So, we all know Canary Wharf is just a load of glass and steel with no history, right?
Here's some lesser-known facts for you.
- No 32 berth of West Wood Quay was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, which imported fruit from the Mediterranean and Canary Islands. At the request of the company the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf, and that’s where the Canary Wharf name comes from. West India Quay and Canada Square got their names from the same principle.
- In 1802, the West India Docks were the world’s busiest shipping port and the heart of the British Empire. These days, you’re far more likely to find that West India Quay has very busy bars, rather than barges!
- If you ever see a bird of prey flying around Canary Wharf, his name is Boey and he’s a Harris Hawk. Boey's job is to keep the pigeons and seagulls away. When he’s not working he’s back at home with his mates in Kent: http://hawkforcefalconry.co.uk/
- Trinity Buoy Wharf, just to the east of Canary Wharf, is home to London’s only lighthouse. Dating from 1864 the lighthouse was used to train lighthouse keepers and lighting trials: http://www.trinitybuoywharf.com/
- Today the lighthouse is home to Longplayer - a one thousand year long musical composition. It began playing at midnight on the 31st of December 1999, and will continue to play without repetition until the last moment of 2999. It was developed by 'The Pogues' Jem Finer: http://longplayer.org/
- Canary Wharf is adjacent to the Isle of Dogs. The Isle of Dogs was first mentioned in Henry III’s papers and it is thought that Edward III kept greyhounds here, hence the name.
- Canary Wharf is home to the largest Waitrose supermarket in the UK: http://www.waitrose.com/bf_home/bf/664.html
- Jubilee Park, above the Jubilee Place shopping centre, is a surprisingly tranquil place to have your lunch.
- Regular cleaning has made the docks water more attractive to various species of freshwater and saltwater fish including flounder, plaice, bream and rudd. The docks are regularly used by aquatic birds and a seal has even been spotted in the North Dock on several occasions (and I’ve actually seen him in the Thames too).
- More than 105,000 people are employed in the Canary Wharf area, but the number is expected to move beyond 200,000 people before 2025.