Wednesday, October 26, 2011


On January 1, 1935 Mayor Gerry McGeer took office. He had campaigned on the promise that he was going to fight crime, and to do away with slot machines, gambling, book-making, white slavery and corruption in the police force. In his first week McGeer confiscated 1,000 slot machines.

Some called McGeer a megalomaniac due to his zealous and vigorous management style. He was both praised and criticized for his handling of a potential strike by 2,000 workers from federal camps. He read them the riot act and called in police to arrest the leaders.

In April of 1935 Mayor McGeer firmly cemented his image in some minds of being on the side of those with money who feared that communism would take over when he read the riot act to a group of unemployed men who had marched to Victory Square demanding financial aid from the city. He called on the men to disperse. That night police raided worker headquarters, a riot began and police on horseback were called out to control it.

As well McGeer was accused of extravagance and corruption when he proposed to float baby bonds to finance a new city hall. He also got the location he wanted at Cambie Street and 12th Avenue which was at the time Strathcona Park.

On January 3 Mayor McGeer attended his first meeting at the Board of Police Commissioners. Holding true to his campaign promise he replaced the city's chief constable John Cameron with Col. W.W. "Billy" Foster, DSO.

January 21 - 43 centimetres (17 inches) of snow fell and that seems to still be the record.

West Vancouver No.5 ferry collided with the CPR's Princess Alice off Prospect Point. A woman passenger lost her life in this accident on February 4, 1935.

On March 1 the BC Provincial Police took over from the municipal police in Burnaby and would be responsible for enforcing the law in that city until August 1950 when the RCMP took over.

On March 11 the Bank of Canada was founded an opened its first branch in Vancouver. The bank resided at 330 West Pender - Page House - which was known for its stained glass ceiling. Bank robberies were a popular craze back then so the bank had a machine gun installed to defend the enlarged vault since at one time that vault held all of the bank's BC assets. Cash was transported through a now sealed off tunnel that ran to West Hastings street.

On March 19 one of our former mayors, Thomas Owen Townley, died while in Florida.

The Gregory Tire and Rubber Company of Port Coquitlam, which had gone into receivership in 1933, was purchased by Huntington Rubber Mills of Canada on March 23.

Francis Mawson Rattenbury was the architect who designed the Vancouver courthouse which is now the art gallery, the provincial legislature building and the Empress Hotel in Victoria. On March 28 he was murdered. Things had become a bit difficult for Rattenbury - or Ratz as he was called - since work wasn't coming his way and he began an affair with 31 year-old Alma Pakenham who happened to be married. Both she and the 67 year old Rattenbury got divorces then fled to his native England. There Alma began an affair with the couple's 19 year old chauffeur and he bashed Ratz head in with a mallet.

Standard Oil purchased 55 acres of land at the north foot of Willingdon in Burnaby for a refinery. The company moved quickly - buying service stations, local oil distribution companies, establishing dealerships, started a new refinery and even bought a tanker, the BC Standard. In this part of the world we know that company as Chevron. And to think Standard Oil's entry into BC began in a two-room suite at the Hotel Vancouver in March.

Lord and Lady Baden-Powell were welcomed at a grand rally of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides held at Hastings Park on April 15.

In May Vancouver boxer Jimmy McLarnin lost his world welterweight championship. This time for good.

On June 3 one thousand unemployed men boarded freight cars in Vancouver. They were part of an On to Ottawa journey to protest the conditions for the unemployed. They didn't make it past Regina.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

, , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment