Friday, May 27, 2016

One City

In 1922, 3000 unemployed men took up residence in a camp in the exhibition buildings at Hastings Park. A year later, a second grain elevator was started in the harbour and westbound grain rates were cut by 10%. Burrard Drydock was under construction.

Grain shipments were growing and by 1924, there were 53 million bushels sent to the port - a major backlog of the port business. Vancouver lawyer, MLA and special counsel for the province, G.G. McGeer, argued ferociously at various conferences and hearings for an adjustment of freight rates. He had been doing so since 1916 and earned himself a considerable reputation as a fiery and persistent advocate.

When Louis D. Taylor took over as mayor at the beginning of 1925, the population of the city proper had grown to 126,000. The property assessments were $211 million. Point Grey and South Vancouver each claimed between 25,000 and 30,000 residents. The city's budget was over $4.8 million.

The civic cash relief dole had been eliminated and unemployment was a mere 1800. The first Second Narrows Bridge was near completion. West Vancouver had a road as far west as Whytecliff.

Taylor was again elected in 1926 and he carried with him an alderman who was to become famous as a CCF stalwart, Angus McInnis. Taylor was re-elected for the first two-term sitting for mayors and aldermen - 1927-28.

Taylor's previous two terms had seen Vancouver's prosperity continuing. South Vancouver was recovering financially, the Second Narrows Bridge opened and North Vancouver started the Grouse Mountain Highway and Chalet. (This enterprise late changed to private hands.)

Grain shipments increased 50 percent, for the first time Vancouver had a million tourists in a single year and the city also had 50 miles of ornamental street lighting. However, Taylor's greatest achievement in that time was the passage of the amalgamation vote, which unite Point Grey, South Vancouver and Vancouver into one city.

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Naked Doukhobors and Peace

During 1920, plans were made to erect a Cenotaph on the old courthouse site at Cambie and Hastings Streets. This is what we now call Victory Square. The BC Electric employees won the eight-hour work day. Although this was becoming standard, it would be several years before the mill workers gained the same privilege.

1921 was another interesting year in Vancouver. The civic election tried out proportional representation voting but soon discarded it because it was too complicated. The Vancouver General Hospital treated 13,000 cases during this year and its budget rose to $1 million.

Printers in Vancouver went on strike in 1921 for a 44-hour work week. And won. They were the first Vancouver workmen to obtain that right.  On December 1, 1921, three Doukhobors stripped their clothing in the CPR Station.

The Peace Arch at Blaine was completed and dedicated at Blaine. This project was vigorously supported by Vancouver women's associations.

The Peace Arch is a monument that stands between Surrey, British Columbia Canada and Blaine, Washington USA. It was built by Sam Hill and dedicated in September of 1921. Standing 67 feet tall, 20.5 metres, the arch commemorates the Treaty of Ghent in 1814.

The Arch stands on the exact United States - Canada boundary between Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in the grass median between the north and southbound lanes.

On the crown of the Peace Arch is the Canadian Flag and the American Flag. The frieze below has two inscriptions.

For the Americans: "Children of a common mother". For the Canadians: "Brethren dwelling together in unity".

Inside the arch are two iron gates. On the east side, it reads: "1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914". On the west side: "May these gates never be closed".

On the Northern side of the arch is the Peace Arch Provincial Park and on the Southern side is the Peace Arch State Park. These are international parks, which means that visitors do not need a visa or passport to visit the parks as long as they stay within the park boundaries.

This arch was built and erected to symbolize the unity and peace between these great countries.

Philip Timms took this photo of the Peace Arch in the 1920's or 30's. Photo compliments of the Vancouver Public Library

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for some of the above information and to Wikipedia for information on the Peace Arch. 

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

Friday, May 20, 2016

Buses and a University

In 1919, the provincial government agreed to press construction of the University of British Columbia - UBC - on Point Grey. The university was still operating at out of the 'shacks' on the grounds of the General Hospital. Leonard S. Klinck, the university's new president, mobilized friends to keep the pressure up before the university finally opened in its permanent location in late 1925.

Culturally, Vancouver was not doing well. The public library and the City Museum were in wretched buildings. There was no art gallery and no proper auditorium. World War I had halted construction of the new YMCA building on Georgia Street. The steel skeleton stood for years before being sold and completed as the Ritz Hotel. The "Y" remained in the rickety old building at Dunsmuir and Cambie Streets.

One positive note for culture did occur in 1919 when Henry Green organized the city's Symphony Orchestra.

Industry, however, was doing well. And changing. Shipbuilding was dwindling away, with four vessels still under construction. By 1925, there were 500 established industrial operations with 14,000 employees to take the place of shipbuilding.

Most of these were small plants with a total comprised investment of $95 million and an annual output of $85 million. Power was supplied B.C. Electric from its Buntzen plant and by the Western Power Co. of Canada Ltd from their three generating units at Stave Falls. Western Power had begun in 1912 and competed with B.C. Electric until 1920.

Western's distribution facilities were insufficient and B.C. Electric shared the water rights with Western on the Stave River. In 1920, Western was sold to BCE - a logical move.

Power played a much larger part in the homes of Vancouver in the 20's. The city was changing, first to gas and then to electricity for cooking and electric appliances were making great strides in home use. BCE also supplied power to industrial and public transit.

A new franchise was negotiated in 1922, providing for the innovation of motor bus service. The pioneer buses were put into operation on Grandview Highway in 1923. 

By 1925, Vancouver was using 700 million cubic feet of gas a year. The old cluster-globe and arc lights on the streets were replaced by the first of the modern 1,500 to 2,500 candle-power single lamps on ornamental standards. 1925 was also the year that B.C. Electric, through a subsidiary, had bus lines to Haney, Ioco, White Rock and Seattle.

Thanks to the book Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill