Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Vancouver Mayors Part IV

When I last wrote on the mayors of Vancouver I ended with Mayor Charles Edward Tisdale who held office for 1922 and 1923.

After Tisdale, William Reid Owen took the mayoral seat for 1924. This was in the middle of the roaring twenties and it is a time period closely associated with one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods - Mount Pleasant. A former blacksmith, Owen was a realtor and insurance agent in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.

The mid nineteen twenties was a good economically for the city. Both the public and private sector was busy building parks and golf courses, recreational and entertainment centres. There were movie houses popping up all over the city. Owen has the distinction of being the first mayor to use radio in his campaign when he gave a ten minute speech over Station CJCE.

For the three years following Owen, L.D. Taylor was once again in power.

For 1929 and 1930 merchant and importer William Harold Malkin was Vancouver's mayor. He was the first mayor following the amalgamation of Point Grey and South Vancouver in 1929. Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park was dedicated to his late wife Marion and Malkin donated the money for its construction.

From 1931 to 1934 L.D. Taylor was again Vancouver's mayor. I have written on him on an earlier post so click there if you want to refresh your memory.

Taking over from Taylor was Gerald Grattan McGeer who was in office for 1935 and 1936. McGeer's campaign during his second term was called the most exciting in the city's history. He was up against L.D. Taylor and there was a lot of name calling and snide comments. It was a public disgrace for Taylor who lost by 20,000 votes.  
McGeer was elected on the promise that he was going to  clean up the city. McGeer's administration would be tough on crime, doing away with slot machines, gambling, book makers, white slavery and corruption in the police department. He was also the mayor who chose the current location for city hall. More has been written on McGeer than any other mayor of Vancouver. And McGeer was also an author - he penned the 1935 book entitled The Conquest of Poverty.
George Clark Miller took office in 1937 and served for that year and 1938. Miller was the first mayor to be elected under the at-large system, running as an independent. Wards had been done away with and party politics was making its entry into Vancouver.

Miller was an administrative minded man and ran his campaign that way. His motto was to get the job done and he didn't make any flashy promises. He never said he wouldn't raise taxes and was a man who stood for law and order. This was a relief to the citizens of Vancouver after the flash and showmanship of previous years.

From 1939 through 1940 James Lyle Telford was our mayor. During his campaign he offered help to the forgotten man, tapping into the frustration of voters after over a decade of poverty. But even with that following Telford won with less than 2,000 votes over six other candidates. This is thought to have been due to his challenges to the status quo and the fact that he was a divorcee.

Jack (Jonathan Webster) Cornett held office for the years 1941 through 1946. A former shoe merchant and the last reeve of the municipality of South Vancouver, Cornett was a stable founding father of Vancouver. He ran the city during the unstable years of WWII  and  most of his administration was taken up by issues such as housing and road improvements.

During his last year in office Cornett's efforts came to fruition. The city finally got upper level government funding for housing and the city was able to embark on a ten year plan to improve sewers, lighting, city streets, sidewalks and fire protection in the harbour.

Gerald Grattan McGeer took office again in 1947 and died in office. His replacement was Alderman Charles E. Jones.

Charles E. Jones was elected to office the following December. Jones lobbied for the development of new industrial sites in the city, automobile bridges and high speed thoroughfares. He also wanted the filling in of False Creek. Jones died in office on September 1, 1948 and former Mayor George Miller assumed the mayoral duties for the rest of that year.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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