Tribe's Marina Offers Docks to Boaters, Waterfront Homes to Seasonal Residents
Cruising boaters who are making their way between Seattle and Alaska, and recreational boaters who seek an engaging spot to spend time on the water and enjoy a vibrant port of call, invariably find their way to Vancouver, British Columbia. As they peruse their options for overnight, weekly or seasonal dockage, many of them will select Mosquito Creek Marina in North Vancouver or Lynnwood Marina at the International Harbour of Vancouver.
They may not realize that these successful waterfront enterprises are owned and operated by the Squamish Nation, a Coast Salish people whose homelands include the “lower mainland” of British Columbia—North and West Vancouver, Whistler, Howe Sound and its tributaries, Burrard Inlet and English Bay. Today, 60 percent of the 3,600 tribal members live on urban reserves in Vancouver, North and West Vancouver and the municipality of Squamish; their nine major communities stretch from North Vancouver to the northern area of Howe Sound.
Despite their optimal location near a major population center and the waterfront, and the fact that it never officially ceded or surrendered title to its lands, rights to its resources or the power to make decisions within its territories, the Squamish Nation had its hands tied until the second half of the 20th Century.
“Prior to 1960, we were dealing with legislative oppression from the Indian Act,” said Chief Ian Campbell, an intergovernmental relations negotiator and cultural ambassador who is currently in his third term as an elected member of tribal council. He also is the youngest of the 16 hereditary chiefs of the Squamish Nation.
“We weren’t even recognized as citizens until 1956,” he said, “so we had no opportunities for economic development at all.”
In the early 1960s, however, everything changed. The tribe, Campbell said, responded vigorously when given the chance to take charge of its resources. It leased land to various tenants, allowing the development of shopping centers, and in 1963 it began marina operations on tribal land at Mosquito Creek.
The Mosquito Creek Marina, also known simply as “The Creek,” is located between Grouse Mountain and Vancouver, a short boat ride from the Lions Gate Bridge and the Georgia Straight, and 10 minutes from Lonsdale Quay and the SeaBus Terminal with ferries to downtown departing every 15 minutes. It can accommodate 530 boats up to 160 feet in length, and its amenities include electric and water hookups, a fuel dock, a 50-ton Marine Travelift mobile boat hoist, and new laundry, shower and restroom facilities.
Guests also can purchase needed marine supplies, enjoy a meal at the Marina Grill, and take a walk on the new Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway, also known as the Spirit Trail. The trail links the Mosquito Creek Marina with the city’s Waterfront Park.
Lynnwood Marina, located on the North Vancouver side of the International Harbour of Vancouver, became part of the Squamish Nation’s marine enterprises in the late 1980s.
“Some of our reserve lands were expropriated in the early 1900s, and they were returned to us in 1982,” Campbell explained.
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