The Name “Grandview”

There have been a few explanations of the name of our neighbourhood or, rather — because the name is so obviously descriptive — the date and person who coined the name.  In the 1920s, City Archivist Major Matthews noted that Prof. Edward Odlum, scientist and local realtor, always claimed naming rights.  I have now found a report from 1911 which seems to substantiate the story.

In a page one article on May 19th, 1911,H.H. Stevens, editor of the Western Call, wrote:

“The writer recently undertook the task of ascertaining the origin of the name ‘Grandview’ … Well, about twenty years ago, two gentlemen, one an alderman of the young city of Vancouver, and the other a member of Parliament, by name Professor Odlum and William Craney, took a walk out into the forests lying eastward of the then City of Vancouver.  They stopped on the crown of a hill and, looking westward, they beheld one of the most beautiful views which is was possible to imagine.  Under the spell of the vision which unfolded itself before their wondering eyes, they gave expression to their delight in various terms.  One said to the other: ‘What a grand view! Let us call this beautiful hill Grandview.’ They agreed at once, and so it was named.  Through his position as an alderman and as a newspaperman, Professor Odlum was able to keep the term before the public, and thus by constant reiteration it became a fixed name for that section of the city.”

Odlum was a columnist for Stevens’ paper and lived at the corner of Grant &Commercial.

2 thoughts on “The Name “Grandview”

  1. Thanks Jak, you have finally solved the problem of the origin of Grandview’s name with your solid source with good dates and a quote from someone close to the origin of the story.

    It seems to me Major Matthew’s material implied the area was named by Odlum around the time he built his house, about 1906. This seemed a little suspect because the name Grand View appeared in the city directories soon after the time when the first house was built near Grant and Commercial in 1891.

    Now your discovery clears everything up, since “about 20 years” before the article was written in 1911 is about 1891. Well done!

  2. And the H.H. Stevens would be Harry Herbert, campaigner for moral rectitude and against opium and gambling, Conservative cabinet minister and namesake of “Stevens’ Folly,” the grain elevator completed by the federal government at the foot of Salsbury to take advantage of the opening of the Panama Canal. He ended his political career as the radical leader of the Reconstruction Party during the 1930s depression. What a career he had! The H.H.Stevens building at 10th and Quebec commemorates him. As I recall it, he lived somewhere at the eastern end of False Creek, on the escarpment near Clark Drive

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