Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Streetcars in the forest: See what Kitsilano’s busiest street looked like a century ago (PHOTOS)

There wasn't a yoga studio or brunch place in sight

Over 110 years ago a group of workers had a job that sounds very strange today.

They were tasked with digging up Fourth Avenue, working through the forest that was Kitsilano at the time to build a new streetcar line.

Photos taken by James Luke Quiney, an amateur photographer and professional real estate agent living in the area, give a glimpse of the back-breaking work that was required to build the rail line and the finished product.

The photos were taken in 1909 at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Waterloo Street. At the time there was nothing there but trees and their roots, judging by the debris around the workers. Other than some logs piled in the distance there's no other sign of human activity.

By October of 1909, the rail was laid and the first streetcar came down; at the same intersection there are electrical poles and a sign Quiney put up advertising property in lot 540, an area of Kitsilano suburbia now. This area of West Vancouver was growing at the time, though UBC hadn't moved out to the endowment lands yet. Kitsilano Beach was already a popular destination, though.

The shot from Google Street View is that same intersection nowadays, looking east.

The final shot is the same streetcar line, though at Granville Street and in 1926.