Our History

Canoes on what is now known as Jericho Beach in 1883

A Paddling People from the Beginning

For thousands of years people have launched naturally powered craft from the shores of what we now call Jericho Beach and Point Grey. Archeological evidence reveals a history of communities long connected harmoniously with their ocean environment.

Discovery off Point Grey

The Legend of Point Grey

The legend tells the story of the Tyee of the West Wind; the scourge of local ancient mariners who aspired to be chief of gods and stood in defiance of the Sagalie Tyee. The Sagalie Tyee, in the form of The Four Men in a canoe, paddled through a destructive tempest brewed up by the West Wind and victoriously landed on this headland. The defeated West Wind Tyee was transformed into a great stone, filled with powerful medicine which today stands just off the shoreline SW of Point Grey. Ancient people named it Homolson Rock and say that for thousands of years to come any paddler who touches their blade to it will be blessed with favourable winds on their journey home.

Sailors entered English Bay for the first time in June 1792 captained by George Vancouver, who noted the sheltered inlet and its significant southern features: the large sand bank, the old growth forest and the fresh water stream emptying into an accessible tidal estuary at the east end of the bank. The magnificent towering stands of Douglas Fir were much in demand by mariners for building masts and the area would later be claimed by the British Admiralty. Capt. Vancouver made good contact with the people here and it didn’t take long for the local community to recognize all of the positive attributes of sailing.

Jeremiah Rodgers

Decades later Jeremiah Roger’s logging operation cleared the old growth forest which once stood here and depended on the ocean to get the product to market. Much of this wood went in to the building of early, pre-Great Fire, Vancouver. His location became known as Jerry’s Cove which was condensed to Jericho.

Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club

The ocean setting within the breathtaking mountain vista attracted the exclusive Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club which was washed away by a great ocean storm and was rebuilt only to then be expropriated by the Federal government for the Jericho Beach Air Station.

Jericho Beach Air Station: Vancouver’s First Airport

In 1920, almost a decade before YVR opened for business, the Jericho Beach Air Station commenced operations. In the earliest days of Canadian aviation history, flying boats from Jericho charted the BC coast, surveyed timber for BC’s fledgling forest industry, flew people, supplies and mail to remote communities, assisted Canada Customs in stemming the tide of rum runners during prohibition and photo surveyed and mapped remote areas of the province.

RCAF Station Jericho Beach

In the early part of WWII the Jericho Beach Air Station evolved into a Royal Canadian Air Force Base. The remnants of the Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club were covered with concrete and military buildings, and the number of flying boat and seaplane launches increased dramatically.

The building now known as the Jericho Sailing Centre was built in 1940 as the Marine and Stores Building for RCAF Jericho Beach. The upper floor consisted of officer’s offices as well as planning and briefing rooms for marine operations.

The primary mission became civil defense; launching reconnaissance missions from this shore to patrol the BC coast and looking for signs of enemy vessels and/or aircraft. Flying boats and seaplanes launched from here during WWII included: Blackburn Sharks, Vickers MKII, Canso Catalina and the mainstay of the fleet the Supermarine Stanraer – a sub hunter nicknamed “the Whistling Birdcage” for the sound generated by its biplane wing shrouds and rigging in flight.

RCAF Station Jericho Beach crew’s only actual contact with the “other side” was encountering a mysterious but ineffective invasion of incendiary bomb rigged weather-type balloons aloft in the winter of 1944/45.

Jericho Beach Park

RCAF Station Jericho Beach was decommissioned in 1969 and its land and buildings were turned over to the City who decided to create a marine access park. A lengthy process of demolishing the numerous buildings began and when City engineers assessed this building — then known as Building 13 — they determined that it would be too expensive to retain and rehabilitate, and recommended it be demolished.

The 1974 former Jericho Beach Air Station Marine and Stores Building had long been abandoned and, like the surrounding buildings, had an impending appointment with the wrecking ball. The building was hard to get to from the land side, through an armed guard station and other barb wire remnants of the closing military base. 

It was unofficially adopted by a passionate crew of dinghy sailors, including members of the UBC and Viking Sailing Clubs, who had the dream and vision of creating a low cost, highly accessible, non-taxpayer funded community centre dedicated to ocean recreation for small, naturally powered craft. 

When the ominous wrecking ball confronted this unrealized dream the undaunted sailors took their idea to the City of Vancouver who agreed to a tentative one year agreement to see how such an entity might serve the needs of citizens in the newly created Jericho Beach Park. The Jericho Sailing Centre has been the park’s “anchor tenant” ever since.

Jericho Sailing Centre

In ‘74 every window was broken, the roof leaked, there were no washrooms, showers, running water or electricity. There was however a determined “people power” and a new “army” of volunteers who went to work digging trenches for waterlines, fixing windows, building ramps, storage racks, washrooms, clubrooms, and removed metal and piling remnants from the beach.

Four decades of unwavering, passionate evolution have created the world-class ocean recreation facility enjoyed today by many in this city named after a prominent seafarer.

Since our humble beginnings when we served just a few hundred people, the population of Vancouver has more than doubled and the demand for naturally powered ocean recreation programs, services and facilities have increased exponentially.

More than 25,000 people from throughout the city and Metro Vancouver area, from all walks of life and all of life’s circumstances, annually launch from the Jericho Sailing Centre to experience Vancouver’s marine environment first hand.

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Our restaurant and deck are open to the public. Come enjoy the best ocean side views around.

Find Out More
  • Per WorkSafeBC requirements the JSCA COVID-19 Safety and Sanitizing plans are posted below. JSCA COVID-19 Safety Plan JSCA Sanitization Plan

  • JSCA COVID-19 Protocol No one may enter the premises if they are sick, required to self-isolate or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.General entry to the compound is limited to the South gate (parking lot entrance).Our school partners will be controlling access to the compound for their clients using the beach gates, or conducting business on the beach outside of the compound.Members must either swipe their membership card or provide their name and contact info at the entrance.*Guests and the public must provide their name and contact info at the entrance.*Everyone must wear a facemask at all times while in the compound. We ask that people visiting the Centre bring their own masks, however, disposable masks are available by donation at the south gate.All people on the premises must maintain a safe physical distance of 2m at all times.Everyone using the facility must wash their hands frequently. Hand washing stations with biodegradable soap are available around the compound.Everyone must be kind to each other.Ocean gates must be closed and locked immediately after use.The JSCA office has two service windows under a tent along the east wall of the building. Access to the inside of the JSCA office is for staff only.All hallways in the building have been designated as one way. Please be on the lookout for signage directing the flow of foot traffic through the building.The showers and change rooms upstairs are closed. Single occupancy change rooms are available around the yard for general use. Outdoor showers are available near hose bibs in the compound.The upstairs restrooms are limited to an occupancy of one. Temporary washroom facilities have been provided in the compound.Our partner clubs, schools and the restaurant may only begin operation upon approval by the JSCA of their COVID-19 plans. The success of our Jericho Sailing Centre COVID-19 Safety Protocol depends on the cooperation of our entire Jericho community. Although members have been exceptionally good about adapting to and following the new protocols over the past two weeks, there have been a few who have have put “self” over “community” by not wearing their face mask properly at all times within the Centre. Please do not be selfish. Together we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus. If we can all keep our respiratory droplets to ourselves we will succeed. This protocol will be updated from time to time as requirements evolve. Please check back to stay up to date. * Contact information is being kept only for contact tracing purposes by government if required and is destroyed after 30 days.

  • The City of Vancouver Emergency Operations Centre by way of the Jericho Lands Planning Team has asked us to disseminate the following critical message. Stay Home, Stay Put Around the world the Covid-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down and hundreds are dying each day, we cannot let the same thing happen in Vancouver. Now that Covid-19 is circulating within our community, we need everyone to be committed to reducing the spread – for your family, friends, colleagues, and health care workers on the front lines. Everyone needs to Stay Home, Stay Put so we can flatten the curve. Here are five things you need to do at all times: 1.      Maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres outside your home 2.      Avoid any gatherings of people on private property, at work or in parks 3.      Work from home if possible. ·       Any business or non-profit that is not delivering an essential service for residents or operations of the city must ensure 2m distancing for customers or staff ·       If 2m distancing is not possible, you must close. 4.      Avoid non-essential travel ·       Unless shopping for groceries or medical needs, or exercising alone or with members of your household 5.      Stay home if you are sick or showing symptoms These steps will allow us to keep ourselves, our neighbours and colleagues, and our loved ones safe – and we will be in a much stronger position to recover and rebuild when this pandemic is over. For the latest information and resources for individuals and businesses please visit vancouver.ca/covid19.

  • April is the first full month of Spring. When blossoms bloom with earnest, the sun tries a little harder, Pacific breeze rakes the new season in across English Bay into Vancouver and many members of the Jericho Sailing Centre community grab their paddles or unravel their sails for that first launch of the year. Except for this April. While an epically bad Covid-19 global pandemic rages through Metro Vancouver, April 2020 will be very different. China, Italy, Iran, the US; we’ve seen how bad this can be. For our neighbours down south the month of April is predicted to be a rudderless disaster. Federal, Provincial and City health officials are asking Canadians to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of Covid-19. Virus forecasters tell us this “beast”, as it’s known in the healthcare community, will rise like a viral tsunami over the first half of April, crest around the middle of the month and recede over the last half through May. Unfortunately, this is the best case scenario. According to the science, if we all lean into this and pull together really hard we might yet salvage a sea drenched summer on those friendly waves of English Bay. On the front line of this battle are many users of the Jericho Sailing Centre involved in Metro Vancouver’s health care community. They are just like you. They get it. Your passion for the ocean, for Vancouver’s spring and the ocean loving notion that the Jericho Sailing Centre is an essential service. This April these people would much rather be, like you, out on the waves of Burrard Inlet; or at home safe with their families but there is a war raging and we desperately need them to be where they are. They are scared. They risk their lives for all of us, putting community over self to fight this Covid-19 global pandemic disaster. They have a simple request of us. You know what it is. We have an important role to play in the war against this historic Covid-19 global pandemic. ALL Jericho Sailing Centre users are being asked not to use the facilities at all during April, 2020. We cannot keep it free from the Covid-19 virus, we cannot keep it safe for you or the people you come in contact with. Stay away. We cannot contribute to overwhelming our healthcare system. We understand how tough that will be for some. We’ve always thought of Vancouver’s Ocean Community Centre as an essential service too. It is, normally. During a pandemic, it is not. We cannot let this beast win, we all have to do our part. Show our fellow sailors, paddlers and rowers in Metro Vancouver’s healthcare system, and all the people who risk their safety working in essential services, that you support them and are doing your part by not visiting the Jericho Sailing Centre in April. Please put community over self during this community health crisis. 2020 Jericho Sailing Cente Schedule All scheduled events for April and May have been canceled and June is in jeopardy. We will re-calibrate our summer event schedule once we have a better picture. 2020 JSCA Fees The due date for 2020 JSCA fees was extended 3 weeks ago to April 30 due to COVID-19. Many JSCA members have been economically disadvantaged by this public health crisis. Anyone who needs more time can contact us via return email. Leaving C-19 in our Wake We will strive to re-open the Jericho Sailing Centre as soon as health officials say it is safe to do so. Please stay tuned for updates via this newsletter. The next scheduled “in the wind” is April 15.

  • Dear JSCA Members; I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy during these difficult and daunting times. We are facing truly extraordinary circumstances as a city, country, and global community. I marvel at the measures we see being taken worldwide in an attempt to contend with and curtail the international outbreak of Covid-19. I can think of no comparable episode that comes close in my five decades of lived experience. I’m writing, today, to share with all of you an important decision the JSCA Board Executive was required to make this week. As of 1700H April 3, 2020, we have elected to close our facility and compound to all traffic, both member and public, until further notice. There will be no admittance into either the yard or building. We will inform our membership as soon as we feel it is safe and appropriate to resume operations. This decision was not made lightly. And we understand how it may pose inconvenience, frustration, and disappointment for our members.  But in light of current medical updates, and in following the good lead of comparable organizations, we felt it was the most responsible and civically-minded measure we could take as a recreational society boasting some 3,000+ members. All Vancouver Community Centres have now closed their doors and during this crisis the JSCA is obligated to pursue health and safety policies that mirror Vancouver Park Board and City mandates. We have also listened closely to the advice and key messaging of federal, provincial, medical, and emergency response authorities and understand that the best possible course of action for all Vancouverites, at this time, is to exercise social-distancing and to remain at home whenever at all practicable. Given our longstanding relationship with all branches of Vancouver’s Emergency Response network, and our own visible role as Jericho Rescue, we feel it is essential for us to support the medical and emergency response community in this emergency health campaign. We also have Jericho members who are medical professionals; they are encouraging us to do the same. Again, I want to reiterate my deepest regrets for having to take this action. But our collective good conscience really cannot allow us to do otherwise. We are all hoping for a speedy end to this current crisis. And we optimistically look forward to the possibility that we may be back out on the water before the end of this Spring. Until then, please be safe, be healthy, and take care. Yours respectfully, Chris Stairs Board ChairJericho Sailing Centre Association Ammended Notice – Craft removal opportunities April 4th and 5th We have received a tremendous amount of feedback, most of it supportive, from JSCA members regarding the decision to close the Jericho Sailing Centre to deter the spread of Covid-19. However, we have been made aware that people should have been given more of an opportunity to remove their craft for storage elsewhere. For this we apologize and offer this solution.  We will have staff onsite this weekend April 4 & 5 between 1100H-1500H to allow members to access their craft and locker equipment for removal. We ask that everyone strictly adhere to the Covid-19 public health guidelines for the safety of all. The 2019 membership key will still open the front entrance gate for any member who would like to remove their craft for storage elsewhere.  If you need to make some other arrangement please contact me via return email. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this public health crisis. We look forward to seeing everyone on the water again as soon as we have left this in our wake. Fair winds, Mike Cotter, General ManagerJericho Sailing Centre Association mike@jsca.bc.ca