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The first settlers in Kerrisdale were the Irish McCleery brothers, who came to the area in 1867 to farm the meadows where the golf course now bearing their name is located. When the Steveston fish canneries began to flourish, a need for workers prompted the CPR to construct a railway from Vancouver to Lulu Island. The "Sockeye Special," as it was called, went through the heart of Kerrisdale, providing transportation for the first influx of people.
Kerrisdale acquired its name in 1905, when the B.C. Electric Railway took over the line from the CPR. Mrs. MacKinnon, one of the area's earliest residents, was asked by the line's general manager to name the tram stop at Wilson Road (now 41st). She chose "Kerrisdale" after her old family home in Kerrydale, Scotland.
In 1908, the area joined the new municipality of Point Grey and the first election was held January 11, 1908. As the geographic centre of the area, Kerrisdale became the political hub. The present Kerrisdale Centennial Park was the site of the original City Hall which at that time contained the Council chamber, municipal offices, the police court and a two cell jail.
From 1904 to 1912, Kerrisdale boasted a general store and post office, a hardware store and a real estate office, at the intersection of Wilson Road and West Boulevard. In 1912, Frank Bowser and Frank Burd built the Bowser Block, which still occupies the southwest corner of the intersection.
Streetcar service arrived on 41st Avenue in 1912, passing through the developing commercial area at 41st Ave. and West Boulevard. Kerrisdale joined the City of Vancouver in 1929 when it amalgamated with Point Grey.
Kerrisdale retains the basic development pattern of the early years, established by the Wilson Road and Vancouver-Lulu island train tracks.
Ryerson United Church, on West 45th Avenue
Early settlers in Kerrisdale, attracted by the semi-rural setting, developed many homes in a variety of styles which still remain today. Architectural styles include English Arts and Crafts, Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and the Beaux Art. Kerrisdale has retained many of its original homes and remains one of Vancouver's most pleasant neighbourhoods.
Among the estates lining Southwest Marine Drive are a number of gracious mansions from a bygone era. The Barton Home, at 2194 Southwest Marine Drive, was designed by prominent architects Maclure and Fox in 1913 and is an excellent example of the Tudor Revival style. The Rio Vista and Casa Maria Estates (2170 and 1920 Southwest Marine Drive), both built for members of the Reifel family, are impressive examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Ryerson United Church, located on West 45th Avenue, is a neighbourhood landmark with its steeply-pitched gable roof and prominent corner tower. Built in 1927 in Gothic Revival, the church continues to be an important focus for community events.
The elegant Shannon Estate on Granville Street is another community landmark. This palatial Beaux Arts home was originally built for Benjamin Tingley Rogers between 1915 and 1925, and was later owned by well-known financier Austin C. Taylor. The property was redeveloped following Taylor's death in 1965. Condominiums were added to the site, but the main house, with its columned porticos, balustrades, outdoor terraces, and significant landscape features and gardens, still remains.
Detailed information on the city's heritage and a complete list of heritage buildings is available at City of Vancouver Heritage.
Additional information is available through the City of Vancouver Archives.
The Southlands Plan (1988) covered the area south of S.W. Marine Drive to the Fraser River. It resulted in revised RA-1 zoning and guidelines, a decision on zoning for the Angus Lands area, and policies related to floodproofing and dyking.
In the 1990s, residents were consulted as part of the the Secondary Suite Program. As a result of input received, zoning was adopted that does not permit rental suites in Kerrisdale. In the late 1990s, RS-3, RS-5 and RS-6 zonings was adopted.
In 1995, Vancouver City Council approved CityPlan: Directions for Vancouver.
CityPlan is a citywide plan that will guide City decisions on programs,
priorities and actions through 2021. CityPlan provides general directions
for a range of topics and issues in which the City is involved including
neighbourhood centres, housing variety and affordability, neighbourhood
character, services, safety, arts and culture, public places, economy
and jobs, transportation, environment, downtown development, financial
accountability, and decision making.
The Community Visions Program is a component of CityPlan that provides each community with an opportunity to look into its future, determine its needs and aspirations, and set a course that is consistent with CityPlan. Community visioning is being implemented in areas where there has been little or no previous community planning.
Kerrisdale, together with two adjacent areas, is slated to have a Community Vision Program starting in 2003. [Community Visions]
The zoning types found in Kerrisdale are listed below.