A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1955

February 8, 2010

[caption id="attachment_7434" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Streetcar lines being built back in 1889. In 1955, the streetcars would run for the last time. Item # Trans P77."]Streetcar lines being built back in 1889. In 1955, the streetcars would run for the last time. Item # Trans P77.[/caption] As a new era in rail travel began, this city also saw the last streetcar run in 1955. It was also a year that saw a scandal rock the police force. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives Annacis Island Annacis Island, the first industrial park in Canada, was officially opened July 22, 1955. The 1,200-acre island had been owned since 1951 by Grosvenor International, owned in turn by the Duke of Westminster. More than 1,300 government, civic and business leaders were on hand. The duke had died (July 19, 1953, aged 74) before Annacis got going, but Grosvenor Estates—run by Lt. Col. Gerald and Lt. Col. Robert Grosvenor, beneficiaries of the duke's family trust—proceeded with the plans. The Vancouver Sun, for July 21, page 8, reported that one factory was under construction, “with the possibility of a number of other firms also moving in.” Today, the island is home to a variety of industrial concerns and a major sewage treatment facility. Prior to industrial development, the island had been used for farming and fishing. It’s hard to tell it’s an island these days: the land is covered by buildings, warehouses, roads and bridges. The Mulligan Affair In March of 1955 Province reporter Ray Munro, frustrated at the paper’s refusal to print his allegations about Vancouver’s police chief Walter Mulligan, quit that paper and became the “Vancouver editor” of Toronto-based scandal sheet Flash Weekly. Flash hit Vancouver streets June 15 with sensational charges by Munro about illegal doings by the city’s police chief, Walter Mulligan. Anticipating heavy demand, Flash printed 10,000 extra copies. They were gone within hours. On June 24 Detective Sergeant Len Cuthbert, implicated in the Mulligan scandal, shot himself. He survived, and would later testify against Mulligan. Not much later, Police Superintendent Harry Whelan shot himself. Whelan, who didn’t survive, was to have testified at the Mulligan inquiry. Len Cuthbert, still recovering from his self-inflicted gunshot wound, would shock the inquiry with a nervous recitation of bootleggers’ payoffs made and split with Mulligan. Equally devastating was the testimony of Detective Sergeant Bob Leatherdale, an honest cop who not only refused to go along with the payoff scheme, but reported it to the city prosecutor, a judge and McGeer's successor as mayor, Charles Thompson—all of whom, according to Munro, sat on the report. On October 24 Mulligan asked to be relieved of his duties. In December he and his wife left for the USA, while the commission of inquiry into his activities was still going on. He got a job as a limousine-bus dispatcher at Los Angeles airport. The last day of the Mulligan inquiry would be January 27, 1956. The findings will be reported on in the 1956 chronology. And look to The History of Metropolitan Vancouver site for more details on this fascinating tale. Incidentally, one of the reporters at the Mulligan enquiry was a hard-nosed Glaswegian named Jack Webster. His hard-hitting daily CJOR reports on the Mulligan enquiry—written in his rapid shorthand because recording devices were not allowed—made his name. BC Electric Building The BC Electric Building went up on Burrard Street at Nelson, Vancouver’s first high-rise office building south of Georgia. “The dynamic collaboration between BC Electric chair Dal Grauer,” architectural historian Harold Kalman has written, “and forward-thinking architect Ned Pratt (ably assisted by Ron Thom and others in his office) produced a tapered, lozenge-shaped tower, whose plan placed every desk no farther than 15 feet from a window and natural light (a poor advertisement for the power utility!). The floors are cantilevered from the central concrete service core like branches from a tree, with only slender perimeter columns offering additional support. The blue, green, and black mosaic tiles (by B.C. Binning) are an integral part of the design.” What would later become the BC Hydro Building, is now a condo complex called Electra. City of Langley The City of Langley was incorporated March 15, 1955 out of what had been the Langley Prairie area of the Township. “The City of Langley,” Bob Groeneveld writes in The Greater Vancouver Book, “was born of dissent. Township reeve [mayor] George Brooks's adamant ‘Not a nickel for streetlights for Langley Prairie!’ in the early 1950s became the watchword for discontented businessmen who—some of them since the early 1930s—had been fighting to secede from the Township. The dissidents were upset that the political clout of the Langley Prairie community, quickly becoming the commercial and business centre of Langley, did not match its economic importance (Langley Prairie accounted for 20 per cent of Langley's tax base). A secessionist campaign was led by a committee of prominent residents and businessmen, who succeeded in drawing an 85 per cent vote of Langley Prairie's approximately 900 taxpayers to their side on September 24, 1954. Brooks's words, emphasizing the disparity between tax dollars collected and spent in Langley Prairie, had provided the final wedge to officially split four square miles, with a total population of 2,025, off Langley Township to create Langley City on March 15th, 1955.” Last Streetcar “Amidst flashbulbs and the tears of fans” the last streetcar ran in Vancouver (it was on the Hastings route) on April 24, 1955, ending 65 years of street railway service. Now the trolley bus was king. One of the passengers on that final run was Henry Ewert, an English teacher, who would also ride the interurbans on their final day in 1958. Ewert has published several excellent books on public transit in this area. Especially appealing is 2003's Vancouver’s Glory Years: Public Transit 1890-1915, wonderfully and profusely illustrated, and written with Heather Conn. The CPR’s Canadian On the same day the streetcars ceased to run, a new era in rail travel began. The Canadian Pacific Railway introduced The Canadian, an “ultra-modern, lightweight, highly attractive stainless-steel streamlined train.” The train offered the world’s longest dome ride: 2,881.2 miles. Postwar Canada believed train travel had a healthy future. Canadian Pacific met the demand by introducing this fancy new service. (The last car of each train featured original murals by painters of the Group of Seven.) The Canadian was faster than the existing Dominion service: Running time from Vancouver to Montreal was just over 71 hours. The Dominion, which made many more stops, took about 108. Engineer R.J. McQuarrie pulled his 14-car train out of the CPR’s Cordova Street station at 8:00 p.m. April 24. There were just over 300 passengers aboard, and a crew of 22. At 1:00 p.m. Montreal time on the same day the westbound Canadian left for Vancouver. The Canadian was responsible for a spike in the number of train travellers, but, sadly, it was short-lived. Today, VIA Rail runs the Canadian just three times a week (and on CN rails). And a trip that cost $77.85 in April of 1955 (one-way coach Vancouver to Montreal) will set you back about 10 times as much today. LG CKLG AM 1070 signed on February 3 with 1000 watts in North Vancouver. The ‘LG’ stood for Lions Gate. The station was owned by the Gibson Brothers, the logging family. Up against booming 50-kilowatt KNX Los Angeles on the same frequency, CKLG's signal didn't go much past south Vancouver after dark. Container ships The White Pass & Yukon Route, whose narrow-gauge railway connected Skagway, Alaska with Whitehorse in Yukon, became the first company in the world to build a specialized cellular container ship and custom-designed rail cars to handle containers. The concept had been developed in the railway’s Vancouver office. The Clifford J. Rogers, the world's first container ship, left Vancouver this year with her first shipment, bound for the Yukon. Says a web site that looks at the history of the WP&YR: “The first containers designed and built by the White Pass wouldn't meet today's standards. In fact the White Pass test container—the first one built—had ‘bugs.’ The doors became wedged against each other, and at the end of its first test trip it had to be opened with a cutting torch.” Also in 1955 On January 10 an agreement ratified by the notaries society and the law society—they had had disputes in the past over who could handle what—stipulated that need for a notarial appointment would arise when a vacancy occurred through resignation, retirement or death. The agreement capped the number of notaries at 330, the number practicing on January 31, 1955. The notaries’ seals now were anchored to designated districts. (Notaries in Greater Vancouver hold more than half the 322 notarial appointments permitted by statute in 81 notarial districts in British Columbia.) On March 7 Margaret Jean Gee became the first woman of Chinese descent to be called to the British Columbia bar. On June 3 Canadian Pacific Airlines inaugurated the first service between Vancouver and Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, over the North Pole. The 4,825-mile (7,765 k/m) journey took 18 hours. Judy Garland, 33, performed in Vancouver July 19. In July 1955 a recording by Bill Haley and the Comets, titled Rock Around the Clock, landed on CJOR disc jockey Red Robinson’s desk. You know the rest. On August 26 the Vancouver Tourist Association became the Greater Vancouver Tourist Association. Vancouver Sun Director R. Rowe Holland told the Tourist Association he was “astounded” to find that information centre attendants at Stanley Park knew “nothing whatever” about the background of historic sites in the Greater Vancouver area. The Sun story also noted that member Jim Hughes stressed the need for Vancouver to have a full-time convention bureau. And the same story noted that the “question most frequently asked by visitors on tours of the city is: ‘Where are the Mounties?’” Retired lumberman Leon J. Koerner set up the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation on September 21 with funding of nearly $1 million. The Foundation finances educational, cultural and charitable projects. The Raven, UBC’s literary magazine, first appeared in September 1955. A plaque was installed in September near the southeast corner of Cambie and Smithe in Vancouver to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Imperial Oil. That site was chosen because it was the location of Canada's first gas station, opened in or around 1907 by Imperial Oil. The plaque isn’t there now. We don’t know where it is. On October 3 Frank Mackenzie Ross was sworn in as B.C.’s lieutenant governor, succeeding Clarence Wallace. Kingsford-Smith Elementary School opened November 4, 1955 in Vancouver, named for Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, the Australian aviator who was the first to fly the Pacific. The school got its name at the suggestion of city archivist Major J.S. Matthews, who recalled that Kingsford-Smith briefly lived here as a child with his family. The aviator had been lost at sea in 1935. On November 26, 1955 the first Grey Cup game was played in Vancouver. The two competing teams were Doug Walker’s Montreal Alouettes and Frank ‘Pop’ Ivy’s Edmonton Eskimos. Edmonton won 34-19. On St. Andrew's Day in 1955 (November 30), 21 Scottish Canadians groups finally opened the United Scottish Cultural Centre at Fir and 12th Avenue in Vancouver. (In July, 1986, the centre would move into a new home at 8886 Hudson in Marpole.) On December 7 Vancouver police constable Gordon Sinclair was shot to death. He'd been shot in the back while getting out of his police car under the Granville Street Bridge. The shooter, Joseph Gordon, a career criminal, was charged with Sinclair’s murder and would be hanged April 2, 1957 at Oakalla. An accomplice, James Carey, was sentenced to life imprisonment. Carey would be released in 1967, become a model citizen, marry, adopt three kids and give talks on Crime Does Not Pay. Lions Gate Bridge was sold this year to the provincial government for $6 million, about half its appraised value. St. Andrew's Hall was chartered by the Province of British Columbia as a theological college. Buildings would be completed in 1957 on land close to the heart of the UBC campus that the university leased to the college for 999 years. The Trinity Baptist Church was built at West 49th and Granville. The Workmen’s Compensation Board (now WorkSafe) opened a new $1.5 million Rehabilitation Centre next to its head office in Vancouver. Lansdowne race track, which was sold to the B.C. Turf and Country Club in 1945, and which closed in 1949, opened again. It would permanently close in 1960. The laying of gas pipes began in Surrey as B.C. Electric promised natural gas distribution for the Fraser Valley at Vancouver prices. At Port Mann B.C. Electric built the "largest gas turbine in the world" to generate electricity from natural gas. Cloverdale changed to dial telephones this year. Fort Langley was established as a National Historic Park this year, and reconstruction began. The storehouse was the only surviving building and was renovated to become the trading store. It is possibly the oldest intact structure in B.C. Andy Paul, Squamish native leader, was honored by Pope Pius XII for his contribution to the Catholic Church and to the native people of Canada. The CPR announced a plan to create the Oakridge community. “In postwar Vancouver,” Michael Kluckner has written, “a new style of suburbia became fashionable—wider streets, open landscaping, and low-lying, wood-sided bungalows and split-levels. In the heyday of this style, the CPR planned to subdivide the 276 acres bounded by Oak, Cambie, 41st and 57th. The Oakridge community featured 80-foot-wide single-family housing lots, many on curving streets, and a small apartment area, next to which was proposed a large shopping mall with Woodward's Department Store as the anchor tenant.” (That mall would become Oakridge, opened in 1959.) The brothers of the Benedictine Order, who had resided since 1939 in Fairacres—built in 1910 by Grace and Henry Ceperley—left and moved to their present home at Westminster Abbey, Mission. (Fairacres has been the home since 1967 of the Burnaby Art Gallery.) The Derwent Way Bridge (low-level, road/rail from New Westminster, Annacis Channel, Queensborough, Lulu Island) was built. The low-level bridge carried two highway lanes and a separate rail track. The Italian weekly newspaper L'Eco d'Italia was founded. UBC’s Alma Mater Society launched the Brock Hall Art Collection. This collection (some of the works of which had been stolen or vandalized) may now be found in the Student Union Building Art Gallery. Writes Tom Hawthorn: “In 1955, the Rev. E.C. Pappert flipped through a copy of the [UBC student newspaper] Ubyssey before pronouncing it ‘the vilest rag you can imagine.’ Of course, the student staff of the offending journal merrily adopted the clergyman's slur as a motto. To this day, it is used as a recruitment come-on.” The Knights of Pythias Order began to financially assist organizations treating and fighting cerebral palsy in the lower mainland. They are contributors to the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities organization. Radio CKMO changed its call letters to C-FUN. CBUT (the CBC’s two-year-old television station) presented its first televised drama, The Vise, a one-act tragedy (1910) by Pirandello. It starred Derek Ralston, Peter Mannering, Valerie Cooter and Rae Brown, who would later be one of the cast of the long-running CBC series The Beachcombers. KCTS—an educational commercial-free station based in Seattle—began transmitting 20 hours of programming a week on Channel 9. (In 1966 KCTS would join 75 other stations, forming National Educational Television, later renamed the Public Broadcasting Service: PBS.) The Princess Louise (II), built in 1921 for the CPR's northern service by Wallace Shipyard, was sold to become a restaurant in Long Beach, California, where she sank in 1990. Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. began operations with the purchase by three brothers—Henry, William and Samuel Ketcham—of a small planer mill in Quesnel. Today, the company owns 19 sawmills, three plywood plants, two veneer plants, four pulp mills, two MDF plants and has approximately 7,500 employees. It logs mainly in Alberta and BC, but also has US logging operations in Louisiana and Arkansas. The company planted its 300 millionth tree in 2000. Quilchena Golf Course was obliterated for construction of Prince of Wales High School and housing. Stan Leonard, 40, BC’s greatest golfer, belatedly joined the PGA tour full time. Born February 2, 1915, by the late 1920s Leonard was caddying at Shaughnessy Heights for 50 cents. (This was before the 14-club limit when at least 20 clubs was not uncommon.) By 1932, at age 17, Leonard was B.C. Amateur champion. He would win a total of 44 tournaments during his career. Vienna-born forest products executive John Prentice, who had a deep passion for chess, became president of the Chess Federation of Canada. He would hold the post to 1971, but continue his involvement with the game into the 1980s. Prentice’s financial support and organizational ability led him to be called Canada’s Mr. Chess. With the inclusion this year of Richmond, the Fraser Valley Regional Library district covered an area of 4,000 square miles, extending from Richmond to Hope, from Port Coquitlam to Agassiz, and from the international border to the mountains north of the Fraser River. Vancouver’s G.F. Strong was named president of the American College of Physicians and Surgeons. Bill Rea, who had started Radio CKNW in 1944, and moved to California for health reasons in 1954, sold the station to accountant Frank Griffiths. Judge Sherwood Lett became Chief Justice of BC. He would hold the post until his death in 1964. Stonemason Jimmy Cunningham, aged about 77, “retired.” He had been working on the construction of the Stanley Park seawall since 1917, eventually became supervisor of the work. After his retirement he continued to come down to the wall to keep an eye on things. He died September 29, 1963. His ashes are secreted in an unmarked location within the wall. Druggist George Cunningham was elected as a Vancouver alderman. He had the most votes of any candidate. He served to 1957. Samuel Patrick Cromie, 37, became vice president/assistant publisher of Sun Publishing. Medicine Hat-born B.C. Binning, 46, in BC since 1913, co-founded UBC’s fine arts department. He would head the department to 1968. Abraham Rogatnick arrived in Vancouver and joined with Baltimore-born Alvin Balkind, 34, who had arrived in 1954, to found the New Design Gallery. It became a centre for the avant-garde. Calgary-born Hy Aisenstat and his wife Barbara, with the help of a $3,000 loan, opened a restaurant called Hy’s Steak House in Calgary. He would move to Vancouver in 1960 and launch a small restaurant empire. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1954

February 1, 2010

[caption id="attachment_7373" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="The old Granville Street Bridge, photographed here in 1936, was replaced in 1954 by the current bridge. Photo by W.J. Moore. Item # Br N53."]The old Granville Street Bridge, photographed here in 1936, was replaced this year by the current bridge. Photo by W.J. Moore. Item # Br N53.[/caption] 1954 was a good year for sports fans in the city. This year saw the CFL come to town with a brand new stadium and the British Empire Games were held, featuring a couple very memorable events. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives The present Granville Street Bridge opened February 4, 1954, replacing one that had served since 1909. A million cars would cross over the bridge in its first month. Mayor Fred Hume told a special luncheon at the Hotel Vancouver on opening day, “We’re celebrating the official opening of the largest single project ever attempted by the city. As citizens of Vancouver we are entitled to crow a bit because we have accomplished this feat single-handed.” He told the luncheon there had been “no formal assistance given by any other government body.” The eight-lane structure was built on the same alignment as the first (1889) bridge, but longer and higher (27.4 metres above False Creek). British Empire Games The fifth British Empire Games opened July 30, 1954 at brand-new Empire Stadium, Canada's largest sporting facility. We can thank Jack Diamond for the stadium: there wasn’t enough money to finish the project. Diamond assumed the role of organizer to raise the money privately to pay for the stadium's roof. He enlisted the help of many of his business and social friends, raised $360,000 and the project was completed. One casualty of the construction: Hastings Golf Course. Miracle Mile The “Miracle Mile” at the British Empire Games at Empire Stadium happened August 7. Roger Bannister of England, a medical doctor who had set a world record earlier with a sub-four-minute mile, beat John Landy of Australia in the first race in which two racers ran the mile in under four minutes. This was also the first televised sports event broadcast live to all of North America. The race lived up to its billing: It was a thriller. Visit the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in BC Place Stadium to see a film of the event. Even after more than 50 years, the sight of those two men pounding down to the finish line is a pulse-pounder. The knowbc web site describes it nicely: “Once the historic Empire Games race got underway, Landy surged to the lead and remained there for the next three laps. Bannister was content to fall into place a few yards back. The dramatic turning point of the race occurred as the leaders made the final turn into the homestretch. Landy glanced over his left shoulder to see where the other runners were. At that precise moment, the crowd of 35,000 rising to its feet, Bannister flashed past on the right, and drew away to win the race. The final times were: Bannister, 3:58.8; Landy, 3:59.6. For the first time, two runners in the same race had broken the four-minute mile. (Not to be forgotten is Rich Ferguson, from Calgary, who finished third in a time of 4:04.6, a Canadian record.)” Jim Peters It was at that same 1954 Empire Games on August 7, 1954 in Vancouver that one of the more dramatic races in Canadian sport history occurred. British marathoner Jim Peters, who was 15 to 20 minutes—about three miles—ahead of his closest competition, entered the stadium and collapsed just inside the gate. “He staggered to his feet,” the Straight Dope web site reports, “and stumbled on, taking 15 minutes to progress another 200 yards. He fell several more times before crossing the finish line—but it was the wrong finish line, the one used for other track events, not the one for the marathon, which was some distance farther on. The team masseur, acting on the instructions of the team manager, caught him as he fell yet again and led him off the track. Not having crossed the correct finish line, Peters was disqualified and promptly retired from the sport, saying ‘I could never forget what I suffered in the sun—it cost me my killer instinct.’” He had had no water during his run. The BC Lions The construction of Empire Stadium allowed Vancouver to win a Canadian Football League franchise, the B.C. Lions. The first Lions game was played August 28, 1954. They didn’t win (losing to the Western Interprovincial Football Union champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers 8 to 6), but Province columnist Jim Kearney wrote that to 20,606 paying customers at Empire Stadium the Lions had proved they could score. The new team had actually led the Bombers briefly, thanks to a touchdown by fullback By Bailey. “Johnny Mazur played the entire game at quarterback and showed his best form to date,” Kearney wrote, and coach Annis Stukus praised his line of Arnie Weinmeister, Laurie Niemi, Chuck Quilter and George Brown. Their early life was rocky: one win in their first 16 games. [caption id="attachment_7374" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Ernest Albert Cleveland, the city's first water commissioner, photographed here in the 1920s. Photo by Walter H. Calder. Item # Port N26."]Ernest Cleveland, the city's first water commissioner, photographed here in the 1920s. Photo by Walter H. Calder. Item # Port N26.[/caption] Cleveland Dam On November 19, 1954, in dense fog, the Cleveland Dam was officially inaugurated. The dam, a $10 million project on the Capilano River, was “the tallest of its type in Canada.” The Province reported that “The giant concrete structure, and the natural valley facing toward the Lions, will control enough clean mountain water to supply the future needs of a 1,500,000 population. It towers 325 feet from the bottom of the gorge to the two-lane roadway which traverses its crest . . . Cleveland Dam will hold back an artificial lake 31/2 miles long. In it will be 161/2 billion gallons of water.” The Capilano River twists and turns through canyons and deep pools for eight kilometres below the dam, before emptying into Burrard Inlet. Ernest Albert Cleveland was our first water commissioner and so highly regarded that when it came time for his retirement in 1940 (he had turned 65), special legislation was passed allowing him to continue on the job, which he did until his death in 1952. He died two years before the opening of the dam named for him. City Archivist Major J.S. Matthews wrote on the dam’s beginning: “The unveiling took place in a fog so dense that the large group of officials and spectators in attendance were completely obscured from sight; those forming the procession onto the causeway of the dam did so by following the person in front of them; the speakers addressed an audience they could not see, and the audience listened to speakers who were invisible.” Little Mountain Housing The first families moved into the Little Mountain housing project April 1, 1954. Its web site provides a nice brief history: “Little Mountain Housing (33rd to 37th Avenues, between Ontario and Main Streets), is home to about 570 people. It's the oldest public housing development in Vancouver . . . the stucco buildings are set in 15.27 acres and consist of 176 three-storey walk-up apartments and 48 three-level rowhouses. The buildings are set apart from one another and from any neighboring private houses by large tracts of grass. There are no retail or commercial facilities on site. The buildings were designed by Vancouver architects Sharp and Thompson, Berwick, Pratt between 1953 and 1954. The post-war baby boom produced a demand for housing and the federal government's Central (now Canada) Mortgage and Housing Corporation responded by financing rental projects for low-income families. Families continue to make up most of the residents at Little Mountain Housing. Because of the lack of elevators and ramps, many seniors find it difficult to remain there as they age. Almost half the residents are children or youth.” Challenger Map The Challenger Map was completed in 1954. It had taken George Challenger seven years and a million hand-cut pieces of plywood to construct a relief map of British Columbia. The map was on display for years in the Pacific National Exhibition's B.C. Pavilion. Mr. Challenger’s ashes were in a small urn concealed by a plaque on the map’s “Pacific Ocean”. The fate of the map, now disassembled, is at the date of writing (2009) in limbo. The RCMP was using a portion of it to instruct security personnel on local topography! Many people are working to reassemble it and once again put it on public display. The Redhead Robert ‘Red’ Robinson, 17 (born March 30, 1937 in Comox), started broadcasting regularly in September on Vancouver’s CJOR. He played music never before heard on local radio: Rock-n-roll and Rhythm & Blues. “In the Fall of 1954,” Red later wrote, “Al Jordan left the show [Theme for Teens] and program manager Vic Waters, a great deejay in his own right, asked me if I would like to try to maintain it. I jumped at the chance. Without question the first day on the air by myself was the most hectic and nervous time of my life. I knew this was it, this was going to mean a quick start toward my goal as a career Deejay or I was going to blow it entirely. I hit the air and kept on moving records through a full hour, on nervous energy alone. At the end of the hour the control room door flew open and Waters said the show was mine. He said the telephone reaction was great and he could live with what he had heard. What he had heard was a very immature voice, but a young man whose enthusiasm overcame a lack of announcing ability. I was totally hooked. I skipped school to learn everything there was to learn about broadcasting.” The kids went nuts for Red’s music, and in a year he had 54 per cent of the audience. Red will appear again in these pages. Brock Hall On October 25, 1954 a fire heavily damaged UBC’s Brock Hall. It took three hours for the university’s fire brigade and five trucks from Vancouver to quell the blaze. Before the fire forced them out and the roof collapsed, students swarmed into the building to haul out whatever they could. Dick Underhill (now running a law office on Bowen Island) was president then of the Alma Mater Society, which had its offices in the building. “We were actually having a meeting at the time,” he recalls, “and everyone pitched in to save things. There were some valuable paintings by B.C. Binning that we rescued, and I recall dashing into the AMS office to save some of the Society’s records. Then all we could do was stand outside and watch the fire burning merrily.” Brock Memorial Hall, which opened January 31, 1940, had been named for Geological Engineering Dean R.W. Brock and his wife, both killed in a float plane crash at Alta Lake July 31, 1935. The Hall was home to dances, debates, concerts, banquets, meetings and plays. Students immediately started a drive to raise funds to fix the building. It was successful. Also in 1954 [caption id="attachment_7375" align="alignright" width="275" caption="The Nine O'Clock Gun in Stanley Park. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-27."]The Nine O'Clock Gun in 1953. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-27.[/caption] In January, the Nine O’Clock Gun in Stanley Park, which had been in the open for six decades, was housed in a granite and wire-mesh cupola. This was to prevent vandalism. The Chinese Free Press began to publish March 2 in Vancouver. On May 12 a 24-year-old Sun reporter named Jack Wasserman began a new column on “the second front page” of the afternoon paper. Wasserman’s column, often detailing the city’s underbelly, would become a hugely popular feature. Vancouver acquired the pioneer McCleery farm June 1 for a golf course. On June 7, 1954 future BC Lions great Lui Passaglia was born in Vancouver, not quite three months before the Lions played their first-ever game. Vancouver voters okayed 6-day shopping on June 23, 1954. Heretofore, many stores had closed Wednesday afternoons. Vancouver's first cocktail bar opened July 2 on the first floor of the Sylvia Hotel. A switch was thrown July 15 sending power from Kemano to the huge aluminum works at Kitimat. The project cost $275 million. With landscaping on the largest quarry at the future Queen Elizabeth Park completed, on July 21 Mayor Fred Hume buried a time capsule beneath Centuries Rock in the park. It is to be opened in 2054. Mark your DayTimer. Journalist Tom Hawthorn writes that on August 1, 1954 “Cabbie Dave King, driving for B.C. Radio Cabs, was taking a young woman to West Vancouver. When the cab slowed in traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge, she jumped out and, to King's horror, began climbing the railing. He raced over, dragged her to safety, shoved her in the car, and raced back to her West End address. The would-be suicide paid her fare, he told police later that day, and even tipped him 50 cents.” On August 24 Ian Dobbin was appointed Vancouver Little Theatre’s first full-time director and producer. The 45-bed Peace Arch Hospital opened August 25, 1954 in White Rock after six years of planning and fund-raising by local residents. The News-Herald began to publish out of 1100 West Georgia September 20. It had been at 426 Homer. On the 30th it would shorten its name to the Herald. Its tenancy in its new home was short: the last issue of the paper—owned for a couple of years by newspaper magnate Roy Thomson—would appear June 15, 1957. On September 24 900 taxpayers in Langley Prairie voted overwhelmingly to secede from the municipality and form their own city. Four square miles, with a population of 2,025, would break away to form Langley City on March 15th, 1955. The RCMP ship St. Roch returned to Vancouver October 12 after being the first ship to circumnavigate North America. Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper spoke October 21 at the Vancouver Sun’s Fashion and Beauty Clinic. On November 8, 1954 the Province reported on Page 1 that there was deep discontent with Police Chief Walter Mulligan. Many cops were quoted. On November 18 the Sun reported on CKNW’s boost to 5,000 watts from 1,000. Senator Tom Reid pulled the switch. James Hughes was named Executive Director of the Vancouver Tourist Association on November 25. The stuffed form of the late ‘No Drone, No. 5H’ was presented by the Whiting family to the Langley Museum. ‘No Drone’ was a hen from the Whiting farm in Surrey, who had set a world record in 1930 for the number of eggs laid in that one year: 357. Writer Malcolm Lowry, who had spent several years in a squatter’s cottage near Dollarton on the north shore, returned to England. He would die there in 1957. While in that cottage Lowry wrote Under the Volcano, considered by many one of the great novels of the 20th century. Richmond converted to a dial exchange from a manual telephone system. Land expropriations began on Sea Island as Vancouver International Airport expanded. One of the results: the end of the Frasea Dairy Farm, Richmond's largest. It had been established in 1922 by Jake Grauer, and at one time was home to 500 cows. Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada) introduced a fleet of Lockheed Super-Constellations for its Vancouver to Montreal flights. They carry 63 passengers, as well as mail and freight, and travel at 340 miles per hour. A 711-mile crude oil pipeline was completed from Edmonton to Trans-Mountain's facility in Burnaby. Vancouver council decided to rezone the slope above Kits Beach for apartments. Few home owners in the neighborhood maintained the old houses, and that led to the deterioration of the neighbourhood. This would have an unforeseen result: “With this affordable housing, the nearby beach, and vacant shops on 4th Avenue,” Michael Kluckner has written, “Kitsilano was the perfect home for Vancouver's hippie community of the Sixties and Seventies.” The Dal Grauer substation, named for the BC Electric executive, was opened beside the BC Electric Building on Burrard Street. (Today it’s a condominium development.) The building attracted much admiration from architects for its “uncompromisingly modernist” appearance. Designed by Sharp and Thompson, Berwick, Pratt the building displayed brilliantly colored big-scale equipment inside, open to view by passers-by behind a transparent glass wall. That was later replaced with opaque glass. Japanese-Canadian Buddhists, who had re-opened services at the Hastings Auditorium after the war, moved to a site at 220 Jackson Avenue where the Vancouver Bukkyo-kai continues to operate today. There are more than 30,000 Buddhists in Greater Vancouver. The Department of Asian Studies, a key component of UBC’s Pacific Rim focus, was established. Assets at VanCity Credit Union reached $1 million. They would hit the $1 billion mark in 1980. A new era in tourism began as the Orient Line included Vancouver in its Pacific itinerary with the ships Oronsay, Orcades and Orsova. The company would eventually be taken over by P&O Lines. Baseball’s Western International League folded, but at least the WIL’s Capilanos went out as league champions. Broadcaster and musician Al Reusch acquired sole ownership of Aragon Recording, which had opened in 1946 in a small three-room space at 615 W. Hastings. He will turn it into a larger and more sophisticated operation. (Reusch, who had been a morning deejay on CKMO in the 1940s, was a true recording pioneer in Vancouver. A member of the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, he died February 14, 2000 at age 86.) Aragon later became Mushroom Studios. The architectural firm of Semmens and Simpson were commissioned to design a new library for Vancouver. In 1952 the city had purchased land at Robson and Burrard. The new facility would go there. The Province newspaper commissioned the first composite photomap of the entire Lower Mainland. The scale was 1:63,360. Baltimore-born (1921) Alvin Balkind, who would become a very influential figure in the city’s art world, came to Vancouver. Actor/producer John Emerson began to stage popular “capsule musicals” at the Arctic Club. CKNW founder Bill Rea moved to California in 1954 because of health problems. He would sell CKNW in 1955. Rea died in Santa Barbara in 1983. Percy Norman, head coach of the Vancouver Amateur Swim Club at Crystal Pool, coached the 1954 medal-winning British Empire and Commonwealth Games swim teams. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1953

January 25, 2010

[caption id="attachment_7283" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="An interurban car in 1953. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-1664."]An interurban car in 1953. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-1664.[/caption] The first local TV station broadcast, the end of an era for interurban travellers, two aviation records and a shocking Stanley Park murder were just a few of the fascinating events that took place in Vancouver in 1953. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives CBUT signs on The main event of 1953? We’ve chosen the launch of the first television station based in Vancouver, CBC-owned and operated CBUT, seen first on channel 2. It was launched when CBC chairman Davidson Dunton pushed a button at the station, a converted garage at the southwest corner of West Georgia and Bute Streets. CBUT began with network programming tape-delayed from Toronto. A producer/director there at the beginning was the late Daryl Duke, 24 at the time, who went on to have a distinguished career in television and film. When cable TV started, CBUT moved to Channel 3 and it’s been there ever since. Some might say that KVOS was first, but that station—seen on Channel 12—was based in Bellingham, Washington. The station's original slogan was “Your Peace Arch Station, serving Northwest Washington and British Columbia.” It was no secret, however, that the major target for KVOS was Vancouver. Bellingham businessman Rogan Jones’ little station launched its programming with kinescope coverage of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Coronation The coronation had occurred June 2, 1953 and was aired the next day. The British government flew film of the BBC coverage of the coronation to Vancouver, where a small RCMP party escorted it to the border, where they handed it over to the Washington State Patrol. They in turn drove the film down to Bellingham. So Canadians watched the event from an American station. By the end of 1953 sales of TV sets in Vancouver (at about $500 a pop) were in the tens of thousands and residents with a $50 aerial or a pair of “rabbit-ear” antennae could watch three U.S.-based stations: KING (Channel 5), KVOS (Channel 12) and KOMO (Channel 4), besides the CBC’s new station. Incidentally, this was also the year TV Guide first appeared . . . with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s new baby on the cover of the first issue April 3. End of the Line On October 23, 1953 interurban tram service between Vancouver and New Westminster ended as both the Burnaby Lake and Central Park lines closed. The newer Burnaby Lake line—the route of which roughly correlates with the Trans-Canada Highway today—closed after 42 years, replaced by a bus service. Charlie Martin, the first conductor on the original 1911 run, came out of retirement to act as conductor for the last run. The Central Park line—the route of which correlates with the SkyTrain line today—closed after 63 years, replaced by a bus service. Most of the regular passengers were unhappy with the switch. Garageman William Setter of Cassie Street in South Burnaby said he'd been going home on the line for 30 years and considered the switchover to buses “organized chaos.” Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Honour of New Westminster came along just for the last ride. Mr. Honour said he wanted to be "the last person off the last tram into the Royal City." But Mrs. Honour, the Province reported, was less enthusiastic. “I'd sooner ride our DeSoto,” she said. (A shortened service, from the Carrall Street depot to Boundary Road, continued to the following July 12.) Information Services Vancouver On June 9, 1953 the Community Information Service, managed by Elaine Keene, opened its door and its phones. The background: the Community Chest and Council (now United Way), recognizing that it had become increasingly difficult to know where to turn for help with a problem, had determined that Vancouver needed an Information and Referral Service, a place where trained professionals would help people assess their situation and identify appropriate services to meet their needs. A first year budget of $7,300 was established. The Rotary Club promised $2,500 and there was a personal donation of $200. The Junior League provided the remainder. Today, the organization is known as Information Services Vancouver. Babes in the Woods Murder The Babes in the Woods murder happened this year, one of the most shocking in the city’s history—and still unsolved. The skeletons of two children were found in Stanley Park, covered with the remains of a woman's fur coat. The bodies were first believed to be those of a girl and a boy between seven and ten years old, but later study of their dental DNA showed they were both boys, brothers in fact, but not twins. (The misidentification hampered the investigation: reports at the time of missing brothers were discounted.) Near to the little bodies was a hatchet, later established as the murder weapon. The skeletons had been on display in the police museum, but retired VPD Sergeant Brian Honeybourn—who had made this crime a special study—took the remains to a crematorium. He then took the children’s ashes to Kits point and buried them at sea. The Babes in the Woods murder remains one of the city's most disturbing. It figures prominently in Timothy Taylor’s highly praised novel Stanley Park. Doug Hepburn Vancouver’s Doug Hepburn was relatively small in the world of heavyweight weight-lifters—only 5'9" (1.75 m) and weighing just 280 pounds (127 kg). Iran’s Hossein Rezazadeh, for example, who won gold at the 2000 Olympics, weighed 323+ pounds (147 kg). But on August 30, 1953 Hepburn, 26, won the world heavyweight weight-lifting championship in Stockholm. He was the only Canadian entry, and he did us proud, breaking the world record for the press. (A “press” is a lift in which the bar is brought to the shoulders, then after a pause is lifted overhead using only the arms.) Hepburn’s three lifts (the press, the snatch and the jerk) totalled 1,030.25 pounds (467 kilos), and brought him the title of World’s Strongest Man, a triumph for a guy who had to wear corrective footwear for a deformed foot, and who was teased cruelly as a kid because of his limping gait and his crossed eyes. Surgery fixed the eye problem, his prodigious discipline in training (he was totally self-taught) and his immense strength stopped the taunting. A year later he would win another gold at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Vancouver. The Redhead Red Robinson began his astonishing radio career. He has written about it: “There was a radio show for Vancouver teens in 1953 called ‘Theme For Teens,’ an hour-long show on CJOR hosted by Al Jordan. Jordan played the standard hits of the day and invited listeners down to the studio to take part in the show. He also accepted phone calls. I got enough nerve one day to call him and impersonate actor James Stewart. Stewart was in town at the time and I thought it would be great fun to phone Jordan's radio show and spoof him. I must have done a convincing job because Jordan put me on the air and thought I really was James Stewart. I forget how the dialogue went but I do remember it was brief and I hung up quickly. It was a few weeks before I could work up nerve enough to call his program again. This time I called in the voice of actor Peter Lorre. This time it clicked with Jordan that someone was doing impressions and he stopped me midway through my call and asked who I was. I identified myself and he invited me down to the show.” The rest is broadcasting history. Go to The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the rest of the story. TransMountain Pipeline The Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver was completed October 15, 1953. The line was designed to transport “up to 120,000 barrels a day, with more than 50,000 barrels required to meet the daily needs of B.C.” The $93 million pipeline stretched, the Province reported, “through 718 miles (1,155 kilometres) of rugged country from the oil fields of Edmonton to a big tank farm in Burnaby.” Non-stop from Tokyo! On December 4 a heavily-loaded Canadian Pacific Airlines airliner touched down at Vancouver International Airport at 12:42 a.m. to become the first plane in the world to fly non-stop from Tokyo to Vancouver. The big DC-6B also set a possible second world aviation record in completing what CPA officials believe is the longest commercial airlines passenger flight in history to that time. The 4,800-mile (7,723-km) flight, with Capt. James Black of West Vancouver at the controls, was completed in 13 hours and 51 minutes flying time. Today, that same flight takes about eight hours. Ogden flies high! On October 12 Vancouver’s Frank Ogden—better known these days as Dr. Tomorrow—established the Canadian light-plane altitude record by flying a Mooney M-18 Scotsman to an altitude of 19,400 feet. With a conventional internal combustion engine, he set this “impossible” record by flying up until he ran out of gas and then gliding back. “It took place,” Ogden once elaborated, “out of the Toronto Island Airport. The record has never been broken. Mainly, I suspect because most pilots are sensible enough to want 20 to 30 gallons of gas left in the tanks to get back. I flew up until I ran out of gas and glided back to the same airport. With that plane that was not a problem.” Ogden lives and works in Vancouver today. Davis Cup The Davis Cup tournament, the “world championship” of tennis, opened July 9 at the Vancouver Lawn and Tennis Club. The club was chosen because the Japanese team insisted on playing on grass courts, and none was available in the U.S. Also in 1953 On January 6 Vancouver’s longest wet spell began. It ended 29 days later. There had been recorded rain on every one of those 29 days. (On the same subject: believe it or not, no fewer than five cities in Canada have an average annual precipitation higher than Vancouver's paltry 1,113 mm. Every major city from Quebec City eastward to St. John's gets more annual precipitation than Vancouver. Take that, Duchovny!) On January 16, police raided the Avon Theatre on Hastings Street, showing Erskine Caldwell’s play Tobacco Road, and arrested the cast for an allegedly indecent performance. (One of the cast, Doug Haskins, with his back to the audience, appeared to be peeing.) The original play premiered on Broadway in 1933, is still one of the longest-running plays ever seen there: 3,182 consecutive performances. On May 22, 1953 BC Electric opened the Dal Grauer Substation on Burrard Street. Architectural historian Harold Kalman describes it as “uncompromisingly modernist, with the brilliantly-colored workings exposed behind a transparent glass wall—which was replaced with opaque glass, following a minor explosion.” (Architects: Sharp and Thompson, Berwick, Pratt). The Duke of Westminster, one of Britain's wealthiest peers, unveiled plans in May for a multi-million dollar industrial project on Annacis Island. It occupied just over 445 hectares. In 1955 it would be joined by a causeway to New Westminster. Prior to the development of industry the island had been used for farming and fishing. In September Vancouver alderman Anna Sprott became the first woman to serve as Vancouver’s acting mayor. Cinemascope made its Vancouver debut October 29 at the Capitol with a showing of The Robe. The present New Westminster City Hall opened November 19, 1953. The first Chinese Lions Club in North America was organized December 9, 1953 in Vancouver's Chinatown. The Vancouver Corporation Act was renamed the Vancouver Charter, and Vancouver's Town Planning Commission was formed. A breakwater was installed at the head of the White Rock Pier, helping to shelter small pleasure craft. The Lady Alexandra, which had arrived from Scotland in 1924 to become the flagship of Union Pacific's new excursion fleet, was retired from the Howe Sound to Bowen Island run. (She had accommodation for 1,400 picnickers.) Moored in Coal Harbour in 1959 and named Princess Louise II, she would serve as a restaurant until new American owners towed her to California in 1972 to become a casino. Damaged in a storm, she was scrapped in 1980. Nylon nets were introduced to the Fraser River fishing industry. They were stronger, lighter and more durable than the linen nets previously used. Imperial Oil decided to phase out its company townsite at Ioco as workers retire, die or move away. Reporter Jack Webster, who'd worked for the Sun from 1947, was lured away by CJOR to do a show called City Mike. Webster was 35. His pugnacious style won him listeners quickly. The Chinatown News, a semi-monthly with text in English, began publishing. Kal Tire was founded in Vernon. It is, among other things, Canada’s largest retreader of truck tires, and the sponsor of the year 1953 in The History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Winnipeg voted no, but Edmonton, Calgary and Regina—who had earlier balked—agreed to admit BC into the Western Interprovincial Football Union. What made the difference? A new 25,000-seat stadium was about to be built in Vancouver to house the 1954 Commonwealth Games. The football team that would be formed next year to play there would be called the B.C. Lions. Skiing was thriving: by 1953 five rope tows were active on Mount Seymour. The North Burnaby Cenotaph, at 250 Willingdon Ave., was erected in 1953 by Canadian Legion members. The B.C. granite monument was designed by F.J. Brisdon. Russell Baker, 43, a pioneer bush pilot, created Pacific Western Airlines from various other airlines he had established in BC and Alberta. It grew to be the largest western regional air carrier, and in 1987 would buy CP Air to form Canadian Airlines International. Eburne-born Arthur Laing, Liberal member of parliament for Vancouver South since June, 1949, resigned to become B.C. Liberal leader. He was elected MLA. Laing retired as leader in 1959, but would successfully re-enter federal politics later. The Arthur Laing Bridge was named for him (on September 9, 1974, his 70th birthday). Mary Pack, arthritis campaigner, received the Queen's Coronation Medal. Loughton, England-born Harold Winch, who had been a CCF MLA for Vancouver East since 1933—and leader of the CCF from 1938, leader of the opposition from 1941—became a member of parliament for Vancouver East for the CCF/NDP. He would serve to 1972. (A bitter rival of W.A.C. Bennett, he coined the nickname “Wacky.”) Brothers Ben and Abram (Abe) Wosk, the president of Schara Tzedeck synagogue, chaired the synagogue’s Burn the Mortgage campaign. This year, according to the Workmen’s Compensation Board (still called that in 1953) the total payroll in BC exceeded $1 billion for the first time. Frederick Hubert Soward was named head of the history department at UBC. He would head the department until 1963. The Benedictine monk's priory at Deer Lake became an Abbey. Father Eugene Medved was the first Abbott. Black Ball Ferries began service between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay. The traffic department of the Vancouver Police formed a very popular motorcycle drill team It soon became known as one of the top drill teams in the northwest, preforming in numerous cities and municipalities in B.C. and the U.S. The team travels on its own time and is responsible for all the expenses involved. The Kinsmen Mothers' March began in response to a polio epidemic. It’s held every January to this day. A 15-year-old boy named Bobby Ackles was hired this year as the BC Lions’ first water boy. Departures On February 2 Mabel Ellen Boultbee (née Springer), Sun columnist, died at the Ritz Hotel in Vancouver, aged 77. The first white child born on Burrard Inlet, she was the daughter of Mary Frances Miller (sister of Jonathan Miller) and Benjamin Springer, manager of Moody's Sawmill. A divorcee, she briefly ran a school with her sister, Eva, in the 1890s. A journalist for 30 years, she wrote the Vancouver Sun's women’s pages until just before her death. A prominent citizen and member of the Georgian Club, her apartment (shared with Eva) was a gathering place for the city’s social elite of the 1930s and 1940s. [caption id="attachment_7284" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Chris Spencer in the 1920s. Item # Port P925."]Chris Spencer in the 1920s. Item # Port P925.[/caption] Chris (Christopher) Spencer, department store executive, died May 31 in Vancouver, aged 84. He was born May 17, 1869 in Victoria, the son of David Spencer. “He joined his father’s firm in 1882,” writes Constance Brissenden, “and in 1907 established the Vancouver branch. After his father's death in 1920, he was president until purchase of the Spencer stores by the T. Eaton Co. (Dec. 1, 1948). ‘Mr. Chris’ was known for his public spirit and generosity. An early supporter of UBC, he was appointed to the board of governors (1921-36). In 1950 he established the Chris Spencer Foundation to assist worthy students.” Tilly Rolston died October 13, aged 66. Tilly Jean Rolston was born in Vancouver February 23, 1887. She entered politics as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 1941. In 1951, she sat as an Independent for the remainder of the session. In the 1952 B.C. election in Vancouver-Point Grey, she was elected as a Social Credit candidate and named education minister, the first Canadian woman to hold a cabinet post with portfolio. She “frequently blasted the government and said she would not be bound by party lines.” Elsewhere On May 29 Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay became the first to reach the top of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. On July 29 the Korean War ended. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1952

January 18, 2010

[caption id="attachment_7192" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Princess Elizabeth in 1948, who became Queen in 1952 after the death of King George VI. Item # Port P1160."]Princess Elizabeth in 1948, became Queen in 1952 after the death of King George VI. Item # Port P1160.[/caption] In 1952, "the most powerful person at City Hall" started his reign and a comment from a visiting performer brought about cold war tensions. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives The Crown On February 6, 1952 King George VI, aged just 56, died, and his daughter Elizabeth, 25, became Queen. She heard of his death while on a holiday in Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip. Vancouver and the rest of the British Commonwealth mourned the passing of the King. A 21-gun salute was fired at Brockton Point February 7 to mark the succession to the throne of Elizabeth II. Her coronation would occur June 2, 1953. W.A.C. On August 1, 1952 New Brunswick-born William Andrew Cecil Bennett became premier of BC. He will serve to September 15, 1972, just over 20 years, making him our longest-serving premier and, many say, our best. Gerald Sutton-Brown In September Gerald W. Sutton Brown, an engineer from Lancashire, started as Vancouver’s town planner. In his 1983 book, Vancouver Limited, Donald Gutstein called Sutton Brown “the most powerful person at City Hall, his power verging on the absolute.” “Sutton Brown,” says John Punter, in his book The Vancouver Achievement, “was the first port of call for developers. It was Sutton Brown who, from 1959 onward, proposed Vancouver’s freeway system and associated major redevelopment.” He conducted much of the city’s affairs behind closed doors, with no public input. The 1972 victory of TEAM—bringing in people like Art Phillips, Walter Hardwick, Setty Pendakur and May Brown—would bring an end to Sutton Brown’s autocratic ways: he was dismissed and replaced by Ray Spaxman. Paul Robeson The great American bass Paul Robeson was to have performed in Vancouver in January, 1952. He had performed at the Orpheum February 7, 1946, and 3,000 fans in the sold-out theatre kept him coming back for more and more. But a hint of troubles ahead could be seen in the Sun’s warm review by Stanley Bligh. Bligh wrote of that 1946 concert: “In addition to his great success in the artistic field, the eminent Negro has won an outstanding place in the world by his firm stand on the question of racial equality, his knowledge of languages, international economics and his wide sympathy for the oppressed peoples of the whole globe.” That sympathy would get him into trouble. Robeson’s knowledge of languages was impressive. Besides his native English, he spoke Hebrew, Chinese, Norwegian and Spanish. That came from his extensive travels . . . which included trips to Russia. In an interview, Robeson had told the Sun: “I deeply believe Russia is now the world’s most positive force for good, if we will help her.” But now it was 1952, and the cold war had the US in a deep freeze. Robeson’s opinions, and his favorable view of the Communist Party (although he was never a member), resulted in a refusal by the U.S. to allow him to return to Vancouver for the concert. He was stopped at Blaine. Local unions organized a free outdoor concert at the Peace Arch, and it attracted 25,000 people on the Canadian side, 5,000 on the U.S. side. Robeson is now back in favor. The U.S. has issued a postage stamp to honor him. Also in 1952 On January 25, at 8:30 p.m., CBR 1130 moved to 690 on the dial and changed its call letters to CBU. For more, look here. On February 1 and 2 Louis Armstrong and the All-Stars appeared in the auditorium of Kitsilano High School. Tolls were removed from Pattullo Bridge on February 12, 1952. On February 18, The Vancouver Daily Province was renamed The Vancouver Province. It will become The Province (its original 1894 Victoria name) on June 12, 1956. Vancouver got its first taste of 3-D movie making April 4 with a really bad movie set in Africa and called Bwana Devil, starring Robert Stack. Look out for that lion! After an appearance in Trail, Duke Ellington came with his band and played a gig from April 11 to 19 at the Palomar Supper Club in Vancouver. Jack Wasserman’s first column in the Vancouver Sun? We’re not positive, but April 16, 1952, Page 29, looks promising. On April 19 the last streetcar on Oak Street ran. On April 23 the food pages in the Sun discussed the local introduction of a new-fangled thing called a “Caesar Salad.” The present Lumberman’s Arch was installed at Stanley Park July 15. It replaced the original, which had been brought to the park in 1912 after briefly looming over the intersection of Hamilton and Pender Streets to honor the visit to Vancouver by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. By late 1947 it had deteriorated, and so was demolished. This much simpler version—a single leaning log—was put in its place. The Greater Vancouver Tourist Association changed its name in 1952 to the Vancouver Tourist Association. On July 18 the Vancouver Sun noted that the Association had no women on its board. But the place was busy. From the Sun August 15: “The postman rings four times daily, and statistically one-and-a-half persons per minute come into the over-crowded offices at the corner of Georgia and Seymour which house Vancouver’s Tourist Bureau . . .” The UBC Law Building was opened September 4, 1952 by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. The law faculty had opened in September of 1945. By the early 1950s the Faculty had outgrown its accommodations and Dean George Curtis began plans for a permanent Faculty of Law Building. Curtis, the first Dean, served in that capacity from 1945 to 1971 and the building was named for him. Sweet, dithery US movie actress ZaSu Pitts, 58, appeared in Vancouver from October 18 to 21 in The Late Christopher Bean with the Everyman Theatre. During her visit here, ZaSu was startled to learn Canada was not a British Colony. The Internet Movie DataBase lists her in 204 movies. On October 19 the first sod was turned for St Anselm Anglican Church at Cleveland Way and University Boulevard. Vancouver had two notable visitors on October 20, 1952: Governor General Vincent Massey (our first Canadian-born GG, sworn in February 28 of this year) was in town, and so was singer Jeannette MacDonald, performing at the Georgia Auditorium. The official opening of the Frederic Wood Theatre at UBC occurred December 6, 1952. The first production was Earle Birney’s play Trial of a City (original title: Damnation of Vancouver). The production was directed by Joy Coghill, a member of Sydney Risk’s company and a former student of Dorothy Somerset. Fred Amess became Principal of the Vancouver School of Art. The Mau Mau rebellion began in Kenya. One observer: 14-year-old Vancouver-born future B.C. politician Gordon Wilson. A 1952 Hollywood movie titled Hurricane Smith starred two Vancouver-born actors, Yvonne De Carlo and John Ireland. The West Vancouver Chamber of Commerce was incorporated. Vancouver city council approved the naming of several city streets after famous golf courses. That gave us Seigniory, Leaside, Uplands, Bonnacord, Scarboro, Bonnyvale, Brigadoon and Bobolink. Vancouver-born (1908) Sydney Risk founded the Holiday Theatre for children. The BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities was founded. They’re also known as the Easter Seal people. “Under both names,” says their web site, “our Society mandate is to support children with disabilities throughout British Columbia.” [caption id="attachment_7193" align="alignright" width="340" caption="Sales floor at James Inglis Reid, Ltd., 559 Granville Street, in 1925. Photo by Leonard Frank. Item # CVA 1451-1."]Sales floor at James Inglis Reid, Ltd., 559 Granville Street, in 1925. Photo by Leonard Frank. Item # CVA 1451-1.[/caption] Departures James Inglis Reid died November 16, 1952. He was 78. His famous high-ceilinged butcher's shop at 559 Granville, which had opened in 1915, was almost as famous for its signs as for the special meats and haggis it sold. The most celebrated sign read: "We hae meat that ye can eat." The meats included Ayrshire bacon, Belfast ham, black pudding and oatmeal-coated sausage. The Scottish-born (Kirkintilloch) Reid had come to Vancouver in 1906, at 32. Another Scot, H. Nelson Menzies, joined him in 1917. Long service was a constant at Reid's. When the shop closed in December 1986—forced out by Pacific Centre expansion—its manager, Gordon Wyness, had been there 41 years. Elsewhere On January 15, 1952 Ian Fleming began writing Casino Royale, the first James Bond book. The first H-Bomb was detonated on Eniwetok Atoll, northeast of Papua New Guinea, November 1, 1952. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1951

January 12, 2010

[caption id="attachment_7028" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Princess Elizabeth plants an oak sapling in Queen Elizabeth Park, Oct 20, 1951. Photo by Art Jones. Item # Tr P38.1."]Princess Elizabeth plants an oak sapling in Queen Elizabeth Park, Oct 20, 1951. Photo by Art Jones. Item # Tr P38.1.[/caption] In 1951, there was a royal visit, baseball fans had something to cheer about and something called the "drunkometer" made its debut. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives A Million The 1951 census for British Columbia showed, for the first time, more than a million people in the province: 1,165,200. Other population figures from that census, and for the last census in 2006 (for Metropolitan Vancouver), will be found at the bottom of this page. BC’s population, according to the 2006 census, was approximately 4,113,487. Royal Visit Vancouver enjoyed a visit October 20, 1951 by Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. While she was here Elizabeth planted an oak sapling at Queen Elizabeth Park, named for her mother. The Princess would become Queen less than four months later, in February 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI. Legend has it that Sun writer Jack Wasserman was covering the royal visit somewhere in the Interior (before the arrival in Vancouver) and, rushed for time, simply phoned in his notes. The notes were so good the Sun ran ’em as is. Later, they gave him a man-about-town column, and he hit his stride. Cap Stadium [caption id="attachment_7029" align="alignright" width="220" caption="Bob Brown, General Manager for Vancouver Capilano baseball, in 1947. Item # Port P1815.1."]Bob Brown, General Manager for Vancouver Capilano baseball, in 1947. Item # Port P1815.1.[/caption] On Friday, June 15, 1951 Capilano Stadium opened. A big crowd watched the Vancouver Capilanos play Salem Senators, and beat them 10-3. A Province story from June 16 by Don Carlson said, in part, “Capilano general manager Bob Brown said after that close to 8,000 fans must have seen the game. ‘We lost track when we began rushing them in just at game time,’ he said. Besides those who got in, Brown said, crowds were turned away outside the gleaming new silvery turnstiles. Scores more watched the game from lofty perches on Little Mountain.” Club owner, Seattle brewer Emil Sick, watched the game from his box. Incidentally, the late local baseball historian Bud Kerr said the grass at Cap Stadium came from Athletic Park. That location had been demolished to make way for the elevated Hemlock Street ramp on to the Granville Street Bridge, under construction. Drunkometer There was a demonstration May 11 at the Hotel Vancouver of the latest weapon in the war against impaired drivers: the “Drunkometer”. (“Latest” is a relative term: the device had been invented by US scientist Rolla Harger in 1931.) It was a machine that could determine the amount of alcohol in someone's breath. A person would blow into a balloon, and the air in the balloon was then released into a chemical solution. If there was alcohol in the breath, the chemical solution changed color—and the greater the color change, the more alcohol in the breath. Also in 1951 Louis Armstrong and The All Stars appeared January 26 at Exhibition Garden. Wallace’s Burrard Dry Dock bought out Burdick's North Vancouver Ship Repairs in May. The Palomar Supper club reopened June 18, with Frankie Laine starring. He had just scored a huge hit with his recording of Jezebel. The Palomar had opened May 23, 1937 at 713 Burrard at Alberni. (We don’t have the dates it was shuttered.) In its day the Palomar was the place in town for big-name entertainers: the Ink Spots appeared there frequently in the 1940s and '50s, and Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington would show up in 1952. On August 21, work started on China Creek Park on East 10th Avenue at Glen Drive. Today, it’s a popular skate park. The Vancouver Park Board tells us: “The site was originally known as Douglas Park and was purchased in 1911 as an easement for a trunk sewer. The sewer would capture the waters of one of Vancouver’s natural streams—China Creek—named for the Chinese gardens located along its banks.” A large number of chess-playing immigrants had come to Canada after World War Two and some ended up in Vancouver. The first Canadian Chess Championship began a week-long run August 24, 1951 at the Hotel Vancouver. Postal zones were introduced into Vancouver in August, 1951. The Academy of Medicine opened in Vancouver September 27. UBC’s War Memorial Gymnasium opening took place as part of the University’s fall congregation ceremonies on October 26, 1951. On October 31 two big forest products firms, MacMillan and Bloedel, merged to form . . . aw, you guessed! Lawrence Hall, site of primary education for the deaf, opened at Jericho November 1. The Province had a story December 24 about Vancouver-born Hollywood star Yvonne de Carlo. “She hasn't forgotten her home town,” the paper said. (She'd made her first modest foray into showbiz as Peggy Middleton, an usherette in Ivan Ackery's Orpheum Theatre. She attended the Vancouver School of Drama and made her movie debut as a bathing beauty in 1942's Harvard, Here I Come.) Ms. de Carlo, the Province reported, had started her own movie company, calling it Vancouver Productions. Her first film was a biblical one to be shot in Austria in the spring. Her film credits don't seem to include anything like that. Ah, well. High tides and gale-force winds combined in December to flood 1,200 acres of farmland to a depth of five feet between the Serpentine and Nicomekl rivers in Surrey. Repairs cost about $20,000 and the land suffered lower productivity for the next few years because of salt residue. The Lougheed Highway was completed, accelerating development on the north shore of the Fraser. Black Ball Ferries began a service between Gibsons and Horseshoe Bay with the MV Machigonne (passengers only) and the MV Quillyute. The Workmen’s Compensation Board moved into a new head office at 707 West 37th Avenue. One of its claims this year: a Vancouver man filed a claim for a head injury he said occurred when he bumped his head on a counter at work. Investigation proved later that the man had struck his head on a pool table while retrieving a ball he had knocked off the table. Kingston, Ontario-born Eric Nicol, 31, began to write for the Province. He will go on to produce some 6,000 newspaper columns, “several stage plays, more scripts for radio and television and more than 30 books, three of which will be winners of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.” A quote from Judge Angelo Branca’s memoirs: “In 1951, after 565 convictions in six years against betting shops in Vancouver, the trade was flourishing as never before.” J.V. Clyne became a member of the UBC Senate this year. He would serve to 1960, later become chancellor. Albert O. Koch stepped down from his second term as president of Beth Israel Synagogue at 4350 Oak. He had held the post since 1938. (His first term was 1933-34.) The anti-potlatch law was repealed. The practice of the potlatch, central to Northwest Coast Native culture, had been outlawed in 1884. (A potlatch on McMillan Island, held in early September 1947, although illegal, was heavily attended by native people from all over the lower mainland.) 1951 census figures (2006 census figures in bold; next census will be in 2011) Burnaby 58,376 (202,799) Coquitlam 15,697 (114,565) Delta 6,701 (96,075) Fraser Mills 369 (annexed to Coquitlam in 1971) Langley City 2,025 (1955 figure) (23,606) Langley Township 12,267 (93,726) Maple Ridge 9,891 (68,949) New Westminster 28,639 (58,549) North Vancouver City 15,687 (45,165) North Van. District 14,467 (82,562) Pitt Meadows 1,434 (15,623) Port Coquitlam 3,232 (52,687) Port Moody 2,246 (27,512) Richmond 19,186 (174,461) Surrey 33,670 (included White Rock in 1951) (394,976) Vancouver 344,833 (578,041) UEL 2,120 (10,831) Includes other bits and pieces West Vancouver 13,990 (42,131) White Rock 18,755 (part of Surrey in 1951) Anmore (inc. 1987) 1,785 Belcarra (inc. 1979) 676 Bowen Island (uninc.) 3,362 Lions Bay (inc. 1971) 1,328 Departures On August 9, 1951 Bob (Robert) Johnston, rower, died in Vancouver, aged about 83. He was born in 1868. Johnston was known as the "grand old man of rowing." A boat builder, he moved to West Vancouver in 1888 and started rowing in 1889. Rowing was at its height of popularity and he competed before thousands. Best known for challenging world champion Jake Gaudaur of Hamilton, Ont., to a three-mile race in Coal Harbour (1898). He lost the $2,500 purse by two lengths. In Johnston's final race, he won the $1,000 purse by beating former world champion John Hackett by 4.5 lengths. Coached the Vancouver Rowing Club which won a bronze medal in the 1932 Olympic double sculls event. He was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1966. "A keen, cigar-chewing coach of champions." The Vancouver Rowing Club has more detail on its terrific web site, and a nice chronology of the Club’s history. [caption id="attachment_7030" align="alignright" width="192" caption="William Curtis Shelly, circa 1924. Item # Port P1662.1."]William Curtis Shelly, circa 1924. Item # Port P1662.1.[/caption] Baker W.C. Shelly died August 14. William Curtis Shelly had made his fortune with 4x Bread. He had come to Vancouver from Ontario in 1910 with 12 years' experience behind him and by 1928 had organized Canadian Bakeries Ltd., serving all of Western Canada. (The well-known Four X Mills was one of his companies.) He is notable for his contribution to the popularity of Grouse Mountain. After the 1925 construction of the first Second Narrows Bridge, Shelly had a vision that a popular resort could be placed atop Grouse if a road could be built to make it easier to get up there. So he formed a company, Grouse Mountain Highway and Scenic Resort Ltd., to put in a road up the mountain and build a chalet at the end of it. Grouse Mountain Chalet opened in November, 1926. In 1929 Curtis was BC’s finance minister. The Depression spoiled his rosy forecasts, and he himself (with extensive holdings in the Home Oil Co.) was financially devastated. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1950

January 4, 2010

[caption id="attachment_6904" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="British Columbia Police Highway Patrol officer standing next to his car. Photo by Jack Lindsay from the 1940s. Item # CVA 1184-2696."]British Columbia Police Highway Patrol officer standing next to his car. Photo by Jack Lindsay from the 1940s. Item # CVA 1184-2696.[/caption] It was the end of an important career in Vancouver tourism and also the end of the B.C. Provincial Police in 1950. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives RCMP takes over On August 15th, 1950 the B.C. government closed down the B.C. Provincial Police, which had served the province for 92 years, and turned the policing of the province over to the RCMP. The BCPP had been formed in November 1858 at Fort Langley, 15 years before the formation of the North West Mounted Police, forerunner of the RCMP. By the time of the Second World War there were about 500 men in the force, and they were a busy lot. Says a web site devoted to their history, they were “entrusted to recruit for the armed forces. They also examined fishing and hunting licenses, provided custom and excise services, did livestock brand inspections, issued trap-line permits, were registrars for Vital Statistics, served civil court documents and even issued dog licenses. Besides investigating crimes they also acted as Court prosecutors, jailers and prisoner escort services—overtime work was a necessity but extra pay was never heard of nor received.” [caption id="attachment_6905" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Teddy Lyons and a B.C. Electric Railway observation car on South Granville Street in 1946. Item # Trans P163."]Teddy Lyons and a B.C. Electric Railway observation car on South Granville Street in 1946. Item # Trans P163.[/caption] Teddy’s last run On September 17 occurred the last run of Vancouver’s open-air streetcars and an end to the astonishing career of tour guide Teddy Lyons. These famous observation cars were built by the B.C. Electric in 1909 in their New Westminster shops, and Portage La Prairie-born Teddy was a “spieler” aboard #124 from 1911 to 1950, an astonishing 39 years. He pointed out interesting sights, told corny jokes (pointing up at a seagull: “There’s the richest bird in Vancouver—he just made a deposit on a brand-new Cadillac”) and passed along local history . . . he was famous, he was perfect. Someone calculated Teddy had travelled 930,000 kilometres through the city during his tour-guide career. Crime From the Province for August 7 came a story about a submachine-gun being used in a Vancouver robbery. “Masked bandits held four B.C. Electric employees at bay with a sub-machine gun early today in a ticket office raid which netted only $59. It was the first time such a weapon had been used in a city holdup . . . Police said the raid on the B.C. Electric carbarns ‘bullpen’ at Thirteenth and Main was staged by two men at 3:30 a.m., when most streetcars were in for the night and about 15 minutes before the morning shift was due to arrive.” (Note the difference in style: in 1950: sub-machine gun. Today: submachine-gun.) Also in 1950 The first family moved into Fraserview Development January 12, 1950. On January 13 Hedley Hipwell was returned for a fourth term as President of the Greater Vancouver Tourist Association. Hipwell also headed the BC Automobile Association. Both groups shared directors. Nancy Hodges presided over the opening of the BC Legislature February 14, the first female speaker in the British Commonwealth. She was a well-known Victoria journalist and women’s rights advocate, served as an MLA from 1941 to 1953. She was appointed to the senate in 1953, the first MLA from BC to achieve that. The Crescent Beach Hotel burned down in February. A new passenger terminal opened March 15 at Vancouver International Airport. The Ridge Theatre opened April 13, 1950 at 3131 Arbutus in Vancouver. One of its features: a crying room, a soundproofed, glassed-in room for moviegoers with babies or small children. The kids could be wailing, but Mom and Dad could still see and hear the film without the other patrons being annoyed. Read more here. On April 25, 1950 BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and PEI signed an agreement to create the Trans-Canada Highway. Work was to begin in the summer, end in 1970. In May, Patricia Kronebusch became Cloverdale's first Rodeo Queen. Vancouver Mayor Charles Thompson received the deed to Hadden Park, on behalf of the children to whom Harvey Hadden had dedicated it. The park, at Kitsilano Beach, popular today as an “off-leash” park for dog owners, is on land purchased by Hadden from the CPR (in either 1928 or 1929) and donated to the city. In his will, he had bequeathed $500,000 to Vancouver parks. Read 1931 for more details on this interesting man. On June 26, 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea, and the Korean War began. In the spring of 1950 vandals painted White Rock's white rock black, enraging citizens who had to pay for the clean-up. On August 12, 1950 Van Waters & Rogers Ltd. was incorporated in Vancouver. It was the Canadian affiliate of a company founded in 1924 in Seattle by George Van Waters and Nat S. Rogers. Today, the company—dealing in industrial chemicals—is known as Univar Canada, the sponsor of 1950 in The History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Canada’s first-ever country-wide rail strike began August 22. It ended by government order August 30. On August 29 personnel from a company called Eccles-Rand Limited checked out Vancouver's first atomic bomb shelter, which their firm had built in an unidentified Shaughnessy backyard. On September 1, 1950 Park Royal Shopping Centre opened in West Vancouver, the first regional shopping centre in Canada. Originating on the north side of Marine Drive, it later expanded to the south. On September 21 Vancouver’s city engineer John Oliver said he feared that, unless the provincial and dominion governments contributed to the cost of the Granville Street bridge, the project would cost $3 million more than the original $8 million estimate. (In 1939 the cost had been estimated at $4 million.) As it happens, neither government came through and the final cost to the city by the time the bridge opened in February 1954 was $16 million. Vancouver’s Sunset Memorial Centre, at 404 East 51st Avenue, was officially opened September 29—via a telephone call from Hollywood—by singer Bing Crosby. Bing was awfully fond of B.C., used to come up here often to relax and fish, but he was filming. A year later he managed to visit the centre and drew a huge crowd. (The name today is the Sunset Community Centre.) Over the protests of local people a B.C. Electric tram made the last run (September 30) between New Westminster and Chilliwack. A settlement was made in which B.C. Electric contributed to the cost of establishing bus transportation. Businesses complained mail was slower. The fall assizes opened in September, 1950 with the first Chinese juror, Jack Chan, on jury duty. Clarence Wallace was sworn in as B.C.’s lieutenant governor October 2, succeeding Charles Arthur Banks. On November 8 the Province reported that Captain “Gerry” Lancaster had written a history of the port of Vancouver. It’s at the Vancouver Public Library, call number NW 387.1 L24p. The West Vancouver Memorial Library opened November 11, 1950. An earlier library had been opened in 1921 but closed during the Depression. In November Sargit Singh and Bob Bose of Surrey won the Canadian championship in potato judging at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. In December the Eagle Time Athletic Club, which Joe Philipponi had opened in December 1947, became the Penthouse. Japanese Canadians were finally allowed to return to Vancouver. Hugh Pickett, with partner Holly Maxwell, took over the management of Famous Artists Limited this year. Pickett eventually bought Maxwell’s share of the business, would run it to 1982 when he sold it to Jerry Lonn of Seattle. Irving House, once home to Capt. William Irving and his family, was purchased by the city of New Westminster for use as a historic centre. It’s still that today, a fascinating place. A modern sewage plant was installed at White Rock, and 1,200 homes and businesses were connected with the disposal plant. Four-room Gleneagles School, the first in the area, opened near Horseshoe Bay. Zoning problems in Surrey grew more acute as farmers, businesses, industry and residents found their interests conflicting. It became necessary to establish a town planning committee at Municipal Hall. The Vancouver Sun established Camp Gates on Bowen Island for its paper carriers, named for Herb Gates, the circulation manager. Thirteen kilometres of double-lane road to the top of Mount Seymour was completed. The first diesel train came to White Rock. In the 1950s there will be three trains a day (9 am, 1 pm and 9 pm) and residents will set their watches by them. Influential Canadian artist Jack Shadbolt built a house on Capitol Hill in Burnaby. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was built at 154 East 10th. It’s a heritage building today. Vickers Haywood died, the last survivor of the original Vancouver City Police. Haywood had been hired by Chief Constable Stewart in 1886. At the British Empire Games in Auckland, New Zealand, North Vancouver’s Bill Parnell won the mile event, setting a new Games record with a time of 4:11.0. Parnell also won bronze in the 880yd (1:53.4). Vancouver’s Jack Varaleau, a member of the Canadian Olympic weightlifting team from 1948 to 1952, won a gold medal in weightlifting at the Games. J.V. Clyne, a prominent Vancouver lawyer, was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court. Elsewhere [caption id="attachment_6908" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Honorable J.L. Ralston, Minister of National Defence, and W.L. Mackenzie King in 1942. Item # CVA 371-179."]Honorable J.L. Ralston, Minister of National Defence, and W.L. Mackenzie King in 1942. Item # CVA 371-179.[/caption] Former Prime Minister Mackenzie King died peacefully July 22, 1950 at his Kingsmere retreat near Ottawa. He was 75. King was prime minister from December 29, 1921, to June 28, 1926, again from September 25, 1926, to August 6, 1930, and yet again October 23, 1935, to November 15, 1948. With more than 21 years in office, he was the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of the British Commonwealth. Princess Anne was born August 15. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1949

December 21, 2009

[caption id="attachment_6851" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Demolition of the Hotel Vancouver, August 26, 1949. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-60."]Demolition of the Hotel Vancouver, August 26, 1949. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-60.[/caption] An earthquake, flooding and a sensational murder; 1949 was definitely an interesting year in our history. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives Murder One of Vancouver's most sensational murder stories began early November 9, 1949 with the discovery of the body of Woodward's employee Blanche Fisher, 45 and unmarried. The victim was found in False Creek near the Kitsilano Trestle. Suicide was first considered, but was ruled out when it was discovered she wore no shoes, stockings or underwear, and that there were many bruises on her body. What made the case extraordinary was the identity of the killer, who was eventually identified, charged and executed. His name was Frederick Ducharme, 34, a very odd and twisted piece of work, with a record for indecent exposure and bizarre behavior, which can’t be described here and which was only hinted at in the more straitlaced newspaper reporting of the day. Ms. Fisher's umbrella was found in his car, and articles of her clothing in his squalid False Creek shack. (Jack Webster describes the case in detail in his autobiography.) The story ran for several months. Ducharme would be found guilty of the murder and hanged July 14, 1950. Quake! The biggest quake in BC’s recorded history, 8.1 on the Richter scale, occurred August 21 off the Queen Charlotte Islands. Its major force was felt to the uninhabited west of the Queen Charlotte Islands and damage was minimal. “While hardly anyone in Vancouver felt the tremors, reports of the quake poured in from throughout B.C. . . . Prince George residents ran into the streets shouting ‘earthquake, earthquake,’ as cafe signs swung and poles swayed.” Centres 1,500 miles (2,400 km) apart felt the quake, and it was even detected in Jasper, Alberta. Seattle measured it at 7.2. The Province reported on Page One that a clock had stopped in the home of Mrs. Laurie Sanders, Imperial Street in Burnaby. The Hope-Princeton The Hope-Princeton Highway officially opened November 2, 1949 to traffic. The Highway (#3) closely followed the old Dewdney Trail, the interior route along which provisions were moved north, and gold and furs moved south. “When the Hope-Princeton highway opened,” says the Manning Park website, “it not only provided a major transportation link between the coast and interior, it also made accessible to people everywhere the premier provincial park in British Columbia.” The Trans-Canada On December 10, 1949 the federal government passed the Trans-Canada Highway Act. This act committed the federal government to paying half the estimated $300 million cost of building the highway. The provinces would pay the rest. The total cost, and the federal government's contribution, ended up being substantially more. It paid 90 per cent of the costs in some of the more difficult sections. Quebec was the last province to sign the Trans-Canada Highway Act, which it would do in October 1960. The western terminus had been named as Tofino on Vancouver Island, but Victoria would eventually win the title of Mile “0.” The highway would be officially opened July 30, 1962. G.F. Strong Centre The G.F. Strong Centre began in 1949. Its first manager (and a founding director) was Edmund Desjardins. He would hold that post until 1979, a remarkable 30 years. Desjardins guided its development into an outstanding rehabilitation institution. He had been confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic in 1944 as a result of a training accident at Sandhurst Military College in England. As Chairman of the Architectural Committee for the Social Planning and Review Council of British Columbia, Desjardins prepared and presented a comprehensive set of design standards for persons with disabilities that was adopted by the City of Vancouver in its building by-law. His work was also important in the incorporation of design standards for accessibility into British Columbia provincial building codes. Kerrisdale Arena Kerrisdale Arena was officially opened November 11. One of the people on hand was hockey legend Fred “Cyclone” Taylor. Taylor was president of the Point Grey Community Centre Association at the time. Park board chairman Bert Emery, acting mayor R.K. Gervin and Harry Duker, who managed the raising of funds for the building, were on hand too. The Capilano floods On November 27 the Capilano River, swollen by a violent rainstorm, swept away a large section of Marine Drive, the only road link at the time to West Vancouver. Washed away as well was part of the bridge over the Capilano, so army engineers from Sardis rushed in to build an emergency Bailey bridge. That was also washed away, and West Vancouver would be cut off for 10 days. Mayor Thompson Charles Edwin Thompson became mayor of Vancouver. Born September 17, 1890 in Grey County, Ontario, Thompson, writes Donna Jean McKinnon, “was a teacher, rancher, automotive dealer, and from 1945 to 1948 an alderman. His apparently contradictory combination of progressive and regressive policies make him a hard character to pin down. He felt that improvements to public transit, roadways and sewer lines and efforts to equalize civic taxes should be provided to law-abiding and politically correct citizens. However, civil liberties were impaired during his term through a policy requiring all civic employees to be screened for communist sympathies.” Night Club Drinking The Sun’s Page One headline January 4, 1949 about a police raid the night before on three local establishments was great: POLICE OPEN WAR ON NIGHT CLUB DRINKING. Imagine! People drinking liquor in a nightclub! Next thing you know, they’ll be dancing! Chief Constable Walter Mulligan warned that his dry squad men were “definitely going to tighten up on liquor drinking in cabarets.” Detectives swooped down on three cabarets and confiscated 13 bottles of liquor from underneath tables. Five were seized from the Cave Cabaret, two from the Palomar and four more at the Mandarin. The B.C. Cabaret Owners’ Association blamed “rabid prohibitionists.” “These attempted curbs on drinking,” they added, “will only drive drink into vice dens, autos and hotel rooms.” Much has changed in 60 years, and we can thank the officials of the COA, among others, for that. “Figuratively rubbing their hands,” the Sun reported, “the COA said ‘Good! At last we can fight a test case out in the open over B.C.’s ridiculous liquor laws.” Also in 1949 On January 16 streetcar service on the Kitsilano Beach run was discontinued by BC Electric. The second Hotel Vancouver, since 1914 one of the city’s most outstanding landmarks, was torn down in January. It was the largest wrecking job ever undertaken in the British Commonwealth. “There is no alternative,” read newspaper reports, “as no hotel operator is willing to buy, rehabilitate and operate it at his own risk.” On January 29 Harry Duker, Chairman of the Vancouver Tourist Association fund-raising campaign, told the Sun he was aiming for $75,000 in operating funds for 1949. “During the year (1948) 70,000 persons came to the association’s headquarters at Georgia and Seymour for information . . .” [caption id="attachment_6850" align="alignleft" width="320" caption="Burrard Bridge, considered a 'monstrosity' by F.A. Ames of the Vancouver Art School. Photo by Stuart Thomson. Item # CVA 99-4214."]Burrard Bridge, considered a 'monstrosity' by . Photo by Stuart Thomson. Item # CVA 99-4214.[/caption] Burrard Bridge engineer Major J.R. Grant reacted to remarks by a local art teacher that the bridge (opened in 1932) was a “monstrosity.” F.A. Ames of the Vancouver Art School had told a Lions Club gathering that the bridge pillars were “ashcans with a gasoline station on top.” Grant explained, said the Sun on March 5, that the pillars “were built as large as they are on request from the harbormaster, who wanted them prominent to avoid a navigation hazard at the False Creek entrance.” He went on to explain that the large base of the piers was required because at the time (1932) the B.C. Electric Railway had planned running a railway on a lower deck beneath the roadway. “That railway will never go in now,” Grant said. “The BCER is no longer interested.” He pooh-poohed Ames’ criticisms, said he’d rather trust the “esthetic ideas of the engineer.” The Vancouver Rose Growers’ Society was formed March 23. Native Indian people and Japanese citizens got the vote in BC on April 1, 1949. On-reserve residents would not get the federal vote until 1960. Margarine went on sale April 22. It was packed, colored white, into squishy plastic bags. That was thanks to lobbying by the dairy industry (which feared, rightly, the new product would hurt sales of butter). Included inside the bag: a small pill of food coloring which had to be popped open and kneaded by the consumer to make the margarine yellow. The new Labour Temple opened on West Broadway May 31. A June 15 fire on the False Creek waterfront caused $1 million damage. CP Air launched its inaugural flight to Sydney, Australia July 1. Then, on the 13th, they carried the first all-Canadian airmail to Australia. The Province, in a July 23, 1949 story on local tourist activity, ran a photo of “travel advisors” Doris Young, Alyse Francis and Anita Zanon. “They reply to all queries, even stupid ones, with courteous, sensible information.” Hedley Hipwell, president of the Vancouver Tourist Association, referred to “Vancouver’s $30 million tourist industry . . .” The VTA’s travel advisors, Hipwell explained, deal with from 600 to 700 visitors a day. “In 1948 they answered 120,000 phone calls. In 1927 there were 24,000 . . . Last year, the girls gave out 160,000 travel folders and maps, answered 11,400 direct and 50,000 letters from other tourist bureaus, 8,000 coupon advertisement enquiries. They wrote invitations to 9,000 convention prospects . . . One of VTA’s biggest jobs is finding rooms for folk who arrive in Vancouver without reservations. It takes the full time of one advisor to find accommodation for them.” Kingsway was re-opened August 15 as a six-lane highway between Vancouver and New Westminster. It was described as “strikingly handsome” in the newspapers. Also on August 15, radio’s Jack Cullen, who was switching stations, did his last show at CKMO and his first show at CKNW at the same time. He had taped his ’MO show earlier, did his ’NW show live. On September 10, 1949 Gloria Cranmer, future film maker and linguist, born in Alert Bay July 4, 1931, became the first native Indian woman to attend the University of British Columbia. She would graduate in anthropology in 1956. Her contributions to British Columbia native life were notable. She would be awarded the Heritage Society of British Columbia’s Heritage Award in 1996. The ABC Bookworld web site has more on her distinguished and important work. The first “official” tree was planted at Queen Elizabeth Park October 22. It was called Little Mountain Park back then, carved out of a rock quarry and chosen as the site of Canada’s first civic arboretum. “The tree looked lonely and a trifle battered,” the Province wrote. “Fittingly enough, it was a Pacific dogwood, the only tree emblematic of B.C. It stood in a grassy spot overlooking the smoke and skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver.” The original idea for the arboretum, the paper reported, “was suggested by Leander Manley, secretary-manager of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association, western branch.” A civic banquet was given at the Hotel Vancouver November 2 for visiting Prime Minister Nehru of India. His host here was local businessman and community leader Ranjit Mattu. His daughter Indira, 31, accompanied him on a visit to the Sikh Temple. Grouse Mountain Chairlift opened December 1, the world's first double chairlift. It replaced a two- to three-hour hike from the skiers' bus stop at the base of the mountain. A photograph appeared in the Province December 3 showing the site for something called a “shopping centre” on the north shore. It would be called Park Royal, and would be Canada’s first shopping centre. On December 4, 1949 Dick Diespecker’s radio column in the Province—which followed local and international radio personalities in precisely the way we cover TV and movie stars today—told us that “dynamic young sportscaster” Ray Perrault had left CJOR to join the radio department of the O'Brien Advertising Agency. He later became Senator Ray Perrault. On December 11 boxer Jimmy McLarnin laid the cornerstone for Sunset Memorial Centre on East 51st Avenue. McLarnin had played a large part in the establishment of the Centre, which is now called Sunset Community Centre. When Stan Thomas, one of the people involved in the creation of the complex, went to Hollywood in 1947 it was McLarnin—whom Thomas knew—who introduced him to Bing Crosby, a friend of McLarnin’s. Bing agreed to come up to Vancouver and record his radio show here to kick off the Centre’s fund-raising campaign. Bing’s show was recorded at the Forum September 22, 1948, attended by 9,000 people. There was a farewell parade of Vancouver's Seaforth Highlanders on December 23, held for their retiring commanding officer, Lt.-Col. D.M. Clark. Part of the ceremony included an inspection by Brig. J.M. Rockingham of the Seaforth's ski company. These special troops, we said, would train on Mount Seymour. We confess: we don’t understand this story. On December 29 a box called “The Thing” was put out to float in English Bay by the leaders of the Polar Bear Club. When it was brought into shore on January 1, 1951 during the swim it was opened to reveal an effigy of Stalin, which was ceremoniously burned. CKNW moved this year from 1230 on the dial to 1320. An American movie partly made in Vancouver more than 60 years ago actually took place here! How often does that happen? The 1949 thriller, Johnny Stool Pigeon, starring Howard Duff, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea and Tony Curtis, among others, told of international drug dealers tracked to their downtown Vancouver lair by a heroic U.S. Treasury agent. (Drugs in Vancouver? Ha! Never happen.) S.V. Smith became president of the Vancouver Real Estate Board. Winnipeg-born writer George Woodcock moved to B.C., aged about 37. He gave us more than 120 books, the first a collection of poems published in 1938 when he was 26, the last a 1994 history of B.C. His biography of George Orwell, The Crystal Spirit (Governor General’s Award for non-fiction in 1966), and his writings on anarchism were well-received. Calgary-born (June 8, 1912) Clyde Gilmour began writing movie reviews this year for the Vancouver Sun. He had been doing the same on CBC radio here since 1947. Both gigs lasted to 1954, then he went East to well-deserved national fame. Penticton’s Mike Fitzpatrick liked our story in the September 20, 2005 Sun of the now-vanished News-Herald, and sent along this reminiscence (which we’ve given a date of 1949): “In the late forties and early fifties I as well as my pals had N-H paper routes in the McKenzie Dunbar areas. We of course were no different than all the others across town who were up at 4 a.m. six days a week and off on our trusty CCM and Raleigh bikes. (No fancy 10-speeds yet). Our substation was at 41st and Collingwood, and I can easily remember the crews pulling up the street car tracks and paving 41st in preparation for the first trolley buses, the first trolley line in Vancouver I believe. We thought 41st Ave. was great with the new pavement at 5am, as there were no cars at that hour of the day and we could play soccer on the street while waiting for the papers when they were late, as they often were. Although there were only 5 routes from that substation they covered large areas compared to the Sun or Province routes as fewer people subscribed to the N-H. Two or three times a year we would do subscription drives, as they do today trying to get new customers for the paper. Often, if we were able to get enough new subscriptions we would be taken to Bellingham for the day (always a Saturday). It was a big day for a group of 12 to 14 year olds. I remember so well the manager, Ian French, who drove us down to Bellingham. He owned a beautiful brand new Olds 98 on our last trips. It of course was the best car that we had ever been in as none of our families could ever afford anything like that in those days.” This was a time of extraordinary growth in the number of credit unions in B.C. More than 200 would be formed between 1940 and 1950. Fraser Valley Credit Union started this year. Fourteen charter members signed a constitution and gathered $48 in assets. By year’s end they had 53 members and assets of $2,441.35. This pioneer firm would eventually be absorbed into what is known today as Prospera Credit Union. Elsewhere On January 10 RCA Records introduced a new format for music recordings: seven-inch singles that ran at 45 rpm. The new records came with a large centre hole, easier to mount on the spindle. New “drop-changer” players could play these records for 50 minutes without interruption. On April 1, 1949 Newfoundland entered Confederation. On August 16 Margaret Mitchell, 48, the author of Gone With The Wind, died from the effects of being struck several days earlier by a speeding car near her home in Atlanta, Georgia. The driver was an off-duty cabbie who had 23 previous traffic violations on his record. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1948

December 14, 2009

[caption id="attachment_6778" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Aerial view of Fraser River flood and surrounding areas, 1948. Photo by Art Jones. Item # Air P80.4."]Aerial view of Fraser River flood and surrounding areas, 1948. Photo by Art Jones.[/caption] A terrible flood happened in 1948 that caused death and millions in damage. The city also lost a couple prominent citizens, including its second mayor in as many years. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives Fraser Valley Flood 1948 was dominated by news of the Fraser River flood, the greatest natural disaster—in terms of damage done—in BC history. The flooding began May 24, 1948. Before it ended in early June it had wreaked enormous havoc: ten people died, there was $20 million in damage (in 1948 dollars), more than 16,000 people lost their homes, rail service was disrupted for two weeks, and more than 80 bridges were washed away. Greater Vancouver was isolated from the rest of the country for days, as both railways and the Trans-Canada Highway were cut. Barnston Island was inundated and cattle had to be removed. Dead cattle floated downstream from Fraser Valley farms. On May 31 Premier Byron Johnson declared a state of emergency. Up and down the river thousands of citizens and more than 3,000 troops labored together, filling sandbags and dumping gravel, whatever it took to hold back the raging waters. The author was in Grade 8 at Maple Ridge High School in Haney at the time, and remembers being sent out with schoolmates to help lay sandbags. There had been a similar dramatic flooding in the same areas more than 50 years earlier, with the water going even higher, but the 1894 flooding occurred when there was far less to destroy. Eaton’s On December 1, 1948 the T. Eaton Co. took over the nine department stores in BC of the David Spencer chain. The president of the company, John David Eaton, visiting from Toronto, said the purchase wouldn't affect Eaton’s’ plans to demolish the old Hotel Vancouver and eventually build a modern store at Georgia and Granville. The newspapers held back the story of the sale because Chris Spencer—the head of the Spencer stores—said he wanted to be the first to tell his employees. The Spencer chain, which began modestly in 1873 in Victoria in a store called Victoria House, included stores in Vancouver, Victoria, New Westminster, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Duncan, Chilliwack and Mission. The Vancouver store had opened in 1906 on Hastings between Seymour and Richards and eventually expanded to take up the entire block,. New Housing After World War II there was a housing crisis, so in 1948 some 120 acres of empty land in Vancouver were quickly developed near Grandview Highway and Boundary Road. Alderman Halford Wilson, chair of the civic street naming committee, announced that the new streets there would be named after wartime personalities, locations, battles and events. That gave us: Worthington and Falaise Avenues, Dieppe, Anzio, Mons, Normandy, Seaforth and Maida Drives, and Vimy and Matapan Crescents. Malta Place completed the set. (Donald and Jack Worthington were soldiers, sons of a former alderman.) Bing Crosby Bing Crosby brought his hugely popular Philco radio show to Vancouver September 20 and recorded a program September 22 at the Sunset Memorial Centre on East 51st Avenue. It aired October 13. (Jack Cullen occasionally played excerpts from that show on his own CKNW program.) Appearing with Bing on the show were jazz violinist Joe Venuti and actors Marilyn Maxwell, William Gargan and Ray Milland. This benefit for the Centre was unique in being the only program in the Philco series transcribed outside of the US. A song hit of the time was Hair of Gold, Eyes of Blue. It began with the words “I came down from Butte, Montana,” but Bing changed the lyrics on air to “I came down from West Vancouver.” Before the show, incidentally, Crosby was made a full-blooded Indian “Chief.” The Squamish tribe made him an honorary member with the title “Chief Thunder Voice.” Also on the 22nd, Crosby drew a capacity crowd to the Forum. TV Comes to Vancouver On November 28, 1948 a ghostly image of a Seattle high school football game materialized on a four-by-five-inch screen at a home in West Vancouver's British Properties. As reported in the Province the following day, radio-shop proprietor E.A. Mullins had built the primitive set from a kit that cost $238. Nine viewers, Mullins’ family and friends, gathered to watch the telecast from Seattle TV station KRSC—later to become KING-TV. Also in 1948 On January 3 Art Jones and Ray Munro, photographers at the Vancouver Sun, both of them mad at Hal Straight of the Sun for some unremembered reason, went into business as freelancers in a company they called artray. Their base of operations was Nine East Hastings Street. An early assignment: flooding in the Fraser Valley (May). A vast collection of their photos has been donated to the Vancouver Public Library, and can be seen on the VPL’s web site. (Editor's note: The above photo of the flood is an Art Jones photo and attributed to artray ltd.) On February 19 motel construction along Kingsway was approved. On March 6, 1948, under a large photograph in the Province of an unhappy young man sitting among the rubble of the partially demolished Giant Dipper roller coaster appeared this story: “THEY'RE TEARING DOWN the Giant Dipper at Vancouver's Hastings Park today to make room for the extension of the racetrack. This may be good news to adult followers of the galloping bangtails, but it's something close to a major tragedy for thousands of youngsters. Shown viewing the crumbling skeleton with nostalgia and sorrow is 14-year-old Bob. Said Bob, ‘If they want to rip things apart in this town, why don't they start in on a few schools?’ The Giant Dipper has been a top attraction at the midway since 1925. It cost $65,000. It was almost a mile long, and the cars reached 40 miles an hour. The longest sheer drop was 60 feet—a thrill credited with having hastened the ripening of many a beautiful friendship. In 1927 the Duke of Windsor, then the Prince of Wales, tried out the Dipper one afternoon and liked it so well he returned in the evening.” Two-way escalators in Vancouver’s Hudson’s Bay store made the April 14, 1948 newspapers. On April 18 the Ink Spots, starring Vancouver’s Bill Kenny, started a two-week engagement at the Palomar, their first. They had been booked for a June 1947 appearance, but some kind of problem with the booking agent developed and they didn’t appear. The last known performance of the Ink Spots when Bill Kenny was still with them would be in Ottawa at the Gatineau Club either October 31st or November 1st , 1953. Younger readers: ask your grandparents. The Ink Spots were huge. Vancouver’s first boat show began April 26, 1948. Effective June 15 Japanese-Canadians could vote again. Chinese-Canadians and native people had been given the right the year before. On July 14 the first “cottage” hospital at Langley Memorial Hospital opened with 35 beds. A July 30 story in the Province: “Joy Coghill, one of Vancouver's best known actresses, is going to Chicago in search of her master's degree in directing and producing. Miss Coghill started acting as a child in Scotland where she went to school. When she came to Vancouver in 1940 she entered into dramatics and attended UBC where she graduated with a B.A. degree. Recently, she directed the UBC Players in School for Scandal.” Out of the London Olympics came a cheering story July 31 of the Canadian basketball team's victory over first Italy, then England. “The big, fast Italian team went into an early lead as the Canadians opened their bid for the zone title, but were soon overtaken through the efforts of 21- year-old Pat McGeer of University of British Columbia who led the team with 12 points." [caption id="attachment_6779" align="alignright" width="340" caption="One of B.C. Electric's trolley buses, August 1948. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-1577."]One of B.C. Electric's trolley buses, August 1948. Photo by Walter Edwin Frost. Item # CVA 447-1577.[/caption] There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony August 13 to open the new Oakridge Transit Centre on West 41st Avenue just east of Oak Street. Civic and other dignitaries were taken on inaugural runs in the city’s new Brill T-44 trolley buses. On the 15th B.C. Electric offered free rides to the public on the new buses, and on August 16th the first of 30 new T-44s entered revenue service in the city. First passengers received a route map and an explanation of how the trolleys worked. Source: Vancouver's Trolley Buses 1948-1998 Celebrating a Half-Century of Service. Writer/Editor: Heather Conn, BC Transit, 1999. Hallelujah Point in Stanley Park was officially named October 3, 1948 to commemorate the work over 60 years of the Salvation Army in B.C. 1887-1947. Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet premiered October 4 at the Park Theatre, Cambie and 18th. The local angle is that Jean Simmons, who played Ophelia, wired hopes for a successful premiere. On October 18 a small bust of former mayor Gerry McGeer was unveiled to stand on the north side of City Hall. It is one of just two statues of former mayors. The other, at the Beach Avenue entrance to Stanley Park, shows David Oppenheimer, Vancouver’s 2nd mayor. On October 23 the Sun reported that the old (second) Hotel Vancouver would be “just a memory” by September of 1949. “In its place will rise a magnificent new department store for the T. Eaton Co.” It didn’t happen in quite that way! Check back for the 1949 installment to find out why. On the same day an editorial appeared in the Sun lauding BC Electric on: “the day when power from Bridge River begins to flow into Vancouver.” Prince Charles was born November 14 at 9:14 p.m. London time in Buckingham Palace. Edmund Desjardins, a founding director of the G.F. Strong Centre, became its first manager, a post he would hold until 1979. He guided its development into an outstanding rehabilitation institution. Desjardins was confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic in 1944 as a result of a training accident at Sandhurst Military College in England. As Chairman of the Architectural Committee for the Social Planning and Review Council of British Columbia, Desjardins prepared and presented a comprehensive set of design standards for persons with disabilities that was adopted by the City of Vancouver in its building by-law. His work was also important in the incorporation of design standards for accessibility into British Columbia provincial building codes. The airport was officially named the Vancouver International Airport. North Vancouver mountaineer Don Munday, who with his wife Phyllis climbed many B.C. mountains, produced a splendid book, The Unknown Mountain, recounting their adventures. The specific peak of the title is Mount Waddington, highest mountain totally within B.C. (13,177 feet or 4,016 metres.) The Mundays reached the northwest summit of Waddington in 1928. Television newsman Tony Parsons—born June 29, 1939 in the London, England suburb of Ealing—came to Canada with his family in 1948. He eventually got into broadcasting, with several years in Ontario radio and TV. Then came a posting to Vancouver as CTV’s West Coast correspondent. Offered the six o'clock anchor spot at BCTV, he jumped at it. He’s been telling us what’s happening for more than 30 years now. Jack Varaleau, now of Vancouver, captured the British Empire Weightlifting championship. He broke the Olympic record for the event. Flight Sergeant Varaleau, who served in the Canadian military from 1940 to 1969, would later earn a gold medal at the 1950 British Commonwealth Games. Vancouver’s Roy Mah began to publish a bilingual (Chinese and English) newspaper, The New Citizen. It ran until 1952. Microfiche copies are viewable at the Vancouver Public Library. Singer Karl Norman tells of an event at TUTS (Theatre Under The Stars) in Stanley Park this year during a production of the operetta Naughty Marietta. The power failed during the show! “The orchestra kept playing,” Karl says, “and I kept singing, and people from the audience lined up their cars at the back of Malkin Bowl and lit the performance with their headlights.” In 1925 Arthur Whalley opened a service station, general store and soft drink stand in Surrey. When Pacific Stage Lines later opened a bus stop there they called it Whalley's Corner. The name Whalley was officially adopted this year. Westlake Lodge on Hollyburn Mountain installed rope tows. Lift tickets were $1.50. Sixty thousand daffodil bulbs were planted along Stanley Park Causeway, a gift from the Netherlands to thank Canadian soldiers for helping to liberate their country from the Nazis. The Surrey Parks Commission was established. Bus service began in Burnaby, which now had many paved roads. The Cloverdale Rodeo was enlarged, but had to be postponed to Labor Day because of the Fraser floods. The old Fraser Street Bridge—which had to be opened when ships went past—was mechanized. Since 1905 the bridge had had to be opened by hand. (It would have another 26 years of life before being replaced by the Knight Street Bridge in 1974.) Beginning in 1943, military Peter Moogk has written, “the receding danger of attack brought a gradual reduction in the local defences to release trained personnel for the Canadian Army in Europe, which was now in continuous action. Soon after the war's end in September 1945 the gun batteries were dismantled and closed. Fort Point Grey was the last to go, in 1948, and there, appropriately, is a historic marker at the restored No.1 Gun position that recalls the battery's history.” There was a lot of building at UBC this year. The Biological Sciences Building went up, and has had many additions and alterations since. The UBC Physics Building was opened by Premier John Hart. In 1963 it would be dedicated in honour of Dr. A.E. Hennings, a UBC Professor of Physics for 29 years, and renamed the Hennings Building. An outstanding feature is the exterior granite columns. Many features of the design were incorporated from what were then ultra-modern physics labs in Sweden. Built at a cost of more than $700,000. And the UBC Main Library had a north wing added. Garnet Gladwin Sedgewick, a Shakespearean scholar and a member of UBC's English Department since 1918, retired. UBC’s Sedgewick Library, the former undergraduate library, was named for him. North Vancouver District came out of receivership this year, its citizens now able to run the city themselves. The Canadian Journal of Mathematics, a bimonthly academic journal, began to be published by the Canadian Mathematical Society through the Department of Mathematics at UBC. Hiballer Forest Magazine, a monthly trade publication for the forestry industry, began to be published. Maritime historians Leonard McCann and Rob Morris write that the Prince George (II) was built in Esquimalt this year, at the time the largest commercial vessel to have been built in Canada. “She served regularly and uneventfully on the Canadian National Railway's tourist cruise run between Vancouver and Alaska. Sold in 1975, the Prince George passed through a bewildering succession of owners and projected uses, some of which came to fruition, almost all of which lost heavily. Tied up in Britannia Beach in Howe Sound she was totally gutted by fire in October, 1995.” Jimmy Lovick, described as “the true giant” of Vancouver ad men, who’d been active in local advertising since 1934, struck out on his own this year. He opened James Lovick & Co. offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. By 1958 Lovick & Co. would be the largest advertising agency in Canada, with additional offices in Edmonton, London, Ont., Halifax, New York and San Francisco. Lovick established his headquarters in his own building, a handsome structure at 1178 West Pender Street. Vancouver’s Larry Wong tells an interesting 1948 story about his sister Jennie, who had entered a deejay contest run by The Vancouver Sun's Teen Town Talk with several radio stations participating. “She auditioned by tape along with the other candidates, who were judged by Freddie Robbins, a New York City disk jockey, Frank Sinatra, and Claude Thornhill, an orchestra leader. Jennie was chosen and she had a half-hour Saturday afternoon program called Jennie's Juke Joint on CKMO. Besides being the first Chinese-Canadian disk jockey, she was also the first female. Years later, she worked for CBC Edmonton on the morning show for three years. She also had her own business doing theatrical and television make-up for 25 years in Edmonton.” Departures [caption id="attachment_6780" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Qua-Hail-Ya (Madeline) in 1945. Item # Port P786.1."](Madeline) Deighton in 1945. Item # Port P786.1.[/caption] On August 10 Gassy Jack Deighton’s widow—his second wife—died at age 90 on the North Vancouver Indian Reserve. Her native name was Qua-Hail-Ya, but she was known to Jack and others as Madeline. She was 12 years old at the time of her 1870 marriage to Deighton, the niece of his first wife, and the mother of his only child, Richard Mason Deighton, born in 1871. Richard died, just five years old, in November, 1875, six months after his father. To the end of her days, Madeline spoke fondly of Jack. Vancouver Mayor Charles Jones died in office September 1, 1948, just over a year after succeeding Gerry McGeer, who had also died in office. Alderman George Miller, who had been mayor in 1937-38, took over the mayor's duties until the end of the year. (Charles Thompson would become mayor in 1949.) *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1947

December 7, 2009

[caption id="attachment_6706" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="A studio portrait of Mayor Gerry McGeer in the 1930s. Photo by Steffens Colmer. Item # CVA 677-738."]A studio portrait of Mayor Gerry McGeer in the 1930s. Photo by Steffens Colmer. Item # CVA 677-738.[/caption] In 1947 the city lost its mayor, there were some important radio debuts and something strange was spotted in the skies. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives Gerry McGeer Dies Vancouver mayor Gerry McGeer died August 11, 1947, aged 59. His death came as a shock: he’d been in office just a little over seven months. The vigorous and ebullient McGeer passed quietly, lying on a sofa in the den of his home at 4812 Belmont. “Clad in pyjamas, covered by two blankets, he was found by his driver, Police Constable Andy Sculley, (who) had gone to pick up the mayor and take him to his office at City Hall.” McGeer was succeeded by Charles E. Jones, who would be elected in his own right in December, but would, in turn, die in office in September, 1948. The Owl Prowl and Jack Cullen On October 15 a late-night radio show called Owl Prowl began on CKMO, with a brash young deejay named Jack Cullen. The show had been called DX Prowl (DX in radio parlance means “distance”), but Jack and a cohort, Frank Iaci, renamed it. “The show started October 15, 1947,” Jack recalled in 1994. “It ran from 10 p.m to 1 a.m. It was much more hit-parade oriented than today . . . I was a movie buff, and I subscribed to all the music and entertainment papers: Billboard, Variety, Metronome, Downbeat . . . and I used all this stuff. I sold my own spots ($1.50 or $2): I’d hustle by day, broadcast by night. The show clicked so quick. In six months I was laughing . . . I was making about $1,000 a month. In 1948 that was good.” In 1949, lured away by Bill Rea, Cullen would take Owl Prowl to CKNW. Hot Air Winnipeg-born Bob Smith made his debut February 1, 1947 as host of the CBC radio show Hot Air. Virtually all the jazz recordings Bob played were from his own collection. He would host Hot Air out of the CBC’s Vancouver studios until 1982, an astonishing 35 years. The present host is Margaret Gallagher. Webster A pugnacious reporter from Glasgow named Jack Webster, 29, left the newspaper world of Scotland (where he’d started at age 14) and England and came to Vancouver this year to work at the Sun. Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No . . . it’s a Plate! On June 24, 1947 US pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying above Cascade Range in Washington State when he spotted nine silver disc-shaped objects in the sky ahead. These objects performed incredible aerial manoeuvres unlike anything Arnold had ever seen. He reported his sighting to the media, likening the discs to saucers, and the “Flying saucer” era began. [caption id="attachment_6708" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Women getting into a car, 1947. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-2034."]Women getting into a car, 1947. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-2034.[/caption] Traffic Jam The Sun reported September 13 that the City of Vancouver had conducted a survey and discovered that more than 18,500 automobiles were driven in downtown Vancouver every day, “and there would be more than that if there was sufficient parking space.” The survey determined that 6,000 of those drivers used their cars for transportation to work in the downtown. “Another 12,500 persons drive down for shopping, business calls and sales calls.” Today? Jason Lam of the City’s Traffic Engineering Department gave us figures for 2003 showing that an average of 273,410 vehicles entered downtown every day, nearly 15 times the 1947 total. But that 1947 survey covered more than traffic. It also revealed that the average shopper would be willing to pay 10 cents an hour for parking, 15 cents for two hours “and 35 cents for all-day accommodation.” We had parking metres back then, and the rate was five cents for an hour. (And the average wage was about $175 a month.) TCA Crash On April 28, 1947 a Trans Canada Airlines Lockheed Lodestar disappeared in southwestern B.C. with 15 people on board. None survived. In September, 1994, more than 47 years later, the crash site would be discovered on Mt. Cheam near Chilliwack. Mulligan Becomes the Chief Liverpool-born Walter Mulligan, 42, a Vancouver police officer for 20 years, became chief of the department January 27. This story would not have a happy ending. Read the 1955 entry on Mulligan when that year is up. Schara Tzedeck Congregation Schara Tzedeck was 100 years old in 2007, but the building associated with it—the synagogue at Oak and West 19th—got its start January 31, 1947, when Vancouver mayor Gerry McGeer officiated at the sod-turning ceremonies. The synagogue was dedicated as a memorial to Jewish war veterans. Schara Tzedeck (SHAW-ra TZED-ek) was known in 1907 as B’Nai Yehuda (Sons of Israel), and worshippers—there weren’t many—had to meet in rented halls or private homes. By 1911 the Jewish community here had grown large enough to warrant building a 600-seat synagogue at the corner of Heatley and Pender. In 1917 they changed their name to Schara Tzedeck (“Gates of Righteousness”). They would be in that building for more than 30 years. By then many of the city’s Jews were living near and around Cambie and Oak Streets, so this new synagogue was built to be closer. “By the end of World War II,” historian Cyril Leonoff writes, “the Jewish community had completely deserted Strathcona.” Vancouver lawyer Jack Kaworski wrote a history of the congregation in 1984, its 77th anniversary (the number 7 is considered especially lucky), and says Schara Tzedeck was the largest synagogue west of Montreal. It’s still the largest Orthodox synagogue in Vancouver. Also in 1947 An era ended February 10 as the last ferry across Burrard Inlet ran to West Vancouver, then returned to the downtown terminal. Not until the SeaBus began in 1977 would ferry service return. The Eburne Post Office closed March 31. It had been active since 1892. On May 1, 1947 two Grade 7 girls in Abbotsford organized a protest over the price of chocolate bars, which was going from five cents to eight cents. Their protest was unsuccessful, and at one point the police were called in! On May 10 Vancouver school children circulated a petition protesting the increase. In response, the price of chocolate bars was lowered from eight cents to seven. Vic Sharman began to work for the BC Electric at 96.5 cents an hour. He will be with them for 40 years. On July 31 the BC Bus Terminal opened. On August 6 Saskatchewan-born Art Seller moved his little airplane company from Vancouver to Langley. There’s a terrific web site about Art which reads, in part: “To take advantage of the postwar flying boom, almost as soon as he got home in 1945, in partnership with Harold Foster, whom he later bought out, he formed Royal City Flying Club at Vancouver Airport. It had one war surplus Tiger Moth. Later, a second Moth was added. Vancouver airport was becoming crowded so, in 1947, he decided to move to Langley. He might almost be considered the father of the present day bustling Langley Airport for in 1947 it was only a grass field—an emergency landing strip for Trans Canada Airlines, with no buildings other than a couple of old farm privies Art used as offices. Business was good. The company grew. On August 6 1947 it changed its name to Skyway Air Services . . .” Not really local, but irresistible: in August 1947 a Mayne Island woman cut open a fish and found  a photograph of  “a beautiful woman” in the fish’s belly. [caption id="attachment_6709" align="alignright" width="330" caption="Line of children at entrance to the Giant Dipper ride at the P.N.E. in the 1940s. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-1219."]Line of children at entrance to the Giant Dipper ride at the P.N.E. in the 1940s. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-1219.[/caption] On October 10, 1947 the Province headlined: BIGGER HASTINGS TRACK - GIANT DIPPER DOOMED. The story read: “The Happyland Giant Dipper will be torn down to make way for a new 5 1/2 furlong racetrack costing $200,000, to be built at Hastings Park in time for the races next summer. The  announcement was made today by Mackenzie Bowell, president of the Pacific National Exhibition. The present track is a half-mile affair (four furlongs). The new track will be pear-shaped.. Estimated at $200,000 at present costs, the price of the new track may rise before it is completed . . . McGill street will be re-routed immediately north of the present race track and a cement retaining wall, 23 feet at the highest point, will be built. Head of the stretch of the new track will be approximately where the popular Giant Dipper is now. The present concrete and steel grandstand will remain, but a new roof will be built. There will be more room in front of the stands. The track, cutting down from the dipper site and providing for a longer stretch run, will angle to cut through the centre of the present jockey’s house. Then making a sweeping turn, it will go through the ‘L’ barn site and through two other old barns now where the back stretch will be. Frank Peterson, track expert for Bay Meadows and Portland Meadows, who examined dirt samples at Hastings track a week ago, believes that if the new track is dug down two feet, packed with Lulu Island peat then top-dressed with dirt and silt from the Fraser River bed, it will be among the finest and safest in North America. Mr. Bowell is doubtful if a new Giant Dipper will be built.” On October 20, 1947 the Vancouver Council of Churches was formed. On November 14 Vancouver’s William Munavish, safecracker, became the first Canadian to be declared an habitual criminal. Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married November 20, 1947. On November 21, after a test period, Vancouver's first FM station CBU-FM 105.7, officially went on the air.  At the beginning, programming was a simulcast of CBR AM 1130. On December 3 the old Lumberman's Arch was demolished. Originally erected at Pender and Hamilton for the 1912 visit of the Duke of Connaught, it was moved to Stanley Park and dedicated on Aug 29, 1919, to its designer, Captain G.P. Bowie, who was killed during World War I. There were fears it might collapse and injure park visitors. On December 29, 1947 Liberal Party leader Byron ‘Boss’ Johnson became premier of B.C.  ‘Boss’ was a nickname reflecting Johnson's Danish heritage, not related to political domination. He headed a coalition government that had high hopes. “Great things are in store for the people of British Columbia,” he said. There isn’t room here to explain how those great things didn't happen, but the coalition's problems led directly to the rise of the Social Credit party and a fellow named William Andrew Cecil Bennett. Johnson would serve to August 1, 1952 and his defeat by Bennett. Also in 1947 Vancouver-born composer Jean Coulthard was invited to teach music at the University of British Columbia, a position she maintained until her retirement in 1973. Her citation, upon receiving a 1994 Order of British Columbia, reads in part: “Jean Coulthard's belief that a composer has a special responsibility to the community resulted in works designed to be accessible to the wider public, including works for students. She has brought British Columbia recognition in the musical field that has made possible the achievements of younger composers whom she taught and assisted.” Chinese citizens got the vote back. They had lost it more than 70 years earlier. The new BC Tel building at Seymour and Robson was named for the late William Farrell, first president of the company. Elizabeth Clarke was a nurse at the Vancouver Hospital for Crippled Children in 1947, who loved to read stories and poems to her little charges. One young boy was excited at seeing a sparrow on the windowsill by his bed, and that inspired Ms. Clarke to write the poem Bluebird on Your Windowsill. (‘Bluebird’ scanned better.) She later set it to music. People loved it, and Vancouver recording pioneer Al Reusch cut a version with Don Murphy. Then the Rhythm Pals performed it, and eventually the song was recorded by Doris Day, then by Bing Crosby and others. It became the first Canadian song to sell a million copies. Ms. Clarke gave every dime of her royalties to children’s hospitals across Canada. The junior football Vancouver Blue Bombers became Dominion champions, a first for the city. Coach was Punjab-born Ranjit Mattu, a star athlete here in the 1930s and later. Calgary-born Clyde Gilmour, 35, began contributing film reviews to CBC Radio in Vancouver. He had worked on various newspapers in western Canada and during the war served in the navy as news correspondent. Gilmour also married Barbara Donald this year. He was movie critic for the Vancouver Sun 1949-54, would go on to national fame as a broadcaster and film reviewer. The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada tells us: “In 1956 he initiated CBC radio's popular Gilmour's Albums, a weekly one-hour program of records drawn from his own wide-ranging collection. The eclectic program, broadcast 52 weeks a year with no holidays or re-runs, had run over 40 years by June 1997 when Gilmour retired and the show ceased. Gilmour's Albums was the longest-running network radio music show in CBC history, as well as the network's highest-rated music show, with a listenership of 500,000.” It was an excellent program. Gilmour died November 7, 1997. The George Derby Veteran's Rehabilitation Centre opened in Burnaby this year. It began as part of the Shaughnessy Hospital complex to “assist veterans reintegrate following the acute care phase of their recovery by offering physical and occupational therapy programs as well as job retraining and rehabilitation.” The complex was transferred to the province in 1974 and in 1988 a new George Derby Centre would be opened as an intermediate care facility with 300 priority access beds for veterans. Joe Philipponi opened the Eagle Time Athletic Club in 1947. It became a private club and, in December 1950, would become the Penthouse. The Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul of Kingston founded Holy Family Hospital, now part of the Providence Care group, in 1947. *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

A Year in Five Minutes: Vancouver 1946

November 30, 2009

[caption id="attachment_6620" align="alignleft" width="290" caption="Service of remembrance at the Cenotaph at Victory Square in November, 1946. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-3604."]Service of rememberance at the Cenotaph at Victory Square in November, 1946. Item # CVA 1184-3604.[/caption] The war was over, but a housing shortage was a big problem for the vets. The city also lost one of its most popular mayors this year. By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver Photos courtesy of Vancouver Archives 1946 was a dark year for Vancouver: the parking meter was introduced October 15. The charge was five cents for one hour's parking. Homeless Vets On January 26, 1946 thirty-five homeless Second World War veterans—walking past unprotesting Army sentries—occupied the old (and vacant) Hotel Vancouver, two blocks east of the present hotel. They announced that the hotel was now veterans’ housing. Before long about 1,000 veterans—some with spouses—were filling the hotel. They stayed there until 1948. There was an extreme housing shortage, not just here but all across Canada. That led to the creation of a new government department this year: the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), formed to replace Wartime Housing Ltd.—which had built thousands of houses during the war—and to take over its assets. Today, the CMHC initials stand for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. ‘Hush-Hush Troops’ ELEVEN ‘HUSH-HUSH’ TROOPS DOCK HERE was the headline on a February 14, 1946 story in the Vancouver Sun about the arrival from Australia of 11 Canadian soldiers who had served in the Pacific war. The war was over, but these men were still “under orders not to talk about their military activities.” We know today what four of them had been doing. They were Chinese Canadian soldiers from B.C., and had served with a “secret Chinese Guerrilla unit” in the East Indies. The story of the fight Chinese Canadians had to wage to be accepted into our armed forces is too long to tell here. Not one was drafted; they were all volunteers, and served with distinction. The four men were Sgt. Norman Lowe and Sgt. Louis King of Vancouver, Tpr. Douglas Mar of Port Alberni and Sgt. D. Jung of Victoria. That latter NCO would be Douglas Jung. He was 22 at the time, went on to become the first Chinese Canadian veteran to receive a university education under the auspices of Veteran’s Affairs, and the first Chinese Canadian lawyer to appear before the B.C. Court of Appeal. In 1957 he became Canada’s first Chinese Canadian MP. He won the Burma Star in the war. You can learn more at the Chinese Canadian War Museum at the Chinese Cultural Centre on Pender Street. [caption id="attachment_6622" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Viscount Alexander of Tunis being made an honourary Chief named "Nakapunkim" by Chief William Scow at Kitsilano Beach in July, 1946. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # In P68."]Viscount Alexander of Tunis being made an honourary Chief named "Nakapunkim" by Chief William Scow at Kitsilano Beach in July, 1946. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # In P68.[/caption] Alexander of Tunis On July 13 Canada’s new Governor General, Field Marshal Viscount Alexander of Tunis, visited Vancouver. He was our last British GG, and one of the most popular, a genuine war hero. Alexander had become a major-general in the British Army in 1937 at age 45, the youngest of that rank, and had a distinguished record in World War II—including commanding the rearguard during the Dunkirk evacuation, where he was the last man to leave France. He led the invasions of Sicily and Italy, and was commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean from 1942. All of which perhaps explains why he became the only white man in the history of the Pacific coast to become, with full tribal rites, a native chief. While he was here, Alexander received a Kwakiutl thunderbird headdress and ceremonial blanket, and became Chief Nakupunkim. L.D. L.D. Taylor, former mayor, died in Vancouver June 4, 1946, aged 88. Born July 22, 1857 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Taylor arrived in Vancouver September 17, 1896. As Daniel Francis’ 2004 book Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver makes plain, Louis Denison Taylor was a very interesting fellow indeed. In 1896 he hurriedly left Chicago, where he was in banking, with criminal charges pending against him in connection with accepting deposits when, the charge read, he knew his bank was insolvent. And for a brief period he was married to two women at the same time. He only looked like Caspar Q. Milquetoast! “Taylor,” Donna Jean McKinnon writes, “was one of the most popular mayors of Vancouver, serving seven times between 1910 and 1934. It was his flamboyance that usually got L.D. back into office, most often during a period of growth and enthusiasm, following a nose-to-the-grindstone administration. A tireless promoter of the amalgamation of Point Grey, South Vancouver and Vancouver, he was, however, not in the mayor's chair when amalgamation finally occurred in 1929. That honor went to Mayor Malkin, who slipped into office in between Taylor's two 4-year terms. Taylor was called a courageous, capable administrator and initiator of many civic improvements. He opened the airport at Sea Island, and supported the development of the city archives. Between periods of public office, Taylor published and edited mining newspapers and produced a paper called The Critic, essentially an editorial leaflet on contemporary public issues.” Read Daniel Francis’ book. It’s a gem. Other Post-War News With the war over, Vancouver Airport was returned to civic control. On September 19 C.D. Howe, the “Minister of Everything” (in this case, Transport), officiated at a ceremony at the airport in honor of the arrival of the first plane from Australia, and establishment of an air route around the world through the Commonwealth. 4,000 people of Japanese descent returned to Japan this year. Also in 1946 On January 31 Fletcher Challenge Canada Limited was incorporated. The great American bass Paul Robeson performed at the Orpheum February 7, 1946, and 3,000 fans in the sold-out theatre kept him coming back for more and more. The Sun’s Stanley Bligh, in a warm review, commented: “In addition to his great success in the artistic field, the eminent Negro has won an outstanding place in the world by his firm stand on the question of racial equality, his knowledge of languages, international economics and his wide sympathy for the oppressed peoples of the whole globe.” That sympathy would later get him into trouble—and Vancouver was involved. More details to come in the installment for 1952. TCG, one of the biggest companies in B.C., and the sponsor of 1946 in The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, had its origins in one automotive replacement glass store: Central Auto & Window Glass Shop opened its doors for business on March 21, 1946. The shop was at 26 McInnis Street (rear of Fogg Motors) in New Westminster. As its part in the civic Diamond Jubilee (60th anniversary) celebrations the Vancouver Parks Board hosted a dinner April 30 at the Pavilion for nine “Jubilarians,” all born in Vancouver in 1886 after incorporation. Albert Edward "Dal" Grauer replaced W. G. Murrin as president of the BC Electric Co. in April. He would serve until 1960. An earthquake June 23 felt mostly on Vancouver Island stopped the clock on the Vancouver Block, just as a 1918 quake had done. July 1, 1946 marked the first Dominion Day since the end of the war, and Vancouver celebrated with a spectacular parade, in the world's largest outdoor theatre built at Brockton Point. 250,000 people attended! (Dominion Day would become Canada Day October 27, 1982.) Steveston held its first Salmon Festival July 1, and Sophie Kuchma, the first Salmon Queen, was crowned. Sophie won the title by selling most tickets to the festival at 10 cents each. Vancouver’s first Jewish residence for the aged, Louis Brier Home, was opened July 7 by comedian and humanitarian Eddie Cantor, who gave a benefit performance in its support. “Early Sunday on July 7,” the Jewish Bulletin web site says, “the stage and screen star and his snowy-haired wife, Ida, officially opened the Home at 1190 West Thirteenth, which was gaily decked in flags for the occasion.” Today the Home is at 1055 West 41st Avenue. Beth Israel Cemetery was consecrated July 28. The cemetery is slightly northwest of the Willingdon and Lougheed Highway. The Cascades Drive-In Theatre opened in Burnaby August 30, 1946. Cars arrived two hours before the showing of Home in Indiana (a 1944 movie) was to begin. The theatre would close in 1980; the site is now occupied by Cascade Village condominium development. Walter Mulligan, a Vancouver police officer with the force since 1927, was named head of the department’s Criminal Investigation Bureau in August, 1946. Mulligan would become chief of the department in 1947. Scandal would follow. Charles Arthur Banks was sworn in as B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor October 1, succeeding William Woodward. This from the Province of October 11, 1946: “Cecil Alton, chairman of a special advertising committee of the Vancouver Tourist Association, said: ‘At least 1,000,000 American tourists will have visited Vancouver this year . . .’” Effective October 28, milk sold in Vancouver had to be pasteurized. On November 23 boys band leader Arthur Delamont was named Mr. Good Citizen of 1946, a popular decision. We had always associated Delamont with the Kitsilano Boys Band (founded in 1927), but that group was just one of seven he was leading when this award was made: They also included the bands of West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Point Grey, Grandview, Fairview and the University of B.C. The Hereford-born Delamont had once played with a Salvation Army band in England, led by the composer Edward Elgar. On December 10 West Vancouver voted to discontinue the ferry service to Vancouver. 1946 marked the arrival at Vancouver Airport of the first scheduled overseas airline, Australian National Airways (which later became Qantas). Following five years as a pilot in the RCAF, Jack Bell became the first commercial grower of cranberries in B.C. this year. He planted three acres. “Every October,” says one web site, “the cranberries are collected by a unique method called a ‘wet harvest.’ The cranberry fields are flooded with millions of litres of water. Then a gas-powered machine with spinning frames moves through the field, knocking the berries from their vines. The berries float to the surface and farmers use rakes to push them onto conveyor belts and into collection wagons. This method is much quicker than the old method of picking the small berries off their vines by hand.” W. C. Atherton became president of the Vancouver Real Estate Board. Earle Birney began teaching literature at UBC. He would continue to 1965, starting along the way (1963) Canada’s first creative writing department. Riga, Latvia-born (1901) musician Harry Adaskin, one of a prominent musical family, came to Vancouver from Toronto, where he was a founding member of the Hart House Quartet, and established UBC’s faculty of music. He would head the department for 12 years, spend 15 more there as a professor. In his autobiography (two volumes: A Fiddler’s World (1977), A Fiddler’s Choice (1982)), Adaskin wrote he had only to see a person’s hands to completely know him. Alexander, Manitoba-born Gathie Falk, artist, came to Vancouver with her family. She was 18. Someone wrote that Falk has “revealed the magic found in everyday objects and sites for more than 30 years.” There’s humor, excitement and discovery in her work. This year saw the first sail-past of the West Vancouver Yacht Club (at Sandy Cove). The Norsal, which made its maiden voyage in 1922, was sold to the J. Gordon Gibson lumbering family. Gibson would rename her the Maui Lu, later sail her to Hawaii. [caption id="attachment_6624" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="The sailing vessel "Pamir" at dock in the 1940s. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-3360."]The sailing vessel "Pamir" at dock in the 1940s. Photo by Jack Lindsay. Item # CVA 1184-3360.[/caption] The last working sailing ship in BC waters, the Pamir, was towed out of Vancouver harbour this year with a load of coal for Australia. There is a book by Richard E. Wells, The Vancouver Voyages of the Barque Pamir, published by Sono Nis Press. The publisher’s web site says, in part, “One of the few sailing ships to survive in ocean trade into the first decades of the twentieth century, the barque Pamir was the last of a once great fleet of German square riggers. After an extensive refit, the Pamir was operated by the Union Steamship company of New Zealand; it appeared in Vancouver in June 1945 with a cargo of tallow in exchange for wheat. The story of the ship's three Vancouver voyages will appeal to all those interested in maritime history, seamanship and the breathtaking grandeur of the square riggers, graceful ghosts of the high seas.” Capilano Stadium was built. The 6,500-seat facility was built by Emil Sick, a Seattle brewer, who donated it to the City. It has since been renamed to honour the late Nat Bailey, founder of the White Spot restaurant chain. The Registered Nurses Association of B.C. (RNABC) obtained its first certification at St. Paul's Hospital in 1946. The first female physician was appointed at Essondale Mental Hospital. Native Voice, a bi-monthly publication from the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia , began publishing. The famous 2400 Motel on Kingsway opened. This was a year of shortages everywhere. In Cloverdale and White Rock (still a part of Surrey) 264 people were waiting for telephones. Troll's restaurant opened in Horseshoe Bay. (A new building would be erected in 1963.) The number of visitors to Bowen Island reached an all-time high of 101,000 this year. With $800 in his pocket, Joseph Segal founded Field's Stores. Departures Charles Cotterrell died in Vancouver February 14, aged 68. He had retired from the CPR—where he had been assistant general manager—in December, 1945 as a result of illness. He was with the railway for 47 years, had lived in Vancouver for the last 25 years. He was the immediate past president of the Vancouver Board of Trade, elected January 1945. On April 14 “Mr. Good Evening” died. That’s how Earle Kelly was known to thousands of radio listeners in BC from 1929 to 1946. Gord Lansdell, who created the Vancouver Broadcasters web site, has written a fine tribute to him. An excerpt: “Earle Kelly was widely known as ‘Canada's first personality broadcaster.’ Born in Australia to Irish parents, he had been a Major in the Intelligence Corps of the Australian Army, and prior to coming to Canada had worked as a journalist in several Commonwealth countries. On his way to an eastern Canadian newspaper in 1925, he stopped in Vancouver, where he joined the Daily Province, later progressing to the position of night editor. Starting in 1929, Kelly's ‘Good evening” on the Province's own station CKCD distinctively boomed forth in what was to become a 17-year tradition of nightly newscasts, seven days a week in British Columbia. . . .” *** Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.

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