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The western boundary of the railway belt

June 8, 2013

The Railway Belt was a strip of land 20 miles each side of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) line in British Columbia that was transferred to the control of the government of Canada as a concession for building the railroad, part of the agreement by which BC entered Confederation.
For this reason,  whereas early crown-granted lands were recorded in the Colony of BC,  when the railway belt came into effect lands were granted by the Dominion.
At a time when the completion of the national road was bringing thousands of settlers to the lower mainland, the interruption in land policy threw orderly settlement into disarray. New land surveys were needed and policy changes were necessary that would take years to sort out.
The western boundary of the railway belt south of the Fraser River was decided to be a direct north-south line along what is now 120 Street, formerly called Scott Road, and also once known as the Mud Bay Road, from the river south to Mud Bay.
(There was more than one Mud Bay road in Surrey, and in early days the Kennedy Trail also was known as such.  This arises from the common practice of settlers as referring to a road by its destination, the road to —.   In New Westminster people took the False Creek Road to Gastown, where people so situated took the Westminster Road to the city. Where all roads lead to Rome, each is the Rome road for some people.)

The boundary was described in 1887, and through many discussions of the belt over the years, it was not until 1905 that someone took notice that the Mud Bay Road did not extend to Fraser River, nor, as a matter of fact, to Mud Bay. Moreover, at Brownsville the line cut at an angle across existing lots in Group Two.
(Boundary in 1887 shown in map at right.)
  west boundary railway belt BC - 1887

Accordingly, the act was amended in 1906, and the Brownsville end of the boundary was routed along the flats on Scott Road, to the Yale Road, thence to the river — and on the other side connecting with the line of the North Road:
". . .northerly along the eastern side lines of the Mud Bay (or Scott) road, and the Yale road, to the south bank of Fraser river at Brownsville. . ."

(Revised boundary,  railway belt at Brownsville, 1912, right.)

  west boundary railway belt bc - 1912

See Report of the Surveyor General of Dominion Lands, 1906-1907.

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