The continued revival of Port Haney

The Port Haney Change Initiative is working hard to revitalize the neighbourhood.

  • Sep. 4, 2012 7:00 a.m.
Downtown Port Haney with the Bank of Montreal building [now Billy Miner Pub] under construction in 1910.

Downtown Port Haney with the Bank of Montreal building [now Billy Miner Pub] under construction in 1910.

In 1910, Port Haney was booming. R.L. Carter’s general store was the second store in the immediate vicinity with the other being Charlton’s store on the wharf.

Mrs. Charlton, whose house was upslope of the frontage street, was building a commercial building in her front yard, right on River Road, which was to be leased to the Bank of Montreal for its first location in Haney.

In today’s picture we also see another building in the background facing onto 224th Street – Ontario Street, at the time – that was a combined pool hall, barber shop and sometime movie theatre, where magic lantern slides were shown and later, moving pictures projected onto a sheet tacked to the wall.

Much of our detail about life in Port Haney in 1910 came to us from Howard Legatt, whose family moved into the upstairs of the pool hall building in 1908.  Howard was a real gem with a terrific memory and he shared many stories with the community archives before he passed away.

The building with “Haney” written on it was the CPR station – the third in that location. What appears to be a power pole at the west end of the station is actually carrying telegraph wires. The Stave Falls power plant was not operating yet, so there was no electricity available.

The station gardens were beautiful and award-winning. CP had competitions across the country for these gardens and Haney won more than once.

At the lower left of the picture you can see part of the word “Haney” spelled out in white rocks. It is not clear who was responsible for the garden. It was likely the station manager and his family primarily, perhaps aided by other community members.

The main idea behind the gardens was to make communities attractive to people passing by on the train in the hopes that they would perhaps return as residents. It is also possible that CP wanted to keep its staff busy between trains.

Now, the station is gone and its replacement is somewhat to the west.  About the only elements that remain are the bank building, which is now the Billy Miner Pub, and River Road itself.

Just a bit over 30 years ago, the Haney Bypass cut diagonally across the old Port Haney neighbourhood. Despite a hard-fought battle by the Maple Ridge Historical Society and other friends of Port Haney, the old townsite, which had been the commercial centre for Haney right up to the construction of the Lougheed Highway, was severed from the industrial part of the neighbourhood to the east. In one fell swoop, the industrial lands were converted to residential and parkland on the east side, while the old commercial district was effectively orphaned on the other.

For a long time, this blow had defeated the old neighbourhood and it went into decline. But good causes are never lost forever and people missed the sense of community to be found in a functioning neighbourhood. A group called the Port Haney Change Initiative formed in 2010 and is working hard to revitalize the neighbourhood and build a new identity based on the old. Members will be holding their second annual Port Haney Day at Haney House Museum and Callaghan Park on Sunday, Sept. 9 from noon to 3 p.m.  Please join us for history, food, and children’s activities and to meet the people who are driving the revival process.

 

Val Patenaude is director of the Maple Ridge

Museum and Archives.