Vancouver Golf Links – another lost golf course in Vancouver

Vancouver Golf Links – “Another Lost Course”

Years of research shows the Lower Mainland lost the Vancouver Country Club course at Jericho (1892 – 1894), their course in Stanley Park (1894 – 1896), and their course at the Moodyville Rifle Range in North Vancouver (1897 – 1899). The Jericho Country Club returned to the original Jericho site in 1905 building a nine-hole course. In 1924 the club signed another lease with the Admiralty on the south side of 4th Avenue to 8th Avenue and from Highbury to Discovery. Because of the War the course closed in June 1942. The New Westminster GC operated in Moody Square in New Westminster from 1894 – 1907. The Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club occupied the present Van Deusen Gardens, the Eric Hamber School property, and the three Blocks on the west side of Oak from 37th – 40th Avenues from 1911 – 1959. BC’s first public golf course, the Exhibition or Hastings Park GC, opened on the present PNE grounds in 1924 and closed in 1952. The Quilchena golf course opened in 1925 as a nine-hole course on the east side of Arbutus from King Edward to 33rd. The CPR rail line from Vancouver to Lulu Island formed the eastern boundary. In 1930 the course expanded to eighteen holes on the west side of Arbutus to the ridge and from the present Prince of Wales Park to 33rd. Avenue.

Prior to recent research for the Vancouver Historical Society lecture, very little was known about the course the CPR constructed on the ridge overlooking their Vancouver – Lulu Island line.  As the rail line left 33rd Ave traveling towards 41st Avenue the train climbed the Mackay grade. The course occupied the lands eastward from the rail line to about Angus St. and from 35th Ave. to 37th Ave. The present site of the Point Grey High School formed the southern boundary.

After the closure of the Vancouver CC at Moodyville in June 1899 golfers in Vancouver had no club or course. On June 28, 1902 Richard Marpole, the general superintendent of the CPR, made the announcement regarding the new golf links for Vancouver. “ The CPR offers the grounds on the CPR Vancouver – Lulu Island railway line at the point known as the Summit (the Mackay Hill Summit) which is about three miles from the CPR Station in Vancouver. One hundred acres are set aside for the course. The company plans to spend $8,000 – $10,000 for the clearing of the land and the laying out of the course. The company hopes the golfers will form a strong golf club. A nominal annual rental sufficient to pay interest on the investment will be charged to the club. The club pays for all maintenance and construction costs for the clubhouse. The club will have the option of purchasing the land at any time it feels so inclined.” Mr. Marpole believed the establishment of a fine golf links would prove valuable to the City. Guests at the CPR Vancouver Hotel had free access to the course.

The golf devotees supporting the plan included Henry Abbott, Francis Chaldecott, Henry Wolferston Thomas, Hon Cecil Edwards, H. MacIver Campbell, John Pugh, John Boyd, Byron Johnson, Dr. H. Johnston, and R. Rintoul. These advocates strongly urged the CPR to construct the course in order for them to form a club. Without an organized golf club membership golfers in Vancouver were prevented from playing in the British Columbia Men’s Championships held annually at the Victoria GC. The championship allowed any person on the Pacific Coast to compete for the Bostock Cup if the player belonged to a recognized golf club on the coast.

Even though Richard Marpole strongly campaigned for the construction of the course, the CPR dragged their feet. Finally Lord Shaughnessy, the chairman for the CPR, committed his company to the idea in 1904. Francis Chaldecott mentioned in his pamphlet Early Golf in Vancouver 1892 – 1905, “Dr Graham Colin Campbell of Toronto and myself under the supervision of Richard Marpole were authorized to commence construction of the course on the land lying between 35th and 37th Avenues to the west of Granville St.”  News reports indicate the course probably opened in late 1905 or early 1906 under the name the “Vancouver Golf Links” It probably only existed for about one year. In May 1909 the CPR began advertising lots for sale in their newest housing development project in Strathcona. This property was the old Vancouver Golf Links property. “Vancouver’s New West End is in Point Grey and Strathcona Is Centre. The property commands a panorama view of Greater Vancouver showing the North Shore mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Fraser River.” At the same time the CPR began construction of the Shaughnessy Heights Golf Course.

To avoid any confusion with the name “Strathcona” it should be noted this property was located in the independent Point Grey Municipality. The Vancouver Municipality had its own older “Strathcona” on the east side of the city.

Why did the course close?  In 1904 a more desirable option came available for the original Vancouver CC members. The Admiralty transferred their lands at Jericho on the north side of 4th Ave to the province. The original golfers immediately approached the government to lease these lands for a golf course. Chaldecott and the Bell –Irivings argued their organization had built their first course on the lands in 1892. Vancouver Mayor Tisdall lobbied in their favour. The government agreed based on the fact a first class golf course would expand land sales in the area. Chaldecott raised the money for the new venture at the Vancouver Club. The Jericho CC Syndicate purchased the Dalgleish ten acres plus Jerry Rogers’ original house for their new clubhouse. By dyking and dredging around the original golf course, the Syndicate transformed the land into a first class truly links golf course. The Jericho CC opened in 1907. Soon the Club had tennis courts, lawn bowling area croquet, stables and a shooting area. Members formed clubs to compete in all the competitions in the City.


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