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Dunbar neighbourhood


Dunbar-Southlands is a mature community of quiet, residential streets lined with grand old trees, serene parks, convenient Dunbar Village shopping area, and the lovely McCleery Golf Course. Dunbar-Southlands is home to the Musqueam First Nation land, as well as the unique urban country neighbourhood of Southlands. This area is in the southwestern section of the city, north of the Fraser River and east of the University of British Columbia and Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Neighbourhood history and heritage

Archaeological evidence indicates that native Indians inhabited the Southlands area as early as 400 B.C. The mouth of the Fraser provided abundant hunting and fishing grounds for coastal Salish Indians who settled in at least three locations: the Angus Lands, Celtic Island and the Musqueam Reserve area. In 1879, the Musqueam Reserve was formally dedicated and in 1892, Southlands became part of the newly incorporated District of South Vancouver.

In 1908, while land was available in Marpole for development, land in the Dunbar area (then owned by the CPR and the province and part of the old Municipality of Point Grey) was unsuitable for development having been logged off and left a mass of fallen, burnt timbers. The first non-native settlers in the area were the Mounts who purchased a lot on 22nd Avenue in 1912 and built a shack; the lot became 3379 West 22nd Avenue.

In 1912, a section of the University of British Columbia lands was subdivided and lots were laid out based on town planning principles of the day. The streetcar reached Clare Road (now Dunbar Street) in 1913 and went as far as 41st Avenue by 1925. By 1927, the area was served by three streetcar routes. Dunbar-Southlands became part of Vancouver in 1929 when the Municipality of Point Grey amalgamated with the City of Vancouver.

The first significant land development in Dunbar-Southlands occurred in the mid-1920s and some of the homes built during this period still stand today. Because West Point Grey's 1922 zoning by-laws dictated that these early homes be situated well back on their lots, those that remain standout as neighbourhood landmarks. Subsequent development took place in the years following World War II and then again in the early 1970s when King Edward Place and Salish Park were developed.

Did you know?

  • Long revered by Musqueam Natives as a portal to the spirit world, the 2,000-year-old Camosun Bog is a unique wetland area located within Pacific Spirit Regional Park. A boardwalk path begins at Camosun and 19th Avenue.
  • Margaret Laurence, one of Canada's best known novelists, published her first novel and wrote The Stone Angel (Rachel, Rachel as a movie) while living at 3556 West 21st.
  • Greenpeace, the world's largest environmental organization, began with a small group of people meeting in the house at 3504 West 19th.

St George's SchoolDunbar-Southlands has a rich architectural heritage and, fortunately, a number of significant homes and buildings still remain from the area's early settlement days. As of June 1992, there were 21 structures listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

Lord Kitchener School located on Blenheim at King Edward was built in 1914. This building features a refined combination of wood surfaces and textures, and is a very good example of the sophisticated use of wood that could be seen in Vancouver prior to the First World War.

Some of the earliest homes in this area are designed in the English Arts and Crafts and the Edwardian Building styles. Many of the homes were built before 1920 and remain as single family homes to this day. The Haigler House at 3537 W. 30th Avenue is a good example of such a building. Community support prompted its preservation.

See detailed information on the city's heritage and a complete list of heritage buildings.

Additional information is available through the City of Vancouver Archives.

Dunbar-Southlands Community Vision Plan

A Community Vision Plan is the result of a comprehensive, collaborative local planning process.

Read the Dunbar-Southlands Community Vision Plan  3.93 MB

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