March 20, 2021

View from the 1920s: “Indian Park” and a Driveway

Michael Gordon, doing research in the bunker we call an Archives, came across “a proposal to declare the still-existing Kitsilano Indian Reserve a park – and excitement over a ’20 mile driveway’.”

The proposal was by the City’s de-facto archivist Major Matthews, as reported in the Vancouver Star in 1924.  His vision:

… a magnificent driveway twenty or more miles long, running out Georgia street, around Stanley Park, back over Beach avenue and Pacific streets to Burrard street, thence across the new Burrard Bridge (it hadn’t been built yet) to Indian Park (to be ‘acquired’ for park purposes) and Cornwall street and finally around Marine drive by the University and back over Granville street.

If this route were properly beautified and marked out by trees, where is the drive in the whole world that can best it?

Over time, Vancouver ultimately surpassed Matthew’s vision, extending the seawall around Coal Harbour and False Creek – not for a driveway, of course, but for the greenway we see today.  (Though if the NPA of today had their say over the design, perhaps they would have tried the Fairness Finesse, arguing that a seawall for only pedestrians and cyclists is unfair.  Anything less than a shared route for cars – Matthew’s Driveway – would discriminate against the disabled and seniors requiring easy access.)


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  1. I think the terminology has changed over the years. I think ‘driveway’ would be more like ‘parkway’ or ‘scenic route’.
    I remember that there used to be ‘scenic route’ signs around the edge of downtown, on Burrard Bridge and Cornwall Ave. out to Point Grey.
    There’s also probably a map from the 1950s – 70s that would have ‘scenic route’ marked on it.

  2. Changing terminology indeed from ‘Kitsilano Indian Reserve’ to ‘Indian Park; to ’to be acquired for park purposes’ i.e. Vancouver Parklands and for what? For the sake of motordom of course. How very strange.

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