The name is synonymous with North Vancouver. The website you are reading and the neighbourhood in which I live take their name from it. Where does the name come from, whose name was it, and what did they have to do with North Vancouver?
The Lonsdale in question was indeed a family surname and the full name was actually Heywood-Lonsdale. The first member of the family to have anything to do with the North shore of Burrard Inlet was Arthur Pemberton Heywood-Lonsdale. Born in 1835 in England, he was a true sportsman of the day as an expert hunter, rider and rower. He competed for Oxford against Cambridge in the world renowned rowing regatta that is contested annually to this day. In 1877, Arthur he legally changed his name to add the hyphenated Heywood in order to inherit over a million pound fortune from the will of his maternal uncle John Pemberton Heywood.
(above: Arthur Pemberton Heywood Lonsdale)
In 1882, with help from his large inheritance, Heywood-Lonsdale entered the North Vancouver real estate scene by making financial investments in the Moodville Sawmill under the company name Heywood-Lonsdale Estates. By 1891, the Estate purchased the entire Moodyville operation and owned property from the Capilano River to Moodyville. The North Shore was opened for settling in 1903, with most if not all the land purchases having been purchased from Heywood-Lonsdale Estates. As an example of what kind of money we’re talking about, in 1915 the new Capilano Elementary School opened on land purchased from the Heywood-Lonsdale Estate for $3,750 per acre.
Arthur Pemberton Heywood-Lonsdale passed away in 1897 never having set foot in North Vancouver. His cousin James Pemberton Fell would move from England to the North Shore to control the investments of the Estate that same year and eventually assisted in the City of North Vancouver being incorporated in 1907. In 1914 Fell was chosen to command the first Army Company from North Vancouver overseas.
Upon the death of Arthur, his son Henry Heywood-Lonsdale inherited the Estate although it was still operated in North Vancouver by Fell. Henry would pass away in 1930 and like his father before, he also never paid a visit to city whose main street bears his name.