Scarborough

Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt Becker and family. ca. 1890

Mr. and Mrs. Dewitt Becker and family. ca. 1890

Small historic Scarborough, on the east side of Bowen Island, lies between Miller’s Landing and Eagle Cliff. An early family was that of Dewitt Becker who, before the turn of the century, provided Bowen’s mail service. When the Beckers moved back to Vancouver, Isaac and Margaret Miller bought their 145 acres and before long began to distribute plots of land to members of the large family. In 1909, eldest son George began the subdivision by putting 35 acres up for sale.

George Coombes’ board and batten cottage, “Glen Alder”. ca. 1940

George Coombes’ board and batten cottage, “Glen Alder”. ca. 1940

Before the First World War, real estate people discovered Bowen Island and began to exploit the rugged coastline from Deep Bay to Hood Point. In 1910, the Millers sold some 65 acres to a syndicate composed of two realtors, Robert McAllister and Charles Redmond, plus the Reverend H.A. Butler, Sister Frances (Redmond’s mother) was also involved. In 1912, they registered plans for a sub-division of 150 lots. They called the area Scarborough and arranged for contractor George Coombes to build four cottages plus a group of tent frames with wooden floors. The new owners first put in a beach trail, using a horse and cart to clear a steep cliff path. They brought in barge loads of sand to improve the rocky beach only to find that the tides took the sand out to sea. Undaunted, they named the area Scarborough and began looking for buyers. The Victoria government built a small wharf for passengers and freight but it also fell victim to the winter storms and finally, the project was abandoned. On the edge of Scarborough, Vancouver “angel” Sister Frances created a summer camp as part of the St James United Church outreach. Mr. Coombes eventually built his own house, beach combing lumber, which he carried up the hill. His roof shingles were created from salvaged shingle bolts.

Evelyn Paton and Lulu Renwick sit together at a table at the Legion Christmas Party. ca. 1980

Evelyn Paton and Lulu Renwick sit together at a table at the Legion Christmas Party. ca. 1980

When a severe depression hit in 1912 and 1913,  realtor Rob McAllister lost everything. He tried to enlist but was found unfit for military service so he found work in a munitions factory. He died in the flu epidemic of 1918, leaving his widow Lulu, son Howard and two year old Evelyn. Mrs. McAllister was unable to develop the land and it reverted to Mrs.Miller who gave Mrs. McAllister several lots. She was not able to build on the land until 1931 when she had built a one room “shack’ with a porch. By this time, Howie McAllister, a fresh Normal School graduate, found summer jobs hard to get so he and a friend set up a tent on the family property and offered to ‘ help’’ the builder. Mrs. McAllister remarried in 1939 and, as Lulu Renwick became a very successful Vancouver businesswoman. Eventually, Lulu and her daughter, Evelyn Paton, lived together in Scarborough .The two some was known for their hospitality, their love of the crib tournaments as well as their yearly trips to Reno. Lulu lived to be 101.

Neighbourhoods

Arbutus Point
Artisan Square
Bluewater
Bowen Bay
Cates Hill
Collins Road and Seven Hills
Cowan Point
Deep Bay
Eaglecliff
Fairweather
Hood Point
Hood Point West
Josephine Lake
King Edward Bay
Miller's Landing
Mount Gardner
Ocean view
Queen Charlotte Heights
Scarborough
Sealeigh Park
Seymour Bay/Alder Cove
Snug Cove
Sunset Park Estates
Timber Grove
Tunstall Bay
Valhalla
The Valley