150 events that shaped B.C.’s economy

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, BIV looks back at a century and a half of economic milestones that have shaped commerce in the province ...
The Last Spike driven in the new transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 was a defining moment in the economic fortunes of British Columbia and helped cement the province’s place in Confederation | Library and Archives Canada

In the spirit of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations, Business in Vancouver has compiled a list of 150 events that have helped define B.C.’s economy and business persona since Confederation.
The list does not claim to be a comprehensive inventory of major business events in the history of the province, but it’s a reckoning of some of the key ingredients that have guided economic development and inspired frontier enterprise in Canada’s westernmost province.

1 1867: John “Gassy Jack” Deighton opens the Globe Saloon south of Burrard Inlet to serve drinks to Hastings Mill workers. He later builds the Deighton House hotel on the corner of Carrall and Water streets. Gastown, named after the builder of the area’s first saloon, is formed around the location.

2 1868: Vancouver Island Coal Mining Co.’s annual production rises to 44,000 tons as Vancouver Island’s coal mining industry, now almost two decades old, becomes increasingly competitive.

3 1871: B.C. becomes the sixth province to join Canada. The dominion absorbs B.C.’s massive debt and promises to build a railway from Montreal to the Pacific coast within 10 years.

4 1871: Census records show that there are roughly half a million foreign-born people living in the country, representing 16.1% of the Canadian population, according to Statistics Canada. The proportion rose to 22.2% in 1931 and as of 2011 was 20.6%.

5 1874: The federal government builds the Point Atkinson lighthouse in West Vancouver as a gift to British Columbia for joining the federation. It’s the first lighthouse on the province’s mainland.

6 1883: The E&N Railway land grant is established. As part of an agreement that brought the colony of Vancouver Island and the rest of British Columbia into the Dominion of Canada, the government of Canada grants 800,000 acres of land on Vancouver Island to coal baron Robert Dunsmuir to build the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. The land is later sold, and about one-tenth of Vancouver Island forest land is still owned by TimberWest and Island Timberlands – a legacy of the Dunsmuir land grant.

7 1885: The Chinese Immigration Act is passed. It’s the start of the Chinese head tax, intended to discourage Chinese citizens from entering Canada after many Chinese helped to build the country’s Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

8 1885: The federal government bans potlatches. The law remains on the books until 1951. Potlatch is a gift-giving feast practised by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada and the United States, including the Heiltsuk, Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Makah, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish. It is a cornerstone of their primary traditional economic system.

9 1885: The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed. B.C. is finally linked to the rest of Canada via rail.

10 1887: The Vancouver Board of Trade is established to rebuild the city after the Great Vancouver Fire. It represented the trade and business interests of merchants and manufacturers. It does the same 130 years on as the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

11 1888: Stanley Park opens, creating Vancouver’s first urban park. It becomes a major tourist attraction.

12 1890s: Fruit and vegetable production is established in the Okanagan, along with cattle ranching in the Cariboo region.

13 1894: The Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston, the largest of its kind in B.C., opens. The salmon canning business was a major employer in B.C., with many canneries concentrated in Steveston. The cannery closed in 1979.

14 1897: The discovery of gold by local miners in Klondike, Yukon, in late 1896 kicks off the Klondike Gold Rush. It attracts roughly 100,000 prospectors, mainly from the U.S., to the region. The gold rush led to the formation of Dawson City (1896) and Yukon territory (1898).

15 1902: Vancouver Shipyards is incorporated. The company flourishes a decade later during the First World War as it builds ships bound for Europe.

16 1903: The first major sympathy strike in B.C. involves CPR railway workers seeking union certification. Labour leader Frank Rogers is killed by CPR police while picketing at the docks during that strike. He becomes the British Columbia labour movement’s first martyr.

17 1903: H.Y. Louie is founded as Hok Yat Louie opens a small general store in Vancouver’s Chinatown to sell feed to farmers in 1903. The retail enterprise expands rapidly to become one of B.C.’s largest companies – a conglomerate that includes the IGA Marketplace grocery stores and the department store London Drugs.

18 1903: The University of Victoria is founded, laying the foundations of B.C.’s public university system.

19 1903: Woodward’s is built, establishing a major downtown retail centre. In 2010, the site is redeveloped to include 536 market and 200 non-market housing units, retail space and an addition to Simon Fraser University’s (SFU)downtown campus, the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.

20 1906: The Heather Pavilion of Vancouver General Hospital opens. B.C.’s largest hospital merges with UBC Hospital in 1993 to form the Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre.

21 1906: The Vancouver Stock Exchange is incorporated as Canada’s third major exchange along with exchanges in Toronto and Montreal. The Vancouver exchange enables small-capitalization mining and energy companies to go public and establishes Vancouver as a hub for junior miners.

22 1907: Purdy’s Chocolates is founded by Richard C. Purdy, who opens his first shop on Robson Street, Vancouver. The company goes into debt in the early 1920s before being sold to bookkeeper Hugh Forrester for $1 in 1925. In 1963 it is sold to Charles Flavelle and Eric Wilson. Flavelle’s daughter, Karen Flavelle, becomes its owner in 1996.

23 1907: Construction begins on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, west from Edmonton through the Upper Fraser, Bulkley and Skeena valleys. Built over seven years, the line aims to give Canada a second gateway through the mountains to the Pacific coast.

24 1907: Anti-Oriental Riots occur in Vancouver’s Chinatown. No one is killed but thousands of dollars in damages are caused to Asian-owned property. One result is an informal agreement whereby the government of Japan stops emigration to Canada. There are some 16,000 Chinese in the province, about 8% of the city’s population of 100,000. There are also 8,000 Japanese and approximatley 5,000 South Asians.

25 1909: An explosion at a Ladysmith coal mine kills 32 people. Along with gas explosions in Morrissey, it spurs the rewriting of the Coal Mines Regulation Act and establishment of mine rescue stations around B.C.

26 1910: Workers across the province band together under the BC Federation of Labour to influence political change. After two world wars, the Great Depression and division among B.C.’s working ranks, the BC Fed was recreated in 1956.

27 1910: The Dominion Building, Vancouver’s first skyscraper, is built at Hastings and Cambie streets.

28 1911: The number of B.C. residents who are migrants from other provinces reaches a proportion representing nearly half the province’s population, rising to 49.6% from 7.9% in 1881. According to Statistics Canada, proportions of interprovincial migrants are also high in Saskatchewan (57.9%) and Alberta (54%).

29 1911: Denman Arena, with Canada’s first artificial ice surface, opens on West Georgia Street. It is home to the Vancouver Millionaires until the team disbands in 1926. Ten years later the arena is destroyed in a fire.

30 1912: The Vancouver Island coal strike begins on September 12. By the following year, 3,500 miners are on strike. It ends with the start of the First World War and a withdrawal of strike pay end the strike.

31 1912: Pacific Great Eastern Railway is incorporated; the company’s name is changed to BC Rail in 1972 and it becomes profitable for the first time in the 1980s. It is another key B.C. transportation link connecting the urban southwest of the province with interior and northern communities and resource extraction areas like Tumbler Ridge.

32 1913: Teck-Hughes Gold Mines Ltd. is founded. The company evolves into Teck Resources, B.C.’s biggest mining company.

33 1913: The Pacific Highway Border Crossing in Surrey opens and soon becomes one of the busiest border crossings along the U.S.-Canada border.

34 1914: The Panama Canal opens, allowing Vancouver’s port to compete with the major international ports for global trade by positioning it as an alternative route to Europe.

35 1914: The First World War begins. Over the four years of the conflict, 13% of B.C.’s population, the highest per capita rate in Canada, enlists. It has major repercussions for the provincial economy, including ending labour disputes.

36 1914: Three hundred seventy-six passengers aboard the Komagata Maru from British-ruled Punjab try to immigrate to Canada, but only 24 are allowed entry; the vessel is forced to return to India. The incident highlights exclusion laws used to exclude immigrants of Asian origin.

37 1914: The Port of Prince Rupert opens as an alternative to the Port of Vancouver. The northwest B.C. city later expands its port during the Second World War to support military operations in the Pacific.

38 1915: The University of British Columbia is established as an independent university, which allows it to become a leading centre for academic research in Canada.

39 1917: Caucasian women are granted the right to vote. The extension of voting rights for women in Chinese, aboriginal, Japanese and other Asian minority communities follows in the next three decades.

40 1917: Prohibition begins. Banning the sale of alcohol creates a thriving black market economy.

41 1917: B.C.’s timber production surpasses that of every other province.

42 1918: The 1918 Vancouver General Strike is Canada’s first general strike.

43 1919: The Vancouver Real Estate Exchange, now the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, is founded.

44 1923: Ballantyne Pier opens. The completion of the pier, after the federal government sets up the Harbour Commission (forerunner of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority) in the early 1920s to oversee port development, establishes the most technologically advanced port in the British Empire.

45 1928: Nat Bailey opens Canada’s first drive-in at Granville Street and 67th Avenue. White Spot is now an international brand that remains headquartered in Vancouver.

46 1929: U.S. stock market crash triggers the Great Depression, the effects of which are felt around the world. In B.C., the economic crisis devastates sectors across the board and throws thousands out of work. A few months before the crash, B.C.’s unemployment rate is 2.6%; three years later it is 26%.

When it opened in 1930, the Marine Building was the British Commonwealth’s tallest building | Rob Kruyt

47 1930: The Marine Building opens. While the world is mired in the Great Depression, the tallest building in the British Commonwealth is completed in Vancouver, providing the city with international prestige and a beacon of hope in a time of economic despair.

48 1931: The Vancouver Art Gallery is established at 1145 West Georgia Street. In 1983, it moves to its current location at 750 Hornby Street, replacing the former provincial courthouse. The gallery has a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks and has an annual operating budget of approximately $19 million.

49 1931: Vancouver International Airport opens. The airport begins with a single runway and a small wood-frame administration building that welcomes 1,072 passengers in its inaugural year.

50 1938: The Lions Gate Bridge opens, linking the North Shore to  downtown Vancouver.

51 1939: Canada’s entry into the Second World War rapidly accelerates growth in B.C.’s resource and manufacturing industries and sets the stage for unprecedented postwar economic expansion.

52 1942: The Alaska Highway, a major route in northern B.C. from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, Alaska, is completed.

53 1946: Bloedel, Stewart and Welsh’s Port Alberni mill is built.

54 1946: Fourteen Vancouverites sign a charter to establish the Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. About two weeks later, the credit union, Canada’s largest, becomes official.

55 1951: Alcan Aluminium’s Kitimat smelter and surrounding townsite is built between 1951 and 1954; the Kenney Dam on the Nechako River, along with the smelter, powerhouse and townsite, is the largest construction project in B.C. at the time.

56 1951: H.R. MacMillan Export Co. merges with main competitor Bloedel, Stewart and Welch to form MacMillan Bloedel Ltd., B.C.’s largest forestry company and a driving force in the province’s economy.

57 1952: The Cassiar asbestos mine opens. It operates for 40 years before being shut down in 1992.

58 1952: Yearlong construction begins on the Alberta-to-Burnaby Trans Mountain pipeline at a cost of $98 million.

59 1952: W.A.C. Bennett is elected premier, a position he holds until 1972. The province’s longest-sitting premier is responsible for nationalizing private utilities into Crown corporations, including BC Ferries, BC Hydro and BC Rail, and developing or expanding three universities: the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria. But he is best known for building hydroelectric dams. A massive dam built between 1961 and 1968 on the Peace River is named after him. Thanks to Bennett’s vision, British Columbia gains a competitive advantage in attracting heavy industries because of its cheap, abundant power.

60 1954: The BC Lions join the Canadian Football League.

61 1955: Westcoast Transmission, a company founded by B.C. businessman Frank McMahon, begins construction of the $198 million Westcoast natural gas pipeline, which brings natural gas from the Fort St. John area to Vancouver and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. 

62 1954: Empire Stadium opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park for the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. It later plays host to musical acts such as the Beatles and sports teams like the BC Lions.

63 1959: The tunnel connecting Richmond and Delta opens. It is renamed George Massey Tunnel in 1967.

64 1960: BC Ferries launches with two ships, two terminals and about 200 employees. The first sailing is between Swartz Bay, north of Sidney on Vancouver Island, and Tsawwassen. British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. is now one of the world’s largest ferry services and a key transportation link between the mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

65 1960: The British Columbia Vocational School, later to become the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), is established. In 1961, plans are announced to establish BCIT as the first institution to provide advanced technical education in B.C.

66 1961: Jim Pattison, now the province’s richest person, opens his first car dealership. Pattison goes on to found Canada’s second-largest company, the Jim Pattison Group.

67 1962: The Trans-Canada Highway is completed, creating the first paved road to cross the province.

68 1962: The B.C. government mandates that at least 50% of the wine in B.C.-labelled bottles must be made from B.C. grapes. The government previously did little to foster the province’s wine industry. The threshold rises to 65% in 1965 and 80% in 1969.

69 1962: BC Hydro is established to execute huge power infrastructure projects like the Peace and Columbia river dams; the Crown energy corporation more than quintuples B.C.’s electrical capacity over the next 20 years, powering the province’s forestry, mining, pulp and paper and other resource industries that are the backbone of B.C.’s economy.

70 1962: Typhoon Freda hits Vancouver, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage, killing seven and injuring hundreds.

71 1962: The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company is founded. It produces plays in a 668-seat theatre on the corner of Hamilton Street for nearly 50 years before closing in 2012 due to financial difficulties, despite a $1 million bailout attempt by the city in 2011.

72 1963: The Littlest Hobo becomes the first syndicated television series shot in B.C., a milestone in what becomes a major film and television production industry in the province.

73 1964: The first Port Mann Bridge opens on the Trans-Canada Highway. It’s followed decades later with a second Port Mann Bridge that opens in 2012.

74 1965: Simon Fraser University is founded, establishing a major Canadian post-secondary institution atop Burnaby Mountain.

75 1968: Vancouver International Airport’s main terminal is completed, significantly increasing the airport’s capacity and improving access to Vancouver.

76 1968: The Pacific Coliseum opens, serving as the home for the Western Hockey League’s – and, later, the National Hockey League’s – Vancouver Canucks until 1985.

77 1969: Canadian aerospace giant MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) is founded in Vancouver. MDA is perhaps best known as the creator of Canadarm for NASA.

78 1970: The Vancouver Canucks join the National Hockey League.

79 1970: Fording River coal mine, B.C.’s biggest mine, is established. Mining operations begin a year later.

80 1971: Mountain Equipment Co-op, a pioneer of the region’s active, lifestyle-focused retail sector, launches in Vancouver.

81 1972: David Barrett leads the BC NDP to its first election victory. The win delivers a wide range of new business-related legislation, including a higher minimum wage, new labour laws, a freeze on agricultural land development and the creation of the Insurance Corp. of British Columbia.

82 1974: The city gets a new professional soccer team when the Vancouver Whitecaps become part of the North American Soccer League. In 2011, the team joins Major League Soccer.

83 1975: The Resort Municipality of Whistler is incorporated as Canada’s first designated resort municipality. Whistler Village, Blackcomb Mountain and the north side of Whistler Mountain open for business five years later.

84 1976: The Canadian government begins negotiating a treaty with the Nisga’a First Nation, which has never surrendered title to its lands. It is the first modern-day treaty signed with a B.C. First Nation. Enacted in 2000, it provides for ownership of land and self-governance and becomes the template for the BC Treaty Commission.

85 1977: The provincial government establishes a film development office to market the province to the Hollywood community.

86 1978: Via Rail launches its first transcontinental passenger service between Montreal and Vancouver.

87 1978: Vancouver’s first Gay Pride Parade is held. It marks a major turning point in the city’s cultural life and highlights a new model for business investment and sponsorship in major cultural events.

88 1978: B.C. issues its first winery estate licence.

89 1979: Ballard Power is founded. The company is credited, along with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates and Creo, for creating Vancouver’s high-tech hub.

90 1982: The Canada-U.S. softwood lumber dispute begins and is resolved the following year.

91 1982: At a time when Carling O’Keefe, Labatt and Molson dominate the country’s beer industry, Frank Appleton and John Mitchell start Horseshoe Bay Brewery, widely considered to be Canada’s first microbrewery.

92 1982: Vancouver International Film Festival begins. It becomes one of North America’s top five film festivals and plays an important supporting role in B.C.’s film and television production industry.

93 1983: Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium is opened in Davie Village by Jim Deva and Bruce Smythe. In court cases observed around the world, the bookstore has a major impact on publishing and Canadian censorship laws.

94 1983: BC Place opens. The stadium, built at a cost of $126 million, allows Vancouver to host major events that it previously was unable to accommodate.

95 1983: Canada amends its Immigration Act to include a new category: entrepreneur class, which invites prospective immigrants with the financial capital to start a business or invest in an existing Canadian business. The change, followed in 1986 by the creation of an investor class, attracts thousands of immigrants from China, particularly Hong Kong, many of whom land in B.C.

96 1984: The federal government allows beer to be brewed and served in the same establishment. The same year, Canada’s first brew pub opens. Spinnakers in Victoria remains in operation to this day.

97 1985: Canada and the U.S. sign the Pacific Salmon Treaty, which establishes an equitable division of fishing catches and strengthens conservation.

98 1985: The Vancouver Convention Centre opens. The federal government pumps in $144.8 million to build the facility, while Toyku Canada Corp. spends $140 million to build the adjoining Pan Pacific Hotel and the World Trade Centre. The harbourside complex stimulates Vancouver’s economy by enabling the city to host much larger events. It also contains berths for cruise ships.

Opened in 1985, SkyTrain provided a ride the following year to Prince Charles and Princess Diana | TransLink

99 1985: SkyTrain, the province’s first rapid transit line, opens, providing quicker commuter access between Vancouver’s downtown and New Westminster. The line also drives development in New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver.

100 1986: B.C. liquor laws are relaxed for Expo 86, but temporary measures such as opening bars and pubs on Sundays remain after the world’s fair closes.

101 1986: The Expo 86 world’s fair opens. It is arguably the most pivotal business event to take place in the province. It ushers in key infrastructure such as SkyTrain and the Vancouver Convention Centre and revitalizes an industrial area that surrounds False Creek.

102 1986: The 186-kilometre Coquihalla Highway opens between Hope and Kamloops.

103 1986: Canada Place opens. It is Vancouver’s main cruise ship terminal and includes the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel and Vancouver’s World Trade Centre.

104 1986: After remaining fairly constant until the mid-1980s, the number of Canadian trips abroad rapidly increases after 1986, rising from 13.8 million to 21.7 million in 1992.

105 1987: The Delgamuukw case begins. Involving 58,000 square kilometres of traditional Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest B.C., it runs from May 11, 1987, to June 30, 1990. The case makes its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which in December 1997 acknowledges aboriginal title. The decision kick-starts B.C.’s land-claims process and raises more investor and entrepreneur concerns about potential or existing businesses on land claimed by First Nations.

106 1987: Starbucks expands into Vancouver with its first international location for the coffee chain, the first of a wave of locations opened across the country. Vancouver and Seattle are simultaneously the first locations in which Starbucks sells brewed coffee.

107 1987: Vancouver Film Studios becomes the second-largest production facility outside of Los Angeles after buying Northstar International Studios.

108 1988: Canada and the U.S. sign the Free Trade Agreement, which removes trade restrictions and boosts cross-border trade.

109 1988: Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing buys the 82.5-hectare False Creek Expo site for $320 million. The controversial deal to sell the entire site to single buyer for what turned out to be a bargain price helped offset  Expo’s $311 million deficit and laid the ground work for the redevelopment of a core city area. It also kick-started the inflow of Asian investment into Vancouver’s real estate market.

110 1989:  Outdoor clothing company Arc’teryx is founded in North Vancouver.

111 1990s: Hammered by global competition, B.C. shipbuilding declines rapidly. The industry was established by two world wars and the 1959 formation of the BC Ferry Corp. More than 40 vessels were built for the company between 1960 and 1999.

112 1991: Electronic Arts buys Burnaby-based Distinctive Software Inc. in a deal worth US$11 million. It creates EA Canada, the gaming company’s largest studio, and puts Metro Vancouver on the digital entertainment and game development map.

113 1992: The BC Treaty Commission is established to  settle native land claims in B.C.

114 1993: Protests in Clayoquot Sound against B.C. forest industry practices mark the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history and draw international attention. One outcome of the protests is the transition to a less antagonistic and more conciliatory approach to settling forest land-use disputes.

115 1994: The North American Free Trade Agreement supersedes Canada’s trade agreement with the U.S. and removes barriers to trade between Canada and Mexico.

116 1994: Mission Hill Family Estate Winery receives the Avery Trophy for Best Chardonnay in the World at the International Wine & Spirit Competition. It is an unprecedented achievement for a small family-run winery and puts B.C.’s Okanagan Valley on the world wine map.

117 1994: The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) short-lived stint in the Vancouver market begins. Its Vancouver Grizzlies franchise leaves town in 2001.

118 1995: General Motors Place, now Rogers Arena, opens in part because of the NBA’s expansion into Canada.

119 1995: B.C. passes the most stringent emission standards in the country for new vehicles.

120 1995: West Coast Express rail service begins. It is the only inter-regional commuter railway in B.C. and connects Mission, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody with Waterfront station in downtown Vancouver.

121 1996: The Vancouver International Airport (YVR)adds a parallel north runway and a new, dedicated international terminal building. The project marks the beginning of YVR’s rapid capacity expansion in the following two decades as Asian links multiply and is one of the foundational pillars of Vancouver’s trade in the Pacific region.

122 1997: Hong Kong is returned to the People’s Republic of China – a key turning point for the demographic of the Lower Mainland. The event is often cited as one of the main reasons for the initial wave of Chinese immigration (and investment) to Vancouver in the 1990s from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

123 1997: Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. is founded in Vancouver by Frank Giustra and Avi Federgreen. The company becomes a major film and television player, bringing major hit movies such as the Twilight and Hunger Games films to the screen.

124 1998: Lululemon launches in Kitsilano as a combo yoga/design studio.

125 1999: BC Tel merges with Edmonton-based Telus, creating Vancouver-headquartered Telus Communications Inc. Darren Entwistle joins a year later.

126 1999: The Vancouver Stock Exchange merges with exchanges in Alberta, Montreal and Toronto to create the Canadian Venture Exchange.

127 2005: The Haida Nation blocks roads, seizes timber and shuts down forestry operations in the Queen Charlotte Islands to protest B.C. forestry policies.

128 2005: The BC Wine Authority is created to oversee and create new industry standards.

129 2007: Fortis Inc. buys Terasen Gas, B.C.’s largest natural gas distributor, and starts operating as FortisBC by 2011.

130 2008: Ryan Holmes launches Hootsuite Media Inc., helping cement Vancouver’s status as an important technology crucible.

131 2008: The Port of Vancouver amalgamates with the North Fraser Port Authority and the Fraser River Port Authority to form the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority,  which overseas Canada’s largest port.

132 2008: B.C. becomes the first jurisdiction in Canada to introduce a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

133 2009: B.C.’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal is proposed. In 2007, the Haisla Nation announced a partnership with Galveston LNG to build an LNG import terminal. Just two years later the plan is reversed. Kitimat LNG (by then owned by Apache Corp. and now owned by Chevron) becomes B.C.’s first major LNG export terminal proposal.

134 2014: The Tsilhqot’in decision is handed down. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada awards title to a parcel of land within the traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation near Williams Lake. The decision forces the provincial government to transfer Crown land and begin negotiating the transfer of powers of self-governance.

135 2009: The HST is implemented, but in a referendum held two years later, B.C. votes to revert to a PST/GST system.

136 2009: SkyTrain’s Canada Line opens to the public, establishing a long-awaited Vancouver rapid transit service. The line not only accelerates the movement of people between downtown and the Vancouver International Airport, facilitating trade, commerce and tourism, but also triggers densification along Cambie Street and a spike in real estate prices in a traditionally low-density area.

137 2009: China grants Canada approved destination status (ADS). The move allows Chinese citizens – who have to jump through a number of hoops to travel abroad – to obtain the approvals to visit Canada more easily. The move also allows Canada to market itself as a tourism destination to Chinese nationals directly, which is a boon for B.C.’s travel sector.

138 2010: Vancouver hosts the 2010 Winter Olympics, which showcases the city to the world. Many buildings, such as the Richmond Oval and Hillcrest Centre, are retained after the Games. The event provides a significant economic stimulus in the years leading up to the Games, when the world was mired in a deep economic downturn.

139 2010: The BC Liberal government introduces the Clean Energy Act, sparking the rise of the independent power sector, which invests in new wind farms and run-of-river projects.

140 2011: A riot erupts in Vancouver after the Canucks lose Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs to the to Boston Bruins, causing millions of dollars in damage downtown.

141 2013: The National Energy Board publishes a survey of the Montney formation straddling the B.C.-Alberta border, confirming it as one of the most prolific shale oil and gas plays in North America. B.C. Premier Christy Clark makes the development of a multibillion-dollar LNG industry her key election plank. Despite LNG projects stalling, oil and gas companies have invested an estimated $20 billion in the B.C. side of the Montney.

142 2013: Canada ceases distribution of the penny, while Moneris launches the first debit card “tap” payment service in North America. The moves reduce cash transactions (which are now rounded up to the nearest nickel) and dramatically alter retail accounting and consumer habits.

143 2014: Canada concludes its first free trade agreement with an Asian market by signing the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. The deal, which goes into effect in 2015, marks the first major trade opening for B.C. with an Asian economy.

144 2014: The TED Conference celebrates its 30th anniversary in Vancouver, bringing elite business people and influencers to Vancouver.

145 2014: The 2014 global oil shock leaves once-prosperous northeast B.C. communities reeling, while thousands of British Columbians working in Alberta are suddenly unemployed.

146 2014: Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley mine spills millions of cubic metres of waste water into Polley Lake, leading to an investigation of operations at the central B.C. mine.

147 2015: PlentyofFish founder Markus Frind sells his online dating site to Match Group for US$575 million in one of the city’s biggest technology exits. Frind has since become one of the city’s most notable angel investors.

148 2016: Vancouver’s first city-sanctioned marijuana dispensary opens in Point Grey.

149 2017: U.S. President Donald Trump scuttles the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have put Canada into a 12-nation free trade block with the likes of Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. The move deals a major blow to B.C.’s role in shaping Pacific Rim trade, but could spawn some bilateral deals (notably with Japan) in the future.

150 2017: The majority BC Liberal governnment is reduced to either minority government or official Opposition status following a provincial election that leaves it with 43 seats, the BC NDP with 41 and the BC Green Party with three. A “GreeNDP” coalition promises to defeat the Liberals with a non-confidence motion following a June 22 throne speech.

Correction: A previous version of this list had stated Fording River coal mine was established in 1870; this has been corrected to 1970.

comments powered by Disqus

More from Economy

Government announces $50,000 threshold for passive income

B.C. Chamber says government has listened to the concerns of B.C. businesses 

Read Article

Seeking CETA’s small-business benefits

Canada-EU deal could generate big business for small B.C. firms

Read Article

Insider Trading: October 17, 2017

The following is a list of stock trades made by corporate executives, directors and other company insiders of B.C.’s public companies filed in the week ...

Read Article

B.C. staffing, revenue up for top national, global firms

69% of companies moved up in ranking on Business in Vancouver’s top-100 list

Read Article

Recommended reading resources for small businesses

Vancouver Public Library offers an array of research tools for entrepreneurs

Read Article

Subscribe to our mailing lists

You may withdraw your consent at any time.

* indicates required

Newsletters

* You can modify your newsletter subscriptions at the bottom of any newsletter you receive.
Business in Vancouver Media Group
303 West 5th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia
V5Y 1J6 · Canada
604-688-2398
×