Kerrisdale History

In 1902,the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) installed tracks along what is now called the Arbutus Corridor. The Sockeye Special commuter rail linked False Creek to the canneries in Steveston. Kerrisdale development was closely linked to the CPR. In 1905 the BC Electric Company tookover the tracks as part of its Interurban service, and local resident Helen MacKinnon, named  the station at Wilson Road (now 41st Avenue) Kerrisdale after her family home in Scotland. 
Kerrisdale, east of Trafalgar St. was part of the large land grant given to the CPR in 1884 in appreciation for completing the national railway. The CPR closely controlled development there, forcing most people who wanted larger land pieces to look west of Trafalgar Street. One of the few estates carved from the CPR land grant was B.T. Rogers’s 10-acre Shannon at 57th and Granville.
In 1912, streetcar tracks were laid westward along 41st, connecting Kerrisdale with the line stretching south through the bush from Dunbar Heights. The line was extended east in 1920 as far as Granville Street. As a streetcar suburb, Kerrisdale fulfilled the middle-class dream of a house with a garden on a quiet street, far from the city’s industries. 
Kerrisdale was the administrative centre for the Municipality of Point Grey from 1908 until 1929, when the City of Vancouver, Point Grey and the Municipality of South Vancouver amalgamated, to create the Vancouver we know today. Point Grey’s municipal offices were located on the site of the current Kerrisdale Community Centre. Commercial buildings were constructed close to the Interurban stop at 41st and West Boulevard, most notably the 1912 Bowser Block, which still stands at that corner. Point Grey Secondary School was constructed in 1929 at 37th and East Boulevard on the site of the CPR market gardens that formerly supplied produce for its hotels and trains. 
The 1950s marked a change in the in the areas near the commercial building, when Interesting family- oriented apartments such as ‘Dolphin Court’ at Balsam & 39th replaced small family houses, (some were relocated to vacant lots further west).
East Boulevard provided a new type of accommodation for the area when modest highrises began to appear in the 1960s. Kerrisdale became one Vancouver’s “ complete communities” with a mixture of housing types, businesses, automotive garages, a theatre, a community centre and good transit connections occupying a compact area. Because it was so desirable, development pressure increased relentlessly in the 1980s, causing demolitions of affordable apartments, a loss of the quirky diversity that characterized the commercial area, and construction of luxurious condominiums. 
Kerrisdale managed to hold the line between its apartment district and single-family areas, despite pressures from developers, lot subdividers and basement-suite barons. There remains, a strong sense of the past in Kerrisdale, in its tree-lined streets of family dwellings and the village-like charm of its commercial centre along 41st Avenue. 
Adapted from Michael Kluckner, Vancouver Remembered, Whitecap Books 2006

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