Like many parts of Vancouver, Yaletown’s early days were shaped by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). In 1886, the City offered CPR a 20 year exemption from local taxes if it built its rail yards and repair facilities on False Creek’s north shore. The CPR agreed, moving its machinery and employees from its former shops at Yale in the Fraser River canyon. This move is what sparked the name Yaletown.

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Yaletown became the focus for a series of changes in the downtown area. Young urban professionals were attracted to Yaletown’s old warehouses. Over the years, Yaletown went through many phases such as: warehouse district, garment industry, and dot.com. What makes Yaletown unique is that pieces of these phases they still remain a part of Yaletown today. The City recognized Yaletown’s architectural importance by zoning it as a historical district which allows for new uses while maintaining the special character of the area.

Today, the Yaletown area is home to 27 heritage sites as listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register as well as the famous Roundhouse Community Centre, which is a provincial heritage site.

There have been a lot of renovations done in Yaletown with old warehouses converted into trendy and upscale spaces. One such building is 1198 Homer St. where The Cross is located.

Photo: entheos_fog




The Vancouver Heritage Foundation has approved 2 of the Yaletown BIA’s nominations for “Places that Matter“. The 2 locations that will receive plaques at an event in the near future are:

Recreation Park: The first Athletic Park, located in the 5 acres bordered by Smithe St, Nelson St, Hamilton St and Homer St. This recreation park had a stadium and playing field. This park opened in 1905 and survived until 1913.

Yaletown gas station and recreation park

First Gas Station: Canada’s first gas station opened in 1907 at the southeast corner of Cambie and Smythe (now spelled Smithe) in Yaletown. This station was operated by the Imperial Oil Company, where pails were hand-dipped into a large wooden barrel of gasoline and then transferred to cars.


Places that Matter Recreation Park



Transformation: the making of Yaletown

Here is the story of how the Roundhouse Community Centre, once a neglected building with a colourful past in an abandoned area of Vancouver, became a unique public facility that anchored the development of a new and vibrant community.

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