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Not Walley. . . Whalley

March 19, 2014

We know this district best as "opposite the city," which was how the denizens of the tents, shacks and shanties on the north side of the river often referred to the other side.
When Ebenezer Brown built his wharf here the location had an identity.
Later developments brought new names — Surrey, Liverpool, South Westminster,  Timberland and South Port Mann.
Some of the names were subdivisions, with names made up by real estate developers – as were the names of Port Kells, Cloverdale and others.
In the coming decades this trend continued with many neighborhoods given invented names.
So, how did Whalley get its name?
The name had some provenance, since Mr George A Whalley set up a store and gas-station at the top of Peterson Hill on the Pacific Highway in 1925, later adding tourist cabins to the site.
He called his place ‘Whalley’s Auto Park and Service Station.”
The locale became known as Whalley’s Corner.
However in 1948,  the merchants along this stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway decided they needed a new name for the area, and they held a contest.
A $50 prize was on offer to whoever picked the winning name, and 1555 entries were received, coming from as far away as California and the east coast.  It was great publicity.
The name would be one to use as a postal address, and hence the postal authorities had a veto over many names chosen.
A committee of 47 local businessmen assembled to bring the choices down to a final six.
The final six names for the district were: Cornwallis, Petersham, Coventry, Mountbatten, Whalley and Walley.
An elimination vote reduced the finalists to two names:  Whalley and Walley.
Tension mounted in the crowded barn at Bolivar’s chicken hatchery, waiting for the winning name to be announced.
And the winner was – Whalley!
Awarded the  50 dollars cash prize for naming Whalley was Naomi Chambers.


We like Whalley.

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