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It is believed the Marpole area was inhabited as far back as 3500 B.C. Two early village sites discovered along the north shore of the Fraser have been documented by archaeologists. Today, a stone cairn and a plaque in Marpole Park reminds visitors of the Marpole Midden, evidence of Marpole's earliest settlement. The Marpole Midden was discovered by workers in 1889 during the extension of Granville Street. Many tools, weapons and other artifacts were found in what proved to be one of the largest village sites discovered in North America.
First settled by non-natives in the 1860s, Marpole was originally called "Eburne Station" after Harry Eburne, the area's first storekeeper and postmaster. At the time, it was a small town separated from the rest of the city by many miles of forest.
At the turn of the 20th century, Eburne grew and prospered with construction of the Vancouver Lulu Island Railway and the B.C. Electric interurban train line. Business people realized the riverfront's industrial potential, and gradually sawmills, shingle mills, sand and gravel companies came to the area. In 1916, the area was renamed for CPR General Superintendent Richard Marpole. By 1929, when the community amalgamated with Vancouver, Marpole had become one of the city's major industrial centres.
When the Oak Street Bridge opened in 1957 the historic business district along Hudson and Marine suffered a serious decline as traffic shifted to Oak Street several blocks to the east.
In the 1960s, the area south of 70th Avenue was rezoned and low-rise stucco walkups began to replace the original homes. In 1975, when the Arthur Laing Bridge opened to airport traffic, commercial activity focused once again on Granville Street.
Abbeyfield House, 67th Avenue and Hudson Street
A number of heritage buildings remain in Marpole including Lloyd George School, Colbourne House at 8743 South West Marine Drive, Abbeyfield House, and Firehall No. 22.
After the Fire Department outgrew the building the 1924 Firehall No. 22 was converted, with minimal alternation to the exterior, into Marpole Place, a seniors' centre and neighbourhood house.
Abbeyfield House, at 67th Avenue and Hudson Street, was built in 1912 as a private residence. In 1928, the Craftsman-style home was transformed into the city's first Children's Hospital. The home is now an independent living facility for seniors, operated by the Abbeyfield House of Vancouver Society.
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 Marpole Plan (1980) provided direction on topics such as streets and park improvements, traffic management, housing, and shopping area revitalization. In the 1980s parks projects were completed and an area west of Granville was zoned for apartments.
The Oakridge Langara Policy Statement (1995) included part of the Marpole local area. Among other things, it called for provision of park space to serve Marpole. The Vancouver Park Board has since acquired land for park purposes at 71st and Osler, and on the Fraser shore east of the Oak Street Bridge.
The Industrial Lands Policies (1995) directed that the industrially-zoned areas between Marine Drive and the Fraser River remain for industrial use.
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. [CityPlan]
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.
Marpole has undergone extensive community planning and will not be part of the Community Visioning process. It may be included in a "re-visioning" process in the future. [Community Visions]
The zoning types found in Marpole are listed below. For more detailed information on what is permitted in various zones call 873-7613 or click on [link to bylaws, policies and guidelines].