The False Creek Flats industrial area was originally a tidal flat and the terminus of several significant freshwater streams. Comprised primarily of marshy, muddy beaches and teeming with shellfish and young salmonids, it was the fishing and gathering grounds for a number of Coast Salish communities.
Industrial development along the western shores of False Creek eventually caused the shallow, swampy and stagnant waters of the False Creek Flats to fill with debris and industrial waste. In 1872, a bridge was constructed at present day Main Street between False Creek and the now heavily polluted False Creek Flats. The bridge served as a catalyst for new development including a slaughterhouse, several residential hotels, a public market, and eventually an electric streetcar system.
In 1915, permission to fill the False Creek Flats east of the Main Street Bridge was granted to two Railway companies for the development of new terminals in hopes of stimulating a more competitive transportation-based economy. As new land was created, it was quickly built up with roads, warehouses, and garages, indicating a shift away from rail and toward road distribution.