Friday, December 24, 2010

A Wet, Grey Christmas

If you live in Vancouver and you find joy in a white Christmas you may find yourself disappointed many times. We tend to have wet, grey Christmases with lots of green grass and such.

But that doesn't meant that Vancouverites let the the lack of snow damage their Christmas spirit. We just decorate what is around.

It doesn't matter that there isn't snow covering the trees or the yards. Stringing lights and hanging decorations still lend a festive air when everything is green.

One of Vancouver, and BC's, exports is fish. In 1901 we had a peak year for salmon. Forty-nine canneries operated on the Lower Fraser river and nearly a million cases were packed.

Also in 1901 the Moodyville Mill closed. It had been the main source of export income for BC for twenty years. However it was found to be more cost effective to move the mill closer to the source of the logs rather than bring the logs to the mill.

When I was a child my family had an artificial silver Christmas tree, much bigger than this one. One year my father bought my mom a silver watch for Christmas then hid it on the tree. Of course just above her eye level. She almost tore the tree apart trying to find her present! My dad can be an oversized brat.

Back to history of 1901. W.H. Malkin Co. was founded at the address of 115 Water Street. In those days the water from Burrard Inlet came right up to the warehosue doors. A Malkin, William, was once mayor of Vancovuer and there are descendants to this day residing in the city.

This was at my dentist's office and I just thought is was so beautiful. Perhaps I will make something similiar for my place next year. Or not, depends how motivated I get.

1901 was the year that the City Hospital was incorporated under the name of the Vancouver General Hospital which it is still known by today.

Remember when I wrote on the Mountain View Cemetery and mentioned Sara Ann McLagan? It was 1901 when John McLagan, founded and editor of the Vancouver Daily World died. His widow, Sara Ann, then became the first woman publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada. (She was also managing editor, editorial writer, proof reader and occasional reporter.) 

The Province reported that in the year from June 1, 1900 to May 31, 1901 St. Paul's Hospital had admitted 561 patients, had discharged 506 of them, and still had 35 in beds. Some 25 patients had died, 11 of them within three days of entry. Catholics numbered 153, Protestants 383 and other religions 25. Males? 393. Females? 165. (The last two figures add up to 558, three short of the total. Hmm.) Fifty patients had been admitted with typhoid fever, and seven of them had died. The statistics go on for two long and detailed columns.

Have you ever noticed how many different Christmas trees are around/ There is the silver, artificial ones I showed earlier. My parents now use a ceramic tree.

My dentist's office had an upscale one.

And then there are the traditional trees.

Some say that the Christmas tree originated in the 16th century in Germany. Others say it is taken from a pagan Winter Solistice tradition. (According to some Christianity moved the date of Christ's birth from July to December so that it would coincide with pagan traditions. The Christians were having a difficult time converting some pagans and had to make adjustments to the religion. I don't know what is true and after all these centuries it doesn't really matter any more.)

In 1902, on March 29, Grand Master F.M. Young of the B.C. Grand Lodge of Masons laid the cornerstone for what was to become the Carnegie Center at Main and Hastings Streets. Mayor Thomas Neelands presided. It was originally called the Vancouver Free Library.

Doesn't this place remind you a large home from a period movie? It is one of the older homes on Victoria Drive, not far from where I live.

Are you aware of Clover Leaf Salmon? That is a product that has been around since 1889. The British Columbia Packers Association purchased 42 canneries in May of 1902 with Alexander Ewan as its first president.

On September 12, 1902 Charles Woodward incorporated Woodward's Department Store and three days later excavation began on the site at Hastings and Abbot Streets for the construction of a four storey emporium. It was there for many years and long time residents have fond memories of that store. The bankruptcy of Woodwards in 1993 saw the building empty out and stand vacant for many years. Finally in 2006 it was taken down and now it has found new life as a condo development with stores on the ground floor.

Even though the lot was 66 feet wide and 132 feet long it didn't cost Woodward that much. Eight feet below sidewalk level was a swamp which the city drained for Woodward.

Christmas decorations can be so much fun. They add that special touch to a home or business and help people get into the spirit of the season.

This will be my last entry for 2010. Next week I am going to try to focus on getting my novel finished - yes I am that close! But I wish all of you a very merry Christmas and may you be healthy and happy in 2011.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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