Sponsorship is still available for the Vancouver City Council minutes from 1886..

The transcriptions were made by Margaret Sutherland and by Darrin Pezer / Proactive Building Maintenance.

Click on any headline to see the full transcript of that meeting,
and pictures of the original handwritten minutes.


Petition to incorporate the City of Vancouver – February 15, 1886

In February of 1886, a number of residents of the town of Granville sent a petition to the B.C. Legislative Assembly to incorporate the City of Vancouver. In 1944, the Attorney-General of BC returned the original document to the City of Vancouver.  This copy was made from COVA reference number COV-S27. copy of original petition here This letter was transcribed in May and June of 2018 by Transcribimus volunteers Gent Ng and Gerald Soon Petition for Bill to Incorporate the “City of Vancouver” Presented 15/2/86 Robson [next page] To The Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia The Petition of the residents of Vancouver in the District of New Westminster Humbly Sheweth That the present village of Granville with its vicinity has been chosen by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company as the terminus of their Railway, and in consequence thereof the said Village is now daily increasing, and is likely to increase very largely in population, in the immediate future That in view of the large increase in said population, it is necessary and expedient that the building of the roads, streets and bridges, and other improvements of a like nature should be provided for Your petitioners further shew that the said Railway Company are about setting the contract for constructing their line of Railway from Port Moody to said Village of Granville and are about constructing large wharves and other buildings and improvements in said Village of Granville and in the immediate vicinity which said construction and improvements will give employment to many hundreds of men, and for the reasons aforesaid, and for the better preservation of law and order your petitioners are desirous of obtaining a charter incorporating the said village of Granville and its immediate vicinity, a city under [next page] the name of “The City of Vancouver.” Your Petitioners therefore pray. . That your Honorable House may be pleased to pass an Act incorporating the said City of Vancouver in accordance with the desire of Your Petitioners. And your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray. Richard Alexander Chas A. Coldwell L. A. Hamilton Edward E. Rand Jos Mannion Thos F. McGuigan Alex Johnstone F. F. Kingdon J. Miller D A Ferguson A W King Frank. A. Nicholson S Brighouse J. W. Sullivan M. A. Mac Lean James Hamilton Walter J. Graveley Donald M Naughton J. J. Blake Robert Thomas Jno Leask D. L. Beckingsale John Boultbee Thos Haggart Jones Mc Allister Samuel Pearse T. C. Innes C Russell E. E. Barker J D Jarvis F. D. Boucher A K Coughtrey S. S. Tilley Colin Rankin J Rooney Pet. Larson John Hay G Blackstone Cy Arkell John M Haywood W. J. McGuigan M. D. Allan Mc Pherson C M Johnston [next page] Thomas Wilson R McDonald W. Irvine J G Nicolson J. Pitt T H Morris D. Caldon A. Wilson H. L. Freese J. Ross Hemsley Lewis L R Arthur W U Macdonald J. D. Kavanagh J. A. Livingston Robert Tassyeth G. Finney J.

Vancouver City Council 1886

Mayor: M. A. MacLean Aldermen: Robert Balfour Charles A. Coldwell Peter Cordiner Thomas Dunn Joseph Griffith Joseph Humphries Harry Hemlow E. P. Hamilton L. A. Hamilton Joseph Northcott source: MADDEN, W. D., 2003, Elected Officials of Vancouver, [online], Internet Archive, https://archive.org/details/PAM200372/mode/2up, April 1, 2020

First meeting of Council – May 10, 1886

First Council established, committees established. Joseph Huntly took minutes at this meeting. Purchase of Fire Apparatus referred to the Committee on Fire, Water, and Light until the next meeting. Meetings to take place in the residence adjoining the Court House until a suitable quarters can be found.Continue Reading

Vancouver wants Coal Harbour Peninsula for a public park – May 12, 1886

Moved by Alderman L. A. Hamilton seconded by Alderman Coldwell, “that the Mayor be authorized to forward a petition to the Dominion Government through the Member for New Westminster District praying that the whole of that part of the Coal Harbour Peninsula Known as the Government Reserve or such part as in the wisdom of the Government they might see fit to grant, be Conveyed to the City of Vancouver for a Public Park.” Continue Reading

Council adjourned to attend public meeting – May 13, 1886

Minutes of previous meeting read and adopted. The Council then adjourned to attend the public meeting called by the Mayor to plan Dominion Day celebrations.Continue Reading

Applications for liquor permits received – May 17, 1886

Applications for Liquor Permits were referred to the License Commissioners. Alderman Balfour given two weeks’ leave. Continue Reading

By-law No 1. passed for duties of Vancouver city employees- May 18, 1886

By-Law No. 1 read three times and passed, outlining the duties and salaries of City Clerk, Assessment Commissioner, Engineer, and Police Magistrate. The Mayor, Police Magistrate, and City Clerk appointed a Board to review and issue liquor permits at a cost of $50 per year retail, $25 per year wholesale. A presentation was made by the Volunteer Fire Brigade, and a request for equipment.Continue Reading

By-law passed to restrain and punish vagrants – May 25, 1886

Letter received from David Oppenheimer suggesting Council begin at once to grade and plank streets “by contracting with parties who may be willing to wait payment until the sale of the first city debentures“. Council to consider. A Bylaw to Restrain and Punish vagrants and other disorderly persons (Bylaw No. 2) was read three times, passed, and sent to the British Columbia Gazette for publication. A Bylaw dividing the City of Vancouver into Wards was read for the first time.Continue Reading

Vancouver divided into five wards – May 31, 1886

Letter received from Mr. John D. Ronald, Manufacturer of Fire Engines – referred to Fire, Water and Light Committee. By-Law No. 3 dividing the City of Vancouver into Wards was passed and sent to the British Columbia Gazette for publication. Police Commissioner empowered to notify property owners of porches, fences, railings, etc., that are unsightly or that interfere with traffic or pedestrians, and to ensure they are removed. Continue Reading

Vancouver By-law No. 3 dividing the City into Wards

This transcript was made in March of 2018 by Transcribimus volunteer Mary Ann Capistrano original handwritten by-law here By Law dividing the City of Vancouver into Wards Whereas the Act of Incorporation the Council of the City of Vancouver is empowered to divide the City into Wards Therefore the Mayor and Council of the City of Vancouver in Council Assembled enact as follows That the City be and is hereby divided into five wards the name to be known and styled as Wards numbers One, Two, Three, Four and Five composed as follows:- Ward No. 1 Shall be comprised of the Government Military Reserve forming part of the Coal Harbor Peninsula Lot Number 185 Group One, New Westminster District, that part of Lot 541 and False Creek lying West of a line drawn along the centre of Richards Street from the shore of Burrard Inlet to False Creek and North of a line drawn midway between the Banks of False Creek from the Centre of Richards Street produced southwesterly to a point midway between the Banks of False Creek to the mouth of False Creek Ward No. 2 That part of Lot 541 lying east of the Eastern Boundary of Ward No. 1 and that part of False Creek lying North Page 2: of a line drawn midway between the Banks of False Creek from the Centre of Richards Street produced southwesterly to the Centre of the present Traffic Bridge over said False Creek, Ward No. 3. That part of Lots 196 and 181 Group One New Westminster District lying North of the Centre of Hastings Street Ward No 4. Lots 182, 183, 184, 264a, those parts of Lots 196 and 181 lying South of the Centre of Hastings Street, that part of False Creek lying East of the present Traffic Bridge and that part of Lot _(torn -196?)___ lying within the City Limits, Ward No 5. That part of the City of Vancouver bounded on the East by the Western Boundary of Lot 264a, the shore of False Creek to the present Traffic Bridge and along said Traffic Bridge to a point midway between the Banks of False Creek, on the North by a line drawn midway between the Banks of False Creek from the Centre of said Traffic Bridge to the mouth of said Creek, thence by a line drawn Southwest across the mouth of False Creek to the point __(torn – off)__ English Bay west of the Indian Reserve, thence along the shore of English Bay to the Western Boundary of the City, on the West by the Western boundary of the City and on the South by the Southern Boundary of the City. M. A. MacLean Mayor Thos F McGuigan City Clerk

Vancouver has no money for improvements – June 7, 1886

Communication received from Dr. McGuigan re: Voter’s List, no action taken. City of Vancouver charged 50 cents per day board for each City prisoner held in the provincial Jail. City unable to pay at this point, but asks that accounts be kept so they can pay in future. Royal City Planing Mills allowed to lay water pipe as requested, though City will have option to acquire it in future as part of civic water works. David Oppenheimer’s letter of May 23 replied to “on account of the want of funds the city is unable to undertake any general improvements.”Continue Reading

Liquor by-law made official – June 10, 1886

Map published by H.B. Smith endorsed as official Map of the City. Liquor By-Law No. 5 finalized and sent to British Columbia Gazette for publication.Continue Reading

Vancouver By-law No. 5, Liquor License By-Law

Vancouver By-law No. 5 liquor licenses

Dealing with the most important things first! One of the earliest items of business of the newly-formed City of Vancouver was establishing the conditions for granting liquor licenses.  This by-law was introduced and finalized at the second meeting of Vancouver City Council, on May 12, 1886, and made official on June 10, 1886. This document was transcribed in July of 2018 by Transcribimus volunteer Anita Dos Santos. original handwritten document here 1 14 By-Law No 5 A By-Law to define the Conditions and requirements to obtain hotel, saloon shop or retail and wholesale licenses for the sale within the City of Vancouver of spirituous, fermented and other intoxicating liquors and to regulate places so licensed and fix a fee or duty for the said license. The Mayor and Council of the City of Vancouver enact as follows: (1) The Board of Police Commissioners of the City may direct the issue of licenses written or printed or partially written and partially printed of the several kinds or descriptions following that is to say:- (a) Hotel licenses; (b) Saloon Licenses; (c) Shop or Retail licenses (d) Wholesale licenses. (2) Every such license shall authorise the person licensed to sell subject to the provisions of this by-law, all spirituous and malt-liquors and all combinations of liquors and drinks and drinkable liquids which are intoxicating and shall be signed by the Board of Police Commissioners. 2 15 3 An hotel license or Saloon license shall authorize the licensee to sell and dispose of any liquors in quantities not exceeding one quart which may be drunk in the hotel or saloon in which the same is sold. 4 A shop or retail license shall authorize the licensee to sell and dispose of any liquors in quantities any liquors not to be drunk in or upon the premises for which the license is granted by not less than one pint in quantity shall be sold or disposed of at any one time to any one person. 5 A wholesale license shall authorize the licensee to sell and dispose of liquors in his warehouse store shop or place defined in the license in quantities of not less than two gallons in each cask or vessel and whenever such selling by wholesale is in respect of bottled ale porter beer wine or other fermented or spirituous liquor each such sale shall be in quantities of not less than one dozen reported quart bottles; provided that none of the liquors so sold shall be consumed in or upon the premises or house in respect of which the license is granted. 6 The Board of Police Commissioners shall hold a meeting on the twentieth day of each and every 3 18 month for the consideration of applications for licenses unless such day be a Sunday or public holiday when such meeting shall be held on the next judicial day and such meeting may be adjourned from day to day by resolution to be entered in the minutes of the Board.

City debentures to be sold to finance fire engine – June 22, 1886

The photo above was taken on June 14, 1886, the day after the Great Fire. City Debentures amounting to $4,500 to be sold for 5 years at 6% interest, secured by special tax on Water Street properties. Decision to purchase “Mr. Ronald’s Fire Engine” finalized. Fire By-Law to be introduced at the next Council meeting. City Clerk authorized to contract with McDonald and Cameron for work on Water Street at a cost of $3,800, to be paid 60 days from the date of the contract. Continue Reading

Vancouver purchases Fire Engine – June 28, 1886

Council met in the Relief Committee Tent. City Clerk to write to John D. Ronald accepting the terms he offered for the purchase of a Fire Engine in May. City Clerk also to write to manufacturers of fire bells for future City purchase.Continue Reading

Engineer’s report re Water Street adopted – June 30, 1886

The photo above shows Water Street about four weeks after the Fire.  This development of Water Street had been planned before the Fire, and amended to include about $200 to replace the sidewalk lost during the Fire. At the June 30, 1886 meeting, Council adopts a report from City Engineer regarding the rates on Water Street to finance this development. Continue Reading

Police Court fines to date total only $89 – July 5, 1886

Only $89 was reported as received from Police Court fines, which was thought to be “an unreasonably low sum.” Further to the Special Assessment for the improvement of Water Street, the rule was established, “Where the property in any block is especially benefited by the proposed improvements the rate per front-footage shall be uniform irrespective of the assessed value.”Continue Reading

Vancouver seeking a Treasurer, salary $25 per month – July 14, 1886

Royal City Planing Mills allowed to lay a pipe from Harris Street to their mills on False Creek. Construction of an inclined roadway at Station No 1 (north end of Carrall Street) and a tank at Station No 2 (Cordova Street between Abbott and Cambie. The City to advertise for a Treasurer, salary twenty five dollars per month, to furnish security (be bonded for) fifteen thousand dollars. Continue Reading

Board of Works authorized to remove fire hazards at property owners’ expense – July 19, 1886

The Board of Works is authorized to dig a trench along the water course from Pender Street to Water Street, and plow under “decayed vegetable matter and rotten wood” presenting a fire hazard. Owners of the lots in question will be charged for clearing. Fire by-law completed and sent for printing. Continue Reading

Police inquiry to be held – July 21, 1886

A committee was formed to investigate charges against Police Commissioner John Boultbee. Two water tanks to be constructed, one at the intersection of Water & Cordova Streets, the other at Oppenheimer & Columbia.Continue Reading

Vancouver Fire Hall plans to be drafted at once – July 26, 1886

Plans for a 2 storey Fire Hall to be drafted at once, and budget of $100 set for purchase of a Fire Bell. A roadway at the foot of Carrall Street is being constructed for the Steam Fire Engine.  Special Police salaries of $282 authorized for payment.Continue Reading

Police Magistrate J. Boultbee cleared of charges – July 28, 1886

Police Investigation committee presents their report. David Oppenheimer offers a choice of two city lots on Powell Street as a donation for future City Buildings. Board of Works may spend twenty five dollars to clear all flammable materials from Cambie Street from the Bay to Cordova Street, providing the property owners pay the rest of the cost.Continue Reading

Special meeting authorizes payment of Fire Engine freight charges – August 2, 1886 3:00 pm

A Special Meeting was held to authorize payment of $350.70 freight charges on the new Fire Engine from Brussels (Ontario) to Vancouver. Continue Reading

Four lots donated for Vancouver City Hall by D. Oppenheimer – August 2, 1886, 7:30 pm

Four building lots accepted as a gift from Mr. David Oppenheimer as the site for City Hall and Civic offices. C. M. Morris decided on as City Engineer. Salary fixed at $60 per month plus room in the Fire Hall. Continue Reading

Property owners will be billed for their share of clearing expenses – August 3, 1886

Among the expenses approved was a payment of $6.50 to David Gibb for the making of a coffin. Liquor Bylaw No. 5 was finalized and sent to the Gazette for publication. Continue Reading

Fire engine arrives in Vancouver – August 6, 1886

City formally presented with Fire Engine. Council voted thanks to Mr. John D. Ronald of Brussels, Ontario, supplier of the fire engine, for his courteous and generous assistance to the City after the fire. also to pay $6,905 for the fire engine over a ten year period at 7% interest through a series of city debentures. Continue Reading

Vancouver Council off to Victoria to find a $8,000 loan – August 9, 1886

Mayor and selected aldermen to go to Victoria to negotiate a bank loan for $8,000 to cover remainder of year’s expenses. City Treasurer hired at $25 per month, and a safe purchased at $410. Alderman E. P. Hamilton to supervise construction of Council Chambers and offices for City Clerk and Treasurer. Continue Reading

Water, fuel to be held ready for fire engine at each wharf – August 13, 1886

“To have everything in readiness in case of sudden fire” tanks to be placed on each of the two City wharves, each tank large enough to hold 200 gallons of fresh water. Near each water tank to be set a locked coal bin containing half a ton of coal.Continue Reading

Vancouver has found $10,000 loan – August 23, 1886

As False Creek’s navigable waters are essential to businesses on the shore, no one shall be permitted to build a bridge unless there is a draw large enough to admit all vessels.Bank of British Columbia agreed to lend the city $10,000. Chairmen of City Committees to review their expenses and work together to form a joint budget.Continue Reading

Vancouver city hall, fire hall, lockup will be built right away for $2,000 – August 30, 1886

City will build Fire Hall & Lockup ($743) and a City Hall ($1,280). Council will meet in the office of David Oppenheimer on Powell Street until City Hall is complete. Proposal to build a slaughterhouse on the south side of False Creek refused on grounds of public health. Continue Reading

Sidewalk obstruction by-law is not popular – September 6, 1886

Citizens protest against a new bylaw forbidding verandahs, sidewalks, etc. on City property. Vancouver will contact both the Coquitlam and Vancouver water works companies to see which would be better to supply Vancouver water. If neither is satisfactory, the City may incorporate its own Water Works. Continue Reading

Many Vancouver tax assessments reduced – September 8, 1886

A Court of Revision was held to make amendments to the (City Tax) Assessment Roll, in response to citizens' individual appeals against their tax assessment. Continue Reading

Fire Engine not working well, CPR offers hospital beds – September 13, 1886

“Considerable repair” needed to the Fire Engine; the Committee feels it is due to defective workmanship. First Fire Engineer ET Morris resigns. The C. P. R. has offered Vancouver free use of its hospital, though the City must provide bedding and a steward to attend to City patients. Owen Hughes hired as steward. Continue Reading

Contracts awarded for Hastings, Water streets – September 20, 1886

Messrs. McDonald and Cameron given the contract to develop Hastings Street from Howe to Westminster Avenue sections of Hastings Street. Hugh Keefer given a contract for gravelling that portion of Water Street west of Cambie Street to connect with the C.P.R. planking.Continue Reading

No raised sidewalk for Cordova Street – September 27, 1886

Property owners on Cordova Street not allowed to have the sidewalk built 18 inches above the road, but they may build steps connecting the sidewalk up to their buildings. Board of Works to make sure that the wharf at the foot of Cambie Street is strong enough to hold the Fire Engine at low tide.Continue Reading

Post office must be moved “before the rainy season sets in” – October 5, 1886

Council requests Post Master General move the post office "before the rainy season sets in" to some point between Abbott and Carroll Streets. The picture shows the small clapboard post office on Hastings Street.  Board of Works was authorized to build a Kitchen and Water Closet in rear of City Hall and a gaol yard. Continue Reading

Vancouver will soon vote on $21,000 of debentures for fire engine, improvements – October 7, 1886

A By-Law was passed to hold a vote among the Electors on whether to issue debentures for $6,9000 for a steam fire engine and another for $14,100 for city improvements. The City of Vancouver use every legal means possible to obtain rights for wharfs and docks along the City Front. Continue Reading

Vancouver’s fire bell to ring four times daily – October 11, 1886

The City Fire Engineer instructed to ring the Fire Bell each day (except Sunday) at 7 a.m., 12 noon, and at 1 and 6 p.m. Railway Standard Time. Volunteer Fire Brigade reports the approaches to the water tanks on Hastings and Oppenheimer Streets are blocked with rubbish. Continue Reading

Carrall Street wharf will be built by David Oppenheimer – October 15, 1886

David Oppenheimer’s company will continue to develop the wharf at the North End of Carrall Street and will eventually “convey" it to the City of Vancouver. Letter received from Chief Justice Sir Matthew Begbie declining to hold a Court of Appeal on the Voters List. Continue Reading

Vancouver’s city hall is complete – October 18, 1886

Building of City Hall complete; contractor F. W. Sentell to be paid in full. Thos. H. Boyd awarded contract for improvement of Cambie Street. "On account of the large amount of street work contracted for", Civil Engineer D.L. McCammon appointed Streets Inspector at a per diem rate of $1.50 for a minimum of three hours’ work supervising road construction.Continue Reading

New fire hall can be rented to “suitable” groups – November 1, 1886

Tait & Co allowed to rent space behind Fire Hall for Carriage House at a cost of $12.50 per month. Fire Engineer allowed $100 to build a small dwelling behind Fire Hall. Fire Hall allowed to be rented to Lodges and other “suitable” groups. Continue Reading

Council’s first meeting at the new City Hall on Powell Street – November 8, 1886

The Finance Committee reported purchase of “12 Arm Chairs, one Long Table for Council Chambers, one hanging lamp, 4 green holland blinds, 1 ton of Coal, Coal scuttle and shovel, 2 nests of pigeon holes for the City Clerk and Treasurer's offices.” (The long table is still on display at the Hastings Mill Museum.)Continue Reading

Election date set for Council of 1887 – Nov 16, 1886

Special Meeting to receive the Board of Works and Finance Committee reports, and to pass a By-Law fixing the polling places and appoint Deputy Returning Officers for Election of a Mayor and Aldermen for 1887. McKenzie and Ross awarded contract for laying sidewalk on Westminster Avenue (now Main Street) at a cost of 3 cents per foot.Continue Reading

County court to be held monthly at Vancouver’s new city hall – November 22, 1886

Monthly use of City Hall granted for sessions of County Court at a rate of $5.00 per day plus a charge of $2.00 per day for an attending police officer. By-Laws approved to raise money for additional improvements to Hastings and Oppenheimer Streets.Continue Reading

Vancouver to co-operate with Holy Rosary Cathedral in building sidewalk to church – November 29, 1886

At the request of the Rev. Father Fay of Holy Rosary Cathedral, thirty dollars granted toward building a sidewalk along Richards Street from Hastings to Dunsmuir. The parish to supply blocking, nails and labour.Continue Reading

City hall upper floor to be offices for Mayor, City Engineer & Assessment Commissioner – December 20, 1886

John Clough (Vancouver’s infamous one-armed jailer) to be paid $20 for past services, and a salary of $5 per month in future. City Engineer granted $200 bonus in compensation for much extra work "thrown on his shoulders" during the year. A great many accounts reviewed and approved for payment before year end. Continue Reading

Vancouver street improvements will continue in 1887 – December 27, 1886

Many additional accounts reviewed and approved for payment. Two By-Laws passed for the improvement of Powell and Cambie Streets. Continue Reading

Vancouver’s $4,700 debt will be paid in order of approval – December 29, 1886

In order to pay off all debt approved by Council in 1886, certificates of indebtedness to be issued in order of approval. Certificates will bear 10 per cent interest per year. Votes of thanks were made to the Mayor, to Alderman E.P. Hamilton, and to the Press.Continue Reading