Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Railways and Apartments

W. Orson Banfield was a businessman who was born in Vancouver on May 17, 1897. His father, J.J. (John Joseph) Banfield, moved the family from Ontario to Vancouver in 1894.

In 1912, J.J. built the Stradacona apartment block which still stands today on Bute Street. The elder Banfield gave the apartment the Indian name for his birthplace of Quebec City.

Orson was his only son and the young man attended local schools before serving as a mule driver in World War I. He graduated from UBC in 1923 with a degree in chemical engineering. (While attending the university, Orson Banfield was 'Trekker' and that has nothing to do with the TV show Star Trek. In October of 1922, more than 1,000 students marched to the peninsula of Point Grey to express their displeasure at the government's delay in building the university there. This was called the Great March and its participants were known as 'trekkers'.)
After UBC, Orson joined his father in the real estate and insurance business. He also continued the family's commitment to Vancouver's economical and social life.

Orson was prominent in such causes as the Rotary Club, Shaughnessy Heights United Church and the Vancouver General Hospital. (Both father and son as chair of governing boards at major periods of development.)

The younger Bainfield was also involved in politics, serving as city alderman in the 1960s. In 1977, Orson was made a Freeman of the City of Vancouver. The family name lives on today on such structures as VGH's Banfield Pavillion, the Stradacona apartment block and Indian Arms Orlomah Beach (a composite family name). There is a lot of material on this family in the city archives.

W. Orson Banfield died in Vancouver on March 19, 1983 at the age of 85.
Frank (Francis Stillman) Barnard is known for being a street car system founder and the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia. Barnard was born on May 16, 1856 in Toronto, Ontario. In 1860, he moved to Victoria with his mother - his father had come west earlier.

Barnard was a founder of Vancouver's street car system, opened June 28, 1890. In 1894, he was president of Consolidated Railway and later, after the company was sold to British financiers and renamed B.C. Railway, was the managing director. (1896-1906). He was also a Cariboo MP from 1888 to 1896 and B.C.'s lieutenant-governor from 1914 to 1919. At one time, he was one of the four richest people in B.C.

Sensing that the war was near, Barnard signed a special $1 million  warrant approving Premier McBride's purchase of two submarines. Francis Stillman Barnard was knighted in 1918 by King George V as "A living link to the industrialized B.C. with that of the pre-railroad and Crown colony days". Barnard died in Esquimalt, B.C. on April 11, 1936.

Friday will be my last entry for 2012 - the entry after that is scheduled for January 7, 2013. So Friday I am going to have a bit of fun and tell you also about some special happenings.

Until then, I hope you find the beauty around you.

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