Vancouver – On the Waterfront

Built for Vancouver’s Expo ’86, the five two-pointed white sails of Canada Place represent our ten provinces.

And what exactly was Vancouver’s 1986 World Fair all about?

Well, it was a six-month long extravaganza, welcoming the nations of the world to come celebrate Vancouver’s 100th anniversary. Yes, just a hundred years old. We’re one of the youngest cities on earth.

Expo ’86 is often pointed to as the event that put Vancouver on the world map, our “coming out ball” so to speak. And while it certainly brought a whole new wave of developers to Vancouver, it wasn’t the first wave.

Almost since Vancouver’s inception, realtors and developers have been arriving on our shores.

From Britain, the Royal Engineers (very business-oriented engineers, at that) arrived in the 1800s and began parceling out land and naming streets for themselves. The rail executives of the Canadian Pacific Railroad also got into the action—big time—demanding massive parcels of land in exchange for their beneficence in bringing the railway terminus to Vancouver.

In fact, it was some of these executives who cajoled the government into turning an entire thousand acre parcel of land into Stanley Park, thus increasing the land value of their own property in the adjacent West End. Vancouver’s first mayor, too, was a realtor.

All of which is to say that yes, Expo ’86 brought a fresh wave of international interest to our oceanfront city. But it wasn’t the first—or the last—flush of land-happy realtors, speculators and developers to Vancouver.

To this day, real-estate is a topic that brings out the wildest passions in our otherwise tame West Coast hearts.