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Pearson Way set to become city’s newest road in Oval Village

This 1937 portrait shows Richmond pioneer Alfred Pearson with wife Annie and daughter Alfreda.  - City of Richmond Archives photo 2000 18 1
This 1937 portrait shows Richmond pioneer Alfred Pearson with wife Annie and daughter Alfreda.
— image credit: City of Richmond Archives photo 2000 18 1

Gone is the farm. So too are the trees and nearby sawmill. Today the land is clear, save for neighbouring dirt piles compacting the earth for future riverfront towers.

It’s a landscape Alfred Pearson wasn’t likely to have envisioned, but his name will soon be a part of it nonetheless. Pearson, a Richmond pioneer believed to have died in 1979 at age 94, is set to become the namesake of the city’s newest street near the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Pearson arrived in Richmond with his mother and sister in 1894. He was nine. His mother, a sister to pioneer Samuel Brighouse, settled the family on the 280-hectare (700-acre) Brighouse farm along the Middle Arm of the Fraser River.

He lived in a house at 698 River Rd.—later 6980 River Rd.—an address that no longer exists, according to information provided by Bill Purver, archivist at the City of Richmond Archives.

In a 1971 interview—part of the City of Richmond Archives’ oral history—he recalled early life in Richmond and living in an area that is now known as the Oval Village.

He recalled planting trees along River Road, only to see them cut down by the municipality when the dyke was widened. He shared memories of the farm, North Arm canneries, Terra Nova and helping build horse racing grandstands.

As part of a new development across from the oval, the pioneer’s name will live on through a new road—Pearson Way—that will surround 268 condominiums in two towers.

The proposed project, which also includes 27,249 square feet of street-level commercial space, is set to be the first with a Pearson Way address. It’s part of Aspac Development’s 11.3-hectare (28-acre) River Green development, a luxury condominium community surrounding the oval and fronting the Fraser River’s Middle Arm.

According to city spokesperson Ted Townsend, Pearson’s name was also attached to a slough that was once a defining feature in the Brighouse landscape. The Pearson slough would have been part of “an integrated drainage network” that included ditches built by Samuel Brighouse.

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