Southlands is located on the beautiful west coast of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Let us take you on a short historical journey of Southlands. About 11,500 years ago at the end of the ice age, Southlands depressed by a mile-thick sheet of ice, rose as the ice retreated creating the area north of the escarpment along South West Marine Drive.

Southlands is the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, and is the traditional territory of the Musqueam – People of the River Grass. To this day, Southlands continues to be a home for the Musqueam people.

Musqueam cultural traditions include kinship, which places great value on family and relations.  Living in the Fraser River estuary for thousands of years, the land provided sustenance through fishing, hunting, trapping and gathering as Vancouver was densely wooded and full of wildlife.  The waters teemed with fish and other marine life and the marshes were home to thousands of water fowl, bear, deer and cougars.

In 1808, Simon Fraser was one of the first white people to encounter the Musqueam people.  A number of decades later on April 27, 1862, Fitzgerald and Samuel McCleery from County Down, Ireland landed via the West Indies in Esquimalt, British Columbia.  The brothers assisted with development of the North Arm trail to link New Westminster to Southlands and in September 1862 were the first to farm the Fraser Delta lands.  The Magee and McCleery homes were built in the 1860’s and 1873 respectively and are considered the oldest non-native houses in Vancouver.  They were both demolished in the late 1950’s and the lower portion of the McCleery farm was developed and became the McCleery Golf Course (which opened in 1959.)

In 1880, logging of the area north of Southlands began, and in 1892, became part of the newly incorporated District of South Vancouver. In 1928, together with Point Grey, Southlands amalgamated with Vancouver.  In 1893, the Celtic Cannery was built on Celtic Island which is now at the foot of Balaclava Street.  In 1902, the Cannery was bought out by B.C. Packers who closed and converted it for net storage.  In 1922, the Point Grey and Marine Drive Golf Courses were established after portions of Hugh Magee’s property were sold off after his death in 1909.

In 1943, the Southlands Riding and Polo Club located at the north-west corner of 55thavenue and Blenheim Street was founded.  A group of seven anonymous donors put the money to purchase 16 acres from the McCleery family and in 1949 the present clubhouse was completed.

In 1961, the river trail linking Southlands with West Southlands was constructed and is now known as Pacific Spirit Park.  Today, the trail is enjoyed by many and is the only multi-use path in the City used by horses, cyclists, pedestrians, and dogs.

To the east along West 75th Ave, lies the Fraser River park. Named in 1985, it is considered to be one of most tranquil and inspiring locations in the area because of its balanced natural and designed landscape. There is kiosk and panels located here that describe the nature, ecology, industry and history of the area.

We hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson.  Join us for a beautiful walk or cycle by forested trails from the Fraser River to the beach at Spanish Banks – an incredible opportunity within a major urban centre.