"Use only sugars refined in our own country." Rogers agreed not to hire any Chinese, got the land and grant, then raised another 0,000 from backers like William Van Horne and Donald Smith of the CPR. The refinery site was built up in stages, as was the waterfront property — much of the current land was water that has been filled in.

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According to John Schreiner's company history The Refiners, Rogers was in Montreal working for another sugar company when he saw the economic benefits of starting a sugar refinery on the Canadian west coast, where you could bring in raw sugar from Australia, Asia or Central America by ship and refine it for the booming western Canadian market.

In the company cafeteria is a copy of a letter from the 24-year-old Rogers to Vancouver Mayor David Oppenheimer and city council.

If you look closely, you can see that it's actually three separate buildings that have been joined together.

You can tell where they separate because they have different types of windows — the east and west buildings have 16 panes, while the middle one has five.

But it's been an integral part of the local economy for 120 years through the BC Sugar Refinery.

The complex on the East Van waterfront dates to 1890, when the City of Vancouver was only four years old.The refinery's ancient brick warehouse along the CPR railway tracks is Vancouver's most familiar industrial site.But there is a whole world you can't see from the street, hidden behind the brick buildings.When you walk through it the air is thick with sugar — when you come out you feel like you've been skim-coated in the stuff.BC Sugar is still a fully functioning refinery, producing between 100,000 and 120,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually.In the 1890s, there was a lot of controversy about Chinese and Asian immigration because Asian labourers were paid less than white workers.