Vancouver's Sugar History

They don't grow a lot of sugar cane in Vancouver! But it's been an integral part of the economy for 120 years through the BC Sugar Refinery. The compex on the East Vancouver waterfront dates to 1890, when the City of Vancouver was only four years old.

The refinery's ancient brick warehouse along the CPR railway tracks is Vancouver's most familiar industrial site and there's a whole world you can't see from the street, hidden behind the brick buildings. The property is 13.5 acres and includes 20 buildings, a dock and a little park and includes a couple of art deco buildings from the 1940s and 1950s - modern office building and a 300 foot long, 50ft high storage facility packed with mountains of raw sugar.

When you walk through it the air is thick with sugar but when you leave you feel like you've been skim-coated in sugar!

BC Sugar is still a fully functioning refinery, producing between 100,000 and 20,000 etric tonnes of sugar annually. That's almost 10% of Canada's sugar output. The complex also has become a favourite spot for film shoots, with moe than 20 productions having been shot there in recent years.

The refinery was the brainchild of Benjamin Tingly Rogers, an American who learned the business from his father in Philadelphia and New Orleans, then studied and worked in Boston and New Yrok.

Perhaps one day, if the Rogers Sugar Refinery closes, the site will be converted to warehouse condos on East Vancouver's waterfront, similar to what's been done in Yaletown and Gastown and now happening in Chinatown.

Rogers Sugar also left its footprint on Vancouver real estate by building Gabriola House on 1700 block Davie Street, which is my favourite West End Victorian home.

Buying or selling Vancouver real estate? Put Maggie Chandler's hyper-local experience to work for you! Call 604-328-0077 today!

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