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Vancouver history: 13 photos capture early days of West 4th Avenue

When Kitsilano went from forest to neighbourhood

Now considered the heart of Kitsilano, West 4th Avenue was solid forest in Vancouver's earliest days.

Local First Nations used parts of the land in what's now called Kitsilano, including the nearby village of Sen̓áḵw, first. They were followed in the early days of the city by some settlers even though there wasn't any infrastructure.

While there was already a small commercial area between Vine and Yew when he got going, James Quiney was instrumental in building up the area. Living at the intersection with Dunbar, Quiney and his family were the only ones living that far west on West 4th around 1908.

He began selling real estate in the area (and taking photos of it to advertise it). While his business ventures fell apart after WWI, there was momentum in the neighbourhood, helped by the streetcar line built in 1909.

From then on West 4th became a major road for the area and has remained so to this day. Now it's notable for its mix of athleisure clothing stores, coffee shops, and outdoor outfitters.

These photos are all from the City of Vancouver archives; if you want to check out the archives yourself from home, you can search their digital holdings online.