5630 Dunbar St. at 41st Ave.

Historic Vancouver

Sam Greer and Greer's Beach


Sam Greer

Sam Greer - a family perspective

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

Latest Updates & Media coverage

Gerald Wellburn
Legendary B.C. Collector

Gassy Jack
Of Gastown

Sewell Prescott Moody's Mill
Dietz, Nelson and Robert Burnaby

Early Vancouver
from the Forest to a Magnificent City

Governor Sir Antony Musgrave
On Her Majesty's Service

Jeremiah Rogers
The Greatest Logger Of Them All

Sam Greer and Greer's Beach

Portuguese Joe No. 2
Accused of shooting, signs Statement with Granville JPs

Yesler's Grand Sawmill Prize
and the Puget Sound connection

Early Vancovuer Post Offices
Burrard Inlet PO
Moodyville PO
Hastings PO

Jonathan Miller
Early Vancouver pioneer.

Agnes Deans Cameron
Author, Schoolteacher at Granville and early leader for Women's Rights

More Historic Vancouver pages

Page 73 of Gerald Wellburn's Historic Vancouver album

Page 73 of Gerald Wellburn's Historic Vancouver album is one of the highlights of the collection. An 1884 letter from Sam Greer on Joseph Mannion's Granville Hotel letterhead, witnessed by Matthew Baillie Begbie. Joesph Mannion was an informal Mayor of early Vancouver. The Granville Hotel was opened by him in opposition to Gassy Jack's hotel. A period of 'commercial expansion' in Burrard Inlet notes Wellburn.

Sam Greer fought a war with the C.P.R. and was evicted from Greer's Beach. Vancouver's postmaster, and former Gastown lawman, Jonathan Miller chose the new name Kitsilano for Greer's Beach.

Joseph Mannion Unofficial first mayor of Vancouver b. March 17, 1839, County Mayo, Ire.; d. Sept. 12, 1918, Lillooet, B.C. Left priestly studies to hunt for gold in the Cariboo, arriving in New Westminster on April 19, 1862. From 1864, worked as a stevedore, telegraph company employee, miner and logger. In 1874, bought a half interest in the Granville Hotel (later sole proprietor). In 1881, his two sons drowned when their canoe was swamped on English Bay. Known as "the mayor of Granville" before the first official mayor, M.A. MacLean, was elected. Elected alderman (1888) but resigned and moved to 160 acres on Bowen Island. "Settled into the life of a country squire."  from History of Metropolitan Vancouver

Mr J M Spinks

                                                                                                              July 2nd 1884
My Dear
             Sir I got your letter
             To day with Cheque I am going
             to put on Some Chinamen to Clear on the Beach to
             Keep every person off
             I was offered $500 for my
             Bargain but Indian Agent McTiernan
             helped me out. This is the best
             property on the Bay I got $75
             from Henderson to help
             me on the Bill of Sale. It is through
             Mr. McTiernan I got the land I had no
             Dealing with the Indians it is Signed and
             Sealed In your Name Drawed up
             by Howse & Rickman by a Lawyer
             20 Men has asked me for a Intrest
             this is good property Come over at once

                                                                                      Yours truly S. Greer


Page 73 with Sam Greer's letter is offered as Lot 72 in our current auction

Bid now in Current Auction

See Gerald Wellburn's Gassy Jack Letter & Media coverage




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