Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coal Harbour neighborhood, Vancouver city

The 2014 Geological Society of America annual meeting is going on right now in Vancouver, BC. Just to the west of the convention center is the Coal Harbour neighborhood (some maps spell it Harbor; there is also a town of the same name on Vancouver Island). Working in coal petrology myself, I was curious about its name.

Did, of course, check Wikipedia, plus found a great local site with historic photos:
Coal was found on the bluffs overlooking the harbor (along what is now West Hastings Street) in 1859 according to the Inside Vancouver website (1862 according to Wiki). However, both sources say it was of poor quality and never exploited. The associated clay was porcelain-quality, but also never produced. Being at the terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the area was an industrial center. Now it boasts a marina, condominiums, shops and restaurants.

Speaking of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the grand historic old CPR hotel is on Burrard Street, just a block south of the Hyatt. Like all grandly elegant former CPR hotels, it is now run by Fairmont hotels (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver). I have been through the lobbies of historic CPR hotels in Banff, Quebec City, Lake Louise, and Victoria (in latter also had high tea and dinner while in town for an organic petrology meeting in 2007). I will definitely have to walk through the Vancouver lobby and see if I can swing afternoon tea or drink at the bar!

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