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.

Current Conditions
2.0
kt
23
kt
max

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

Find Out More
  • Dear members, The situation regarding COVID-19 is changing rapidly. When we closed the Centre to public access a few days ago we instituted daily office hours for members to pick up a key should they need one. Since then the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia have each issued a state of emergency and have asked people to self-isolate at home as much as possible. We re-evaluated how daily office hours put you and our employees at risk, and we’ve decided to terminate office hours effective today, until further notice. Showers and change rooms will now also remain locked. The JSCA is not an essential service. We are strongly encouraging all members to do what they can to limit the spread of COVID-19 by self-isolating at home, maintaining appropriate social distance when they do venture out (when only absolutely necessary), and by practicing diligent hand washing technique. Coming down to the Centre and touching common surfaces such as the doors and gates as well as any shared equipment only increases one’s potential exposure. Furthermore, all events, meetings and room bookings scheduled during April are cancelled until further notice. We will be sending out additional updates as the situation develops. We look forward to re-opening the Jericho Sailing Centre as soon as it is safe to do so. Feel free to direct questions or concerns by email to info@jsca.bc.ca. Stay safe. Stay healthy. JSCA

  • To our members and to the public, We take the health, safety and welfare of our members, staff and of the general public who interact with our facility very seriously. In an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19 we’ve closed the Jericho Sailing Centre until further notice. While we won’t be engaging with members or the public face-to-face, administrative staff will be working remotely to continue the business of the Centre. Support staff will be on site in a limited capacity and important surfaces will continue to be cleaned on a regular basis. Our gates will remain closed to the public. Members with keys will be able to access their craft, the locker area, the ramp gates, washrooms and showers. The Lounge and the Galley will remain closed to members and the public. There will be a staff member onsite daily between the hours of 1000 hrs – 1200 hrs effective Thursday March 19th. If you require a member key please contact us via email: info@jsca.bc.ca to set an appointment between 10 am and noon. Once onsite, please call the office and a staff member will come out to the front gate to pass you a key. Note that you must present your valid JSCA membership card in order to attain a member key.  We encourage all users of our facility to self-isolate at home during this time. If you do come down to use your craft we ask that you do so only if you are healthy, and we ask that you maintain appropriate social distance at all times. The launch gates must be locked behind you as you bring your craft in and out of the compound. Similarly, the doors to the building and the compound must also be closed behind you as you come and go. Membership dues and storage fees can be paid online with a credit card using the link sent by email earlier this year or by mail with a cheque. We will not be accepting payment in person. To ease potential financial difficulties brought on by anti-Corona virus measures, the deadline for payment of membership and storage dues has been extended to April 30th 2020. All programs and room bookings scheduled for March are officially cancelled including the Annual Spring Cleanup March 28th. An announcement regarding programs in April will be forthcoming in the following weeks. While staff will not be available to interact with you face-to-face. Email and phone messages will be checked and followed-up with on a regular basis. Thanks very much for your understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at info@jsca.bc.ca. Regards, JSCA

  • Join the Vancouver Chapter of Room to Read Wednesday at 1900h March 4th at the Olympic Village Community Centre for the screening of Maiden, named best documentary 2019 by the National Board of Review. After the screening, JSCA member Theresa Riedl will share her stories of crewing aboard Maiden from Hawaii to Vancouver last summer. Maiden is the story of the first ever all-female crew to enter the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Sailing Race. Skipper Tracey Edwards and her team faced obstacles on all fronts: her male counterparts thought females were not worthy competitors, the chauvinistic yachting press took bets on her failure and potential sponsors rejected her, fearing they would die at sea and generate bad publicity. Tracey and her incredible crew went on to prove that women were equal, shocking the sporting world and all those who deemed them unworthy of the high seas. Maiden was refitted and set sail again in 2018 on a commemorative world tour to raise awareness and funds for girls’ education, and just like the famous race crew it has a team of all female sailors. Tickets are $20.40 each and can be purchased here. Proceeds to benefit Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program.

  • Members who launch from the Jericho Sailing Centre at this time of year are encouraged to stop in at the Jericho office and fill out the Winter Launch Log which outlines your float plan to let people here know you are out there. This is not a substitute for informing a friend or relative about your planned outing which is also a good idea. Most importantly if you do sign out please make sure to sign back in so that we know not to go looking for you if you are overdue.

  • As we leave the summer of 2019 foundering in our wake, the air and water temperatures have become noticeably cooler and the wetsuit or thermally protective attire that may have been optional just a few weeks ago are now mandatory. Recently Jericho Rescue assisted a beginner windsurfer, no wetsuit, who was in the initial stage of hypothermia. This is not a risk people should be taking when launching from Jericho at this time of year. Play safe and dress for survival. What does this mean? It depends on your activity. If you are sailing or windsurfing then a cold water wetsuit is in order. A full length 4/3mm or thicker wetsuit with a proper hood or hat would be a minimum. Wetsuit manufacturers also offer accessory thermal layers to add warmth as conditions get colder. This is a great way to extend the usefulness of your your regular suit. Some folks prefer drysuits – this time of year it would be important to make sure you are wearing proper insulating layers beneath your drysuit. In either case, check to make sure your suit is in good condition with no holes and that the seals are functioning properly. Heat loss from your head and/or neck should be addressed with a hood, hat and/or a neck tube. If you are paddling or rowing its a good idea to add insulating and/or wind-blocking layers to a dry bag in the bottom of your boat in case you get wetter than expected or to layer up and down with as you cycle through work and recovery intervals during your workout. It’s important that these layers work well when wet and do not absorb water – wool and synthetics are recommended. Additionally, sailing, paddling or rowing in the cold means being smart about your route and preparation. Mitigate your chances of being caught out in the cold by doing more laps closer to home instead of forging further from shore. If you do fall in and your body starts to cool off more quickly than it can generate heat, the 1-10-1 rule states you’ll only have about 10 minutes or so of coordinated gross motor strength and function. Plan your route so that you can quickly return to shore should you get colder than expected during your activity. However, if you cannot manage to re-board your craft after a capsize, always stay with your craft – it is far easier to spot than a person in the water. If you do venture further from shore be prepared with a way to call for help. A cell phone in a waterproof case or a VHF marine radio (as long as you are licensed to operate it) are good items to bring with you. Use the Buddy System. Always sail, paddle, row with someone else, especially in cold water conditions. Let a reliable friend or relative know when and where you are going and when you expect to return. Diligently contact them upon your safe return. If you are launching from Jericho Beach stop in at the JSCA office to let us know when and where you are going and when you expect to return.