Friday, April 13, 2012

73 Years Past

We are still looking at 1939 and the awesome events of that year. A Second World War had broken out, just over twenty years after the Great War aka World War I. Once again young men were being shipped overseas and many never returned. It was a time of sacrifice and sorrow. But we still managed to find joy in things.

In 1939 the Boeing Plant on Sea Island was built. The plant was built to produce Canso and Catalina and later B-29 superfortress aircraft. At the peak of their production the plant employed 6,000 people.

Here's an interesting story. Grouse Mountain had become home to a number of squatters during the Great Depression, there was nearly 100 there. One fellow, Kent Ford, proposed that a sprocket railway be built from Mosquito Creek to the village. But Ford's timing wasn't great. Due to the war there was a shortage of steel but that didn't stop the visionary. He had the track built with one rail steel and the other wood. It didn't work. But the really amusing part is that thirty years earlier this had been tried and it had failed for the exact same reason: lack of steel due to a world war.

Japanese residents in Richmond were among those who raised money for the National Defence fund not long after the beginning of World War II. And look at how they were treated in return!

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery had a herring reduction plant installed so that the cannery could produce fish meal and fish oil that were to be used primarily industrial and agricultural purposes.

The BC Electric Railway stopped its daily milk runs for Fraser Valley Farmers.

The North Vancouver Youth Band was founded.

A twin gabled Tudor Revival house, Fairacres, was built in Burnaby in 1910 for Grace and Henry Ceperley. Grace was a Michigan heiress and Henry was a Vancouver realtor. The year we are discussing, 1939, was the year that the brothers of the Benedictine Order moved in. They stayed until 1955 when they moved out and into their new digs at the Westminster Abby in Mission. Fairacres is now the Burnaby Art Gallery.

Another crackdown by the morality squad was ordered by police chief W.W. Foster due to the rise in venereal disease.

D. Mackay became chief constable for the Vancouver Police Force, replacing Foster. (Maybe the bigwigs didn't like Foster's moral crackdown?)

It was in 1939, on Robert Burns Night, that over 700 Scots crowded into the Commodore Ballroom to eat haggis and such.

St. Peter's Catholic Church in New Westminster was built in 1939. The old St. Peter's Cathedral had been built on Blackwood Street in 1886 and was damaged beyond repaid in 1934. This California missions style structure at the corner of Royal Avenue and Fourth street has statues of the Blessed Mother and child, St. Peter  and St. Joseph as well as a crucifix over the altar that are from the old church.

I told you that 1939 wasn't all about the war. It was also the year that the Van Tan nudist club was formed. It was the first club of its kind in the lower mainland.

The paintings I am showing here I happened to see painted on the side of a building. The building was  a restaurant and these were on the parking lot side.

Guess where I got my information? You got it! The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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