Burnaby, today a city of gleaming skyscrapers, was first settled in the 1850s, with records suggesting that a William Holmes was the first European to settle in the area.
When British Columbia officially became a colony in 1858, Royal Engineers surveyed the Burnaby area. Leading those troops was Colonel Richard Moody, along with his private secretary Robert Burnaby. When a lake was discovered by the surveyors, Colonel Moody ordered it to be named Burnaby, after his secretary.
Although Burnaby was incorporated as a municipality in 1892, its first Municipal Hall was not built until 1899. This Hall was located at Kingsway and Edmonds. At the time, there was no question that this was the most appropriate location. It was close to the tram line on Kingsway and at the population centre of South Burnaby.
Two subsequent municipal halls were built at the same location on Kingsway and Edmonds. In 1911 a large brick hall was built to reflect Burnaby’s growth into a large suburban municipality and remained in use for over forty years.
As the rest of Burnaby developed, residents in North Burnaby felt that the Edmonds and Kingsway location was too far to travel. A debate on where to build the new Municipal Hall began when staff outgrew the two buildings at Edmonds in 1954. The debate ended when politicians decided to build at the exact geographic centre of the Municipality. Fortunately, this was a beautiful location in the Central Valley near Deer Lake with a sweeping view of Burnaby Lake and the mountains. The official opening ceremony of the Municipal Hall at 4949 Canada Way was on June 22, 1956 where Reeve Charles MacSorley received keys to the Hall from the contractor.