Wednesday, December 2, 2015

49 Trudges Along

The date was November 9, 1949 and that morning, one of Vancouver's most sensationalized murders began. The body of single, 45-year-old Blanche Fisher was discovered in False Creek near the Kitsilano Trestle by a Woodward's employee. At first, authorities thought it was a suicide but it was discovered that Fisher wore no shoes, socks or underwear and her body was covered in bruises.

34-year-old Frederick Ducharme had a record of indecent exposure and bizarre behaviour. What that behaviour was, wasn't explaining in the strait laced newspaper reporting of the day and I don't know what it was. Anyway, Miss Fischer's umbrella was found in Ducharme's car and articles of her clothing in his run down False Creek shack. Ducharme was found guilty of murder and hanged July 14, 1950.

Kerrisdale arena was officially opened on November 11. Fred "Cyclone" Taylor - hockey legend and current president of the Point Grey Community Centre Association - was there. Park board chairman Bert Emery, acting mayor R.K. Gervin and Harry Duker, who managed the raising of funds for the building, were on hand too.

The Capilano River, swollen by a violent rainstorm, swept away a large section of Marine Drive. On November 27, 1949, when this happened, that was the only road link to West Vancouver.  Part of the bridge over the Capilano was also washed away. Army engineers from Sardis rushed in to build an emergency Bailey bridge, which was also washed away. West Vancouver remained cut off for 10 days.

On December 1, the Grouse Mountain chairlift opened. It was the world's first double chair lift and replaced the two to three hour hike from the skiers' bus stop at the base of the mountain.

There was exciting news on December 3. A photograph appeared in the Province newspaper showing the site for something called a 'shopping centre'. Park Royal, on the north shore, was to become Canada's first shopping centre.

In 1949, Dick Diespecker had a radio column in the Province. Diespecker followed local and international radio personalities the way we follow television and movie stars today. On December 4, 1949, Dick told his readers the "dynamic young sportscaster" Ray Perrault had left CJOR to join the radio department of the O'Brien Advertising Agency. Today, he’s Senator Ray Perrault.

Boxer Jimmy McLarnin laid the cornerstone for Sunset Memorial Centre on East 51st Avenue on Decmber 11. McLarnin had played a large part in the establishment of the Centre (which is now called the Sunset Community Centre.) When Stan Thomas, one of the people involved in the creation of the complex, went to Hollywood in 1947 it was McLarnin—whom Thomas knew—who introduced him to Bing Crosby, a friend of McLarnin’s. Bing agreed to come up to Vancouver and record his radio show here to kick off the Centre’s fund-raising campaign. Bing’s show was recorded at the Forum September 22, 1948, attended by 9,000 people.

Thanks to The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

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