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North Road – The Burrard Inlet Trail Company, 1859-1860

March 6, 2017


On September 2, 1859, Colonel RC Moody signed a contract with a company of seven trail-builders to open a road from the Camp of the Royal Engineers on Fraser River north to Burrard Inlet.  The “North Road”  was completed in February 1860.

A road to a salt-water anchorage on Burrard Inlet was a military and commercial first priority for the Royal Engineers

The opening up of the North Road spurred land purchases along its route, especially by the  company of road contractors, all but one of whom bought lots in the vicinity.

The contractors were Andrew Hardie, Alexander White, Angus H Manson, Francis E Wade, Alexander Cameron, Joseph Clearihue and James Hogg.

They were to receive 70 British Pounds per each of the 5 miles completed, inspected and approved: 25% in cash and the rest in Scrip.

(At the time the Pound was valued at 5 U.S. dollars.)

Scrip, or “Certificate of Claim,” was a voucher to buy land. It was issued in lieu of money that the Colony did not have.

(The ramifications of the Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works coining Scrip taxed the best accounting minds of the day — WD Gosset and Robert Ker — so we won’t try to explain it further.)

The seven adopted the name Burrard Inlet Trail Company and started work immediately.

Before the end of September the party had completed the first mile and company secretary Alex White requested Col. Moody to have the work inspected and authorize payment of the first installment of cash.

A month later, from their camp on the north bank of the Brunette River, they reported completions of the second mile.

Approaching Christmas, 1859, the crew was working across the lower eastern slope of Burnaby Mountain.

The trail was completed in February, 1860. Working in fall and winter weather, through the densely forested terrain, they had progressed ar a rate of one mile per month.

In total, the company was paid 93 Pounds in cash and 277 Pounds in Scrip.

Scrip was at that time valued at 10 shillings per acre, for a total value for the company of 354 acres of land.

Even before the trail was finished, the men were snapping up frontage lots along the route.

Below are listed the earliest lot holders in this area.

A Google map includes some adjacent early land purchases.

The name of trail-builder. Francis E Wade does not appear among those who bought lots in this area. He is the subject of the following post.

(We have not researched each lot and in most cases the information is from FW Laing.)

All lots are in Group One, New Westminster District.

Lot No.  –  Purchaser

1 William Holmes
2 Joseph Clearihue (sold to Holmes see Memorandum)
3 RC Moody (Laing) or James Hogg  (History of Burnaby]
4 Angus H Manson
5 Alexander White
6 Adam Turnbull (James Hogg –  src Laing)
7 George W Hodgkinson
8 Andrew Hardie
9 CG Major .
10 JJ Brown
11 Jos. Burr
12 RC Moody
13 W Holmes
14 Joseph Burr
15 Robert Goskirk & Murdoch McMillan

16 Edward White
17 W. Holmes
18 RC Moody

Back of the road –

25 JC Armstrong
27 John S McDonald
28 William Clarkson
29 GC Clarkson
30 Thomas Bennett
40 RC Moody
41 RC Moody
53 JA Reynolds
54 Wm. Hodgkinson
55 Wm. Hodgkinson
95 GW Hodgkinson
191 Alexander Cameron

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