Coal in West Point Grey

Posted by Daniel on Jul 2, 2009 - 1 comment

Vancouver historian Chuck Davis writes:

I spend a lot of time on the fifth floor of the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library looking through old newspapers. One of the serendipitous joys of doing that is coming across interesting items unrelated to the focus of the original search. In the Province of April 24, 1912 I found an item about the discovery of coal in Point Grey. The item is slugged ‘Kerrisdale, Point Grey,’ because in 1912 Point Grey was its own municipality. It didn’t join Vancouver until 1929.

“While digging the trenches for the sewers in District Lot 472 yesterday, it is stated that a seam of coal was unearthed, and those who have tried it say that it burns well. The information comes from Councillor Locklin, who states that he himself tried it in his own stove and that the coal burned as well as any that he has had.

“The find, he says, is on [West] 17th Avenue, between Heather and Ash streets, and extends for 30 feet in length, while he says the men have gone down 14 feet without coming to the bottom of the seam. Councillor Locklin says that he was one of the many who tried this coal, and that it burned splendidly in his heating furnace.”

And D.L. 472 pops up in another historical context: earlier this year a woman named Barbara Kinahan submitted an item to the People’s History website about her great-great uncle, William Pitcairn Mackie. “Bill Mackie pre-empted DL 472, 160 acres in Fairview, approximately W 16th Ave to W 25th Ave, Oak St to Cambie St. There he planted potatoes before heading to the goldfields in the spring. He was also a pioneer logger, cutting handhewn eight-panel spars in Fairview, Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale, North Vancouver and Ladysmith. Bill Mackie did not make a fortune gold mining, but the wedding ring I wear was made from a nugget he mined in BC. He lost his land claim in 1883 when the CPR was given 6,000 acres of land in Vancouver for bringing in the railroad.”