Friday, August 31, 2012


Today I want to look at the year 1941 in Vancouver.

There was a census in 1941 that showed that there were over 400,000 people in Metropolitan Vancouver - 70% of those in the city of Vancouver itself.

It was on January 31 that the first orders were given to shipyards on the west coast to build 10,000 ton cargo ships. These ships were going to be used to convey war material and food to the ravaged Europe. Due to the climate here in the west coast, our shipyards were able to build 24 hours a day and seven days a week. People from all walks of life were hired - the shipyards were working on a tight time budget and new facilities had to be built. It must have worked out though because the Lower Mainland shipyards built more than half of the ships Canada supplied to the war effort.

Jack Darcus was born on February 22, 1941. Darcus went on to become a successful painter as well as a Vancouver moviemaker.

On February 11, 1941, a man who was very important to our development passed away. Lauchlan Alexander Hamilton was 88 when he died in Toronto.

Hamilton was CPR land commissioner, surveyor and alderman. He worked with a crew that surveyed the western reaches of the Canada/US border and established many Prairie town sites. Hamilton arrived in Vancouver in 1883 and he surveyed and named many of Vancouver's city streets. There is a street named after him and a plaque on the building at the south west corner of Hamilton and Hastings streets commemorates his 1885 beginning of the major survey of the city.

From 1886 to 1887, Hamilton served as a city councillor. He was the one who apparently proposed Stanley Park and laid out its perimeter.

(WHL), Wartime Housing Limited was incorporated on February 28. This company built rental units across Canada for war industry workers. 750 single family homes were built on the north shore as well as Westview School, a recreation centre, a fire hall and barrack type apartments for the single workers. The houses were supposed to be removed after World War II but some of those remained well into the 1990s.
February 28, 1941 was also the day that the new YMCA building opened on Burrard Street.

On March 6, a west side street was named Narvaez Drive. The name was adopted by the city council following a recommendation by the Town Planning Commission. The street chosen for the honour looks down on the waters first navigated by the explorer Jose Maria Narvaez in 1791.

August 16, a Narvaez Pageant was held in West Vancouver to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first sighting of this shore by the Spanish explorer, Jose Maria Narvaez. (Narvaez explorations of the area beat George Vancouver's by a year.)

Walter Henry Grassie was a jeweller who had been born in Ontario and had come to the west coast in July of 1886. Grassie took a train to Port Moody then a boat to the new city of Vancouver. He opened a jewellery shop in a little wooden building on Cordova Street. On April 3, at the age of 80, Grassie died.

On April 12, Bob Ito, a Japanese- Canadian boy under the age of ten, won in one category and came in second in another in the annual Eisteddfod festival. (This is a festival of literature, music and performance that is Welsh)

On April 23, Burrard Dry Dock laid the keel of the SS Fort St. James. It was the first of the North Sands 10,000 ton cargo vessels to be built and it took nine months to complete. The last of the North Sands ships - started in March of 1943 - took just three-and-a-half months.

On May 18, one thousand Air Raid Precaution volunteers gathered at Mahone Park in North Vancouver for a demonstration. Chief Warden G. Robert Bates did his best to make the demonstration as realistic as possible by supplying a low flying bomber and incendiary devices.

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

 I hope you find the beauty around you.

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