Hogan’s Alley was the colloquial name for the lane between Union and Prior Streets, roughly between Main Street and Jackson Avenue. It was home to Vancouver’s first black community. Many of its buildings were demolished as part of the Georgia Viaduct Replacement project.
Two portraits of Fielding William Spotts, age 78, at 217 1/2 Hogan’s Alley, Vancouver. May 28, 1935. Reference code AM54-S4-: Port N3.2.
People of African descent have been part of Vancouver history since before the City was established. It has been a challenge, however, for the Archives to acquire records which document the activities of individuals and the groups in the Black community. In recognition of Black History Month, we thought we would feature a few of the records we do have and, by doing so, encourage the donation of other records.
Sir James Douglas (1803-1877). Item # Port P1593.
Governor Sir James Douglas, born in Guyana to Creole and Scottish parents, was not a resident of Vancouver but he encouraged the settlement of Blacks, who were fleeing from persecution in California, on Vancouver Island. Some 800 left for Victoria between 1858 and 1860 and descendants of these immigrants eventually settled in the Lower Mainland.
One of Vancouver’s best-known and earliest Black residents was Seraphim “Joe” Fortes (1865?-1922). Originally from the Caribbean, Joe arrived as a crewman aboard the Robert Kerr in December 1885. Joe worked in various jobs, including as a bartender, but it is his legacy as a swimming instructor and Vancouver’s first official lifeguard at English Bay for which he is best remembered. Continue reading
Posted in General, Holdings
Tagged Black History Month, Charles Marega, English Bay, Georgia Viaduct, Harry W. Jerome, Hastings Mill, Hogan's Alley, Jack Harmon, Joe Fortes, Marian Anderson, Mayor McGeer, Paul Robeson, Sir James Douglas