In the summer of 1865, when Captain Edward Stamp began to organize the construction of a small sawmilling operation on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, he likely never realized that a future metropolis was in the making. The fledgling Stamp's Mill, later to become Hastings Mill, was Vancouver's first community-a townsite inhabited by an eclectic mix of colourful characters from widely diverse backgrounds. Life centered around the iconic Hastings Mill Store, where one came to obtain groceries, hardware, mail and the warmth of human interaction around an oil drum fire. Historic times aplenty unfolded at Hastings Mill. Here residents rallied to assist victims of the Great Vancouver Fire. Lumber cargo loads of legendary size and quality were shipped to markets near and far. Dominion Day festivities were celebrated in fine style on a sports field of mill sawdust. Indigenous occupants of the region engaged in mill employment and commerce. Chinook jargon was the widely spoken, multi-lingual trade language of the era. When time and local demographics ultimately spelled the death knoll for the sawmill and its weathered structures in 1930, an unlikely group of determined ladies rose to the challenge of saving the Hastings Mill Store, Vancouver's oldest building.
About the author
Lisa Anne Smith was born in Burnaby, B.C. She travelled extensively while working towards a Business Certificate in Travel and Tourism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and has written articles for various publications. In her spare time as stay-at-home mother, Lisa self-published a childrenâ??s book to benefit the St. Roch Preservation Campaign. Lisa has been an education docent at the Museum of Vancouver for the past seven years, and is a member of Native Daughters of B.C. Post #1 and a curator for the organizationâ??s Hastings Street Mill store (the oldest building in Vancouver). She lives with her husband, two children, and Sunny (the worldâ??s least intelligent but most loveable golden retriever) in Vancouver.