Queensborough, British Columbia
Queensborough was the name originally chosen for the colonial capital by Royal Engineers Commander Colonel Richard Clement Moody. Queen Victoria designated New Westminster instead of Queensborough as her new capital's name. In the 1860s, a survey of Lulu Island by the Royal Engineers resulted in the eastern tip of the island being designated a military reserve for the defense of New Westminster. This portion of land was not incorporated into the new Township of Richmond in 1879. Instead the rapidly growing City of New Westminster annexed the area in 1889. The City received title to the entire Military Reserve from the Provincial Government and it decided to subdivide the area for sale in 1890. A bridge was constructed to reach the area from the Mainland and the lands sold at auction.
The name Queensborough for this neighbourhood of the City was formally established in 1911 when the Queensborough Post Office was opened by early community leader and Italian immigrant Anthony Sprice. In the Chinook Jargon, it is said that an adaption of the name Queensborough - "Koonspa" - is the usual name for New Westminster as a whole. With its many lumber mills and canneries the area became a focus of new immigrants looking for employment and cheap lots to establish family homes. These early groups built their own cultural halls, churches and had many different mutual aid societies. However, the entire community united at time under the Queensborough Ratepayers Association founded in 1911. This group continues to operate and is often cited as the oldest ratepayers association in British Columbia. Early immigrants included the Japanese, Chinese, East Indians or Sikhs, Italians, Greeks, Slovakians, Ukrainians and Finnish peoples. The community grew slowly but developed a unique sense of place because of its unique cultural composition.
Queensborough is today a growing suburban district with a rapidly redeveloped waterfront area known as Port Royal. Port Royal serves as the inspiration for the song Sparks by the English band Coldplay. Queensborough connected to the rest of New Westminster by the Queensborough Bridge and Annacis Island in Delta by the Derwent Way Bridge. It is served by Highway 91A.
A Library and community center were also recently opened. The community center has a newly renovated exercise area and a gymnasium where local residents partake in physical games of hockey.
There is a large population of Indo-Canadian families who live here, however, in recent years the area has become home to many Caucasian and Asian families due to the increasing number of single-family dwellings being built. Many of these new homes are built to resemble old heritage-style homes. In the 1960s, there were many European immigrants; Italians, Portuguese, Polish, Russian etc. as well as Chinese.
At the north end of Queensborough is a new development called Port Royal. To the south is Thompson's Landing, to the west is the industrial area of Tree Island, and to the east is the Fraser River. Access to Annacis Island, an industrial park area and site of one of the GVRD's sewage plants, is via a bridge towards the east end of Queensborough, though the island itself is not part of the City of New Westminster.