Friday, December 21, 2012

Year End

This may be the wrong time of year to show this poster from around 1919 but I thought it was amusing. Booze or kissing some of those women - wonder which one many men decided to do? Thank you Mommy and your friend Wes for the photo.

It is December 21 and if the world hasn't ended then hop on over and get a copy of Digitus 233 which was released today! I got my copy now go get yours.Here's the link!

On December 24, 25 and 26th I am offering you a special gift. Two of my eBooks are being sold at 99 cents for those three days.

The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story.

A woman, Laura Neill, in Vancouver is struck by a Chrysler Intrigue while crossing the street. At the same time in Toronto a car also strikes Julian Rule. Both people have an out of body experience and meet as they are floating. Their ethereal forms bond as one before separating - each taking a part of the other’s soul with them as they return to their bodies.

When the two people wake up, they remember the experience they shared and have memories of each other. The simultaneous accidents created a psychic bond. They are truly soul mates. Although Laura is haunted by visions of Julian that she cannot understand, she has decided to make dramatic changes in her life. One of them is becoming engaged to a member of England’s nobility that has recently appeared in her life. When he senses that she is in danger – a feeling that is confirmed by a psychic friend – Julian goes to Vancouver to come to her aid. With the help of a detective, Julian is able to prove that Laura’s fiancĂ© is a con artist and a murderer. When Julian confronts the man, he and Laura are placed in imminent danger.

If you have read Missing Flowers, this is the book where Julie the psychic is first introduced. It is also currently being looked at by a movie producer in Toronto. Here's the US link

Mystique Rising  also known as Let Us Play, A Rock 'n Roll Love Story in paperback.

In a bloody showdown during a Mystique concert, the government ended rock music. The members of Mystique disappeared - as many musicians before them had -without a trace.

This drives fans underground and they form the rebel group, the Let Us Play Organization. Presently Kaya More, who is the daughter of a slain LUPO founder, as well as a descendant of a member of Mystique, leads LUPO.

The gift of second sight aids Kaya as she leads the rebels from New York City to California to the Canadian Rockies. Once LUPO joins forces with other outlaws from around the world, the rebellion explodes and a showdown between the oppressors of music and fans is inevitable.

This is an exciting story and I loved writing it. The US link for that book is here.

I hope you decide to take advantage of these offers.

Sam Bass was born on a Winnipeg farm on April 25, 1915. Sam graduated from U. of Manitoba in 1939 and then served as a RCAF pharmacist in WWII. Bass was on his way to California when he stopped in Vancouver and didn't leave.

In 1945, Sam obtained a loan and  bought Schoff's Drug Store at Main and Union. He renamed it London Drugs. This son of Kiev area immigrant farmers was a pioneer in his field and created the first modern drug store in B.C. and the first pharmacy counter. He was also a strong supporter of Jewish charities and community affairs. Sam Bass died in Vancouver on November 8, 1990.

This is my last entry for 2012 and I want to take this moment to thank all of you who visit the Vancouver Vagabond, who take the time to read and to sometimes comment. Your visits and comments make writing this blog even more precious. I am happy that I am able to bring a bit of my beautiful city and its history to your eyes.

2012 has been an incredible year for me and my writing career. At times I have to stop and wonder if it is all real. I know that with your support and more hard work, that 2013 will be even better.

Please join me on January 7, 2013 for more photos and history. Have a safe and happy holiday season.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Railways and Apartments

W. Orson Banfield was a businessman who was born in Vancouver on May 17, 1897. His father, J.J. (John Joseph) Banfield, moved the family from Ontario to Vancouver in 1894.

In 1912, J.J. built the Stradacona apartment block which still stands today on Bute Street. The elder Banfield gave the apartment the Indian name for his birthplace of Quebec City.

Orson was his only son and the young man attended local schools before serving as a mule driver in World War I. He graduated from UBC in 1923 with a degree in chemical engineering. (While attending the university, Orson Banfield was 'Trekker' and that has nothing to do with the TV show Star Trek. In October of 1922, more than 1,000 students marched to the peninsula of Point Grey to express their displeasure at the government's delay in building the university there. This was called the Great March and its participants were known as 'trekkers'.)
After UBC, Orson joined his father in the real estate and insurance business. He also continued the family's commitment to Vancouver's economical and social life.

Orson was prominent in such causes as the Rotary Club, Shaughnessy Heights United Church and the Vancouver General Hospital. (Both father and son as chair of governing boards at major periods of development.)

The younger Bainfield was also involved in politics, serving as city alderman in the 1960s. In 1977, Orson was made a Freeman of the City of Vancouver. The family name lives on today on such structures as VGH's Banfield Pavillion, the Stradacona apartment block and Indian Arms Orlomah Beach (a composite family name). There is a lot of material on this family in the city archives.

W. Orson Banfield died in Vancouver on March 19, 1983 at the age of 85.
Frank (Francis Stillman) Barnard is known for being a street car system founder and the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia. Barnard was born on May 16, 1856 in Toronto, Ontario. In 1860, he moved to Victoria with his mother - his father had come west earlier.

Barnard was a founder of Vancouver's street car system, opened June 28, 1890. In 1894, he was president of Consolidated Railway and later, after the company was sold to British financiers and renamed B.C. Railway, was the managing director. (1896-1906). He was also a Cariboo MP from 1888 to 1896 and B.C.'s lieutenant-governor from 1914 to 1919. At one time, he was one of the four richest people in B.C.

Sensing that the war was near, Barnard signed a special $1 million  warrant approving Premier McBride's purchase of two submarines. Francis Stillman Barnard was knighted in 1918 by King George V as "A living link to the industrialized B.C. with that of the pre-railroad and Crown colony days". Barnard died in Esquimalt, B.C. on April 11, 1936.

Friday will be my last entry for 2012 - the entry after that is scheduled for January 7, 2013. So Friday I am going to have a bit of fun and tell you also about some special happenings.

Until then, I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Bakers, Pilots and Curators

I don't know when this house was built but the reason I am posting the photos is because of who lived here. 196 West 12th was once the residence of Percy Williams. Percy competed in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. He won gold medals in the 100 and 200 metre sprints. This is still the greatest achievement by a Canadian in an international track and field competition. Some residents of this area still remember Percy training in the front yard.

Frank Madill Baker was born on June 24, 1922 in Vancouver and went on to become a legendary restaurateur in his birth city.

Baker opened Baker's Catering at 25th and Kingsway as well as Spring Gardens at 41st and Boulevard in 1946. With his partner Frank Bernard, Baker opened two restaurants in Georgian Towers and bought the Park Royal Hotel.

After that partnership ended, Baker opened The Attic in 1968 in West Vancouver. Guests in this 1,200 seating restaurant were entertained by Lance Harrison and his Dixieland Band. Frank, quite a showman, wore a trademark white suit and played the trumpet. (A skill he learned with the Four Square Gospel Church) Outside The Attic, Baker showcased the Aston Martin that was showcased in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger. While serving as a Vancouver alderman, Frank Baker was responsible to the lights being put on city hall. He died in Vancouver on November 21, 1989.

These houses are on West 6th and were built in 1909.

Another Baker, Russell Francis, was a pioneer bush pilot. He was born in Winnipeg on January 31, 1910. Baker was an early bush pilot for such airlines as Western Canada Airways and Canadian Pacific.

In 1946, he began Central B.C. Airways with a contract with B.C. Forest Service fire-patrol. Baker took over airlines in B.C. and Alberta to create an independent airline that served western communities. In 1953, the company name became Pacific Western Airlines and it grew to be the largest western regional air carrier. In 1987, PWA bought CP Air. 

Russell Francis Baker died November 15, 1958 in West Vancouver.
Alvin Balkind was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 28, 1921. He received a BA at John Hopkins and later attended the Sorbonne - from 1933-35. In 1954, Balkind came to Vancouver and founded the New Design Gallery - a centre for the avant-garde - a year later. He was curator of the UBC Fine Arts Gallery from 1962-1973 and chief curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery from 1975-1978. Alvin was the first $50,000 winner of the VIVA (Vancouver Institute for Visual Arts) award in 1992. He died in Vancouver on December 21, 1992.

Thank you The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information on the people and thank you to Bob_2006 photostream for information on the 1909 homes and the pamphlet from the Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Area for details concerning Percy Williams. (Whew! I consult a lot of sources for information!)

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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