Here in Downtown New West, we’re called the “Original Downtown” for a reason: we constantly redefine what it means to be a Canadian city. However, that innovation wouldn’t happen without acknowledging the deep roots set by those that came before us.
This city has history, and it’s important to look back a bit and see just how far we’ve come!
The 1880s – Dashwood-Jones Store
The space that Anvil Centre would eventually occupy had humble beginnings: prior to New West’s Great Fire of 1898, Mr. & Mrs. William Dashwood-Jones ran a humble fruit & produce store between Begbie and now-defunct Ewan Street. Now, Anvil Centre serves as museum, archives, and a host of other services for the city at large.
In 1913 – New Westminster City Market
Historical records mark this version of the New Westminster City Market as temporarily replacing the original lost to the 1898 Great Fire. While it may be a far cry from auctioning off horses, the location now houses Army & Navy’s Department Store, keeping the locale’s sales tradition alive and well.
In 1935 – Columbia @ McNally Street
Originally an intersection in downtown’s west side, the corner of Columbia and McNally Streets held stores such as Fujiwara Dry Goods and Westminster Welding. Today, McNally Street may be gone, but Shops at New West has far outgrown those few stores into a major commercial hub in its own right!
By 1940 - Columbia Street (Waves Coffee & Polo Health)
Columbia Street has been the place for businesses throughout the years: Westminster Trust and Fraser Café has gradually given way to stores like Waves Coffee or services such as Polo Health + Longevity Centre, and if recent years have proven anything, the block has plenty of vitality to it even to this day.
This is just a small glimpse of how downtown has evolved throughout the years: what historical landmarks can you point out? Let us know on social media using the hashtag #downtownnewwest!
*Credit to New Westminster Archives.