Lost Salmon Streams of Vancouver
Pacific Salmon once thrived in the many creeks and streams that flow through the area now known as Vancouver. This iconic species connects the land, water, people and animals and has always been an integral part of the life and culture of the people of Canada’s West Coast. Legends tell us of the determination and persistence of the Salmon and how they serve as symbols of abundance, wealth, prosperity, dependability and renewal. Facing the threat of extinction the Pacific Salmon were formally designated BC’s official fish in 2013.
Pacific Salmon – Official Fish of British Columbia
Brewery Creek, one of Vancouver’s most important creeks, once flowed openly from what is now 41st Avenue down St. George Street and into False Creek along with dozens of other nearby creeks and streams. It was named Brewery Creek by settlers because it provided water and energy to a number of small breweries established along its banks around the turn of the 20th century.
Waterfall on Heather St at 9th Avenue c.1909
A working-class neighbourhood grew around these breweries and factories at Main St and Kingsway. Connected to downtown Vancouver by new streetcar routes, ‘Mount Pleasant’ became Vancouver’s first suburb. By the 1950s many of the smaller breweries along Brewery Creek had been bought out by larger companies and relocated elsewhere. The creek, and many others like it, were thought to be no longer important and as the area developed for residential and commercial use the creeks and streams were covered or filled and eventually built on top of.
View of Vancouver from Mt. Pleasant c.1892
Vancouver’s impressive annual rainfall (1153.1 mm) however, still drains through this entire watershed. Although the ‘lost’ streams are mostly hidden from view, they are definitely still present, diverted below the surface of the city in culverts and pipes, many of which follow the course of the original streams.
‘Daylighted’ stream at Ontario Street and 1st Avenue