Wednesday, August 12, 2015


The economy continued to pick up in 1916 in Vancouver. H.H. Stevens secured the first shipbuilding contracts for the city; J. Coughlan and Sons were to build six 8800-ton steel vessels on False Creek and Wallace Shipyards six wooden auxiliary schooners, several small steel vessels and an immense floating drydock in North Vancouver.

The auxiliary schooners were a new departure in ship designing, which made a considerable reputation on the deep seas as economical, if temperamental, cargo carriers. They were abandoned in the post-war slump. The Mabel Brown was the first and she was launched on January 20, 1917. The total of the first shipbuilding contracts exceeded $10 million.

For everyone else, 1917 was a year marked by the vote in favour of prohibition, the death of John Hendry, president of Hanbury Mills (which now owned, among other properties, Hastings Mill), and an election scandal.

Macdonald, the first Liberal member from Vancouver in the new Brewster government, was accused of accepting $25,000 for his personal campaign from the Canadian Northern Railroad. Macdonald was dropped from the cabinet and J.W. deB. Farris replace him as attorney- general.

Jitneys appeared that year. Mainly, they were Model T. Fords which, crammed to the limit with passengers at five or ten cents a head, mounted coloured signs that corresponded to one or another street-car route. This gave B.C. Electric some competition as well many people their first experience with riding in an auto mobile. Jitneys proved popular with the people, not so much with the transit company.

It wasn't all happy times though. Vancouverites were concerned with the battles overseas, its war work at home, its patriotic appeals (the Red Cross had collected almost $1 million in Vancouver alone) and the growing manpower shortage. The people were barely aware of the change that had taken place since the days of the great pre-war boom.

Not so long ago, Vancouver was a land-crazy circus, filled with beneficiaries and hangers-on of a boom where everybody was going to get rich overnight.  Vancouver had matured.

Now, it was an active, industrial city and most of the citizens were wage earning. The weekly or monthly pay-cheque no longer represented a "stake" to be accumulated as quickly as possible to be reinvested somewhere else in a venture that would lead to independence. For most of the city's workers, a job was a steady and perhaps life-long occupation with an anticipated income.

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

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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