Posted by: VPSN | April 6, 2011

A PETITION for the Incorporation of the CITY OF VANCOUVER

First City Hall

Vancouver’s first City Hall 


for the Incorporation of the



THE PETITION of the of residents of VANCOUVER in the District of New Westminster


THAT the present Village of GRANVILLE with its vicinity has been chosen by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as the terminus of their railway, and in consequence thereof the said Village is now daily increasing and is likely to increase very largely in population in the immediate future;

THAT in view of the large increase in said population, it is necessary and expedient that the building of ROADS, STREETS and BRIDGES, and other improvements of a like nature should be provided fo;

YOUR PETITIONERS further shew that the said Railway Company are about letting the contract for constructing their line of railway from PORT MOODY to said village of GRANVILLE and are about constructing large WHARVES, and other buildings and improvements in said village of Granville and in the immediate vicinity which said construction and improvements will give employment to many hundreds of men, and for the reasons aforesaid, and for the better preservation of LAW and ORDER your petitioners are desirous of obtaining a charter incorporating the said Village of Granville and its immediate vicinity, a city, under the name “THE CITY OF VANCOUVER.”


THAT your Honororable House may be pleased to pass an Act incorporating the said CITY OF VANCOUVER in accordance with the desire of your Petitioners. AND your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.”


[125 Petitioners – all male; approximately 1/4 of the Village’s adult male population]

On January 8, 1886 Villagers in the Town of Granville (also known as Gassy’s Town – or Gastown) appointed an incorporation committee.  A petition – reproduced above – was drafted and submitted to the Provincial Legislature on February 15.  The Incorporation bill was read a third time on April 2 and on the 6th of the month, 125 years ago today, the Lieutenant-Govenor, Clement Frances Cornwall, assented, granting the incorporation.  The first election was held on May 3, 1886.

The image of the first city hall and details on incorporation timeline come from an event programme marking the 70th Anniversary of the Incorporation of Vancouver as a City.  It notes that “the Crown Colony of British Columbia built this cottage and called it the “Customs House”. After Confederation it became the “Court House”. In 1886 it was, for a few days, an improvised “City Hall.”


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