Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on Grouse Mountain.
1. “Gentlemen, we’ll call this hill Grouse Mountain.”
On October 12, 1894, a small party of hikers made their way up an unnamed hill on the north shore of the Burrard Inlet. As they made their way to the peak, the group began hunting blue grouse and once they shot a bird down, one of the hikers turned to the group and exclaimed, “gentlemen, we’ll call this hill Grouse Mountain”.
2. The mountain was given away in the 1930s
In 1930, a barge struck the Second Narrows Bridge, severely limiting access to the North Shore for the following four-years. This caused a drastic decrease in visitation to Grouse Mountain and after being stuck with a massive bill for the completion of the Mountain Highway project years earlier, the owners were forced to turn over Grouse Mountain and all of its assets to the district of North Vancouver for non-payment of $20,000 in taxes.
3. Grouse mountain’s peak generates clean energy
Grouse Mountain’s peak is home to the Eye of the Wind, a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine that is anticipated to eventually supply 25% of the resort’s electricity. It is the first wind turbine to be built in North America in an extreme high altitude location.
4. Grouse Mountain almost had its own railway service
People soon became tired of having to walk up the mountain and by 1911, the Grouse Mountain Scenic Incline Railway was proposed. The company intended on building a 2½ kilometre-long rail line that would carry its passengers to Grouse Mountain’s resort. Plans were eventually abandoned with onset of the First World War as steel and supplies became nearly impossible to obtain.
5. Someone did “the grind” 16 times in less than a day
Don McPherson and Phil Severy built the Grouse Grind, also known as “mother nature’s stairmaster,” in the 1980s. It was intended to be a ‘climbers winter conditioning trail’ and wasn’t actually authorized by Greater Vancouver regional district or Grouse Mountain Resort. New records are broken every year on the grouse grind, but Oliver Bibby of Vancouver still holds the record for most grinds completed in 24 hours (16 times within 20 hours) while Sebastian Salas holds the record for the quickest time (25:01). It takes the average person about 90 minutes to complete the grind.