Monday, May 30, 2016

Cleveland's Water

The Greater Vancouver Water Board began operating in 1925 - bringing with it an amalgamated sewer system. Dr. E. A. Cleveland was put in charge and he began building the vast watershed and distribution system that gave Vancouver one of the finest water supplies in the world. It remains a monument to his name.

Cleveland liked to boast, "No case of disease has ever been traced to this city's water supply." He assured this by completely isolating the watershed with meticulous exclusion of all possible human disease carriers. 

During the Second World War, at the U.S. Navy's insistence (they were contracting port facilities here) the water was first chlorinated. Vancouverites were NOT happy about this. Many citizens travelled far afield to get untreated water.

Cleveland was heartbroken. The water system was his life's work and it all seemed for nothing now. Some public officials stated that the coliform bacteria count made chlorination mandatory. Cleveland fired back and said that this only proved dangerous bacteria could live in the water, not that it did. As well look to the perfect record of the system.

However, Cleveland was not successful with his arguments and the out-cry over the original chlorination died down, WWII ended and the water treatment continued. Albeit on a much reduced scale and it continues to this day.

According to a 1912 agreement between the CNR - Canadian National Railway - and the city, the CNR was obliged to build a hotel and a $20 million tunnel approach underneath the Grandview to the station on Main Street. The CNR was still using the Great Northern tracks to enter the city and had begun neither the tunnel nor the hotel.

Mayor L.D. Taylor took this project in hand and was determined to ensure that CNR held up its end of the agreement. During negotiations, he did compromise though. He yielded on the tunnel and persuaded Sir Henry Thornton to agree to a 600-room rather than a 500-room hotel. In December 1928, work began on the present day Hotel Vancouver at Georgia and Burrard Streets.

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

One City

In 1922, 3000 unemployed men took up residence in a camp in the exhibition buildings at Hastings Park. A year later, a second grain elevator was started in the harbour and westbound grain rates were cut by 10%. Burrard Drydock was under construction.

Grain shipments were growing and by 1924, there were 53 million bushels sent to the port - a major backlog of the port business. Vancouver lawyer, MLA and special counsel for the province, G.G. McGeer, argued ferociously at various conferences and hearings for an adjustment of freight rates. He had been doing so since 1916 and earned himself a considerable reputation as a fiery and persistent advocate.

When Louis D. Taylor took over as mayor at the beginning of 1925, the population of the city proper had grown to 126,000. The property assessments were $211 million. Point Grey and South Vancouver each claimed between 25,000 and 30,000 residents. The city's budget was over $4.8 million.

The civic cash relief dole had been eliminated and unemployment was a mere 1800. The first Second Narrows Bridge was near completion. West Vancouver had a road as far west as Whytecliff.

Taylor was again elected in 1926 and he carried with him an alderman who was to become famous as a CCF stalwart, Angus McInnis. Taylor was re-elected for the first two-term sitting for mayors and aldermen - 1927-28.

Taylor's previous two terms had seen Vancouver's prosperity continuing. South Vancouver was recovering financially, the Second Narrows Bridge opened and North Vancouver started the Grouse Mountain Highway and Chalet. (This enterprise later changed to private hands.)

Grain shipments increased 50 percent, for the first time Vancouver had a million tourists in a single year and the city also had 50 miles of ornamental street lighting. However, Taylor's greatest achievement in that time was the passage of the amalgamation vote, which unite Point Grey, South Vancouver and Vancouver into one city.

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

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Naked Doukhobors and Peace

During 1920, plans were made to erect a Cenotaph on the old courthouse site at Cambie and Hastings Streets. This is what we now call Victory Square. The BC Electric employees won the eight-hour work day. Although this was becoming standard, it would be several years before the mill workers gained the same privilege.

1921 was another interesting year in Vancouver. The civic election tried out proportional representation voting but soon discarded it because it was too complicated. The Vancouver General Hospital treated 13,000 cases during this year and its budget rose to $1 million.

Printers in Vancouver went on strike in 1921 for a 44-hour work week. And won. They were the first Vancouver workmen to obtain that right.  On December 1, 1921, three Doukhobors stripped their clothing in the CPR Station.

The Peace Arch at Blaine was completed and dedicated at Blaine. This project was vigorously supported by Vancouver women's associations.

The Peace Arch is a monument that stands between Surrey, British Columbia Canada and Blaine, Washington USA. It was built by Sam Hill and dedicated in September of 1921. Standing 67 feet tall, 20.5 metres, the arch commemorates the Treaty of Ghent in 1814.

The Arch stands on the exact United States - Canada boundary between Interstate 5 and Highway 99 in the grass median between the north and southbound lanes.

On the crown of the Peace Arch is the Canadian Flag and the American Flag. The frieze below has two inscriptions.

For the Americans: "Children of a common mother". For the Canadians: "Brethren dwelling together in unity".

Inside the arch are two iron gates. On the east side, it reads: "1814 Open One Hundred Years 1914". On the west side: "May these gates never be closed".

On the Northern side of the arch is the Peace Arch Provincial Park and on the Southern side is the Peace Arch State Park. These are international parks, which means that visitors do not need a visa or passport to visit the parks as long as they stay within the park boundaries.

This arch was built and erected to symbolize the unity and peace between these great countries.

Philip Timms took this photo of the Peace Arch in the 1920's or 30's. Photo compliments of the Vancouver Public Library

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley for some of the above information and to Wikipedia for information on the Peace Arch. 

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Karen Magill