Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Strange Stories

There have been some unusual happenings in and around Vancouver over the years and today I want to talk about some of them. And I'll show you photos of different pieces of artwork I have found around the city.

In 1792 a Spanish exploration team taught the local native people a new song that the Spaniards had titled Malbrouck. Some members of the team wrote in their journals that the aboriginals paddle in their canoes singing this song. Today we would recognize the tune as For He's A Jolly Good Fellow.

Col. Richard Moody of the Royal Engineers named Lulu Island in 1861. Moody named the land after a sixteen-year-old singer by the name of Lulu Sweet who was touring with a visiting San Francisco musical revue.

The first telegraph message from the outside world arrived in Burrard Inlet in 1865. The message? The telegraph told of the assassination of US President Abraham Lincoln.

I may have told you this story before but it is bears repeating. In 1867 John 'Gassy Jack' Deighton arrived on the shores of Burrard Inlet. He made a bargain with the mill workers that were there. He would supply all the whiskey they could drink if they would help him build a saloon. The Globe was built in 24 hours. Can you envision that day?

Maxie Michaud was our first, unofficial, postmaster in 1869. He walked here from Montreal. Now I enjoy walking but I don't know if I could do that!

This symbol of the bond between two beings stands outside of Vancouver General Hospital and was created by sculptor Martha Sturdy.
The Moodyville Tickler was Burrard Inlet's first newspaper. It began in 1878 and had a short existence but also showed the humorous side of our earliest residents. For example. The more a person paid, the more glowing the obituary would be.

Not everyone was fond of BC. A prestigious London paper by the name of the London Truth stated that: "British Columbia is not worth keeping. It should never have been inhabited at all. It will never pay a red cent of interest on the money that may be sunk in it.”  (Oh yeah?!)

Also during the 1880s, an American cavalry came upon some pamphlets from the Canadian Pacific Railway when they raided an Apache village in Arizona. The pamphlets were advertising lots for sale in Vancouver's posh Brighouse Estates.

In 1882 we had a special visit from the Victoria mayor and that city's council. They travelled here to see the lights at the Moodyville sawmill on the north shore of Burrard Inlet. Those lights were powered by the first electricity to come to B.C.

1883 was the year that the first locomotive arrived in Vancouver - aboard a ship.

Did you know that there are beams in the Imperial Palace in Beijing that were shipped from the Burrard Inlet sawmills in 1884?

George Black,  a butcher, organized horse races down a muddy Granville Street in 1886.

The first badges for the Vancouver Police force in 1886 were made of American silver dollars. The one side was smoothed down and engraved with Vancouver City Police.

In 1889 Rudyard Kipling - an English poet and author of The Jungle Book - bought two pieces of property in Vancouver. Both were at the southeast corner of East 11th Avenue and Fraser Street. I wonder what is there now?

In 1893 the exclusive Vancouver Club was formed. Not long after its inauguration the club had its china and silverware repossessed since the club had run into financial difficulties. Everything, including the club's crest, was used in the restaurant of the man who had originally supplied the stuff.

The forerunner to the Vancouver Museum was started in 1894 with the donation of a stuffed swan.

I realize that I have told you some of these things before but for the tales are amusing enough to bear repeating.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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1 comment:

  1. I lived on the southwest corner of Fraser and 11th in the early 90's. How interesting to think that Rudyard Kipling may have once lived across the street!