The Stanley Park entrance and Stanley Park Brewery, painted in 1897 by artist unknown, via the Vancouver Archives blog. Also shown here is a photograph of Jackson T. Abray (far left) and others in front of the entrance to the Cosmopolitan Hotel at 101 Cordova Street, also via VanArchives (I’ve tweaked the image, removing some reflective silver in the print). Note the ad for “Stanley Park Brewery, English Ales & Stout” in the background.
This post is somewhat of a milestone, as I have now reached 900 out of 1000 posts of my lofty ambition. I had a hard time deciding what to post for this milestone, as there has been much to choose from lately. I came across a great cartoon by Sam Logan at VanCAF 2013 at the Roundhouse last weekend. The winners of the Ironclad Art competition were just announced yesterday; congrats to Nigel Dembicki and Andrew Dexel for their winning entries! I’ve found some more Ron Jackson, a personal favourite of mine, and I’ve also recently rediscovered the work of Peter Ewart whom I hope to show more of in the future. However, I figured a celebratory post about beer would be fitting during Craft Beer Week.
To dig deeper into the history of the Stanley Park Brewery, you simply must track down a copy of Bill Wilson’s book “Beer Barons of BC" available from the author or at the VPL. He has also reprinted an updated version of the history of the Stanley Park Brewery in the Spring 2013 issue of BC History Magazine (TOC only) The article begins with this intriguing opening paragraph:
Former city Archivist J.S. Matthews certainly recognized its significance when, on July 24, 1944, he took the time to interview John Benson, the last person to operate the brewery. Benson’s interview provided some key answers, but questions still remained about this intriguing and iconic Vancouver business. Then in the summer of 1993, a few more tantalizing tidbits emerged in an article by Rosamond Greer in the British Columbia Historical News. Unfortunately, the details were again left out – the article actually created more questions than answers. Brewery historians still wondered about some of the basic questions regarding the company. Was the brewery actually in the park? What was the Royal Brewing Company’s involvement? Who actually brewed the beer? Was ginger beer actually made at the brewery? When did the company cease business? What actually happened to the brewery and when? These questions still had no answer…
And so with this milestone, I am officially taking a hiatus. I won’t be posting for the foreseeable future, but I hope to return to this blog at some point to complete the final 100 posts. I should also announce that I’ll be giving a talk about Illustrated Vancouver at the Vancouver Historical Society on Thursday, March 27, 2014, 7:30pm at Museum of Vancouver (more details posted here). I may post the occasional time sensitive entry between now and then, or perhaps Illustrated Vancouver will turn into a bi-weekly or monthly publication instead of a daily one. If you have anything to share, please feel free to use the submit button. Until next time, happy tumbling!
Cross-posted to VancouverIsAwesome.com.
Update! Bill Wilson sent me pictures of the only Stanley Park Brewery label design known to survive! And only two such labels are known to exist; the other one is a partial label on a bottle. It’s such a great piece of beer lore, I just had to include it! Thanks, Bill!
pss: The only way to pick up Bill’s book is to send $30 ($25 + $5 shipping) payable to Tamahi Publications, P.O. Box 46, Lantzville, B.C. V0R 2H0. The book is about ½ sold out!