High on a bluff overlooking English Bay in stoney Point Grey is the city’s most unique historical museum. Its Vancouver’s oldest building, circa 1865, built at the birth of British Columbia’s great lumber industry. Part of the first sawmill complex on the south shore of Burrard inlet, Hastings Mill, it was the nucleus around which the city grew. The rustic cedar-slab, pioneer store was saved from demolition on the waterfront east of Gastown and barged to its current site, to much public fanfare in 1930. Renovated under the watchful eye of the city’s oldest female historical society, the Native Daughters of British Columbia, the Hastings mill Store was resurrected as a museum and lodge in the heyday of secret societies. The group continues to own and operate it today much the same way as they have done for more than 80 years.
Remnants of the old store remain: a massive 66 foot support beam, artifacts from Granville’s first Post Office and relics from the sawmill itself, including the bell that called the workers to dinner. There’s a vast photograph collection, depicting the lumber settlement as early 1872, and there are women’s crafts, such as, Victorian hair embroidery and WW1 “war woollies.”
The First nations carvings, beads and basketry are astounding, dominated by Coast Salish weaved cedar bark. Entire 1920s-style museum cases are also dedicated to assorted Pre-historic artifacts, some dating to the first millennium. B.C. Early pioneer history is well-represented from the petition to incorporate the city of Vancouver to the first city council table. There are relics of the great Fire of 1886 and souvenirs of the SS. Beaver, that sank off Prospect Point. There’s even a life size Hansom cab tucked away in one corner.
Take a step back in time at 1575 Alma Street. By Donation.
Hours of Operation:
June 15 – September 15: Tuesday to Sunday from 1.00pm to 4.00pm
September 16 – December 1: Saturday & Sunday from 1.00pm to 4.00pm
February 15 – June 14th: Saturday and Sunday from 1.00pm – 4.00pm