Friday, March 4, 2011

Beavers, Baseball and Bears

Vancouver is a beautiful city whether it is snowing, raining or the sun is shining. And I am not just saying that because I live here. Visitors that I run into in Gastown or Chinatown or where ever agree with me. So today I want to show you some more photos of how beautiful this city is while sharing some more history.

Today I am going to start with reviewing some high points in the year 1905.

This is a shot of the Lion's Gate Bridge that I took form the Seawall in Stanley Park.

In January of 1905 the Vancouver High School opened. Today it is known as King Edward High School. And on March 5 of that year future UBC administrator Walter Gage was born. Gage would go on to get his B.A. in 1925 and an M.A. in 1926. He was a professor with the University of British Columbia for fifty years. He was made a companion to the Order of Canada in 1971.

In June of 1905 L.D. Taylor and 'others' bought the newspaper the Vancouver World. This is important. Although the World was a small, twelve page daily at the time it had been founded in 1888 by  John McLagan and John died in 1901 his wife Sara Anne took over and became the first woman publisher of a newspaper in Canada.

Taylor and 'friends' changed the Vancouver World into a modern newspaper with a circulation that challenged the Province. Remember when I wrote on the Sun Tower on Pender Street? In 1912, when the building was finished, it had been built for the Vancouver World. When Taylor and his paper suffered financial difficulty in 1924 the World was bought out by the Vancouver Sun.

On July 4 of 1905 the first interurban tram arrives in Kerrisdale.

Six days later construction began on the first buildings at Colony Farm. Colony Farm was the agricultural arm of the Coquitlam Mental Hospital also known as Essondale and more recently Riverdale. The farm won awards across Canada for the high quality of its livestock and produce. Wonder what happened to it?

On September 4, 1905, the Chris Peters family were alarmed by a visit by a big black bear. The Peters owned a shoe store at the corner of what would now be Broadway and Main. (Then it was Westminster and Ninth Avenues) Can you imagine the uproar if a wild black bear wondered into a store at that corner today?

On Labor Day the first auto race was held around Stanley Park. Out of eleven cars that began the race only five finished. And all five were Oldsmobiles.

A glassware merchant by the name of Frederick Buscombe became Mayor Of Vancouver.

The Beavers, Vancouver's first semi professional baseball team, was started. Their first game was played in Bellingham on May 9 of the same year and The Beavers but sprang back to win two days later at their first home game. They played against Victoria at the brand new Recreation Park at the southeast corner of Homer and Smithe. (Now there is a condo building there and the history of the place has long been forgotten.)

Construction began in 1905 on new Main Post Office which is now a part of Sinclair Centre.

Wallace Shipyards was begun by Alfred Wallace. His son Clarence later took over the helm of the company and by the end of World War II Wallace Shipyards was Canada's biggest shipbuilding firm.

The first man to  later pilot a plane across the Pacific Ocean arrived in Vancouver. Charles Kingford-Smith was eight years old at the time and he and his family didn't stay here long. But Vancouver did name a school after him.

For $6000 the Parks Board built the first bathhouse at English Bay.

McDowell's Drug Store opened in North Vancouver. It was situated beside McMillan's Grocery at 1st Street and Lonsdale. McDowell's was run by the same family until 1973.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants opened in Vancouver.

On September 16 there was a newspaper report:
"The Fraser River is full of sockeyes, and ten canneries are packing to-day to the full capacity of their respective plants, according to reports received from Steveston and other cannery centres this morning. The average catch of sockeyes last night was probably two hundred fish to the boat ... fishermen reported that the water is teeming with salmon." I bet there are a lot of present day fishermen and women that dream of this time.

Two days before that the Province mentioned something about Stanley Park and its zoo. Apparently the  "superintendent reported the following animals had been donated to the park’s zoo: A monkey, Roy G. Stephens, 1700 Ninth avenue; a large seal, W. Swallow, 664 Granville; four grass parakeets, Mrs. Bulwer, 1728 Georgia street; a fawn, W.T. Massey, 833 Pender street; a raccoon, W. Selp, 621 Sixth avenue east; a canary, Mrs. Clark, 1555 Robson; a seal, Mayor Buscombe; a black bear, G.W. Wagg, 108 Water street ... " Interesting array I would say.

I hope you enjoyed this look back 106 years and that you find the beauty around you.

** I was just informed by a reader who happens to be an alumni of King Edward High School that the school burned down years ago and was never rebuilt. In fact the Vancouver General Hospital has expanded into the area where the school once was. Thanks Dennis for the information.

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