Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood - Vancouver, BC
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History & Heritage
The proximity to the business district of Vancouver and the availability of a quality water supply (Brewery Creek) made the area an ideal place for early industry and settlement. Early expectations were that Mount Pleasant would develop as Vancouver's fashionable "uptown." The area high above False Creek was named "Mount Pleasant" in 1888, after the Irish birthplace of the wife of H.V. Edmonds. Edmonds, clerk of the municipal council in New Westminster, was the original owner of much of Mount Pleasant.
By 1904, Mount Pleasant was home to a tannery, two slaughter houses, four breweries, and a train station. Industrial expansion brought residential development. By 1912, Mount Pleasant had a thriving residential population and community facilities such as an elementary school (the Kingsgate Mail site), a firehall, a first run theatre, and Vancouver's first skyscraper (the Lee Building). Mount Pleasant was also a terminus for the streetcar network.
During WWI, the tidal flats of False Creek from Main Street to Clark Drive were filled to provide a site for two large railway terminals and railyards. As a result, half of Mount Pleasant's waterfront was lost and the mouth of Brewery Creek was filled in.
By 1930, the character of the community was already established with block after block of houses on small lots, and a mix of residential and industrial uses. The 1930s brought changes to Mount Pleasant. Industrial expansion north of Broadway between Main and Cambie Streets resulted in the demolition of many homes. These changes transformed Mount Pleasant and it began to lose its residential prestige.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the remaining houses in the industrial area disappeared and more industries, low-rise offices and warehouses moved in. In 1935, the city expropriated park land at 12th Avenue and Cambie Street to build a new city hall. Mayor McGeer felt that the new location would link the area to the rest of the city. (Davis 1979) Today many older homes in south and west parts of Mount Pleasant have been restored.
Heritage Hall and the former Evangelistic Tabernacle
Mount Pleasant still has many significant homes dating from the 1890s through to the 1920s. Mount Pleasant's notable residential buildings range from a collection of modest houses from the community's first phase of development, to more substantial and elaborate Queen Anne/Edwardian type residential buildings constructed during the first two decades of the 20th Century.
There are several important buildings that serve the community including:
Heritage Hall (formerly Postal Station C)
Opened in 1915 at Main Street and 15th Avenue as a post office, this striking building is considered Vancouver's best example of Beaux-arts Classicism. The building has a stone base, coupled pilasters, steep roofs, and a tall clock tower. Now called Heritage Hall, it is used as a meeting hall and is home to many community organizations.
The former Evangelistic Tabernacle
N.W. corner E. 10th Avenue and Quebec Street
Located in the heart of old Mount Pleasant, this 1909 building originally housed the Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. The architects, Parr and Fee, used a Tudor Revival half timber-and-stone combination more commonly found in private homes. It was converted into private condominiums in the 1990s.
Opened at 12th and Cambie during Vancouver's 50th birthday celebrations in 1936, the hard-edged classicism of the austere white walls and column-like shafts appears in government buildings of the 1930s from Munich to Moscow. Learn more about the history and heritage of City Hall.
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.
Area Planning & Zoning
The Community Development Plan for Mount Pleasant (1989) resulted in revisions to the RT-6 zoning, commercial revitalization and beautification in the Main and Broadway area, neighbourhood wide-street-greening and heritage trail marking. Both this plan, and the Industrial Lands Policies (1995) include retaining the I-1 industrial area north of Broadway to W. 2nd Avenue for city-serving light industrial and service uses. The IC-3 light industrial area just east of Main Street has seen considerable residential development in the form of live/work studios or lofts.
Planning is ongoing for the south shore of False Creek, most of which is city-owned land. The South East False Creek Policies (1991) provide a general framework for development of these lands to housing, along with the needed parks, commercial and community facilities. The policies also emphasize the creation of an environmentally sustainable community.
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.
In 2007, a new planning process
is starting in Mount Pleasant to update the 20-year-old plan. The new
Community Plan will produce plans for the shopping areas and neighbourhoods,
action plans for pressing social concerns, and longer-term policies to
address community-wide issues. [Community
The zoning types found in Mount Pleasant 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].
- RT-5: two-family dwellings, or renovation/conversion of old houses,
in some cases with
infill dwelling over the garage. With design review.
- RT-6: renovation/conversion of older houses, in some cases with infill
dwelling over the
garage; new two- to four-family dwellings. With design review
- RM-4: three- to four-storey apartment buildings, with design review.
- C-2: either four-storey commercial/residential mixed use, with design
review; or three- to
four-storey all-commercial, without design review.
- C-2C: four-storey commercial/residential mixed use, with design review.
- C-3A: office or apartment buildings with retail on the ground level,
heights ranging up to
36.5 m. With design review.
- IC-3: light industrial and service commercial development, and live/work
buildings up to 18.3 m in height. No design review.