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Our Past is your Present!

We are a non-profit organization focused on promoting, preserving, and being a strong, active resource for all things of heritage value on Sea Island in Richmond, British Columbia. Join us to learn about the history of Sea Island and its residents, past and present.


Eburne, Early Community in Richmond

bridges by Sea Island

View of present-day bridges from the Eburne area on Sea Island
(Karen E. Tourangeau)

About Sea Island

The construction of roads on Sea Island and the construction of the Marpole Bridge connecting the City of Vancouver to Sea Island and the Eburne Bridge connecting Sea Island and Lulu Island in 1890 made it easier to move around Sea Island and travel to neighbouring cities. The opening of the bridges brought an increase of traffic to the area. A community evolved on the northeast corner of Sea Island, along the North Arm of the Fraser River close to the Marpole and Eburne bridges, where it was, and still is common to see tugboats on the river.

Harry Eburne

This community was named Eburne after W.H. “Harry” Eburne (1855-1924) who initially opened a store on the North Arm of the Fraser River, opposite the east end of Sea Island. This store became known as the North Arm Post Office, after the Post Office location was moved from the house of J.W. Sexsmith on Lulu Island. In 1891, Harry Eburne moved his store to the central location of Sea Island between the Marpole and Eburne bridge spans. In 1894, the post office in the Eburne store was officially known as the Eburne Post Office. In 1898, Harry Eburne sold his store to Churchill and McKay and became a successful chicken farmer in the area.

Eburne Neighbourhood

The area known as Eburne consisted of the northeast end of Sea Island (where the McArthur-Glen Designer Outlet is now located), the slopes of South Vancouver (renamed Marpole in 1916) and the area cross the Fraser River around the Town Hall (moved to the Brighouse area in 1919).

In 1895, Jacob Grauer opened one of his butcher shops in Eburne. He would eventually own four butcher shops, two in Richmond and two in Vancouver. Jacob Grauer purchased 300 acres of land on Sea Island.

Eburne became a thriving community, a way station between the City of Vancouver and the City of Richmond. The 1919 Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory described Eburne as:

a post office, milling and fishing town on the Fraser River; opposite Marpole in the Richmond Provincial Electoral District, reached by B. C. Electric Ry., Lulu Island line, 6 miles south of Vancouver. Has public school. Local resources: Saw and flour milling, fishing and farming.

Grauer's Store

In 1912, Rudy Grauer, one of Jacob’s sons took over the butcher shop and over the years Rudy extended the business into a full grocery and general store. Grauer’s Store was remodelled four times to increase floor space. It became the largest independent business in the Fraser Valley. Everyone bought groceries from Grauer's Store. You could run a monthly account ordering over the phone or by buying in person, and the Grauers delivered on a daily basis to all parts of Richmond.

On May 31, 1976, the Grauer brothers were forced to close the store after much legal wrangling with the federal government over compensation and expropriation. The store was demolished in 1980 along with other buildings in the area putting an end to the life of Eburne.

Aerial Photo of Eburne

In this 1954 photograph retrieved from the City of Richmond Archives, the bridge on the left is the Marpole Bridge that used to join Marpole on the Vancouver side to Sea Island. The Eburne Bridge at right joined Sea Island to Lulu Island in Richmond. By 1957, the Oak Street Bridge was opened and the Marpole Bridge dismantled.

The Sea Island Heritage Society has been trying to identify all residents who lived on Airport Road on Sea Island. As you can see from the photo legend below, we still need assistance with some of the addresses and names.

bridges over river and list of numbers, blueBG

Eburne neighbourhood on Sea Island, 1954
(City of Richmond Archives 1977 1 108)

Number Name
1 Marpole Bridge
2 Eburne Bridge
3 Eburne Sawmill (Rayonier/Canfor) in Marpole, Vancouver
4 House (residential apartments -former location of Blacksmith shop) - Address and names needed
5 House (residential apartments) - Address and names needed
6 House (residential apartments) - Address and names needed
7 R.M. Grauer's Store
8 Eburne Post Office or Newspaper Office
9 Newspaper Office or Eburne Post Office
10 Boat tie-up
11-15 Single family houses (number 11 is likely 256 Airport Road, destroyed by fire in 1965, killing two children)
16 Bridge Tender House
17 Home Gas Station and General Repairs
18 Gus Grauer home
19 Marine Fuel Station and dock
20 Chevron Bulk Plant

Eburne Today

The building of the Arthur Laing Bridge eventually took traffic away from the Eburne area. The last remaining store, owned by the Grauer family since 1912, was closed in 1976. Almost nothing remains of the Eburne Area except a sign and the Richmond Marina Chevron. The rest has been replaced by the McArthur-Glen Designer Outlet.

sign about Eburne