False Creek Redevelopment
The Industrial Past
The False Creek inlet of English Bay on the Strait of Georgia separates Downtown Vancouver from the rest of the city to the south. With the Burrard Inlet, English Bay, and the Frasr River, it is the least of the four bodies of water around the City of Vancouver to the north, west, and south. It was named by George Henry Richards during his Hydrographic survey of 1856-63. The Burrard Street, Granville Street, and Cambie bridges span the inlet, and the SkyTrain Canada Line tunnel crosses under it near the Cambie Street Bridge. In 1986, the north shore of False Creek was the main site of the Expo 86 World’s Fair.
False Creek once went as far east as Clark Drive. During World War I, the Great Northern Railway and the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway filled in that part for new land for yards and terminals. False Creek was the main industrial area of Vancouver through the 1950s, home to many sawmills, small port operations, and the western terminals of the major Canadian railroads. As industries relocated to other areas, the False Creek locale physically deteriorated. In 1960, the BC Forest Products plant and lumber storage facility on the south shore caught fire and burned to the ground in total destruction.
Changing Land Use
After the BC Forest Products disaster, the assertion of citizen participation in urban planning determined the future use of southside False Creek in debates on freeways and urban renewal projects. Influential citizens opposed plans for freeways through the city and radically changed decision making on land use. Major public involvement established priorities for an accessible waterfront seawall, mixed housing of market condominium, co-op, subsidized units, and houseboats formalized in a 1972 official development plan which reserved a third of the site for housing at 40 units per acre and the rest for park, waterfront, and community uses.
Northside False Creek became famous as the main site for Expo 86, after which the provincial government sold the site to a developer with ideas for a high-density waterfront community. A 1991 official development plan permitted the new market-based density accompanied by street-front shops and services, parks, community centres, daycares, and co-op and low-income housing. Most of the north shore is now a new neighbourhood of dense housing adding 50,000 new residents to Vancouver’s downtown peninsula.
Aquabus and False Creek Ferries operate daily service at points along False Creek from the Village Ferry to the Maritime Museum docks. English Bay Launch operates daily service from Granville Island to Bowen Island out in the strait “in under an hour.”
False Creek is a very popular watercourse for dragon boating, canoeing, kayaking, public ferries, charter ships, and visiting pleasure boats. There are 10 marinas with berths for 1500 watercraft and several paddling clubs and boat rental facilities. Since 1986, False Creek has been the venue for the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival and other paddling events.
False Creek Wildlife
Since suspension of industrial activity, cormorants, ducks, geese, gulls, herons, kingfishers, and owls have returned as have harbour seals. In May 2010 a grey whale entered False Creek and traversed its full inland length before returning to the open water of the Strait of Georgia.
New False Creek Live MLS Listings