Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mayors of Vancouver Part II

Today I am going to continue my look at the mayors of Vancouver. We left off with Mayor William Templeton who held office for the one year term of 1897.

Following Templeton was James Ford Garden who was fortunate enough to serve three terms at the beginning of a decade of 'spectacular growth' for this city. Garden influenced the physical development of the city and was a leader.

In 1899 Mayor Garden led a group of citizens on a march to Deadman's Island. Their goal was to stop Theodore Ludgate from logging it. Garden read Ludgate the riot act - defying the man to chop that tree. Ludgate ignored him and proceeded to chop the tree so Garden had him arrested. This action began years of litigation which resulted in Ludgate's 25 year lease with the federal government being cancelled. It was determined that the property was part of the federal agreement that granted Stanley Park to the city in perpetuity.

Garden was an engineer by trade and he developed an early street car system, sidewalks, road grades and water connections.

In 1901 Thomas Owen Townley was Vancouver's mayor. During his term in office the large British population of Vancouver and the rest of the commonwealth nations mourned the death of Queen Victoria who had spent 63 years on the throne. Later that year Townley was a gracious host to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York when they visited the city as part of their Empire Tour.

When Townley failed to secure a second term as mayor he became registrar of land titles for Vancouver, a position he had previously held in New Westminster. He is also remembered for being the commander of Vancouver's first militia.

For the next two years we called Thomas Fletcher Neelands our mayor. During his tenure the city's recreational facilities improved and expanded. He acquired the rights for sunbathing on the English Bay shore, both Alexandra and Strathcona parks as well as the Cambie and Powell Streets grounds. He also officiated at the ceremony laying the cornerstone for what is now Carnegie Centre.

Dr. William J. McGuigan was our mayor in 1904. He also had the sad duty of being the coroner during the Great Fire.(His brother Thomas was our first city clerk)

McGuigan was an accomplished man holding degrees in both law and medicine but he didn't seem to let his personal ambition get in the way of his duties as mayor. He is quoted as saying "There should be no hint of personal ambition," he said, "at the expense of our collective security." And McGuigan gave himself fully to his duties.

During his one year in office he oversaw improvements to False Creek that led to the filling in of a section east of Main Street a decade later. He was also quite involved with the B.C. Medical Association, the High School Board, and the Free Library Board.

Frederick Buscombe as Vancouver's mayor for 1905 and 1906. He was a glass merchant and came from the primarily working class neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant. A hot topic during his campaign was the low water pressure on the south shores of False Creek. Buscombe made his mark by establishing the Greater Vancouver Water Board.

Construction was booming and white-skinned workers were in short supply. People resented the Asian workers and incidents of racism were common. Buscombe and his city council passed a motion asking the federal government to suspend immigration of East Indians into Canada.

I hope you find the beauty around you. 

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