Friday, March 13, 2015

The American Infiltration

Wednesday, I told you about the American invasion of British Columbia and today I want to mention more Americans who have left their mark on my city and province.

Frank W. Hart owned Vancouver's first theatre, first undertaking business, first hearse and first silk hat. Hart conducted the first burial in Mountain View cemetery. He was born in Illinois.

I think it is safe to say we have all heard of Andrew Carnegie. This Scottish-American philanthropist spent money to construct dozens of libraries across North America.  Vancouver's own Carnegie Library was made possible with Andrew's $50,000 donation.

Louis D. Taylor was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Who was Taylor to Vancouver? He was elected mayor eight times between 1909 and 1931. By most accounts, Taylor was short-tempered. When Teddy Roosevelt and his wife visited Vancouver in 1915, the Board of Trade didn't include Mayor Taylor as part of the reception at the CPR station. Not a smart move on their part.

Taylor boarded the train at an earlier stop, greeted the Roosevelts and took the former president for  a drive around Stanley Park.

Taylor also made the Vancouver World newspaper hugely successful. Unfortunately, he stretched the paper's resources when he built what is now known as the Sun Tower to hold it. It is a beautiful building though which still stands today.

When we think back to the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, many of us think of a time of unrest. Many citizens were disappointed and disillusioned with their country. So many left and came to Vancouver.

Our ocean side city saw an influx of not only Vietnam War resisters but also affluent citizens, respected academics and talented artists. These people were escaping what they felt were unhealthy political trends and a country they felt was in serious decline. Many stayed here and have enriched our society.

Many Americans have made their mark here. Restaurateur Nat Bailey, art curator Alvin Balkind, lumber magnate Prentice Bloedel, archaeologist Charles Borden, baseball promoter Bob Brown and MLA Buda Brown.

The list goes on with C.H. Cates of tugboat fame, realtor Henry Ceperley, the Army and Navy's Sam Cohen, druggist George Cunningham, fish packer John Deas, photographer Claud Dettloff, sawmill owner Sewell Moody, the Canadian Pacific Railway's T.G. Shaughnessey and William Van Horne, teacher and critic Warren Tallman, orchestra leader Calvin Winter and Children's Festival founder Ernie Fladell.

And it wasn't a European to be the first non-native to set foot on what would become Greater Vancouver. It was an American by the name of Simon Fraser.

Thanks to Georgina Bullen and her article Americans in the book The Greater Vancouver Book, An Urban Encylopaedia.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

1 comment:

  1. I am certainly glad we had some good influence in your country and I can see why Canada is so popular. I am sure we had some notoriously bad influences as well. Thanks for such a great post.