Copley’s History

“Of all the fruits of the universe — none have the breadth of choice covered by our loved apple. In my garden I have more than 120 different kinds and I am adding to them.”

- Richard Copley 1910

 

In the 1850s, the area surrounding what is now Trout Lake and Copley Community Orchard, had beaver dams up to 37 meters (120 feet) long. Due to the dams, the land was swampy allowing for cranberries to grow. But by the 1900s, the swamps were drained creating good organic soil.

In 1905, Richard Theophilus Copley (October 3, 1850 -April 9, 1917) moved to Vancouver from England. He arrived with his two sons, Herbert and Harold and nephew Oliver Neeld. His wife Marie, daughters Laura, Gladys and Elsie and son Cecil and domestic Florence Wagstaff came later that year. His eldest daughter stayed in England until 1909 and his eldest son, Richard, went to California.

Richard T. Copley was financially successful in England in the leather boot trade which allowed him to purchase the land surrounding Victoria, 28th Street, Nanaimo and 12th Street. His property would later be referred to as the “Copley Ranch” where he built a large house, (named “West Green”) with five bedrooms upstairs in the east section of the orchard.

The road that ran between the house and the orchard was named Copley Drive. In 1910, a by-law was passed changing it to Copley Road. On the ranch, there were two greenhouses and the orchard where the Copley family proudly grew many trees including cherry, walnut, apple, and plum.

 

Copies of these photos were generously donated by Copley family:

 

Photo of headstone at the Mountain View Cemetery. (by Breeonne Baxter)


More history and photos to come!

If you have any information/sources/photos to share regarding this area or the Copley’s, please contact tanyacampbell@copleycommunityorchard.com


References from:

Automated Genealogy 1911 Census Indexing Project.“ Automated Genealogy. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. 

Copley, Doug.  22 Feb. 2012.  Phone Interview.

Copley, June.  21 Feb. 2012.  Email Interview.

Copley, R. T. (1910, March). As Others See Us (Letters to the Editor).Fruit Magazine, Volume 1 Number 6, page 24.

Macdonald, Bruce. Vancouver: a visual history. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1992. Print.

Smedman, Lisa. Vancouver: stories of a city : a history of  Vancouver’s neighbourhoods and the people who built them. Vancouver: Vancouver courier, 2008. Print.

Walker, Elizabeth. Street names of Vancouver. Vancouver, B.C.: Vancouver Historical Society, 1999. Print.