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In the 1930s 'Vancouver's Major Attraction' was an aviary inside a local man's home

Charles E. Jones loved birds so much he spent nearly a decade running an aviary out of his own home.
birds-paradise-vancouver-archives
A visitor and Smoky the dog at the Birds’ Paradise, 1938.

If thoughts of dozens of birds perching on your head, shoulders and hands sound appealing to you, a visit to Charles E. Jones’ Birds’ Paradise would fill you with joy.

“Vancouver’s Major Attraction”, as proclaimed by Jones’ promotional brochure, was located at Jones’ house at 5207 Hoy St.

Jones,
always a lover of birds, began his aviary in 1931, a few years after retirement.

In newspaper articles, the Birds’ Paradise was said to host thousands of visitors each year, from all around the world, including South Africa, Norway, India and Japan.

Jones canvased for the relocation of his aviary to Stanley Park in the later part of the 1930s, but that dream was not to be realized. By the end of August 1939, despite all the visitors, and the three newsreels that Jones’ promotional brochure touted as “showing in all parts of the earth by Universal Films”, he closed his doors to visitors due to dwindling finances and poor health.

When he died two months later, The Province proclaimed, “The birds of the air are sighing today, not over the death of one of their own, but for the loss of a man who loved them."

Interested in finding more archival photographs of Vancouver? Search the City of Vancouver Archives’ online database. For more information about the Archives, its holdings, and how to research, visit the Archives’ website.