Greer's Beach becomes known as Kitsilano

Posted by Jhan Dudley on

Greer’s Beach was a favorite camping spot in early Vancouver. The name angered the Canadian Pacific Railway who had been given the beach in 1885 as part of a 6,000-acre land grant.

The problem was the beach was named for Sam Greer. He claimed he had purchased the beach and 200 acres of land off. Aboriginals in 1884. Greer fought the C.P.R. for decades over his claim, and consequently, in 1891 he was jailed for shooting a sheriff who tried to evict him.

He lost, nonetheless locals still called it Greer’s Beach. Until authorities came up with a new name – Kitsilano.

As announced  it in the Daily Province  July 16, 1901

Greer's Beach becomes known as Kitsilano.

The C.P.R. wanted to develop the area as a summer resort. They asked pioneer postmaster Jonathan Miller for a “suitable” name and Miller chose Kitsilano.

Where does the Kitsilano name come from?

Kitsilano was a famous Indian chief,  and the only man who could hold down the Euclataws and other warlike tribes of the north. He was chief over all the small chiefs between here and Texada (Island) and command of the entire Squamish Indians in their fights.  Kitsilano means grand, magnificent and great.

Chief Kitsilano’s name was Khatsahlano and he lived at Senakw or Snauq, a Squamish village at the head of False Creek. In 1869 the colonial B.C. government set aside 37 acres of land around the town as a reserve. In 1877 it was expanded to 80 acres.

The scandal of 1913 and the creation of Vanier Park.

In  1913  the province brought the reserve from the Squamish nation for $225,000. Nevertheless, the federal government stopped the sale and in 1928  brought the land from the province. Giving it to the city in the 1960s  to create Vanier Park.

The Kitsilano streetcar line did not open until July 4, 1905. At the same time as the population boom where the population went from 24,000 in 1902 to 50,000 in 1906, during a time when the area began to prosper.

The history of Kitsilano is definitely a colourful one. Who knows what the next chapter is to bring?

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