1971-1980: Development

The 1970s were years of rapid growth at Burnaby’s Heritage Village: staff and volunteers worked hard to create several displays and welcome thousands of visitors to the new heritage attraction.

Burnaby’s Heritage Village began as a project of the Burnaby Centennial ’71 Committee. Like many communities across the province, Burnaby had a committee working on projects to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British Columbia’s entry into Confederation.

Buildings under construction on the west side of Hill Street inside Heritage Village (Burnaby Village Museum) in the summer of 1971, BV005.54.848.

April 11, 1971: The official sod-turning ceremony was held on April 11, 1971. The ceremony was captured on film, and is available for viewing online.

November 19, 1971: The official opening ceremonies were held at the Heritage Village, when Canada’s Governor General, the Honourable Roland Mitchener, visited and officially opened it at 11:15 am. The Village was open to the public November 19, 20, and 21 and visited by approximately 15,000 people over the three day period.

July 1 1972: The Museum opened for its first full public season on July 1, 1972 at 2:00 pm. Don Copan was Century Park Museum Association (CPMA) president, and the opening was officiated by Mayor Robert Prittie. The Village was described as depictive of the 1890 to 1920 era of the lower mainland.

Memorable Milestones:

  • The log cabin display was set up in 1973 as a North West Mounted Police post to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RCMP.
  • Old Curly locomotive was moved to the site in 1973, from the PNE.
  • In 1974 the Whitechurch Hardware building was brought to the site (originally Bell’s Dry Goods).
  • A replica church was opened in 1974, with funds raised by the South Burnaby Men’s Club (now South Burnaby Metro Club).
  • The model railway opened at the Village by the BC Society of Model Engineers. The Society began building a railway station building in 1976.
  • Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee & Co Chinese Herbalist collection was moved from Victoria and installed in a recreated building
  • Tom Irvine’s cabin, 1911 heritage building was moved on site
  • In 1976, the Royal Bank building from Britannia Beach was moved to the Village.
  • In partnership with the Japanese-Canadian Citizens Association, an Ofuru (Japanese bathhouse) display was opened at the Village in 1977. The replica Ofuru was built to commemorate the arrival in B.C. of the first Japanese immigrant in 1877
  • The War Memorial Fountain erected in 1923 by the Burnaby Civic Employees Union in front of Burnaby Municipal Hall on Kingsway was restored by CUPE local 23, and installed on the grounds of the Heritage Village in 1977.
  • Vorce Station and the tinsmith shop (originally a blacksmith shop on the Lubbock farm) were moved to the Heritage Village.
  • A former grocery store annex was moved to the Village in 1977, and turned into a real estate display and a surveyor’s office display. The building is used today as a real estate office display on the exterior, and as a multipurpose room inside.


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