Status: Aboriginal Battle Site; Burial Site; Former Squatter Site; Naval Reserve
By J. Wood Laing - This image is available from the City of Vancouver Archives under the reference number <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Vancouver,_Canada.svg" class="image"></a> Vancouver Museums and Planetarium Association fonds, Public Domain, Link
At some point long before the European colonizers began to invade North America and the New World this island was the site of a massive battle between Northern and Southern Aboriginal Tribes. During the battle the Southern Nation took 200 women, children and elders of the Southern Nation captive. Three hundred male warriors traded themselves for the hostages and were slaughtered in response.
At some point between the arrival of the Europeans and the massacre the island was used as a tree burial cemetery. In 1860 – when the first European explored the island – red cedar boxes were found in the trees. When the explorer reached up to touch one it disintegrated and showered him in the skeletal remains of the occupant.
The island was used as one of Vancouver’s first burial grounds – not closing until Mountain View Cemetery opened – and in 1890’s it was turned into a “pest house”. Those that got Smallpox – during the epidemic at the same time period – were quarantined on the island. If the disease killed you, as it did most, you stayed on the island; if it didn’t, you allowed back into the city.
In 1899 the Federal Government leased the island to an American industrialist who wanted to log it. The locals were not happy with this arrangement – to say the least – who considered the island part of Stanley Park. The mayor of Vancouver brought almost the entire police force to block the Americans from getting to the island. This dispute continued until 1930 when the lease expired; the island was never logged.
In 1942 the island was taken over by the Naval Reserve of the HMCS Discovery. The island remains the property of the Department of National Defense.
This island is the burial location of Aboriginal Peoples, the early residents of Moodyville and Granville, the victims of the Smallpox epidemic, British sailors, CPR Railway workers, the victims of the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886 and probably a number of the squatters who used to make it home.
Reports of paranormal activity go back the massacre hundreds of years ago. Because the island has been DND property since the 1940’s the majority of reports come from Naval Reservists in modern times.
Reported Activity: loud clangs that echo through the island; the phantom moans, sobbing and screams of a woman; phantom footsteps as if someone is moving quickly-almost at a run; disembodied voices; unexplained mists; light anomalies; the sounds of furniture being moved around on the second floor when no one is present and an unearthly glow in the trees that condenses down to a human shape.