5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mount Pleasant

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Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on Mount Pleasant.

1. It started with a creek

Vancouver Brewery, 1926. Photo Courtesy of the Vancouver Achives (CVA 99-3069).
Vancouver Brewery, 1926. Photo Courtesy of the Vancouver Achives (CVA 99-3069).

In addition to sprawling forests, there used to be numerous creeks and streams that flowed from Mount Pleasant to False Creek. The area was a gathering place for First Nations and also an important resource for European settlers, who used the creeks to supply water to the city’s factories throughout the 1860s. The “Tea Swamp” located at present day Sophia and E 15th, sustained trout and salmon as well as birds, animals and plant life. These natural resources were the primary Mount Pleasant attracted settlers and local business throughout the 19th century.

2. It continued with breweries

Cascade Beer. Photo Courtesy of the Vancouver Achives (CVA 180-0036).
Cascade Beer. Photo Courtesy of the Vancouver Achives (CVA 180-0036).

By the 1890s, the area’s population had exploded, resulting in new industry and (of course), the need for a local brewery. The Vancouver Brewery opened its doors on 1888 as the largest brewery on the Pacific Coast. Their Cascade Ale and Alexandra Ale fostered a local beer-loving culture and by the end of the century the area was ripe with independent breweries that utilized the local creek, hence the name, Brewery Creek.

3. Brewery Creek shaped the neighbourhood

Photo Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives. Ref: CVA 780-258.
Photo Courtesy of the City of Vancouver Archives. Ref: CVA 780-258.

Mount Pleasant developed a village alongside Brewery Creek. Apartments and homes were built close to local businesses so citizens could easily live day-to-day on foot. Some of these original buildings, include the Lee Building at Main and Broadway and Quebec Manor at 7th and Quebec.

4. Dude Chilling Park is considered “art”

dude-chilling-parkWhat started as a prank, quickly became a beloved neighbourhood landmark. Located in Guelph Park, the Dude Chilling Park sign was erected by local artist Viktor Briestensky as a reference to Michael Dennis’ 1991 public art piece, Reclining Figure (also located in the park). The Vancouver Park Board staff removed the sign, but a local resident launched an online petition to have it returned. After receiving 1,800 signatures, the Parks Board reinstalled the sign permanently on Feb 27, 2014. The park received international attention and was eventually given official public art status by the city.

5. There’s art everywhere

Mural by Drew Young and Jay Senetchko
Photo courtesy of ROVE. Mural by Drew Young and Jay Senetchko.

Speaking of art… Summer 2016 saw the inaugural Vancouver Mural Festival grace the neighbourhood with copious amounts of new public art, all of which was commissioned by local artists. There are huge pieces all over the neighbourhood and even some tucked away down side streets and alleyways. Have fun exploring!

Read more from our “5 Things You Didn’t Know” series HERE.