Beach Air Station. The sailing club, youth hostel and arts centre currently onsite are housed in the old buildings from the military base.

In 1969, the City of Vancouver purchased 120 acres of the land from the federal government. They zoned the strip along the waterfront as parkland, while the parcel bordering W 4th Ave ( approximately 38 acres) was zoned for housing. The public, however, denounced city officials for this plan, and demanded that the whole 120 acres be retained as parkland. Finally, in 1973, the land was repurchased and rezoned, and the Sailing Centre was established shortly thereafter.  

The army barracks were converted into the Jericho Youth Hostel, a military gym is now the home of the Jericho Arts Centre, and the base became the Jericho Sailing Centre.


Jericho Beach painting by Sam Siegel.


Image of artwork 'Jericho Park' by Sam Siegel.

Today, that whole area, including Jericho Park and Spanish Banks, remains one of the city's most beautiful and cherished spots. And it constantly inspires my art, too! This is my interpretation of Jericho Park. And I invite you to check out my paintings, too.

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