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The lay of the land in 1989, The False Creek Flats were completely submerged and Main Street was a bridge.

Timeline of a community in flux

1898 False Creek flows to the edge of what is now the Cottonwood Gardens, and what may soon become the…

By Kirsty Matthews , in City , on November 12, 2012

The lay of the land in 1898. The False Creek Flats were submerged and Main Street was a bridge. (Image: James Johnstone)


False Creek flows to the edge of what is now the Cottonwood Gardens, and what may soon become the Malkin Connector.


CN Rail fills in the eastern part of False Creek and turns it into the False Creek Flats, an industrial area composed of warehouses, train terminals and bus depots.


City planners declare Strathcona a slum and plan to build a highway through the neighbourhood. Earmarked for removal are 600 homes and businesses. Large parts of Gastown, Chinatown and Strathcona are slated for demolition.


The Strathcona redevelopment project moves into Phase II. Local streets are prepped for the introduction of the highway.


The plan is met with fierce opposition. Former premier Mike Harcourt is among those protesting.


A photograph of Hogan’s Alley before it was destroyed
(Photo: Hogan’s Alley Project)

Mothers at Stamps Place social housing protest against CN Rail, three blocks north of Cottonwood Gardens.  They are calling for a safer way for their children to cross the tracks to get to their elementary school. Some mothers are imprisoned but eventually an overpass is built.


The viaducts are built despite community objections. Hogan’s Alley, Strathcona’s historic ‘black’ neighbourhood, is razed to the ground to make way for the viaducts.


Oliver Kellhammer and a handful of “guerilla gardeners” take over a piece of vacant land on the north side of Malkin Avenue and turn it into Cottonwood Gardens.

The first plot of Cottonwood Gardens (Photo: Oliver Kellhammer)


Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs attends a Strathcona Residents Association meeting to discuss a plan to remove the viaducts in order to revitalize the area. He mentions plans to create a commemoration of Hogan’s Alley and plans to redirect traffic from away from Prior, a busy neighbourhood street that was never designed to carry the load of traffic that it does.

June 2012

The city reveals its viaducts-removal plan, identifying Prior as the major eastern route out of the city.

July 2012

Hundreds of Strathcona residents stage a protest on Prior Street demanding a better plan and calling for a calmer street.

July 2012

A petition to save Cottonwood Gardens is launched.

November 2012

COPE, the city’s left-wing civic party, issues a letter of support for Cottonwood.

November 2012

Coun. Geoff Meggs writes on his blog that there may be a resolution in the new year when staff reports to council, but “as long as Cottonwood is on a strategic ‘right-of-way’ Cottonwood’s future will not be secure.”

January 2013

City meeting scheduled to discuss development of the Malkin Connector and possible destruction of Cottonwood Gardens.