Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Westminster Quay

My recent new listing in South Burnaby sits within the New Westminster postal district, so when I had to drop off the Just Listed flyers it was the New Westminster distribution centre of Canada Post that I needed to go to.  I was a little bright & early and found myself in the area with time to spare before the administration department opened so took a quick stroll along the waterfront.

New Westminster has a long history by British Columbia standards having been one of the earliest cities to be established in the Province and initially cited to be the Provincial Capital until Victoria eventually took the helm.

The location on the banks of the mighty Fraser River were the key reasons for the establishment of the city – easy distribution for the numerous logging businesses in the area.

Views here along the Fraser River, just before it splits into the ‘North Arm’ and ‘South Arm’ and then emptying out into the Strait of Georgia and ultimately the Pacific.


The Alex Fraser Bridge carrying Highway 91A spanning the South Arm of the Fraser, with a tug boat heading off to do some work.


On the opposite side of the river sits British Columbia’s second biggest city, Surrey.  Here are the Surrey Fraser Docks – less timber being exported these days but days plenty of containers coming and going from Asia.


Despite it’s attractive waterfront location, some of the architecture in New Westminster Quay leaves a bit to be desired, particularly the 1980’s era New Westminster Hotel – building on stilts.


It is however the right time of year to see lots of colourful flora along the boardwalk.


The M.V. Native Paddlesteamer is docked at the Quay and offers tours along the Fraser River as well as an interesting location for parties and corporate events.


The development of the market and hotel at New Westminster Quay in the 1980’s spurred further development one or two blocks in from the river, including high-rise apartment buildings.


The Samson V was the last working paddlesteamer on the Fraser River having been built and worked here since 1937.  It was decommissioned in 1980 and converted into a free maritime museum.



From 1859 to 1863 the Columbia Detachment of Royal Engineers founded, surveyed and laid out the City of New Westminster.  This replica Sergeant Major Soldier was crafted in the Royal Engineers honour.  Apparently, inside his heart he has a time capsule waiting to be opened in 2025.  At 9.75m high with size 60 boots he was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the worlds largest tin soldier !


Views East up the Fraser River.  The large new bridge in the foreground carries the Skytrain across to Surrey while the rounded bridge behind is the aging Patullo Bridge.  Further and lower still is the CPR railing crossing.


Video of the view from New Westminster Quay.

Close to the quay a handful of the vintage buildings of New Westminsters past remain in great condition.


But many of the old structures along the front appear to have fallen into disrepair, likely not helped by atrocious planning decisions such as this – building a two level parking structure above ground right above Front Street, it’s ugly and was likely the nail in the coffin for these old brick warehouse buildings behind it to see a new lease of life.

New Westminster certainly has an attractive waterfront location, but appears to have missed many opportunities to make the most of it’s setting


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