Friday, February 4, 2011

Hydroelectric Power and Lions

In the fall of 1903 the first North Vancouver District Municipal Hall was built at the corners of First Street and Lonsdale Avenue. Although the city had been incorporated twelve years earlier the city council had been meeting at different places around Vancouver except for the one obligatory meeting each year in the proper district.

The Province reported on November 12, 1903 about the new Royal Bank at Hastings and Homer Streets. The bank had the city's first safety deposit box and two teller cages. It was put up by Jonathon Rogers (as you may remember Rogers was the first person to step off of the first passenger train to arrive in Vancouver. The Rogers building at Pender and Granville is named after him) One of the credited architects is Sydney Morgan Eveleigh after whom a city street is named.

November 13 of the same year the secretary at the Vancouver General Hospital reported that, during the last month, the hospital's expenditure had been $2,492.16. The house surgeon made a report that there were 38 patients - 26 males and 12 females - at the beginning of the month.

Five days later the Vancouver High School Cadet Corps - the first military cadet corps in Vancouver - was gazetted to the militia as a unit.
The city's first streetcars started serving the public in 1890 and the system was powered by electricity generated from a little steam powerhouse on what is now Union Street. The city grew as did service to meet the need. In 1903 the little power house was no longer sufficient to supply what was needed so an alternative had to be found.

The BC Electric Railway Company started looking for a new source near the city where hydroelectric power could be generated. They found it at Beautiful Lake or, as we know it today, Trout Lake. They built a  tunnel from Coquitlam Lake to Trout Lake. The fact that Coquitlam Lake was nearly ten metres higher than Trout and that there is an annual rainfall of 3.7 metres provided a motive force to generate the power.

Johannes Buntzen, BCER's general manager, supervised the production of the system which was the first hydroelectric powerhouse on the mainland. This Dane has been called the Grandfather of Electricity here in Vancouver because he went before the Vancouver City Council and urged them to attract new industry that could make use of this new source of power.

In 1903 was when H. Hooper drove Vancouver's first taxi - a 'wheezy, two-cylinder Ford'.

Ladner's Landing changed its name to Ladner in 1903. It has never been incorporated as a town or a village but has always been considered a part of Delta. Ladner does not have any official boundaries nor has it ever had a government of its own.

(This piece of artwork was on a shopping cart in downtown Vancouver)

The Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings had stained glass depictions of Spenser, Milton and Shakespeare installed in 1903. Although they were removed at one time I can attest to the fact that those beautiful pieces of artwork are there today.

The first chairman of the Vancouver Parks Board, Alfred Graham Ferguson, died in San Francisco sometime in 1903. 

Another death in 1903 was that of Nicolai Schou, the first elected reeve of Burnaby who died in office.

The government wanted to stop immigration from China so in 1903 they raised the head tax on Chinese immigrants to $500. It worked, immigration ground to a standstill.

The three Latta brothers scaled the peaks of the Lions. They brought ropes to climb with them since they had heard that was how to do it. But once confronted with the mountain top the men were at a loss on how to use the ropes so those got thrown aside and the men climbed the peaks using small shrubs and bushes and cracks to haul themselves up. Although it would be considered poor climbing form today I am still in awe of the accomplishment.

Robert Service, future poet, arrived in Vancouver in 1903 after working a temporary job with a Duncan Dairy Farm. Here he got a job with the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

I hope you enjoyed this further look at events in 1903 and I sincerely hope that you find the beauty around you.

TAGS:, , , ,,,,

No comments:

Post a Comment