Monday, April 27, 2015

The Rise of the Newcomers

When I left off Monday, the town of Granville was just given royal assent to incorporate the City of Vancouver. Ninety-five years after explorers Narvaez and Verdia first talked to the Indians of Musqueam, the City of Vancouver came into existence. Then it ran from Heatley Avenue on the east to Trafalgar Street on the West, from Burrard Inlet on the north to Sixteenth Avenue on the south.

The newly formed city's first order of business was to form a city government. The difficulty with that was that although more than 400 people signed the petition for the new city, few of them had lived in Granville for at least a year. In fact, all of Burrard Inlet had only 175 names on the provincial voters list.

So in order to qualify to vote in the city election, a person had to own land, possess a cabin, room or lease of the value of $5 a month. Four hundred and sixty-seven votes were cast in the election of May 3, 1886.

The two candidates were Hastings Mill manager, R. H. Alexander and real estate dealer, M.A. MacLean. It was a battle between the old timers and the new comers.

Alexander had a few things working against him. First, he employed Chinese labour at a time when the Chinese were being released from the railway construction. This led to hard feelings because the Caucasian workers felt the Chinese were taking jobs away from them.

Another error made by Alexander was the attempt to get the Chinese workers to vote. His supporters marched the Chinese workers in a large body to the polls. Stage driver, Charlie Green charged the procession with his vehicle. The whites drove the bewildered workers back to the mill with clubs and fists.

At the close of polling, Malcom A. MacLean was elected by 242 to 225 votes. It was a victory for the newcomers.

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.


  1. Do you still have citizens concerned about the Chinese taking jobs. Here in America we are having that issue with all illegals taking jobs from us Americans. Our unemployment rate is so high only about 60% are working and few have full time employment. Our political groups are only concerned with who's on top. They forgot what they were elected to do. Blessed be.

    1. I don't think it is just the Asians that citizens looking for work worry about. I am not really sure. thanks for commenting.