Sam Greer – Greer’s Beach
The Fall of 1891 is when our Family story of Greer’s Beach began. Our Great Grandfather Sam Greer was forced off his 200 acres of land in English Bay called Greer’s Beach, known today as Kitsilano and Kit’s Beach.
When Sam Greer bought his land and set up his homestead it was of little value. The CPR was heading West and refused to go any further than Port Moody unless it was granted the foreshore rights of English Bay that included Greer’s Beach. Although his land was expropriated and the foreshore lease granted to the CPR the railway never went through to Greer’s Beach, however his land was never returned to him but rather taken by the politicians.
Locals had realized and were enjoying the beauty of Greer’s Beach, the CPR was forcing the hand of the Provincial politician’s and City officials and the powers that be also wanted their stake in what had become very valuable land. None were willing to let an Irish settler named Sam Greer get in their way.
A posse of the sheriff, deputies, CPR men and a few heavy weights picked up by boat along the way, arrived on the shore of Greer’s Beach on that fateful day in September 1891 to move the Greer family off their land. They were met by a feisty Sam Greer who was ready to defend his family, their home and his land. As the men loaded the family belongings into a boxcar his six children would remove them out the other side. Not making much progress the posse got rough and Sam is alleged to have fired a warning shot that struck the sheriff, grazing his face. As he was led off to jail they burned his house, barn and stables to the ground. There was such uproar from the public about Greer being forced off his land that upon his release from jail a civic reception was held in his honour.
It is reported that those who took Greer’s Beach wanted no trace of it left behind. The only visible marker that remains today in Vancouver that Greer’s Beach ever existed is a tiny street named Greer Street in the Kits Point neighbourhood.
Our Great Grandfather fought until his death in 1925 at age 82 for justice and his land, stolen from him by Provincial & Federal Politicians of the day.
Sam Greer was a brave and strong willed pioneer who left his mark on Vancouver’s history.
Katharine (Draney) Burega – Sam Greer’s Great Granddaughter