Vancouver Centennial Plaque #3 – Arrival of the First Train


744 W Hastings Street (Hastings & Howe)


Pacific Building


Missing, but the building is on the Heritage Site Finder



The first C.P.R. train from Eastern Canada to Vancouver arrived near here. The headlight carried a transparency of Queen Victoria, and Mayor Malcolm MacLean, the city band and a crowd of cheering citizens welcomed its arrival.”

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

The history of Vancouver is tied into the development of the Canadian Pacific Railway. CPR selected the townsite to be the terminus of their transcontinental railway and the name was changed from Granville, which had “unsavoury” connections to the saloon-filled Gastown, to Vancouver – mainly as people knew where Vancouver Island was. The city was incorporated in April 1886, but was destroyed by the Great Fire in June, so when the transcontinental service from Montreal began in July, it had to stop at Port Moody.

On 23 May 1887, the train finally made it to Vancouver! The city was decorated in celebration, as was the train itself. Engine 374 was greeted with crowds cheering, bands playing and flags flying all over the city. The Victoria Colonist said “Vancouver is naturally jubilant and tonight is joyous”. The Victoria Daily Times said they “extend to the junior, but lusty, city a friendly shake and a God-speed”.

Engine 374 retired in 1945, but was refurbished to be displayed at Expo 86, then in 1997, was given a permanent home at the Roundhouse.

Leave a comment

Name .
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published