Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Watering Holes and Politicians

Premier number 20, John Duncan Maclean
John Duncan Maclean was born in Culloden, PEI on December 8, 1873. He taught school in Rossland, B.C. before leaving to attend McGill University where he graduated with a degree in medicine in 1905.

Maclean returned to Greenwood, B.C. where he practised medicine. He was elected the area's MLA in 1916. Appointed provincial secretary and minister of education, he became minister of finance in 1924.

When Premier John Oliver told the Liberal party that his health was failing, Maclean was made leader designate and became premier on August 20, 1927, upon Oliver's death.

Maclean was a competent cabinet minister but not that great of a premier. He lacked imagination and took office when his party's popularity was at a low point. Maclean served one year until his party was defeated by the Conservatives.

After that, he tried to make a bid for a federal seat but was unsuccessful. Maclean did become Chairman of the Canadian Farm Loan Board in Ottawa, a position he held until his death on March 28, 1948.

That is all the information I have on our 20th premier. So I am going to tell you about New Brighton Park.

Different people will tell you different places where Vancouver started. Most seem to agree that Gassy Jack started the city with a saloon in what is now Gastown. Others will tell you that the Strathcona district is where Vancouver because that is where the workers from Stamps Mill first built homes. Another theory is that the city may have seen its beginnings at what is now New Brighton Park.
In 1863, Royal Engineers surveyed this area into lots and named this area Hastings Townsite, in honour of Admiral Hastings of the British Navy. 

This area, now known as Hastings Sunrise, was home to Vancouver's first post office, customs, road, bridge, stable, telegraph, dock, ferry, playing field, museum and C.P.R. offices. It was also home to the most fashionable hotel in British Columbia at the time, New Brighton Hotel.

Here are two photos of the New Brighton Hotel found at the City of Vancouver archives website.

This is the swimming area as seen from the Brighton Hotel wharf in 1886. City of Vancouver archives.

This area is also known at the 'end of the road'. The Douglas Road, completed in 1865, ran from New Westminster to here. It was actually called End of the Road before becoming Brighton and in 1868, Hastings. 

Interesting, don't you think? This region is on the north east end of Vancouver. It is a vibrant, up and coming area. 
I want to thank The Canadian Encyclopedia website for the information on John Maclean and the signage at New Brighton Park for the information on the park. I have lots of photos of the park and I will be sharing them with you in upcoming posts.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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