Vancouver 125 Biography: Supple Jack

Posted by Daniel on Feb 16, 2011 - 5 comments

Supple Jack, or Khaytulk, was a Squamish man who lived with his family and children on a small holding to the east of what we now call Prospect Point in Stanley Park. He was the son of Chief Khahtsalanough and the father of August Jack Khahtsahlano, whose memoirs tell us most of what we know about Supple Jack.

Supple Jack was born at the village of Snauq, which stood at the entrance to False Creek in what is now Vanier Park. He and his family used to divide their time between Snauq and the Prospect Point property, which was called Chaythoos, meaning "high bank". Eventually Chaythoos became more or less their permanent home. Here Supple Jack and his wife Qwhaywat raised their children, kept a few cows and horses, had a vegetable garden and harvested food from the waters of Burrard Inlet. The small farm was connected to Gastown by a forest trail that ran around the Second Beach side of Lost Lagoon.

In 1883 Supple Jack died after being kicked in the head by one of his cows. He was buried above ground at Chaythoos. Four years later the road being built around what had become Stanley Park went right through Supple Jack's property, forcing the family to move his grave.

Supple Jack's home was the site of the official opening of Stanley Park on Sept. 27, 1888. Mayor David Oppenheimer led a procession of vehicles along the newly-completed road to the beach at Chaythoos. A year later, on October 29, 1889, the dignitaries returned, this time to witness Governor General Lord Stanley formally dedicate the park. There is now a plaque marking the spot.