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‘Naturally Beautiful And Salubrious’ – A South Westminster Subdivision,1891.

October 9, 2015

The pending arrival of regular train service from Seattle to Brownsville, and a new ferry landing at South Westminster, prompted development of the earliest suburbs opposite New Westminster. In early 1891  “District Lot 31,” a subdivision at the top of the Scott Road hill, came on the market. It was a section first owned by Ebenezer Brown.

The City of New Westminster had been designed in 1859 complete with numerous public spaces and parks.  In the country south of the Fraser River natural forests, bogs, prairies and grasslands were abundant.  Rural schools were usually situated on at least a half-acre.

This subdivision is touted foremost for its ease of access to the city center, then for its views. Superior sanitation was important and the hill-top location with good drainage had a great advantage over the flats below.

A significant selling feature is a large park of about 40 acres, set aside at the centre of the block. Whether this was a compelling attraction in a section surrounded by miles of bush, is hard to say. It was certainly forward-thinking. We don’t know if the agents were successful in marketing this suburb, but it appears to have been way ahead of its time.  The majority of residents of South Westminster and Brownsville, for many years to come, were occupied as farmers and fishermen.

Twenty years later, the British Columbia Electric Railway crossed through this section, with a station close by, and would have added to its advantages of situation.

This section of land was one of many first owned by Ebenezer Brown. It can be viewed on the Property Map 1880 by Lot Number.  Select Block & Range and scroll down to Section 31 Block 5 North Range 2 West. Section 31 is bounded on the south by 96 Ave and north by 100 Ave; west by 120 St and east by 124 St. To view the plain Google Map, deselect all features.

The layout of the block with the park in the middle is visible on maps from 100 years ago.1911 South Westminster 1911 Dominion Illus Co map


Maps from the 1950s indicate the center has given way to more housing lots1971 Military City Map sect 31.

As shown on the map dated 1971, right, the road names Victoria and Albert, and the old street names “Second St” and “Third St,” were still extant, with the new “Forrest Rd” cutting through the middle. (Green outline of old park added.)

There appears not a trace of parkland in this “naturally beautiful and salubrious situation” indicated on current maps.


1891 advert - Now is Your Chance - Lot 31 South Westminster is now on the market


Now is Your Chance!

District Lot 31

South Westminster!

Is Now on the Market!

The choice property, of 160 acres, comprises the cream of the residential property of South Westminster.

It is beautifully situated, directly opposite the centre of Westminster City, only fifteen minutes’ walk from the new Ferry Landing, and is reached by a fine road, about half the distance being planked, and the remainder a good hard gravel road.

It is the first and best level high land property, suitable for residential purposes, opposite Westminster City, and commands a most magnificent prospect of the Royal City and the Pitt and Burrard Inlet mountains partly encircling it on the eastern and northern horizon. The land rises gently, almost imperceptibly, from the brow of the elevation back, and there is not a break in the uniform character of the surface.

From a sanitary standpoint, as may be imagined from the description so far, it is simply perfect, and as a desirable place for living ‘takes the cake,’ in even this salubrious country and vicinity.

In keeping with the naturally beautiful and salubrious situation and lay of the land, the property has been laid out most liberally and artistically. Altogether, over sixty acres are devoted to streets and parks.

The lots are laid out in the same liberal manner, every lot being 132 x 66 feet, with the exception of a number of choice lots surrounding the central park, which are about three times the ordinary size.

With its splendid natural situation, superb view, and nearness to Westminster City, this property is destined in the very near future to be the favorite site for fine villa residences.

The man of moderate means can secure now, for a trifle down, a cheap and most desirable lot on which to build his home. Here, no pound by-law can interfere with the household cow or chickens, and the taxes are practically nothing.

When the new Ferry is running, which will be in a week or two, lots in this location will be just as convenient to Columbia street as many held at more than treble their value in the rear part of the city, and without any of the advantage of situation or prospect which the South Westminster property enjoys.

As intimated, the fine new ferry will soon be running, and will make half-hourly trips to begin with, commencing early in the morning and running till late at night, the passenger fares and freight rates being nothing more than nominal. The operation of the new ferry, coupled with the fact that the two main trunk roads of the District have their junction and terminus in the centre of South Westminster, to say nothing of her advantageous prospective position on the main line of the Westminster Southern Railway, will give a great impetus to this favourite suburb of he Royal City.

Already building has commenced, but the coming spring and summer will see several hundred residential and other buildings go up in various part of the townsite and the property advertised here is the pick of the whole for residential purposes.

The projected steel traffic and passenger bridge will cross from Lytton Square to a point near the new ferry landing and this will still further enhance all property in the vicinity.

It is generally admitted that Westminster’s growth and prosperity are sure, and South Westminster is so situated that it will grow with it and as part of it.

In Lot 31, South Westminster, active operations have already commenced towards opening up the streets and the work will be continued.

The lots are priced very low, ranging from $50 up, and the terms are the easiest on the market — one fourth down, the remainder in three equal installments at 6, 12 and 18 months.

Now is the time to buy, when the prices are away down, and before the real lively move of the season begins, which will be very soon; and all are agreed that Westminster City and vicinity will experience the liveliest season in real estate and general business and advancement this year than ever before, and South Westminster is going to be the prime favorite with investors.

Now is the time to buy, we repeat.

More can be seen and further particulars obtained at the principal real estate offices.

Major & Pearson, Agents.

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