Located on the western expanse of Vancouver, British Columbia, Dunbar-Southlands is a neighbourhood steeped in history and natural beauty. Covering vast swathes of land from the mouth of the Fraser River to English Bay, it is a blend of rich cultural heritage and modern urban living.
Dunbar-Southlands is primarily composed of residential and commercial sectors, characterized predominantly by single-family dwellings. These areas exude a tranquil, suburban charm, encapsulating a sense of community and warmth. Among these regions is the Mackenzie Heights enclave, a noteworthy inclusion within the neighbourhood’s geographic makeup. The region also marks the traditional territory of the Musqueam Indian Band, an important aspect of its cultural heritage.
The neighbourhood’s history is deep-rooted, dating back to as early as 400 B.C., as evidenced by archaeological discoveries. Indigenous First Nations, particularly the Salish Indians, initially inhabited this region, utilizing the Fraser’s rich hunting and fishing territories and establishing settlements at three distinct locations. A testament to the region’s geological history, it was buried beneath a glacial ice sheet as recently as 15,000 years ago.
The modern history of Dunbar-Southlands began in 1908 when the Canadian Pacific Railway owned the land, which was part of the now Municipality of Point Grey. Transport links were established by 1927, with three streetcar routes servicing the area. Dunbar-Southlands was incorporated into the city of Vancouver in 1929 when the Municipality of Point Grey merged with Vancouver. This incorporation marked a new chapter in the neighbourhood’s evolution.
The 1920s witnessed the first significant land development in Dunbar-Southlands. The homes constructed during this period, many of which still stand today, showcase the architectural style of that era. Owing to zoning by-laws instituted in 1922 by West Point Grey, these early homes were uniquely situated at the back of their lots. As a result, these historical homes have become neighbourhood landmarks, standing out amid the modern infrastructure.
Dunbar-Southlands, with its diverse history, stunning landscapes, and thriving community, epitomizes a unique blend of old and new. It’s a neighbourhood where the echoes of the past intermingle with the buzz of the present, offering a living experience that is both historical and contemporary. Today, it stands as a testament to Vancouver’s ability to preserve its rich history while forging ahead towards a dynamic future.