Friday, December 7, 2012

Bloomfield and History

Built in 1905, this home is on Columbia Street in the Mount Pleasant area.

Patricia Roy wrote an illustrated history of Vancouver and according to her, a man by the name of John Robson who should be known as the 'Father of Vancouver'.

A member of the legislature from New Westminster - the electoral district that included the future city - and minister of finance in the provincial government; Robson encouraged people in the area to incorporate.
The residents got a committee together, headed by R. H. Alexander - the manager of Hastings Saw Mill. This special committee got the bill together and it was passed by the legislature in the spring of 1886. A modest celebration was held on April 6 at the home of the town constable, Jonathon Miller. (I heard that the celebration was delayed slightly due to the fact that the organizers had forgotten to get paper!)

The parking meter came to Vancouver in 1946 and the cost for an hour's parking? Five cents.

On the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website, there is a page dedicated to those who have made history in Vancouver. There are over 500 names and I won't cover all of them today. Just a couple!

The first person I will look at is CPR executive Henry Braithwaite Abbott. He was born on June 14, 1869 in Abbotsford, Quebec and died September 13, 1915 in Vancouver, BC. Abbott studied civil engineering at McGill University and held important positions in eastern Canadian Railway systems before being appointed CPR superintendent. Present at Craigellachie on November 8, 1885 with the last laying of the spike, Henry rode with Lord Strathcona and CPR President William Van Horne on the first train to travel from Montreal to Port Moody and in March of 1886 let the contract for the clearing of the townsite of Vancouver. Today he is remembered with a street named after him as well as a mountain in the Selkirks.

 A movie producer by the name of Ivan (Ivor Frederick) Ackery who was born on October 30, 1899 in Bristol, England was also a Vancouver history maker.

Ackery moved to Vancouver in 1914. He was manager of the Orpheum from 1935 to 1969 and in those years earned the nicknames 'Mr. Orpheum', 'Atomic Ack' and 'Little Orpheum Acky'. His promotional stunts were legendary and earned him two Motion Picture Quigley Awards - the theatre promoters' equivalent of an Oscar. One such stunt was when Ackery paraded a cow down Granville Street with a sign that read 'There's a great show at the Orpheum and that's no bull.' The lane behind the Orpheum is known as Ackery Alley.

On October 29, 1989 - the eve of his 90th birthday - Mr. Orpheum died in Vancouver.

Originally constructed as shops and offices for Henry Bloomfield and sons, this building has stood here since 1895. 

Henry, James and Charles were leading stained glass artisans in Vancouver. Their work can be seen in such places as the Parliament Buildings in Victoria and the mansion Gabriola on Davies Street. 

The Bloomfields resided at a home at the corner of Columbia and 10th Avenue where the first home I featured stands today.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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