Heritage Site Finder


Heritage Site Finder

An interactive map of buildings and sites on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

Yaletown Historic Area




Historic Context
In 1886 the City of Vancouver made an agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway which detailed that if the CPR would move its rail yards and repair facilities to False Creek’s north shore, the City would not collect taxes from the CPR. The CPR agreed and moved its rail yards and employees from the town of Yale in BC. This is how this area came to known as Yaletown. Yaletown was an industrial powerhouse for western Canada all the way until the 1950’s, when warehouses moved closer to major highways for truck transport. It is now a chic residential area with many neighbourhood parks, cafes, retail stores and residential high-rises.
Vancouver’s mayor at the time, David Oppenheimer describes the move from the town of Yale to present day Yaletown in an 1889 speech saying:
“The administration of the Canadian Pacific Railway continues, as was to be expected, [to make] our City more and more the headquarters of the management of their Pacific Division and the source of supply for their army of workmen and mechanics, officials and linemen … Since the opening of their workshops and car factory, a whole quarter of the town on False Creek has sprung up, which has been named by the inhabitants after their former place of abode, Yaletown, a name which will very likely adhere to this thriving section of CPR life in our midst.”

Indigenous Roots
Yaletown is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

Diverse Communities
– According to the 2016 census, 52% of Yaletown residents reported having Western European heritage- specifically English 18%, Scottish 13%, Irish 12% and German 9%.
– The dominant languages spoken in Yaletown homes are: English, Mandarin and Farsi.
– In July of 1979, Yaletown opened its doors to the first lesbian owned and lesbian-oriented club, Qaudra. Although it is not around anymore, Quadra made a big impact on Vancouver’s gay and lesbian history.

Planning and Development
– The City of Vancouver laid out streets and planned a new eight-block warehouse district which is Yaletown as we know it today.
– Yaletown was a prime location for factories and warehouses because of its proximity to rail transport.
– Yaletown became the centre for industrial goods production, and many warehouses and factories, producing goods such as lumber, tea, coffee, textiles, wooden barrels, and steel goods.
– Rapid warehouse construction came to a halt with the arrival of truck trailer transport. Most of the warehouses and factories closed its doors and moved closer to major highways.

Urban Planning
– Yaletown is home to David Lam, George Wainborn, Helmcken & Yaletown parks.
-The skytrain station in Yaletown is called the Yaletown-roundhouse station on the Skytrain Canada line.


Sources: 1. Vancouver Public Library- Leonard Frank Collection : Leonard Frank Collection: Background Information | thisvancouver.vpl.ca 2. Vancouver Archives- City of Vancouver Archives 3. History of Yaletown - Roundhouse Community Centre 4. Caboose & Rail History | Yaletown: Where Next Begins (yaletowninfo.com) 5. History Walking Tour | Yaletown: Where Next Begins (yaletowninfo.com) 6. The Quadra Club | Vancouver As It Was: A Photo-Historical Journey (wordpress.com) 7. Vancouver Then and Now: False Creek (PHOTOS) | News (dailyhive.com) 8. Yaletown: Then and now: Photo Gallery - Vancouver Is Awesome 9. Yaletown: Then and now « Les Twarog Vancouver Real Estate and Condo Blog (6717000.com) 10. Bizmap-Report-Yaletown-2018-Web.pdf 11. 5 things you didn't know about Yaletown - Vancouver Is Awesome 12. Recreation Park • Vancouver Heritage Foundation (placesthatmatter.ca) 13. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/5392601/sickly-yaletown/