Heritage Neighbourhood Map (PDF)
Heritage Street Names Map (PDF)
The Port Mann community, also known as Bon Accord, was located north of Whalley and east of South Westminster.
William Ross, John Hasselwood and Robert Halloway were among the first pre-emptors at Bon Accord. A landing for steamboats taking on cordword as they traveled up the Fraser River to Yale, Bon Accord was one of the primary connections with the outside world. It was also a center of operation for fishermen.
The New Westminster and Southern Railway line from the American border to Brownsville began stopping at Bon Accord on its completion in 1891. By September 1909, a new grade on the Yale Road from the South Port Mann area to the foot of Peterson Hill combined with the 1904 Fraser Bridge made road transport easier.
In 1911, Bon Accord changed its name to Port Mann for Sir Donald Mann, originally an aspirant to the ministry, but who later became the co-builder with Sir William MacKenzie of the Canadian Northern Railway. (Invergarry Park was named for the home of Mann’s parents in Scotland). As the CNR moved west, Mann and MacKenzie planned to establish Port Mann as the Pacific terminus.
Speculation went wild; hordes of Vancouver real estate agents established themselves as Port Mann specialists, claiming that the coming completion of the Panama Canal and Port Mann’s potential two and a half miles of deep draught moorage would make it the centre of transport and commerce on the Pacific coast, rapidly surpassing Vancouver in size. The sale of lots began in March 1912; four million dollars worth of land was sold in Port Mann before a single site was cleared for building.
Agents sent elaborate maps of the proposed new city to potential clients, billing it as “the city made in a laboratory” with completely rational and scientific planning methods. Borrowing from mid-nineteenth century notions of Baron Haussmann’s Paris, Port Mann was laid out with streets radiating from a central circus in the residential section. The business sector was to cluster around a large open square. Parts of the radial street pattern can still be seen today.
The Canadian Northern Railway did establish extensive rail yards and warehouses at Port Mann. However, they bought running rights on the Old New Westminster and Southern Railway as far as the Fraser Rail Bridge, crossed on the Great Northern tracks and continued, to terminate in Vancouver.
Surrey Council received a bill to incorporate the City of Port Mann in 1921, but the area remains part of the Municipality of Surrey. The 1960 Port Mann Bridge substantially increased traffic in the area. Today the region is still occupied by industrial railway uses near the tracks and the Fraser, as well as suburban residential development on the slopes.