Southlands – The History of McCleery and Magee
September 10, 2016
When original pioneers, Fitzgerald McCleery and Hugh Magee, were among the first settlers to the banks of the Fraser River in the 1860’s. Arriving from Ireland, they chose this distinctive region not only for a better way of life, but, more importantly, for freedom.
The Dunbar Community Vision enacted by the City of Vancouver provided a long-term plan for the whole area, including Southlands. Initiatives encompassed completion of the citywide Ridgeway Greenway and extension and enhancement of the Fraser River Greenway.With a mind for opportunity, they were the first to farm the area, taking advantage of ideal soil conditions and proximity to the river for transportation.
In those early days, the McCleery and Magee families held title to most of what is considered Southlands today. While the river was an asset, more transportation routes were required. The McCleery brothers were instrumental in establishing the only trading route between New Westminster and Southlands – North Arm Trail, now called Marine Drive. Magee Road followed (renamed West 49th Avenue), which was forged to connect Southlands to the urban Vancouver area.