Monday, September 20, 2010

In the Line of Duty

Around the city are these mosiacs that have been created to mark a time in history. This one is in remembrance of the Anti Asian riots in 1907. The riots started in Bellingham when a movement was started to drive Punjabi Sikhs out of the lumber industry. White supremacist marched on Vancouver's city hall to demand a white canada. From there things escalated and many rioters proceeded to attack those in Chinatown. When the group got to Japantown they were met with resistance as the Japanese, having heard about what was happening in Chinatown, armed themselves. A dark day in our history to be sure.

Here we have one of fish. Interesting, I don't know what it stands for but it is a pleasure to look at.

This one is more serious.

On March 20, 1917 a landlord attemped to collect four months back rent from one of his tenants - drug addicts Robert Tait and his prositute girlfriend Frankie Russell. Tait answered the door with a shotgun and threatened to blow the landlord's head off. So the landlord called the police.

One detecive and three constables arrived on the scene and attempted to talk with Tait. Tait fired the shotgun through a glass window at the police, permanently blinding the landlord and one of the officers as well as hitting another in the face. The police retreated to the street, flagging down a passing motorist to take the injured men to the hospital. Tait continued firing wildly into the street and fatally wounded an eight year old boy who was going to buy candy.

Chief Constable Maclennan was attending his son's tenth birthday when he was called to the scene. Maclennan was an officer ahead of his times. He fought for better working conditions for his men who at that time worked seven days a week without any time off. He lobbied to treat to build treatment centers for those addicted to drugs. He was also the type of leader who wouldn't ask any of his men to do something he wasn't willing to do.

Maclennan made the decision to storm the building and armed only with a heavy axe to break the door down he led his men.Tait had barricaded himself in a bedroom and was well armed. The police emptied their revolvers then retreated to reload. Once outside they realized Maclennan was not with them. The officers attempted to go back in and rescue their leader but gunfire made that impossible. A second attempt was made and this time they managed to pull his body out. Chief Constable Malcolm Maclennan was dead due to a gunshot wound to the head.

A single shot was heard then everything was quiet. Twenty minutes later Russell surrendered to the police after they threatened to dynamite the house. When the police entered the apartment they found Tait dead by a self inflicted wound.

The mosaic above is at the corner of East Georgia and Jackson in Strathcona, near where the incident happened.

This impressive building was in 1910 in anticipation of a new Harris Street streetcar line. (In 1915 Harris Street was renamed East Georgia) Can you see the detail on the last, smaller picture that is there? The Maclennan street mosiac is at this corner.

This building is from 1920. It was once home to many Jewish families. It was here at a Passover seder at her family's home that Mary Livingston met a vaudeville performer by the name of Benny Kubelsky. You would probably know him better by the name of Jack Benny.

While I was across the street taking photos I  noticed that one apartment had a visitor.

That's all for today but I will back tomorrow.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. I'm doing a school project on the race riot of 1907, Vancouver B.C. and this helped me a lot, it is a good starting to my PowerPoint, thank you!! ^-^

    1. I am glad it helped. thank you for commenting.