History is everywhere. Behind every building, every mural, every memorial, there is a story.

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Old Electric Trolley, photo by author

The new game Pokemon Go can help to uncover and  highlight some of Vancouver’s histories. While players walk through the city trying to catch pokemon, they gather pokeballs which can be collected from pokestops. Pokestops are usually placed on historical landmarks and ‘lures’ are placed on pokestops to attract pokemon. Players called ‘pokemon trainers’ have been rushing to pokestops all around Vancouver including great historical landmarks in the hopes to ‘catch them all!’

With the game’s increasing popularity, more people have been noticing these historical landmarks. Play the game and you can find some interesting stories everywhere in Vancouver. Here are some examples of historically significant pokestops.

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Joe Fortes Fountain, photo by author

The Joe Fortes memorial fountain overlooking English Bay (built in 1927 from funds raised mainly by children) commemorates Vancouver’s first official lifeguard. Joe Fortes spent all his free time protecting swimmers along English Bay and teaching children how to swim. He saved many people from drowning. An important Vancouverite, Joe Fortes made a positive impact on our city. In 1986 Joseph Seraphim Fortes was named Vancouver’s Citizen of the Century.

The Beatty Street mural (located on Beatty Street near historical Hogan’s Alley and across from the British Columbia Regiment Drill Hall) features local landmarks and prominent people of Vancouver, such as Joe Fortes, Jimi Hendrix, Rosemary Brown, Bill Reid, Joe Capilano, David Suzuki and many more.

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Beatty Street mural, photo by author

Some other historical landmarks that are also pokestops:  CPR Tunnel Plaque, Harry Jerome Statue, First City Hospital Heritage Plaque, the Great Vancouver Fire Plaque, and Woodwards building.

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Jimi Hendrix museum, photo by author

Pokestops also may help historical museums and small businesses. It has been reported that museums and other businesses put lures at their locations/pokestop to attract pokemon. After a few minutes, trainers would stream in to buy tickets and enter the museum, catching pokemon while learning about history. The Jimi Hendrix museum in Vancouver must have experienced similar increase in foot traffic because they were also a pokestop.

Not only can Pokemon Go help people discover histories in murals, museums and memorials, it can also highlight the more obscure local histories like the Gyrochute. If you want to learn more about the story behind the Gyrochute, you can visit this pokestop at Kitsilano Beach.

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Local History, photo by author

Pokestops are an opportunity to learn about Vancouver’s history. This is a great way to explore and learn about history because history is everywhere! So go out, catch some pokemon and learn about your city’s rich history.

Author: Abrielle