Saturday, November 22, 1997
Vancouver, British Columbia
Two hundred years ago, the area known as Vancouver was covered with dense forest trees and occupied by more than 5000 Indians. That situation changed when the Europeans started their voyages in search of better ways to navigate to other countries. Juan Perez was the first white man to see British Columbia but it was Captain James Cook and his entourage who explored the land. They swapped metal for fur pelts which they later sold profitably abroad.
The history of British Columbia and Vancouver had its fair share of notable explorers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For instance, in 1792, Captain George Vancouver sailed around the Cape of Good Hope via the Indian Ocean to explore the area of the United States/Mexican border all the way to Alaska and Simon Fraser, the first white man to set foot in British Columbia, explored the 150 mile interior of the province.
In 1821, the Hudson's Bay and North West Companies annexed and set up shop in Vancouver, Washington, which resulted in a flood of settlers and traders. This inundation of people forced the Hudson's Bay Company to build more trading posts to accommodate the heavier population. They complied by constructing Fort Langley in 1827 and Fort Camosun (Fort Victoria) in 1843. Three years after Fort Camosun went up, the Oregon Treaty was established, which set the United States and Canadian boundaries in place on the 49th parallel. In doing so, Britain retained ownership to all of Vancouver Island.
In 1858, the gold rush brought more than 25,000 prospectors to the area, thus turning quiet little settlements into bustling boom-towns. In 1862, John Morton, William Hailstone and Samuel Brighouse, dubbed 'The Three Greenhorns' built a cabin, barn and kiln on what is now Marine Building of Burrard Street, for the purpose of making bricks. In 1865, Captain Edward Stamp built a sawmill near Dunlevy Avenue. Two years later, his steam-powered saws cut more than 30,000 feet of lumber a day. It resulted in a dramatic drop of unemployment and the construction of new villages on Burrard Inlet, so people could be close to their work place.
On April 6, 1886, Granville was incorporated as a city. William Van Horne, General Manager for the Canadian Pacific Railway, personally selected the name Vancouver for its "dignity and importance". On June 13, 1866, a devastating fire broke out claiming an undisclosed number of victims and destroying close to 1000 buildings within a time frame of 45 minutes. Undaunted, the citizens began rebuilding and soon edifices were erected using bricks instead of lumber.
Vancouver is home to some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the world. Towering snowcapped mountains adorned by ancient forests that flow toward the sparkling blue Pacific. Spreading inland from the coast is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city which is noted for its cleanliness and beauty. It is here where one can golf in the morning, spend the afternoon sailing, have an elegant dinner on a mountaintop, then do some night skiing high above the city lights.
Greater Vancouver consists of several communities as well as the farmlands of Delta and Langley, and the jagged peaks, earthen coves and ocean front parks of Vancouver's north and west coasts. It's also residence to the sun drenched beaches of White Rock, a friendly pioneer consciousness of Surrey and Fort Langley, the complacent fishermen of Richmond, the lumberjacking memoirs of Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody; and the lakes and parks of Burnaby and the maritime past of New Westminster.
Vancouver International Airport
Upon arrival at Vancouver International Airport, the President will be greeted by American Ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin and British Columbia Premier Glen Clark before proceeding to the Waterford Centre Hotel to rest for the night.
This is President Clinton's second trip to Vancouver as President. His first Presidential visit to Vancouver was for his April 1993 summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.