Squamish v. Canadian Pacific Railway

In 1990, the Canadian Pacific Railway attempted to sell former railway land that it had expropriated from the Squamish Kitsilano Reserve in 1886 and 1902. Ratcliff lawyers John Rich, Charles Stein, Matthew Kirchner and Brent Lehmann brought an action against Canadian Pacific Railway and Canada on behalf of Squamish asserting that the CPR had no rights to sell the land once it was no longer needed for the railway. Even though the CPR held a certificate of indefeasible title stating that it held “absolute title” to the land, the Court agreed with Squamish that CPR had no rights to sell or even continue to use this land because it still belonged to Squamish. As a result, 10 acres of the former 80-acre Kitsilano Indian Reserve were returned to Squamish. Squamish is now proposing a revolutionary development for the land that will see hundreds of rental units introduced into Vancouver’s challenging rental market.