Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Ladner farmers,Chung Chuck and Mah Lai had appealed a provincial law that regulated the marketing of tree fruits and vegetables that had the effect (intended) of stifling Chinese farmers. In January 1937 the Privy Council ruled the laws invalid.

Alan Young who was best known for co-starring with a horse in the television show, Mr. Ed, began at CJOR Vancouver. He was the assistant for program director Dick Diespecker. For the three years that Young was employed there he fulfilled a variety of duties from typing extra copies of the drama scripts, to sweeping sometimes, to helping with news broadcasts and scripting and starring in a weekly show, Signal Carnival. He started in 1937.

In 1911 Eudora Jane Lochead had opened the Hastings Grove Store on Curtis in Burnaby. It had a rooming house with 20 rooms above and a dining room which sat 60 boarders. (To handle the overflow there were tents in the yard.) In 1913 she opened her second store at Sperling and Hastings. Lochead was also a poet, her best known work Would Life Be Worth Living. On February 2, 1937 this pioneer store owner and poet died in North Vancouver.

Jack Blaney who happened to be the president of Simon Fraser University from 1997 to 2000 and now senior fellow at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue in downtown Vancouver was born in Vancouver on February 24, 1937.

 On March 5 a story in the Province reported that traces of hemp were found in a dead man's stomach. It was the first mention of 'marihuana' in a Vancouver paper.

On March 22 there was fire at 125 West Pender Street - the offices of the Vancouver Sun and the building suffered more than $200,000 worth of damage. The paper moved across the street into the Bekins Building which they bought on May 18. They never missed an issue and today we know that building as the Old Sun Tower.

Helena Gutteridge of the CCF  became the first woman to ever be elected to the Vancouver City Council. Gutteridge was born in London, England around 1880 and came to Vancouver in 1911. She then organized the BC Women's Suffrage League and fought for the right for women to vote.
On March 30, 1937 Robert 'Red' Robinson was born in Comox. Robinson started broadcasting at CJOR at the ripe old age of 17. On November 12, 1954 he played music that no one had ever head before- Rock and Roll as well as Rhythm and Blues. In a year he had 54% of the audience and to this day he is still rockin'.

When construction began on the Lion's Gate Bridge on March 31, it was to be the longest suspension bridge in the British Empire at that time. More than 300 men were used in the construction and the bridge was built to give better access to the British Properties.

On May 12 a Coronation Day ceremony was held in Stanley Park to honor the accession to the throne of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It was that day that Alderman Jonathon Rogers planted the King George VI oak in Stanley Park.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Haunting of The Hycroft

Looking at these bright, sunny photos of the grounds of the Hycroft Manor it is difficult to believe that the house is home to a few ghosts. But it apparently is.

As you may remember from Friday's post, the McRaes sold the manor to the federal government in 1942 for the sum of one dollar. Shortly after the sale Mrs. McRae died and Senator McRae followed four years later.

Some visitors to the manor have reported seeing a man in a World War I General's uniform wandering around the halls of Hycroft. Perhaps A.D. McRae just can't leave the home that was built for him and his family.

Others have seen apparition of a lady dressed in early 20th century attire strolling through the rooms and this is thought to be Mrs. McRae.

As previously stated, the government used the Hycroft as a hospital for war veterans until 1960. And not all of these residents have left the building either.

Apparitions of nurses dressed in attire of the period have been seen as have at least three veterans. Sounds of a man crying have also been heard.

Many people want fame and to be in the movies and seems that the ghosts of the Hycroft are no different. They seem to be more active when film crews are using the manor yet quieter when parties and social events are being held. Or maybe the spirits don't like the entertainment business. If I ever meet one of the ghosts I'll ask.

Although the Hycroft is owned by the University Women's Club of Vancouver, it is available to be rented out for business functions, weddings and other meetings. And I think having your event at this mansion would make it memorable.

The UWCV also hosts numerous events at the manor which are open to non members. For a complete list visit the site where you can also get rental information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Hycroft

Wednesday I had a doctor's appointment and after that I went to see a couple of homes in the Shaugnessy neighbourhood. Today I am going to tell you about the Hycroft.

Architect Thomas Hooper is responsible for this magnificent Second Renaissance Revival style building. It was built during 1909 and 1912 for local businessman and politician Alexander Duncan McRae and the home dates back to the early days of Shaugnessy development. It cost $109,000 to build which was a fortune back then.

The building is of concrete construction and has a distinctive double height portico.

In addition to the house and the coach house there were stables, a swimming pool, an Italian garden, a tea house, pergolas, statuary and a children's playhouse.

When the McRae's moved in this house quickly became the center of Vancouver's social scene and the parties were legendary. The guest list read like an edition of who's who and was made up of such people like visiting royalty, the social elite of Vancouver and such.

In the 1942, due to rising costs and the up keep, the McRaes sold Hycroft to the federal government for the grand sum of one dollar. The house was used by the Federal Department of Veterans' Affairs as a convalescent hospital for war veterans until 1960.

In 1962 the five acre property was subdivided and the stables were demolished. Since women at that time were not allowed to hold mortgages in their own right, any female that wanted to purchase the mansion, coach house, mews house and surrounding grounds had to pay for it in full. And that is just what the University Women's Club of Vancouver did.

It took a year to finalize the purchase and five to restore the manor. The building had been empty for two years without heat or any basic maintenance. But the volunteers kicked out racoons, cut back the grass and blackberry vines and restored Hycroft to its former glory. In 1974 the UWCV was recognized for their efforts when the city presented the club with a Heritage award for their continued maintenance of the house.

Neither a building nor a person can get to be a hundred years old without some legends and stories surrounding lending an air of mystery. And since I still have more photos to show you I will look into some of those tales on Monday.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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