This view of Vancouver as it appeared to early Vancouver photographer, Charles S. Bailey just six years after incorporation as a city has appealed to me since I first clapped eyes on it a couple of years ago.
Vancouver may have been a city for half a decade, technically, but by today’s standards, it was more town-like. White guys hadn’t put their hands to ‘developing’ the land much south of False Creek and that is pretty evident here (and better, here). You can see the still-standing, forest that constituted what later would be known as the Mount Pleasant and Fairview neighbourhoods. The haze that seems to envelop this scene probably was due mainly to the multiple saw mills in the area. Hastings Mill, for example, was just northeast of where the photographer was standing.
It is also remarkable how many houses of worship are visible in this image (and how little theological variety was represented thereby). I count five Christian churches within about as many blocks of each other: four protestant and one Catholic. Holy Rosary appears to be different from how it appears today for a good reason: it was a different building. Construction of the current structure would begin a few years after this photo was taken – in 1899. The church became a cathedral in 1916.
This photo was probably made from the rooftop of the Empire Building (NW corner of Hastings at Seymour).