Stumps at Maple Grove Park

The park is over 100 years old, the stumps having been retained since 1913 “so that children, years hence, would have an idea of the great stands of timber that once covered Point Grey.”

Photo credit: Jayce Chen

Plaque

The huge stumps at Maple Grove Park reveal the size of the trees from the original forest that covered this site. In the late 1800s - early 1900s European settlers cut the trees with springboard notches (still visible) using large cross-cut saws. When the Municipality of Point Grey created the park in 1913 it voted to retain the stumps “so that children, years hence, would have an idea of the great stands of timber that once covered Point Grey.”

The remaining stumps are those of western red cedar (Thuja plicata), the most decay-resistant coastal forest species. Known as Bowser Park, the Park Board was petitioned in 1944 to change the park’s name to Maple Grove.

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History

A reminder of the “great stands of timber that once covered Point Grey”
Maple Grove Park, established in 1913 by the Point Grey Municipal Council, retains several immense stumps from the original forest. Although utterly pro-development, the Point Grey Municipal Council was aware that the rapid change in the municipality was obliterating all traces of the past, and voted in 1913 not to remove the old first-growth stumps from Maple Grove Park, “so that children, years hence, would have an idea of the great stands of timber that once covered Point Grey.”

William Bowser and Bowser Park
Maple Grove was called Bowser Park until 1926. Frank and William Bowser were prominent Vancouverites. Frank was a businessman, real-estate speculator and reeve of the Municipality of Point Grey. His earliest Vancouver home is on the Mole Hill block in the West End, at 1164 Comox Street; he moved to a 5-acre estate on Macdonald Street at 45th about 1908 and developed the Bowser Building (now called the Boulevard Building) at the southwest corner of 41st and East Boulevard. William Bowser, nicknamed “The Little Napoleon” for the discipline he enforced on the BC Conservative Party, was Premier McBride’s right hand man, attorney general, minister of finance, and then premier for most of 1916 until his government was defeated. He continued on for more than a dozen years as Conservative Party leader, then died during the 1933 election campaign while running for the legislature as an independent non-partisan.

Maple Grove Park
In 1944 the Park Board was petitioned to change the park’s name to Maple Grove in recognition of the beautiful trees found on the site. Maple Grove Park has a field house built in the 1950s and had a circular, unfiltered wading pool for many years, replaced by the current pool in the 1990s.

Sources

  • Charles Bayley. The Kerrisdale Story. p 31.
  • John Atkin and Michael Kluckner. Heritage Walks Around Vancouver. Whitecap Books, 1992: p. 71

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Media & Photos

Address

51st Ave. & Yew St.

Coordinates

49.224236, -123.160075

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