The transcription of the Vancouver City Council minutes of 1891 was funded by Shirley Barnett.
Click on any headline to see the full transcript of that day’s meeting, and pictures of the original handwritten minutes.


Final reports received, Council of 1890 concludes – January 5, 1891

Final committee reports and audit for 1890 received. Council then adjourned Sine Die. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Donna Kynaston and sponsored by Shirley Barnett original handwritten minutes here City of Vancouver Archives Series 23-A Volume

Vancouver City Council 1891

Mayor: David Oppenheimer Aldermen: Ward 1:  Sam Brighouse, J.T. Carroll Ward 2:  James F. Garden (resigned), Alexander Godfrey, A.W. Scouller (elected in byelection) Ward 3:  C.G. Hobson, William Templeton Ward 4:  William Brown, John McDowell Ward 4:  H. De Pencier

Committees established for 1891 – January 5, 1891

Six committees established for the year 1891, with some initial disagreement about the composition of the Finance Committee and the Board of Works.  The Licensing Board, Health Committee, Police Committee, and the Fire, Water and Light Committee were established without

Garden resigns council, Brighouse now Works chairman – Jan 12, 1891

Alderman James F. Garden resigns.  Hansen brothers of Montreal purchase $25,000 of city debentures. Crowder and Penzer granted contracts for coal and feed, provided that both be weighed on the Market scales. Miss Bowes requests stricter temperance regulations, also to

Progress in drydock negotiations – Jan 14, 1891

Council met with Mr. Imrie Bell to discuss the proposed graving dock (drydock). Bank of BC confirmed that the investors were good for the amount required. Mr. Bell agreed that after the completion of the project no Chinese workers would

Old floating quarantine to be burned – Jan 19, 1891

Tenders to be invited to supply the City with coal, wood, and feed for 1891, with the provision that coal and feed must be weighted at the Market scales before delivery. Residents of Mount Pleasant requested a police beat in

Second exit to be added to market building – January 26, 1891

market hall and auction shed 1895

No action to be taken for the moment about Mr. Lawson’s letter of dismissal from the City Engineer.  Misses Woodward and Drummond, nurses at the City Hospital, ask for increases of salary. The Market Committee asks the Board of Works

Vancouver to acquire its own water works – January 27, 1891

Council agrees to acquire the Water Works from its current private owners. It was agreed to request the provincial government not to dissolve the current Small Debts Court Act until a judge is actually resident in Vancouver. Council to request

Rogers’ sugar factory complete – Feb 2, 1891

Henry B. Warren (City Engineer) and John P. Lawson (Assistant Engineer) have each filed charges against the other. Mount Pleasant citizens request an electric light at the intersection of Westminster Ave (now Kingsway/Main) and Eighth Ave, and the Police Committee

C.P.R. denies responsibility for street crossing safety – Feb 12, 1891

H. Abbott, General Superintendent of the C.P.R., denies C.P.R.’s responsibility to “furnish, at its own cost” the protection Council has requested at certain street crossings. The Board of Works orders that the City Morgue be connected to the water works

Vancouver sends condolences re New Westminster fire – Feb 16, 1891

New Westminster, 1888

Council sends condolences to New Westminster Council on the loss of life and property due to its recent fire, and regrets it could not send its fire engine to help. Request received from John McCulloch asking to be reimbursed for

Mayor walks out re City Engineer firing – Feb 23, 1891

The Board of Works report instructs the City Clerk to fire the current Engineering Department staff and advertise for a new staff (Alderman Brighouse, Godfrey, Templeton and Brown supporting the motion, Alderman de Pencier dissenting). Mayor David Oppenheimer refuses to

Vancouver sends $500 for Springhill mining disaster relief – Feb 24, 1891

Council read a telegram from the mayor of Halifax calling for assistance for the sufferers of the Springhill Disaster. $500 was telegraphed at once for their relief.  [editor’s note: The Nova Scotia provincial Archives maintains a database of Nova Scotia

Committee off to Victoria to oppose Water Works amendments – Feb 28, 1891

Mayor and Aldermen Godfrey, Brown, Hobson, Scoullar, Carroll, McDowell, and Templeton to go to Victoria to meet the members of the Legislature with the view of having the proposed amendments to the Vancouver Water Works Co’s Act opposed This transcript

Six aldermen walk out, leaving no quorum – Mar 9, 1891

Mayor David Oppenheimer declined to sign the minutes of the last meeting beyond the point at which he left the Chair and the special meetings. Alderman Brighouse moved and Alderman Brown seconded a motion that the Mayor leave the Chair,

Oppenheimer obliged to sign minutes – Mar 16, 1891

A majority vote of two thirds of the aldermen present compelled Mayor Oppenheimer to sign the minutes of February 23, 24, 28 and March 9. Vancouver Trades and Labour council requested that the Chain Gang not be employed on Street

Tracy voted city engineer – Mar 20, 1891

Special Meeting to consider applicants for the position of Chief Engineer. Mayor David Oppenheimer not present; Alderman Dowell appointed Chairman. Thomas H. Tracy of London, Ontario was unanimously selected. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Donna Kynaston

Mayor protests “illegal” appointment of Tracy – Mar 23, 1891

Mayor Oppenheimer sends regrets and protest against “illegal” appointment of Thomas Tracy as City Engineer. Council to send letter of protest against the Attorney General’s reported intention to change several details of the City Charter. The meeting was adjourned out

Warren to contest Tracy appointment – Mar 31, 1891

License for the What Cheer house transferred to Mr. Sciutto. Transfer for license of the Germania Hotel not approved. Plans for the city market hall approved, tenders for building to be invited. Mr. H.B. Warren will continue his post as

Women’s & Children’s hospital to go ahead – Apr 6, 189

The anticipated arrival of the S.S. Empress of India from the Orient to be celebrated with a performance by the City Band and an address to the officers and passengers. Mayor David Oppenheimer absent. The Board of Works to have

Fire Department given raises – Apr 13, 1891

The entire Fire Department budget was reviewed and the staff given raises.  City Clerk asked to contact telephone company for a discount on rates to city government telephones. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Christopher Stephenson and

Battle re City Engineer continues – Apr 20, 1891

In consideration of $2,000 grant given to the women’s and children’s hospital by the City, the Chairman of the Board of Health to be one of directors of the hospital. Ongoing conflict over the firing of Chief Engineer Warren and

Browning named to Water Works arbitration panel – Apr 22, 1891

Council appointed J.M. Browning as their arbitrator in the Water Works arbitration. A list of potential third arbitrators was presented – the City Solicitor to contact each of them to see if he would be willing to act as third

Browning appointment finalized – Apr 29, 1891

Appointment of Browning finalized. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Christopher Stephenson and sponsored by Arnold Silber original handwritten minutes here City of Vancouver Archives Series 23-A Volume 4 pages 313 only Vancouver Apr 29/91 A Special

Thomson building at Howe & Pender must be removed – May 4, 1891

$1,032 to be paid to George Telford et al for their work on Brockton Point Athletic Grounds.  Mr. Thomson, owner of the building on the corner of Howe and Pender Streets, to be notified that his building is on the

Water Works by-law complete – May 9, 1891

A Special Meeting was held to consider the Works By-Law; the by-law was read over, signed, sealed, and sent to the newspapers for publication This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Donna Kynaston and sponsored by Arnold Silber

By-law no. 118 altering Vancouver’s ward boundaries – May 9, 1891

This by-law was passed in the Vancouver City Council meeting of May 8, 1891. It changed Vancouver’s ward boundaries first set up under By-Law No. 3 in 1886. Transcribed by volunteer Anita Dos Santos in July of 2018. original by-law

Clark Park to be seeded over – May 11, 1891

The Board of Works reported that “the South Park (now Clark Park on Commercial Drive between 14th and 15th Avenues) is to be seeded at once”, and that Robson Street cannot “at present” to be made to open onto “the

Street lights not to be lit during full moon – May 18, 1891

The Electric Light Co. was instructed not to light the street lights on the night of full moon and for two nights before and after full moon. The appointment of Mr. Tracy as Chief Engineer came up again; however, Mayor

Brighouse blocks Council resignation – May 26, 1891

Alderman Brighouse refused to sign document of resignation previously signed by Mayor and all Aldermen, in response to demand brought forth at a recent public meeting. H. B. Warren brought suit against the City for wrongful dismissal. Aldermen Carroll and

Warren’s wrongful dismissal suit could cost the City $5,000 – May 27, 1891

Former Chief Engineer H.B. Warren brought a suit of $5,000 against Council for unlawful dismissal. The mayor and Aldermen had their names struck off a document of resignation signed at the last meeting of Council. This transcript was made in

No signs of leprosy within City of Vancouver – June 1, 1891

Dr. A. C. Smith reported that “after full investigation, there were no signs of leprosy within the City”. Meanwhile, hospital matron Miss Swan was directed to “exclude all cases of venereal disease from the Hospital”. Mr. Tracy’s appointment as City

Council meeting adjourned to mark the passing of Sir John A. Macdonald – June 8, 1891

Council passed a resolution of condolence to telegraph to the Lady Macdonald, window of Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada, then “adjourned until Monday next out of respect to the memory” of Macdonald This transcript was made in

Vancouver taxes will increase 2% to fund schools – June 15, 1891

The Board of Licenses approved liquor licenses for 47 hotels, 8 saloons, 6 retail establishments (including the Hudson’s Bay Company) and 6 wholesalers. City taxes were raised to 2% “to provide an additional sum for school purposes”. This transcript was

Mayor Oppenheimer’s $500 expense account called into question – June 22, 1891

The firemen allowed use of the Market Hall July 1 without charge. Alderman Godfrey to obtain a flag for the building. The Finance Committee disallows Mayor’s account of $500 to the Coquitlam Water Works after “having examined the papers and

Regulations formed for the sanitary storage & transportation of the deceased – June 29, 1891

Firemens’ salaries were raised to $10 per month ($25 for Fire Chief J. H. Carlisle). Nurses’ salaries were raised by $5 per month ($10 for matron Swan). Council chambers were ordered painted and repaired. Detailed regulations for sanitary storage and

Vancouver By-Law 121 : a by-law to establish rules, regulations, etc. for the interment of the dead in cemeteries and burial places controlled by the City of Vancouver – June 29, 1891

Illustration: City of Vancouver Archives photo AM54-S4-: Dist P9 [The first caretaker’s cottage at Mountain View Cemetery near Bodwell Road (33rd Avenue) and North Road (Fraser Street)] Document: City of Vancouver Archives COV-S36– By-law no. 121 : a by-law to

Brown, Macgowan, Murray and Baldwin elected school trustees – July 6, 1891

The school board were unanimously elected by Council ballot; Brown was elected Chairman. An offer to the New Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company was drafted. The city would grade certain streets, then allow the company to put in its rails.

Police “cannot interfere” with children playing on railway tracks – July 15, 1891

Police “cannot interfere” to compel children to keep away from the Electric Railway track on city streets.  Dr Fleming granted permission to erect a tent for the sale of drugs on Cordova St. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union advised that

Phone brought in to Mountain View Cemetery – July 20, 1891

Mrs. McDonald, wife of the cemetery keeper, to be paid $5.00 per month for attending to the telephone. City Solicitor gave his opinion that the position of Police Magistrate is technically vacant as Mr. Isaac Hallett is not a qualified

Ratepayers protest Isaac Hallett’s continuing as Police Magistrate – July 27, 1891

Mayor Oppenhiemer and Alderman receive a notice of injunction from Elizabeth Ann Studden on behalf of the ratepayers, prohibiting the City from paying any further salary to Isaac Hallet as Police Magistrate. Hastings Street to be graded for Street Railway

Water Works worth $330,081.93 – August 3, 1891

Water Works arbitration panel Browning, Tilton and Drake submit their findings. The City to regulate private “scavengering” (garbage/recycling collection) within the city as soon as the waste-burning Crematory is in operation. Police officer Joseph Gibson dismissed for being found asleep

Street railway construction halted – August 6, 1891

A bylaw was introduced to license Master Plumbers within the City. The City to immediately file an injunction to prevent further construction of a street railway along Venables Street to Boundary Road This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus

Police to enforce tramway construction ban – August 10, 1891

The Police Chief authorized to prevent the New Westminster Tramway Co to interfere with Vancouver streets, and to obtain extra assistance if necessary. Alderman Carroll authorized to purchase an artificial leg for Mr. R. D. Pitt, “the City to pay

Tramway agreement reached, construction to resume – August 13, 1891

A Special Meeting was held to finalize an agreement between the Tramway Company and the City. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Anonymous and sponsored by Shirley Barnett original handwritten minutes here City of Vancouver Archives Series

Tramway back on track, business as usual – August 17, 1891

Officer Grady “allowed $12 for a suit of clothes.” R.W. Hart awarded the contract for “burying the pauper dead at the rate of $15 for each corpse. ” The City Council “will not countenance any monopoly of the bathing facilities

Nine hour day reaches City Hall – August 31, 1891

Board of Works recommends all future contracts state “that 9 hours shall constitute a day’s work.” City Hall caretaker John Clough injured in accident; a replacement to be hired for one week. Albert Yates, Messenger for the City Hall, to

Post Office obstruction on Granville Street to be removed – September 7, 1891

Federal government seems to have stopped building post office on Granville Street, but has left stone blocks and building debris obstructing traffic. Two railcar loads of gravel to be purchased from the CPR for use on city streets. A by-election

C.P.R. Terminal at foot of Granville Street to be built – September 14, 1891

Letter received from H. Abbott, General Superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., stating that he was authorized to proceed with the construction of the terminal station at the foot of Granville Street (now Waterfront Station). Moved by Alderman Godfrey,

Vancouver plans exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair – September 28, 1891

Council “cordially endorses” Victoria council’s plan for a BC building at the (1893) Chicago World’s Fair. The Board of Health met to discuss the care and treatment of two Chinese lepers formerly employed by the CPR. Advertisement for a new

C.L. Brown wins seat in Ward 5 – October 5, 1891

C.L. Brown elected as Alderman for Ward 5, and appointed to the Board of Works, Police, and License Committees. City will purchase 20,000 cubic yards of crushed rock from Dr. Kendall. R.S. Coldwell appointed Police Officer. This transcript was made

Hallett resigns as Police Magistrate – October 12, 1891

Isaac Hallett resigned as Police Magistrate and was paid out at $125.00 per month. The lane in Block 97 D.L. 196 be graded by the chain gang. James Carnahan allowed to cut wood from five acres of the Cemetery Grounds

Champion and White to oversee garbage burning – October 19, 1891

Champion and White appointed as caretakers of the new city garbage burning facility at a joint salary of $75 per month. Board of Works to meet with the City Solicitor about how best to remove squatters from the City’s foreshore.

Vancouver’s population is more than 18 thousand – October 26, 1891

Recent city census taken by Mackay and Emanuels shows population to be 18,260. Finance committee enquired into the City’s advertising in the News-Advertiser, and concluded that there was no over-charging by the newspaper. This transcript was made in 2016 by

Water Works total tops $452,000 – November 2, 1891

water works under construction

Final price for City’s purchase of Water Works was $452,530. $225 to be paid to A. Larwill for guarding lepers. Guard to be withdrawn and Mr Abbot of the CPR be notified. Police Officers allowed to receive rewards offered outside

Leprosy correspondence to be made public – November 9, 1891

All correspondence between the City, the Dominion Government and the C.P.R. regarding the leper cases to be published. City Market hall rented for a Temperance lecture for the sum of $10. City Hall to be re-insured for $5,000 over 3

Council to meet with Victoria City Council to decide the leper matter – November 13, 1891

A committee was appointed to meet with representatives from Victoria to establish a jointly-funded leprosy quarantine facility. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Margaret Sutherland and sponsored by Shirley Barnett City of Vancouver Archives Series 23-A Volume

Lepers to be moved to Darcy Island – November 16, 1891

Vancouver’s share of the cost of the Darcy Island leprosy quarantine will be 2/7, Victoria’s will be 5/7. W.J. Hogg wrote to request that the Sunday Closing By-Law be enforced. D.J. McLean awarded contract for supplying waterproof overcoats for the

Council selects new Police Magistrate – November 18, 1891

A Special Meeting was held to appoint a Police Magistrate at a salary $125 per month. A. Williams was unanimously selected. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Bronwen Cripps and sponsored by Shirley Barnett original handwritten minutes

Police Magistrate appointment delayed, $500 for free library – November 23, 1891

A. Williams declined appointment as Police Magistrate with restrictions. $500 was set aside for the Free Library for the purchase of books only. Market Committee empowered to find out what it will cost to deaden sounds from the basement of

G.A. Jordan new Police Magistrate – November 30 1891

G.A. Jordan elected Police Magistrate. Matron “not to admit D.T. patients*” to the city jail. City scavengers must dump all watery matter into manholes using proper chutes from the carts into the manholes. The City to apply to the Government

Sidewalk to be put in for Baptist Church – December 7, 1891

A six foot sidewalk to be put on 7th Avenue to the Baptist Church, with stumps and roots “which may be obstructions” to be removed. The new Crematory (garbage burning) facility to be insured for $3,000. The City Clerk to

Water Works debentures sold at 96% – December 10, 1891

The rate for the sale of the Water Works Debentures was set at 96% (The City had wanted a minimum of 97.5%, the bank had advised a straight 95). The City will submit a by-law to the citizens to acquire

Several new by-laws formed – December 11, 1891

Several by-laws were completed: Vagrancy, Bread, Guns etc., Pound, Market, Liquor, Fire Limit & Trades License. Use of the Market Hall was granted for the 26th of December to hold a concert in aid of the Alexandra Hospital. This transcript

More pipes needed to extend the Water Works – December 14, 1891

City Engineer presented a plan of the city showing where more pipes were needed to extend the Water Works. Tenders were invited to supply appropriate pipes. City Clerk to advertise at once for a Porter and Cook for the City

City may acquire Electric Light and Street Railway – December 16, 1891

Special Meeting to review purchase of the Vancouver Electric Light and Street Railway Co. and to revise the Liquor License By-Law. This transcript was made in 2016 by Transcribimus volunteer Anonymous and sponsored by Shirley Barnett original handwritten minutes here

One Vancouver leper placed on Darcy Island – December 21, 1891

Duncan MacRae to be paid $87.50 for building on Darcy Island. One Vancouver leper established there. Accounts were submitted before year end, particularly from the Board of Works. By-Law was established to fix time and place for election of Mayor,

Street railway proposition lost; Council wraps up business – December 28, 1891

Final meeting of the Council of 1891 Fire Chief allowed to order caps for the whole department from New York, as “they are not manufactured in this city”. A Trades License By-Law was put through at the last moment. However,