Vancouver Centennial Plaque #15 – Hastings Mill


397 Railway St


Railtown Cafe, above the window on the right





On this site in 1867, Captain Edward Stamp built a sawmill, then known as Stamp’s Mill. In 1869 it was renamed Hasting's Mill and provided the initial economic base for the growth of Granville or "Gastown".”

Credit: Vancouver Centennial Commission, Historic Plaque Program – list and documentation plaques 1-49 (June 18, 1986). Courtesy of Vancouver Archives

Captain Edward Stamp was an English businessman (and later politician) who formed the snappily-named British Columbia and Vancouver Island Spar, Lumber and Saw Mill Company to begin a sawmill on Burrard Inlet. The first location was at what is now Brockton Point in Stanley Park, but the conditions made it unsuitable, so they moved about a mile to the east.

Stamp’s Mill began producing lumber for export in 1867, but after two years, Edward retired and the company went into liquidation. In 1870, the mill reopened as the Hastings Sawmill Company. The company town around the mill was the earliest non-indigenous settlement on the site of Vancouver. Edward’s friend, Jack Deighton (known as Gassy Jack due to his talkative nature) opened a saloon near the mill for workers and sailors – this was the beginning of Gastown.

The mill survived the Great Fire of 1886. However, in 1927, the mill was sold to the Harbour Commission and dismantled. The mill’s store building is the oldest surviving building in Vancouver, so was moved to a new location in 1931 and turned into a museum (more to come later!).

This plaque is on the corner of the Railtown Cafe.

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