Friday, December 13, 2013

1944 Continues

On September 11, 1944, the first childcare centre was set up for the children of soldiers.

Four days later, a new product called contact lenses arrived in Vancouver.

On September 18, Vancouver born Peggy Middleton was named the most "beautiful girl in the world". We know Peggy by the name of Yvonne de Carlo.

On September 30, the B.C. Federation of Labour was formed.
September 30 was also the day that B.C. Bearings Ltd. was incorporated in Vancouver. Robert A.S. MacPherson founded the company.

On October 21, a Seaforth Highlander from Vancouver, Private Ernest Alvia "Smokey" Smith won the Victoria Cross for bravery in action in Northern Italy. Smokey died on August 3, 2005 at the age of 91.

1944 was the year that tighter rationing on gasoline began.

Local Doukhobors held a prayer vigil on courthouse steps in support of the 13 of their brethren that were imprisoned in Oakalla.

A 1944 forest fire raged down Black Mountain in West Vancouver, scorching seven square miles and finally stopped 300 yards above Eagle Harbour.

Surrey teachers asked for a raise. Their students who were working in war industries over the summer were making more than the teachers who worked all year!

In Richmond, Les Gilmore harvested 900 bushels of potatoes per acre, the highest yield per acre in Canada.

In 1933, the City of North Vancouver went into receivership and in 1944, they finally emerged from that.

The Malahat was wrecked in 1944. During the prohibition in the U.S., this ship was known as the "Queen of Rum Row" and during her heydey, she often sailed with over 60,000 cases of liquor on board.

Thanks to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information on 1944. 

This is going to be my last entry of 2013, unless something happens that I want to report on. I want to thank all my readers for reading and commenting on the Vancouver Vagabond.

I plan a lot of changes in my life for 2014. I should have two books published - the fiction is the sequel to Missing Flowers entitled A Little Poison and my first non-fiction, On The Right Side, My Story of Survival and Success. I am also looking at a career in motivational speaking. My website will be getting a major overhaul during the Christmas holidays.

The Vancouver Vagabond will continue of course. I will see you on January 6, 2014. Until then have a happy and safe holiday. May all your dreams come true.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Legacy of the St. Roch

On July 22, the St. Roch left Halifax to return to Vancouver. The St. Roch is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Schooner, the first ship to completely circumnavigate North America and the first vessel to complete the Northwest passage west to east. She took the same route that the Amundsen designed Goja had taken east to west, 38 years earlier.

Designed by Tom Hallidie and based on Roald Amundsen's ship the Maud. The St. Roch is made primarily of thick Douglas fir with Australian "ironbark" eucalyptus on the outside. The interior hull is reinforced with heavy beams in order to withstand pressure from the ice during her Arctic duties. She was designed with a unique shaped hull, which was crafted to push the St. Roch upwards in order to save being crushed by the ice when trapped.
Gordon F. Sedawie from the Province Newspaper took this photo of the St.Roch anchored in the harbour at the foot of Gore Street.

Same credits as above. Both photos were taken on March 6, 1956
Same information as the previous two.
This photo is of the St. Roch docked and cleaned in 1958. It was taken by William Cunningham for the Province Newspaper.

The St. Roch was built in North Vancouver at the Burrard Dry Dock and launched in April of 1928. Powered by sails and an auxiliary engine, she was built for RCMP operations in the Arctic. On June 23, 1940, the St. Roch was under the command of Sergeant Henry A. Larsen when she set sail for her historic journey through the Northwest Passage.

She took a treacherous southerly route through the Arctic Islands and ended up being trapped in ice for two winters. This delayed St. Roch's arrival in Halifax until October 11, 1942.

St. Roch returned to Vancouver in a journey that took 86 days. She took a northerly route through Lancaster Sound and Barrow Strait - making her the first vessel to negotiate the passage both ways. These exploits and a 1950 southern voyage, which made the schooner the first vessel to circumnavigate the North America, strengthened Canadian Arctic sovereignty.

The St. Roch near Lions Gate bridge as seen through the lens of Province newspaper's photographer, William Cunningham.
Same credits as above, both photos were taken in 1958.
This photo was taken on April 24, 1928 at the Burrard Dry Docks. Jack Cash captured this photo of the St. Roch under construction. I wonder about the dates since she was reportedly launched that month.
This is a 1928 photo of the lady in question. The photographer is unknown.

In 1954, the City of Vancouver purchased the St. Roch and she is now permanently berthed at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. The federal government designated the schooner a National Historic Site in 1962.

Thanks goes to The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for inspiring this entry; the Vancouver Maritime Museum and Wikipedia for the information on the St. Roch and to the Vancouver Public Library historical photossection for the photos.
Many of the people reading this already have my first two books. However, for those who haven't read The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story or Mystique Rising, both kindle eBooks are on sale for 99 cents each. Just click the titles and you will be taken to the page. You may want to check out my latest release, Missing Flowers while you are there.

Thank you for reading and I hope you find the beauty around you.

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Monday, December 9, 2013


In January of 1944, BC Electric went on strike for three weeks and the streetcars stopped running.

If you have been reading some of my past entries, you may recognize the name Leonard Frank. In 1892, Frank came from Germany to Vancouver. The 22-year-old came in search of gold, but that didn't work out. Then he won a camera in a lottery. Frank's father was a professional photographer and taught the craft to his son.

Leonard began to take pictures and never stopped. He took nearly 50,000 photos of a previous British Columbia and his photos were works of clarity and beauty. On February 23, 1944, Leonard Frank passed away at the age of 74.

On April 23, Jack Benny did his famous radio show from Vancouver. With him was his regular cast from New York - Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day and announcer Don Wilson. Jack would visit Vancouver often and even helped with a Save The Orpheum fund raiser.(I wrote a little on that in this 2012 entry.)

Another reason that Benny may have visited Vancouver is that his wife and comedic partner, Mary Livingstone, was from Vancouver. Then her name was Sadie Marks.

June 7, 1944. A letter was written by a medical officer on his experiences in Vancouver that day. It is a moving letter apparently in which the man describes how he escaped death a dozen times. Today, it hangs on the wall of the military/medical museum at Jericho and was printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal for December 10, 2002.

The first two photos are of the apartment building on Hastings Street where Jack Benny met Sadie Marks.

On June 30, 1944, 85-year-old Charles Hill-Tout died in Vancouver. Hill-Tout was an ethnologist (a person who analyses and compares human cultures), born in England and arrived in Vancouver in 1890. He was quick to realize that Vancouver's Marpole Midden was the largest of its kind in North America. (The Marpole Midden is an ancient Musqueam village and burial site.)

Charles was the founder of the Buckland College on Burrard Street and educated people for a decade. After those ten years, Hill-Tout moved to a farm in the Abbotsford area where he owned and operated a mill producing ties for the CPR - Canadian Pacific Railway. A devoted amateur anthropologist, Charles focused on the Salish Indians of B.C. When the CPR asked Hill-Tout to name a new subdivision in Vancouver, he chose the name Kitsilano, a modification of the name of the chiefs of the Squamish band.
Thanks to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information on 1944 in Vancouver. I will tell you more on Wednesday.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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