Monday, December 10, 2012

Hy and Alexander

On October 6, 1901, Harry Adaskin was born in Riga, Latvia. Harry was a musician, a child prodigy who played the violin from the age of 7. He was a founding member of the Hart House Quartet (1924). In 1946, Adaskin moved to Vancouver. He established the musical facility at UBC (University of British Columbia) and was well known for his efforts to popularize classical music. He received the Order of Canada in 1975, two days after he retired. Harry Adaskin died in Vancouver on April 7, 1994.

Hy Aisenstat was born in Calgary on April 28, 1926 in Calgary. He was the son of a Russian emigre wholesale grocer. Hy started in sales then owned a small oil company. In 1955, Hy and his wife Barbara opened Hy's Steak House after getting a $3,000 loan. Five years later, Aisenstat came to Vancouver and opened Hy's at the Sands, then the Mansion (1979) and Hy's Encore.

Hy's of Canada united 12 companies with restaurants across Canada, Chicago, Honolulu, Palm Springs and Beverly Hills. Hy smoke ten Havan cigars daily and liked to call his restaurants 'saloons'. He played host to such celebrities as Marlene Dietrich, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope and others. On August 11, 1988, Hy Aisenstat died in Vancouver.

The first white male born on Burrard Inlet would go on to become a judge. On December 13, 1873, Henry Osborne Alexander was born at Hastings Mill. His father was Richard Alexander. Henry was educated at St. Paul's college in Esquimalt. He practised law in Vancouver after being called to the bar in 1896.

Alexander had a unique way about him. In 1908, two South Vancouver residents came before Magistrate Alexander arguing about who owned a specific rooster.  The Magistrate's solution was to set the rooster loose in the street and see which man he went to. He was an early, active member of the Royal Yacht Club. He died April 18, 1920.

Next up is Richard Henry Alexander who happened to be a storekeeper at Hastings Mill. And I suspect the father of Henry Alexander. Richard was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 26, 1844. He came with his parents to Toronto in 1855 and in 1862; Richard joined an expedition that journeyed from Minneapolis to the Fraser Gold fields. During this journey, Alexander kept a journal, which is now in the Vancouver City Archives.

Once the man got to New Westminster, he did odd jobs until 1870 when he went to work at the Hastings Mill Store. He rose quickly to the position of mill accountant then manager upon the death of Captain James Raymur. Alexander also served as justice of the peace, member of the Granville School Board and other various public positions before his death in Seattle on January 29, 1915.

Although I don't write on people that often - more on buildings and events - it is the people that have made this city the great place it is today.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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