Friday, September 6, 2013

See Bowser's Pandora

This is William John Bowser, B.C's 17th premier. This photo is from the City of Vancouver Archives.
Built in 1901, this house is at 1834 Pandora Street.

Today I am going to tell you about B.C.'s 17th premier, William John Bowser. Bowser was born on December 3, 1867 in Rexton, New Brunswick. The son of William Bowser and Margaret Gordon Bowser, young William was educated at Mount Allison University as well as Dalhousie University. In 1891, he moved to Vancouver and began to practice law.

 Also on Pandora Street, this building at 1879 came into existence in 1901.

After Bowser came west, he joined the Conservative party and in 1903, was elected as an MLA. From 1907 to 1915, Bowser served as Attorney-General in the cabinet of Sir Richard McBride.

When McBride resigned in 1915, Bowser took control of the provincial government.

Bowser took office at a rough time for the Conservative Party. The party itself was deeply divided and unpopular and changing leaders didn't help. There were accusations of corruption and machine politics. As well, the Conservatives weren't addressing concerns such as women's suffrage and prohibition - in Wednesday's entry I remarked how that is said to have been one of the reasons that McBride stepped down. 
This is another set of buildings built in 1901 on Pandora Street.

On November 23, 1916, William John Bowser was defeated by Liberal leader, Harlan Carey Brewster. Browser continued as leader of the opposition until he lost his seat in the 1924 election.

In 1933, William John Bowser was back and leading a group of Non-Partisan Group of candidates. Unfortunately, he died during the campaign.
Thanks to Wikipedia for the information on Bowser. It was difficult to find anything on him.

I want to thank bob_2006 at for the information on the buildings.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. How bizarre... My interest in old houses took me here, but I was literally wondering why a street I had lived on more than ten years ago was named Bowser YESTERDAY! It is in north Vancouver, if you are wondering, and I think the house I lived at (1866) was built in 1922. Bowser is also the bad guy in Mario bros. Thank you!

    1. You are welcome jenables. I have lots of entries on old houses in Vancouver. If you go to and sign up for my mailing list, you can get a free booklet on some of my entries. (I have over 500 now) I hope to see you on my mailing list soon.