This charming tour of New Westminster starts at Irving House and the New Westminster Museum, at 302 Royal Avenue.
Stop in for a visit at this grand and impressive home, built in 1865 for riverboat pioneer Captain William Irving, and find out about the Royal City’s history by exploring the displays and exhibits at the Museum.
Then proceed to Park Row, a unique angled street that serves as a reminder of the original layout of the city, and continue up to Queens Park. Here you can visit the Art Gallery in the Park, featuring changing exhibits by local artists, cool off with a splash in Rainbow Playland, feel warm and fuzzy at the Children’s Petting Farm or perhaps catch a sporting event in full swing. Be sure to stop in at the Herb House Rose Garden, or just rest under some towering shade trees. In Queens Park Arena look for the Queens Park history panels in the lobby. Bet you didn’t know that New Westminster hosted the Provincial Exhibition before the P.N.E. in Vancouver was even thought of!
From Queens Park, head along Fifth Avenue into the adjoining residential neighbourhood, featuring many delightful character homes. [Please respect the privacy of the owners of these private residences.] 237 Fifth Avenue is one of the city’s finest Victorian Queen Anne houses and was built in 1894 for contractor David Bain. Turning down 4th Street, enjoy 431 4th Street, a lovely Queen Anne cottage built in 1890 for court registrar W.H.Falding.
Continue your tour to the corner of 4th Street and 4th Avenue, where you will find several older homes. 403 4th Avenue is “Melbourne”, the 1901 Queen Anne style home of real estate owner J.A. Montgomery. At 321 4th Avenue sits “Eldora”, the home designed in 1908 by architect E.G.W. Sait for hardware merchant H.T. Kirk. The house at 334 4th Street was built in 1931, and “The Three Birches”, 337 4th Street, was built in 1939. 335 4th Street is a Homestead style house built in 1892 for tailor Alex McRae. Carlton Court at 317 Third Avenue is an interesting early apartment building, built in 1925 in the Mission Revival Style. And 323 Queens Avenue, built in 1892, is an excellent example of the work of prominent local architect G.W. Grant.
Wander through Friendship Gardens, which commemorates the historic sister city relationship formed in 1962 between Moriguchi, Japan and New Westminster, the first Canadian city to have a Japanese sister city. Also within the Gardens is the Cosmic Maypole, originally carved for the Habitat Forum in Vancouver in the late 1970’s. Its location in New Westminster is a natural, as the Maypole is an integral part of our famous and historic May Day celebration. Across 4th Street is Tipperary Park, home of the New Westminster Tennis Club. At the corner of 4th Street and Royal Avenue is St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, built in the late 1930’s. From here you can stroll back to the New Westminster Museum, or head down the hill for more exploring.