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

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,

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

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

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.

Applications for liquor permits received – May 17, 1886

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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