Friday, May 13, 2011

Shirley Scot

Remember on Wednesday when I talked about the long walk I took? The first time I started out on the journey these are the houses I was going to see and photograph.

These are the Shirley Houses, built by James Alexander Shirley. His mother, Isabella Shirley, was co-owner and had her son build these homes initially as rental units. The Shirley family owned the buildings from the time they were built in 1912 until 1962.

The Shirley family were long term residents of this neighbourhood. Isabella and James chose to make these five homes nearly identical in design and stand out because of this. Most homes in the area were varied in design.

Unfortunately many of the houses' original features had disappeared over the years. But in 2006 the homes were revived and brought back to a similar appearance.

Now I am doing something I have never done before. I am going to mention a little of the influence the Scots have had on this city.

Our first mayor was a Scot, Malcolm MacLean. His opponent, Richard Alexander also hailed from Scotland.

Carnegie, our first purpose built library, was built on funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was a US industrialist and philanthropist who happened to have been born in Scotland.

The St. Andrew's and Caledonian Society of Vancouver is as old as our city. It was formed in 1886.

William Duncan came from Scotland to Vancouver and began fishing commercially. His is best known for once catching a sturgeon weighing 725 pounds.

Jimmy Sievewright was Scottish, a printer and the first white person to settle in what is now Stanley Park.

John Murray Sr. was born in Ireland of Scottish parents. He was a lance-corporal in the Royal Engineers and settled in Port Moody with his wife. Their son, John Murray Jr., became known as Mr. Port Moody and was responsible for naming most of the streets in that municipality.

Dollarton was named after Captain Robert Dollar; Ewen Slough after cannery owner Alexander Ewen. Ewen apparently was a dour Scot who was reputed to never laugh.

You may remember the man in the photo. This is a panhandler by the name of Mike that I have written on before. Then he had a dog named Blue. Sadly Blue has passed away. This new canine is Colt 45,  Mike's new companion.

The city's first mayor to have been born in the twentieth century was Tom Alsbury and he was born in Scotland.

There is a lot more to tell you about Scots in Vancouver and I will do that another day. I hope you find the beauty around you.
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