"History uncovers everything," says local resident David Pereira. And on Wednesday, Oct. 10, the amateur historian will be uncovering how Burnaby's Metrotown area has transformed over the years.
For instance, Station Square used to be a Ford factory but was abandoned after the Second World War and was eventually transformed into a civic centre. According to Pereira, Kingsway, now a busy thoroughfare, was originally a trail used primarily by the military.
"It used to be a clear shot, a clear sight-line, to see if the Americans were invading Vancouver," Pereira said.
Central Park was the highest vantage point, from which soldiers could spot ships docking in the Vancouver port and alert their counterparts in New Westminster.
"That's also why the real estate is so successful in Metrotown as well because it's such a high point," he added.
This is just a taste of Pereira's Wednesday talk, hosted by the Burnaby Historical Society. He'll also discuss the old Oakalla prison and political conflict tied to the development of Metropolis at Metrotown.
Pereira did his master's degree in urban studies at Simon Fraser University, with a focus on town centre planning in Burnaby. He also gleans information from old local newspapers - The Burnaby Advertiser and the Burnaby Courier - and the city's archives.
"You always take for granted how things look like today, and you always assume they will be there, but one thing history tells us is that things change so rapidly," says Pereira.
Pereira's presentation is on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 7: 30 p.m. at the Burnaby Village Museum. He'll talk for an hour, and then the Burnaby Historical Society will hold their business meeting for members. The society, which formed in 1957, meets months at Burnaby Village Museum, usually with a guest speaker discussing history. There's no need to register for Pereira's talk, just show up at 6501 Deer Lake Ave. Admission is free.
Roger Whitehouse, secretary for the Burnaby Historical Society, says the group is looking for new members. Membership is $15 a year. For more information on how to join, call the Burnaby Village Museum at 604-297-4565. For more local history from Pereira, visit his blog at davidpereira.ca.