Monday, May 21, 2012

Love Being Odd

A lot of us spend our lives trying to fit in. Trying to be just like everyone else and control our eccentricities. However, sometimes those oddities make history.

From 1995 until 2001, the name Vancouver Grizzlies belonged to a professional basketball team based here in Vancouver. Yet before that, in 1941, the Vancouver Grizzlies were a semi-professional football team.

In Stanley Park, there is a memorial to the Japanese Canadians who fought in World War I and part of that memorial is an electric flame. On December 8, 1941 - the day after the Pearl Harbour attack - the flame was turned off. It was not relit until 1985.

In 1941 four out of five homes in Vancouver did not have what would be considered today a basic necessities: a car, a telephone, a radio and a vacuum cleaner.

In 1908, John Bruce carved lions for the front of what was then our provincial courthouse (presently it is the Vancouver Art Gallery). On November 6, 1942 the lion on the west side was damaged by a bomb. The culprit was never caught.

At Nanton and Granville Streets there sits St. John's Shaugnessy Anglican Church. Some of the stained glass in the windows of the church comes from England's Canterbury Cathedral. The cathedral had been bombed during the Second World War and the glass is shattered pieces of the original 11th century stained glass.

Masajiro Miyazaki was a Japanese Vancouver doctor who practiced in this city until 1942 when he was interned in the Bridge Water - Lillooet area. In 1945, the town of Lillooet petitioned for his release so Miyazaki could replace the town's deceased doctor.

Saba's was Western Canada's largest retail house that specialized in silks. In 1942 the retail store experienced a riot when 500 women stormed the establishment to buy 300 pairs of nylon stockings. Thankfully no one was hurt.

Stanley Park was rededicated on August 25, 1943. Frank Plant drove the official party and he had been the driver for Lord and Lady Stanley as well as Mayor and Mrs. Oppenheimer 55 years earlier. The ceremony was also recreated on the same spot as the 1889 ceremony.

Kitsilano Beach was used for rehearsing commando beach assaults in 1943.

Here's an interesting tidbit. Mr. and Mrs. E.R. Valleau purchased a home on Burte Street in Burnaby in February of 1943 and they proceeded to build a home there. On September 23, 1943 the Province newspaper reported that Mr. J.H. Treaves purchased a lot the other day and discovered that he owned the Valleau home. The Valleau's had built their house not on the land they owned but on the neighbouring lot. Arrangements were made and titles were transferred so it all worked out well in the end.

There was a clubhouse for the Southlands Riding Club - which was incorporated in 1943 - that was once a fisherman's net storage hut on Deering Island. The abandoned hut was dismantled and transported piece by piece to its present site by members of the riding club on horseback.

On April 23, 1944 Jack Benny brought his regular cast from New York - Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day and announcer Don Wilson -and did his famous radio show here. Interesting enough Mary Livingstone (real name Sadie Marks) had grown up in Vancouver. (I have also written about Sadie Marks before when I featured the apartment building on Hastings Street she had lived in.)

So celebrate being odd or different. You might make history.

Thanks to The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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1 comment:

  1. Odd, me? I don't know. But I was born in 1941 and my principles are from the late forties and early fifties. Such principles are quite odd today. Ergo...