Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Politicians and Farmers

I was walking along Main Street when I happened to this building. The soldier on top was what first got my attention. I thought that the Granville Island Toy Company decorated this building uniquely and appropriately.

On January 30, 1931 the Province reported that 1930 had been a banner year for those from the United States visiting in automobiles. Entering through the ports of Pacific Highway, Douglas and Hunnington were 128,856 cars carrying a total of 417, 581 passengers.

Also in January of that year the CPR began working on a tunnel under downtown Vancouver to keep the railway trains off the city streets. 

Vic Stevens, leader of the B.C. Conservative Party from 1969 to 1971 was born on February 11, 1931.

Eight days later Henry Ogle Bell-Irving died at the age of 75. You may be scratching your head and saying 'so?' but let me tell you about this man. He was born in Scotland and came to Canada as a survey engineer with CPR when he was 27. He worked briefly as an architect in Vancouver before the great fire then opened a general store in Gastown. By 1891 Bell-Irving had gone into the canning business and became Canada's largest exporter of canned salmon. He painted in watercolours and some of the impressions we have of what our city used to look like are based on those.

On February 22  this appeared in the Province’s joke column:
“Congratulations, my boy!”
“But you just said that I flunked out of medical school.”
“Ah, but think of the lives you have saved.”

On May 11 Blanche Brillon Macdonald was born in Faust Alberta. She would go on to run a modelling school in Vancouver from 1960 on but that wasn't her passion. Blanche was of French-Canadian and First Nations heritage and she became the CEO of the Native Communications Society of B.C. and was involved in furthering Native causes. She died in 1985.

When I graduated from high school in Kamloops I went to  the Blanche Macdonald School to take fashion merchandising. Now they have a big complex on 12th Avenue but then the school was located in Gastown.

Alexander Mitchell, Vancouver's first farmer, died on May 16, 1931. When he arrived in 1877 from Quebec he settled in Moodyville, later he took out squatter rights as a pioneer resident on Richmond's Mitchell Island - named after him. Mitchell was active in local politics having served as a councillor for South Vancouver's Ward 3 and later Richmond's Ward 5. He also served as secretary for the school board and promoted the Fraser Street Bridge.

On May 23 Lorne Parton was born. Parton would go on to become a Province reporter and columnist in 1952.

On May 24 West Vancouver held its second May Day and crowned its first May Queen. This tradition lasted until 1973. After that the celebration was renamed Community Days and would be held in June without a May Queen.

On May 29 the first annual convention of BC Fire Chiefs was held in the Hotel Vancouver.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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