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Closing the gaps – The Pacific Highway, 1911

December 14, 2011

In 1911, local MPP Frank J McKenzie succeeded in obtaining a government commitment for money to complete the Canadian section of the Pacific Highway, part of an ambitious project to link Canada, the United States and Mexico with an automobile road.

Existing sections of the New Yale Road from the Westminster Bridge, the Yale Road eastward, and the Clover Valley Road (176 Street) south were included in the route.

To close the gaps on the road, work was started on May 1, 1911 over  the hill south of Cloverdale to the border, and by July 31st, the department was satisfied enough with progress to declare this portion formally “open,” although the bridge over the Campbell River was as yet not finished.  A small party of British Columbian officials, including Mr MacKenzie, was driven by Charles Miller of New Westminster–in his “powerful car”–to meet a party from Blaine.

Remarkable in coverage of this inaugural journey was the devastation of the forests adjacent the highway in Hall’s Prairie which revealed some hidden beauties — the pond gardens of DW Brown adorned with exotic flowers.

 

Frank J MacKenzie Conservative MPP Francis James MacKenzie — a New Westminster druggist and a son of Cloverdale pioneer Duncan MacKenzie — was a leading promoter of road-building.

FJ MacKenzie

Early auto enthusiasts were also some of the most ardent conservationists, and FJ McKenzie was one of the foremost.

“Mr MacKenzie is particularly interested in that magnificent timber section through which the Yale Road passes. This is one of the most beautiful spots on the mainland and the timber in its size and beauty rivals very closely that of Stanley Park . . . [he]  is particularly anxious to have the government take the matter up and endeavour to reserve for a permanent national park a stretch of country half a mile wide and a mile long . . .
Already American automobile parties are acquiring the habit of camping for luncheon among the magnificent trees and one of the attractions of the whole route is to be found in the connection therewith.”
     -British Columbian

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