Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Street Names of Vancouver

Despite having lived in the neighborhood for 18 months now, I still have some difficulty orienting myself to the street names of Vancouver's West End. Unlike the rest of the city, where streets run north / south and avenues run east / west, the downtown peninsula is a (wonderfully) convoluted matrix of roads, rotated 45 degrees from the cardinal directions, and all sharing the suffix of "Street" regardless of orientation.
In an effort to commit the West End's street grid to memory, I have also found myself wondering where the street names of the neighborhood came from -- there are some familiar sounding names, but no clear rhyme or reason offering a clear logic for the whole. Fortunately for me, and anyone else that has ever pondered the City's street names, Elizabeth Walker has written an incredibly comprehensive and encylopedic history on the origins of every street name in Vancouver:

It turns out that the streets of District Lot 185 (the West End) were hastily named by surveyor / land commissioner / city councilor L.A. Hamilton, who "applied names from an admiralty chart of the Pacific Coast."

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