HISTORY OF MOUNT PLEASANT
Mount Pleasant is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood outside downtown and includes a distinct collection of small businesses, community and arts organizations, and residents from all social and economic backgrounds. The rich residential, commercial and industrial heritage of the area weaves together a variety of cultures and economic backgrounds, to create an intriguing collection of community memories and stories that date back to the early 1900s.
Bound by False Creek, 16th Avenue, Cambie Street and Clark Drive, Mount Pleasant was Vancouver’s first suburb, originally inhabited by First Nations when the landscape was rainforest and swamp created by a beaver dam. A large creek, which drew industry, followed the path of what is now Main Street and later was renamed Brewery Creek for the collection of breweries that were attracted by the fresh water source. During the 1910’s boom years, Mount Pleasant was a buzzing hub of activity; expectations were for the area to become a vibrant commercial centre and a focal piece of Vancouver’s fashionable “Uptown”.
Industrial expansion North of Broadway in the 1930’s caused the demolition of many houses and a loss of residential prestige for Mount Pleasant. As the mid-century approached, more houses disappeared to be replaced by offices and warehouses. By the 1960’s, Mount Pleasant was looking worn out and houses were deteriorating. However, a group of dedicated individuals – including four members of the Davis Family whose renovation and restoration work focused on the West 10th Avenue area – helped to change all that by focusing on neighbourhood renewal. Finally, by the 1990’s, Mount Pleasant saw an upsurge of rebuilding and community spirit, revitalizing the area completely.
In 1989 local business owners formed the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area, one of the first in the province, to address the growing concerns of safety, security and the eroding business environment. The last 15 years has seen the neighbourhood transform. The determination of small businesses owners, the neighbourhood pride felt by residents and the distinct charm offered to visitors has re-established Mount Pleasant as one of the best areas to live, work, eat and shop in Vancouver.