British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1992

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Volume 25, No. 4
Fall 1992
ISSN 0045-2963
IMfiA (Mmalifai
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
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Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 25, No. 4     Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation     FaU -1992
Your B.C. Historical Federation
Council met September 19, in Kelowna. As well as planning for the
1993 Annual Conference in Kamloops, consideration was given to
reaching and involving history
buffs in all parts of the province.
You, our regular reader, can help by
introducing some friend or family
member to this magazine. A subscription to the magazine is only
$10 per year, $15 to an out-of-
country address. And you can invite your history buff friends to
attend the BCHF conference to
share the fellowship, tours and
We hope you will enjoy the contrasts of style between a journal
written informally in the Victorian
era, a cheerful description of a family growing up in Burnaby, the
debunking of a long accepted historical "fact," and an Elsie Turnbull
memory of Trail. There are many
stories yet to come. Do you have a
favorite bit of local history that you
would like to share? Write it
down; type it double spaced then
send it in to the editor of this magazine with suitable illustration(s).
We look forward to hearing about
hitherto unsung heroes and
Naomi Miller
An illustration for "Emily Carr's British
Columbia" graces the cover. Shown is
Bishop Cridge's home, Marifield, which
was on the property adjacent to the childhood home of Emily Carr. The Bishop
and two ladies are shown on the verandah.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Archives and
Records Service - Catalogue No. H.P. 662.
Features Page
The Orign the Fraser River Gold
Rush: A Popular Myth Refuted 2
by Lindsay E. Smith
A Travellers' Diary - 1890 5
by Cyndi Thompson
Pitman's: The Pioneer Business College 9
by Helen Borrell
The 1918 Flu Epidemc in Victoria 11
Greers of Burnaby 17
by Rosamond Greer
Trail's Italian Tradition &
The Stone Castle 20
by Elsie Turnout!
TheChilliwack: The River That Couldn't Be Tamed 23
by Jim Bowman
J.T. Scott and the Pioneer Saloon 26
by Mark McCaig
The Dial Telephone's Debut 29
by Valerie Green
Emily Carr's British Columbia 31
by Paulette Johnston
Man Yuck Tong in Victoria 34
by David Chuenyan Lai
St. Andrews Day Celebration 36
Archdeacon on Horseback: Richard Small, 1849-1909 38
Review by Phyllis Reeve
Denison's Ice Road 39
Review by Lewis Green
The West Beyond the West, a History of British Columbia       39
Review by MeUxxJ. Dwyer
Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial Discourse in
Canada, 1875-1980 39
Review by Tina Loo
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover)
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print
Cranbrook, B.C.
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92 The Origins of the Fraser River Gold Rush:
A Popular Myth Refuted
by Lindsay E. Smyth
It is a well established certainty that
one of the most common errors that historians are susceptible to is that of
repeating the mistakes of their predecessors. Within the sphere of British
Columbia's history, I believe the most
outstanding illustration of the truth of
this statement is to be found in the universally accepted myth that the 1858
Fraser River Gold Rush was initiated, to
quote F.W. Howay's words, "as the result of the action of the Hudson's Bay
Company itself, which had, in February,
1858, sent to the United States mint at
San Francisco, in charge of. .. the purser of the Otter, the eight hundred
ounces" ' first obtained from the newly
discovered Thompson River mines.
In fact is - as anyone who cares to examine the log of the Otter can
determine for themselves beyond all
doubt - that at no time during the year
of 1858 did the said vessel approach the
port of San Francisco!
Having thus quite simply determined
the fallacy of the foregoing statement,
several questions inevitably arise. On
what authority might such a monumental discrepancy be based? If the first
gold mined in the Fraser River watershed was not shipped to San
Francisco, what did become of it? And
how, in fact, did the 1858 Fraser River
Gold Rush actually gain its impetus?
Beginning with the first, I shall herein
attempt to deal with these several questions in the light of my own private
research on the matter.
Strangely enough, in examining contemporary 19th century documentation
on the subject, I could not find the
slightest shred of evidence to support
the theory that the Gold Rush began in
consequence of the Otter's alleged visit
to San Francisco. Rather, it appears that
this heavily distorted version of events
first surfaced in the early 20th century,
when a number of historians conducted
extensive interviews with Jason Allard, a
HBC trader's son born at Fort Langley
in the halcyon days of the fur trade. In
1858 Allard's father had been placed in
charge of Fort Yale, at that time the center of mining activity, and although
young Jason was only ten years old at
the time, he survived far enough into
the present century to become a rare
and respected authority on the subject
of the Gold Rush.
In conjecturing on the origins of the
excitement, Allard gives an account that
it seems likely to surmise as the probable source of much of the confusion
which surrounds this event. The story
relates to the exploits of James Houston,
a Scottish-born adventurer who was
journeying through Washington Territory in the fall of 1856, en route from
the Colville mines adjacent to the 49th
parallel on the Columbia River, when
hostile Indians attacked his camp at
night, killing his partner. Making his
escape under cover of darkness, Houston decided to turn back north towards
the British Boundary, where under the
rule of the HBC there was comparative
peace with the Indians. Following the
old Brigade Trail up the Okanagan Valley he eventually reached Fort
Kamloops, where he was accorded the
hospitality of Chief Trader Donald
McLean the following winter. In the
spring of 1857, so the story goes, Houston found coarse gold at the mouth of
Tranquille Creek, swiftly acquiring
enough to buy a farm at the site of the
first Fort Langley. Said Allard: "His descendants claim that it was this gold,
sold to McLean and forwarded to
Douglas and then sent to the mint in
San Francisco that started the rush."2
Further to confuse matters, the above
version of events appears to be partially
corroborated and partially contradicted
by the testimony of James Moore, a
long-lived Fifty-Eighter who wrote and
spoke extensively about the beginnings
of the Gold Rush during the first two
decades of the present century. Moore
attests, on the strength of an alleged interview that he had with Chief Trader
Donald McLean at Fort Kamloops in
1861, that "the first gold he (McLean)
received was in 1856 and 1857, from
Indians on the Thompson River. This
gold he sent down to Fort Victoria, and
in February, 1858, the H.B. Co. steamer Otter left Victoria for San Francisco.
The purser, having this gold dust, took
it to the U.S. mint in San Francisco,
and had it coined," 3 he elsewhere specifies, "as a souvenir of the first gold
found in the Province." *
As far as I have been able to determine, this popular misconception that
the Gold Rush began when the HBC
shipped gold to San Francisco aboard
the Otter first appeared in print following the 1914 publication of Judge
Howay's monumental work "British
Columbia from Earliest Times to
Present," in which his previously quoted statement to that effect appears. As
both of the aforementioned narratives
relating to the Otter were in widespread
circulation at that date, my theory is
that Howay simply juxtaposed the one
upon the other and, combining this
with Governor Douglas' official report
that, as of April 6, 1858, "about eight
hundred ounces . . . has been hitherto
exported from the country," 5 he made a
reasonably educated - albeit erroneous -
conjecture as to the origins of the excitement. Accordingly, as Howay is
considered to be the dean of British Columbia historians, no one up until the
present date has  deemed  the  matter
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 The Princess Royal — a fine new ship which transported the first citizens of Nanaimo from London,
England to Esquimalt in a little less than six months in 1854. It was this ship which took the first
official shipment of Fraser River gold out from Victoria with the destination of London, England, not
San Francisco as usuaUy stated. Photo courtesy of BCARS • catalogue No. PDP468
worthy of a second thought.
It will be observed that both the Houston and Moore narratives — upon which
the fable pertaining to the Otter appear
to be based - did not come into circulation until long after the actual passage of
events; and that, as such, they must be
suspected not only of the fallibility of
memory so commonly associated with
pioneer reminiscences, but also of a
somewhat senile tendency many old-
timers showed to magnify and even fabricate the role that they played in these
historic events.
The romantic traditions that have
grown to surround these two star informants in particular are so thoroughly
studded with discrepancies, easily established from the record, that it is not
advisable to give credence to either account. Due to space limitations, but
one example must suffice: - whereas
James Houston is said to have boasted
that his alleged discovery was "the one
which turned the eyes of the World on
British Columbia and started the great
gold rush of 1858," and that "the reaction shown by Governor Douglas
receiving the gold, indicated that Mr.
Douglas had no previous hint of placer
gold on the mainland,6" Douglas himself writes in his diary "gold was first
found on Thompson River by an Indian
.. ."7
Immediately upon being notified of
the discovery by letter from Chief Trader McLean in February of 1857, and
sensing that it might be "productive of
gain for the Concern," Douglas wrote
instructing McLean to "collect a large
party of Indians, and proceeding to the
Gold district make them search and
wash for the precious metal . . ." 8 The
fact that Douglas intended to send the
gold so accumulated to London with
the annual supply ship carrying the fur
returns from the Western Department
is clearly evidenced in his correspondence. "Pray forward in 'Otter' the
Gold dust from Thompson's River," he
states in the postscript of a letter addressed to James Yale under date of
September 10, 1857, "and also, any that
may be sent to Fort Langley during the
winter, in order that it may be shipped
to England by the Princess Royal." 9
Again on the same subject, Douglas
writes to Chief Trader McLean on November 23, 1857, informing him that
"We shall make a point of detaining the
homeward bound ship till the 5th of
March next, in expectation of your
sending out the whole quantity (of gold)
collected up to about the 20th of
February." l0
While it is inconceivable that the San
Francisco papers would remain silent on
the matter if the HBC had shipped even
a small quantity of gold to the mint in
that city at this time, it is noteworthy
that no such mention occurs. To the
contrary, the Alta California of April
11, 1858, reports: "The Princess Royal,
a vessel belonging to the Hudson's Bay
Company, sailed on the 29th ult. for
England, with 1,000 ounces of gold
dust from the Thompson River mines."
Actually, the log of the Princess Royal
reveals that she sailed from Victoria on
March 25, arriving in London via Cape
Horn a little less than five months later.
Evidently she carried the gold returns
from the Fort Colville district as well as
those from the Thompson River mines,
for under date of August 20, 1858, secretary Thomas Fraser addresses a letter
from Hudson's Bay House, London, to
the Board of Management of the Western Department at Fort Victoria,
stating: "Gentlemen, - I am directed by
the Governor and Committee to forward for your information, a Copy of
the Account sales of the Gold Dust, received both from the Western and the
Oregon Departments: Princess Royal.""
Unfortunately, a note at the top of the
page indicates that this particular account of gold sales has gone missing;
and although a duplicate copy of the account sent to the Oregon Department
still exists, the ink is so badly run as to
make the figures illegible. We do not
need to know the exact figures involved,
however, to be able to state that in light
of the above documentation it is an absolute certainty that the gold so long
believed to have been shipped to San
Francisco aboard the Otter was in fact
sent to London via the Princess Royal -
from Victoria in March of 1858.
Contrary to popular belief, the gold
excitement which subsequently gave
birth to British Columbia began, not in
San Francisco, but rather amongst the
slight handful of colonists and HBC employees then inhabiting the future
province itself. The earliest reference I
have been able to locate in regard to
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 what Bancroft refers to as "the infection
which spread with such swift virulence
in every direction," 12 occurs in the form
of an extract of a letter written at Port
Townsend under date of February 11,
1858, stating: "Already some thirty
pounds of gold have been brought to
Victoria, and everybody is making arrangements to go to the mines." 13
In March of 1858 word of the excitement at Fort Victoria was carried
throughout Puget Sound by Captain
Jemmy Jones, master of the trading
schooner Wild Pigeon. Ezra Meeker,
pioneer resident of Seilacoom, recalls
the day that the Wild Pigeon arrived at
his hometown, bringing "the news that
the Indians had discovered gold on Fraser River . . . and that three hundred
people had left Victoria and vicinity for
the new Eldorado . . . The wave of excitement that ran through the little
town upon the receipt of this news was
repeated in every town and hamlet of
the whole Pacific Coast, and continued
around the world, sending thither adventurous spirits from all civilized
countries of the earth." u
The electrifying news was swiftly taken
up in the pioneer press, first appearing
in the Olympia Pioneer and Democrat
of March 5, 1858: "We learn from Captain Jones . . . that much excitement
exists on Vancouver Island in consequence of the alleged discovery of rich
gold deposits to the northward in the
British Possessions . . . Nearly all the
French and half-breeds on the Island
had either started for this new El Dorado or were proposing to start."
Copies of the edition featuring the
above report soon reached San Francisco
by way of the bi-monthly mail steamer
connecting with Port Townsend. Accordingly, a reproduction of the Captain
Jones account, headed The Fraser River
Gold Mines - Great Excitement, appears in the San Francisco Evening
Bulletin of March 19, 1858. Again on
April 3, 1858, following the next arrival
of the mail steamer Columbia, the Bulletin quotes an account from the
Pioneer and Democrat of March 20
ult. detailing the manner in which industrial establishments on Lower Puget
Sound were slowing to a stand-still,
"owing to the number of hands that
have left, and are constantly leaving for
the northern El Dorado." Long before
the arrival of any significant quantity of
Fraser River gold in California, the mere
dissemination of such vague accounts as
these was quite sufficient to spark the
massive exodus which followed. And so
it was that on April 20, 1858, the first
major wave of 800 argonauts sailed out
of the Bay City aboard the steamers Columbia and Commodore, bound
respectively for Port Townsend and Victoria. Commenting on their departure
the following day, the Bulletin remarks
that "accounts of the rich auriferous discoveries on the Fraser and Thompson
rivers, have produced an excitement. . .
not unlike that of that of the palmy days
of'49 and '50." Thus the stampede was
Before concluding, one final observation on the subject is due. As the local
representative of Crown and Company,
James Douglas considered that it would
be in the best interests of both to keep
the Western American miners out of the
Indian Country altogether. Such a policy would at once ensure a monopoly of
the new gold trade with the Natives for
the HBC, while simultaneously protecting British sovereignty over the region.
As late as April 6, 1858, he reports to
the Home Authorities that as there were
only two practicable routes to the
mines, they might "be guarded at little
expense, and the Country rendered as
secure from foreign intrusion as the fabled garden of Hesperides." 15 Douglas
had all too recently witnessed the loss of
Oregon Territory through a similiar intrusion, and as it is evident that his
greatest fear at this time was that history
might now repeat itself north of the
49th parallel, to infer that the canny
Scotsman would precipitate a headlong
stampede of foreign treasure-seekers
onto the British Frontier by sending a
shipment of gold to the mint in San
Francisco is far-fetched in the extreme -
as should have been perceived before
will inspire the academic community to
take a second look at the matter, and
relegate the oft-quoted fable regarding
the Otter to the realm of myth, which it
so richly deserves.
The writer, now resident in Telegraph Creek,
was unaware that the summer 1992 issue was on
the Cariboo. We appreciate his supplying this
new look at an important bit of British Columbia history.
1     Howay, F.W.; British Columbia From
Earliest Times to Present (Vol. II),
S.J. Clarke, Vancouver, 1914:14.
2.   Allard, Jason; "When Gold Was King,"
m.s. in McKelvie Collection, PABC,
E/D/MI9/Vol. 16.
3. Moore, James; quoted in Paterson, T.W.,
"James Moore of Cariboo," Pioneer Dors in
Bridsh Columbia, Stagecoach Publishing Co.,
Langley, 1962: 59.
4. Moore to Harding, Aug. 30, 1929, in British
Columbia Historical Quarterly,
Vol. 3, no. 3:217.
5. Douglas to Labouchere, April 6, 1858, in Correspondence Relative to the Discovery of Gold
in the Fraser's River District, Great Britain,
Parliament, 1858.
6. Houston, James; quoted in Basque, Garnet,
"James Houston," Canadian Frontier,
Vol. I, no. 2
7. Douglas, James; quoted in Bancroft, H.H., History of British Columbia, History Co., San
Francisco, 1887: 348.
8. Douglas to McLean, Feb. 10, 1857, in Fort
Victoria, Correspondence Outward,
9. Douglas to Yale, Sept. 10,1857, Ibid.
10. Douglas to McLean, Nov. 23,1857, Ibid.
11. Thomas Fraser to Board of Management, Western Dept., Aug. 20,1858, in Fort Victoria,
Correspondence Inward, HBCA, IM387 (microfilm): 497. See also frame no. 486 of same
microfilm for a duplicate copy of account of
gold sales sent to the Oregon Dept.
12. Bancroft, H.H.; Op. cit., 354.
13. Extract of letter to Governor Stevens, author
unknown, in Olympia Pioneer and Democrat,
May 21, 1858.
14. Meeker, Ezra; Pioneer Reminiscences of
Puget Sound, Seattle, 1905: 162.
15. Douglas to Labouchere, April 6, 1858, Op. cit.
In view of the incontrovertible nature
of the documentation herein presented
on the true origins of the Fraser River
Gold Rush - perhaps the most significant event in the history of our province
- it is my earnest desire that this paper
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 A Travellers' Diary — 1890
by Cyndi Thompson
Note: This is transcribed from a diary kept by Edward Cosens. The diary now rests in the National Archives.
After saying good-bye and parting
with a number of relations and friends,
we started from Warrior Square Station,
about 9 o'clock a.m. on August 27,
We arrive at Charing Cross Station,
and were met by brother Albert. After
seeing to our luggage, we all went to
Euston Station, and arrived safely. Here
we went to a restaurant and had something to eat and drink. Then about 9
o'clock p.m. owing to the water not
high enough, we went for Auld Ireland.
Passing on the way, one of the Allan
Line Streamers; Sardinian homeward
bound. Also one of the Anchor Line
Steamers, outward bound. Arrived off
Maville, in Ireland about 1 p.m. on Friday, and had to wait there, till 6 o'clock
in the evening for the passengers and
mails from Ireland. Then away we started for the big pond, otherwise the
Adantic, but it was rather rough going
through the Irish Sea.
On Saturday, almost every one sick
and bad. Sunday not much better, but a
little singing on deck, and a service in
the saloon. Monday, getting a little better, but the sun went down rather red,
which some of them said, was a sign of
bad weather. The captain was on the
bridge for a long time, looking around:
also the canvas was lashed round the
railings of the deck, which looked rather
suspicious. On Tuesday morning between 1 and 2 o'clock, we fairly got into
the storm. Steamer rolling and pitching
tremendously: railings going down into
the water each time. No one allowed on
deck. You never heard such a noise as
there was when the storm struck us.
Crockery ware flying in all directions,
women and children screaming, and
waves pounding over the ship and the
wind screaming through the rigging.
Had that state of things for about an-
Edward Cosens with his family, taken at their Vancouver home in 1913. His two daughters are shown
in white dresses. His daughter-in-law stands behind the little girl who became grandmother to the
writer of this story.
other day. The wife was sitting on a
seat on the main deck, and in the rolling of the ship, she was sent flying and
hurt her back. I was very glad that I
kept well, as the wife and children were
bad almost all the way out, until within
about a day or so of our landing. I was
down below looking after them, and in
the same berth, there were three foreign
women in the opposite bunks, sickening
all over the floor, which made me bad.
Wednesday, steamer still rolling and
pitching, but not so bad as yesterday.
We also passed the S.S. Oregon, one of
the Dominioncon Line, but they said,
we were not near enough to signal. People getting much better and up on deck
a bit for fresh air.
Thursday a very nice day, sun shining
beautifully, but very cold, owing to icebergs at hand. We passed the first one
and it was about 3/4 of a mile long, but
not very close to us. The second one was
only about 3/^ of a mile from the ship
and much larger, and 2 or 3 smaller
ones. It was a grand sight, as the sun
was shining on them beautifully. Shortly after we passed another very large
iceberg and 2 or 3 whales, as we were
getting into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Later in the afternoon we passed 2 or 3
whales and icebergs. Later on it rained
and blew, so we went to bed early.
Blowing a head wind through the Gulf,
B.C. Historical News ■ Fall 92 and blew, so we went to bed early.
Blowing a head wind through the Gulf,
and it was rather rough. We also passed
2 or 3 large steamers, one of them belonging to the Beaver Line; laden with
Saturday morning got into a fog;
steam whistle going every 2 or 3 minutes, all night. It cleared off about
breakfast time, beautifully. Saturday we
saw several more whales and porpoises
and wild ducks. The crew are beginning
to straighten up and clean, as we expect
to get to Quebec tomorrow afternoon.
In the evening we had an entertainment
in the intermediate saloon. The captain
gave permission for some of the crew to
come and sing. One or two of them
were Irish, and they kept the company
in roars of laughter. Went up on deck
after it was over, for a breath of fresh air,
and the water was as smooth as glass.
The phosphorescence in the water was
splendid in the starlight.
Sunday we arrived at Rimouski, about
2 or 3 a.m., and landed some passengers
and mails and took the pilot on board to
go up the River St. Lawrence. The scenery on both sides of the river was very
beautiful; passing young whales by the
dozen, close to the steamer. It also was
very amusing to see them come up to
blow, as they did not keep down many
minutes together. They call it the beautiful River St. Lawrence, and I think it is
rightly named. Passing the different
places on each side of the river, villages
and towns, and land all cultivated,
splendid large buildings, ferry steamers
and shopping by wholesale, as we got
higher up the river. Passed some places
buoyed off on each side of us, and 2 or
3 light ships. I suppose they were the
deep water channels, as our pilot was
very busy with the glass looking ahead
and altering the course every now and
then. We went on until we arrived at
Point Live, the landing stage of the
Grand Trunk Railway, about 3:30 in
the afternoon, after being on the ship
from 8 to 10 days. Then there was
some bustle for an hour or two. People
flocking round the hatchways looking
for their luggage as it came out of the
holds. Two of our chests, the edges of
the lids knocked completely off, and a
black box of mine, there were pieces
nailed on the sides, and ropes round it:
so I expect it had been almost to pieces.
One of the large cases I noticed the bottom partly knocked off. I do not
wonder at that, for to see them come up
out of the holds, with the steam windlass knocking and banging against the
sides, was enough to knock them all to
pieces. Another steamer came alongside
of ours and those for the Canadian Pacific Railway, had to go aboard with
their luggage across to the other side of
the river. It was almost ready to start,
and we could not find one of our large
cases. At last I found it in one of the
Grand Trunk Railway sheds. I got two
of the porters, and they very soon got it
on the other steamer, and away we started. There were three or four men of
war there in the river. We passed close
alongside of them and saluted each,
with the whistle. One of the names I
noticed was the Bellerphin. After a
short time we landed on the other side
at the Canadian Pacific Wharf. So ended our sea voyage which was not very
pleasant for some, as we had a head
wind almost all the way. Sometimes
we'd get the wind across for an hour or
two, and up would go the sails. Then it
would change all of a sudden and down
they would come again. They were all
full and at the steam windlassed. Was
most amusing to hear the shrill pipe of
the boatswain and see the sailors come
swarming up. The most pleasant part
was after we got through the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, going up the river.
I will just give you a little description
of the S.S. Cirossian, 440 ft. long, 32 ft.
wide, 40 ft. deep, 4000 tons registered
horse power. Eight life boats: steam -
windlassed, for raising and lowering the
anchor, sails, and luggage. We had 2
horses on board. One on the upper
deck who got knocked about rather and
caught a bad cold in the storm. There
were about 300 passengers on board,
plus 90 in the ships company. The first
day we steamed 194 miles. The fifth
209 miles, the sixth 239 miles. The seventh day 295 miles, the ninth 284
miles. Saturday at 12 o'clock to Sunday
3 o'clock, 322 miles. The propeller
about 20 or 22 ft. across, and the shaft
of the propeller about 14 or 15 inches
thick. They burnt about 70 tons of coal
a day and emptied the ashes from the
stoker holes, every 4 hours and a pretty
noise they make winding them up: a
shaft by steam windlass and emptying
them out a port hole in the side. The
funnels of the steamer about 10 or 12
feet across.
After landing at the Railway Depot,
we went into a restaurant at the station,
and had tea. Then we got some provisions, and took them into the cars with
us and started from there about 7:30 on
Sunday evening, and had to change cars
twice before we got to Montreal. Arrived between 5 and 7 o'clock on
Monday morning, and had to be shunted on to a siding, and wait until 8:40 in
the evening before we started again.
Went out two or 3 times into the town
to get more provisions. I bought a spirit
lamp to boil water for our tea, as there
was not any in the car stove, it being too
warm. I must give you a little description of the cars, as they are for living
and sleeping in.
There is a platform at each end of the
car, and steps on each side with an iron
railing, or handrail, with an opening in
the centre, so that when they are connected you can walk from one end of
the train, to the other. First there is a
door leading from the platform into a
lobby. On one side, is a large stove,
with hot water pipes, converted to it,
running along each side of the car, and
you can stand your pot, or kettle to
make boiling water. On the opposite
side is a wash basin, and cistern along
side with a tap. At the station there are
men there to come round to see to the
filling up of the cisterns, and coke boxes. Then there is another door opening
into the large compartment, with 5 double seats, facing one another: on each
side 2 persons, on each seat. 2 windows
to each double seat. The windows had
double sashes, so as to keep the draught
and cold out in the winter. They slide
up and down with patent fastenings.
There are no doors at the sides, only
one at each end of the car and a pathway through the centre. Each double
seat or compartment lets down and
comes together in the centre, and forms
a bed for two persons. Over each double seat a piece lets down and forms a
bed for two persons: so that in that part
it is supposed to seat and sleep 40 persons. We had a seat to ourselves, and so
did the others that came by the steamer
as we still kept together a lot. We put
our small parcels on the place over the
seats, but at night I slept on the top
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 part, and the wife and children on the
seats. Then there was another door
leading into the smoking compartment,
with 2 double seats on each side, and a
place over them, the same as the others,
so that was supposed to seat and sleep
16 persons. That was used the same as
ours, their small parcels on the place
over the seats. Then there was another
door leading into a lobby, and on one
side the lavatory, and on the other used
for boxes. A door from that leading on
to the platform at the opposite end of
the car: so that the cars were about 60 ft.
long. Sometimes one of the men would
come round of a morning and sweep the
floor and car all over, and then bring
fruit and books, or news papers to sell.
That was between stations, and sometimes when we stopped at some of the
stations, they would come in, selling
milk. Of course there is plenty of ventilation as there are pivot or swing
windows at the top from one end to the
other of each car which can be opened
or shut by anyone.
There seems to be any amount of places all along the line inhabited by settlers.
We arrived at Ottawa about midnight,
after being wakened up twice with the
conductor coming through the cars examining and clipping tickets.
Tuesday passing some beautiful scenery, sometimes on the borders of a large
lake for miles, and then going right
through wild forest and over dozens of
wooden trestle bridges. Some only a
few feet high and others about a hundred feet. All along the track it seems as
though there had been a forest fire, as all
the trees are burnt each side of the track.
They said that when the track was made
they cleared it by burning. There are a
few iron girder bridges, but not so very
many as timber is so plentiful out here,
hence made by wood.
Wednesday we had our breakfast
about 6 o'clock as we generally had our
meals, when we were ready for them. At
7 o'clock arrived at a place called Peninsular and there we were told that about
5 or 6 miles further ahead a trestle
bridge had broken down. So away we
started again, until we began to slow up
and very shortly after we were in full
view of it, and our engine stopped to
within a few feet of it. About 130 yards
of it all down. It appears, on the Monday afternoon previous about half past
3, an engine with 3 box cars and the
plough were passing over it, and it began to slip away. The driver and
fireman both jumped off. Neither of
them got hurt, and the engine and cars
never turned over, but only sank down
and kept upright. One train load of
passengers that passed us at a station
just before we got to this, had been
waiting there 36 hours before they
could get transferred to the opposite
side. I must tell you it was a sight. We
all had to get out and take our parcels
with us and tramp over all the rough
ground and timbers to the other train
on the opposite side. The others in the
other train had to do the same, to get to
our train. You could not help laughing,
as it put one in mind of a lot of ants
passing and repassing one another. Of
course the railway gangs had to shift all
the heavy baggage, and that was a job, I
can tell you, as it was such awkward
I saw 6 men carrying my largest box
and they had to have a good many rests,
as there was not any handles or cords on
it. I was close to them at one of their
rests and they were having a fine confab
over it. One said it was full of lead, another it was full of Jews harps, and
another said he thought the bloke belonging to this box, was going to set up
a store in New Westminster. Of course
I was standing there alongside and enjoyed the fun immensely. Then there
was a coffin in the other train and it
took 8 men to get it across, after a deal
of bother we got over. After a long time
the other train got away V2 hour before
we did. But not until they telegraphed
for another engine to come and hook
on behind. Our engine just managed to
get started by itself, about 10 o'clock after a delay of 6 hours. While we were
waiting, we went raspberry and blueberry gathering as they grew wild just like
blackberries and raspberries, and were
just as large and nice as the cultivated
So away we went again up hill and
down dale, winding round the edges of
the lakes, and going over parts of some
bridges and through short tunnels, cut
out of solid rock and then cutting away
again for miles through the wild forest,
passing many pretty waterfalls, and any
amount of lumber in the river, floating
down to the saw mills.
Thursday morning we stopped at a
place called Rat Portage, and there was
any amount of lumber in the river, and
timber in stacks for saw mills. They
had slides to them where all the waste
pieces were drawn along by machinery
to the ends of the slides and dropped
over into a lake. There were large fires
and some of them were burning tremendously. We are now leaving the lake
waters a bit as we are getting nearer to
Winnipeg. It is also getting colder and
our stove fire has gone out. Reached
Winnipeg about 4 o'clock and all
changed here. When we got out onto
the platform it was cold and they had
ice in the morning. Ted went out shopping and got more provisions, but we
did not see anything of Mrs. Dufton. I
went to the freight agent and got our
tickets altered, as they had booked us to
Vancouver. Of course I thought it was
alright as New Westminster would be
near by, but it appears you must get out
for where you booked. He made them
alright, by writing on the back of the
tickets. Stayed at Winnipeg about an
hour and off we went again, with a nice
fire to warm the car. Passed a place
called Wapella, where we were to look
out for Mrs. Dufton, but didn't see or
hear anything of them, as I expect we
were too early, as it was 3 o'clock Friday
On again through miles and miles of
prairies, as far as you could see. Now
and then, farms close to the tracks. Lots
of wheat not cut, frost and snow on the
ground. Reached a station called
Moose Jaw about 12 o'clock and telegraphed to my brother's wife. Several
Indian tents were close to the station,
and a lot of Indians on the platform,
selling polished horns. A person in the
opposite compartment to us, had a nice
pair for 50<£, or in our money 2 shillings. Soon after starting again, there
was a lot of cattle got on the tracks.
The driver kept jumping the whisde
and slacked speed and away they went.
Still passing through prairie land as far
as you can see. Saw some prairie dogs
and wild cats and snow birds and
Arrived at a station called Swift Current, and stayed about 10 minutes. A
lot of Indians with their squaws, some
with a child or papoose on their backs.
B.C. Historical News • FaU 92 They were selling polished horns, and
some of them were splendid and cheap.
I saw one or two men buy a set with 6
horns for a $1.50. Just before reaching
here our stove went out, so I got hold of
an empty box at the station, and very
soon we had a roaring fire. After starting again a drove of horses got on the
track, and the driver jumped his whistle
and slacked speed a little and away they
galloped. One, a gray ran alongside for
a little way, before he went off. Of
course there is no fear of running over
them, as the cowcatcher on the front of
the engine, is only an inch or two above
the rails and that would very soon send
them flying. After this before long we
were going through snow again for a
long way about 3 or 4 inches deep.
Friday evening around 6 o'clock we
got to a small station, called Gull Lake,
and there we saw thousands of sheep.
One man was on horseback and others
on foot. To see them and the dogs
rounding them up, was a sight. They
were getting them into a large enclosure
for the night. High stakes all around.
Arrived at another large place called Calgary, around 6 o'clock Saturday
morning: we only stayed a few minutes.
Now we are passing some very high
hills, which are a very pretty sight, as the
tops are all covered with snow and the
sun shining on them, they looked beautiful. Nothing but hard rocks, at least
that is what it seems to be. The station
close to it is called Banff. Here there are
some Hot Springs, a great place for visitors, and also buses at the station from
the different hotels.
After a short stay we started off again,
but still passing through solid rocks, until we arrived at a place called Castle
Mountain. This was a very pretty sight,
nothing but a mass of rocks, hundreds
of feet high and pieces running up, just
like towers, and ledges running round
one above the other, like battlements.
We are fairly into the Rocky Mountains now, and going down a steep grade
to a place, at the bottom called Field.
The engine had full steam up with reversed engine, and men stationed at the
brakes, on each end of the cars. We also
passed on the way down some switches,
with a man stationed at each, so that if
anything went wrong with the train, the
engineer would give the signal, and they
would turn the train into one of them.
I am glad to say we arrived at the bottom quite safe and sound. The station
called Field is at the foot of a mountain,
called Mount Stephen, and it is surrounded by some of the loftiest peaks of
the Rockies. Some tops completely in
the clouds. Here also we saw a large
bear chained to a pole, with a flat piece
on the top. It was very amusing to see
him scramble up to the top. Also 2 or 3
smaller ones on another pole. These
were outside of the hotel, so I expect for
people's amusement as sometimes when
the large bear was near the top, the man
would catch hold of him and pull him
down back on the ground.
Coming down the steep grades, it
seems as though the cars would come
off the rails, as it is one continual in and
out, the whole way, just like a serpent.
It is astonishing how they do keep on.
Talk about curves. In England it would
surprise some of them to see these.
Arrived at a station called Donald
where we had more water put in the car
for drinking, as some forgot in the
morning to do so. We are still passing
some very high peaks of mountains and
curves on the tracks wholesale. Also
passing through tunnels, cut out of the
solid rock, without any brick work, or
supports. Also through long snow sheds
at the sides of the mountains where avalanches come down. Passed through 2
or 3 of these, and they are built of very
strong and heavy timber. Next arrived
at a place called Glacier, where there are
two beautiful hotels, with grounds all
laid out with fountains playing. Here
also we saw a large black bear, and
brown, chained up in the grounds,
some Indian tents with Indians in them,
and we all went and had a look. I forgot to mention after we left a station
called Bear Creek, that before we got to
Glacier, we passed over a bridge 296 ft.
high. I would not say anything to the
wife until we had passed it, as she did
not like the bridges and the dangerous
mountains. This bridge spanned a deep
ravine. All along through this part, we
had the large mountain engines, one in
front and one behind, as the grades were
so steep and even then it was pretty
hard for them.
At Glacier there were some very high
mountains, and one was all a mass of ice
at the upper part. They said it was covered with ice all the year round.  It was
a very beautiful sight, and hence the
name being called Glacier. After we left
there the grade of the track was very
steep downward and winding, round
and round to get down to the level
again. As for the scenery, I could not
half describe it to you.
Sunday morning every one beginning
to straighten up their things, as we expect to get to our journey's end this
afternoon. Now have arrived alongside
of the Fraser River, and going along by
the side of it for miles and miles. Sometimes going very slow, on the edge of a
cliff, or over a trestle bridge, and then
going through short tunnels, cut out of
solid rock. I noticed two or three times
along this part, a notice board for the
engineer not to exceed 4 miles an hour.
Now and then we saw Indian tents
along the banks and poles stuck upright
in the ground, with cross poles and on
them, large salmon: cut open and drying in the air. Now we have left the
river again and cutting away at fine
speed through the trees and it is getting
more like as though there is a town not
far off. I do not think I have anything
more of interest to tell you.
We arrived at Westminster Junction
about 3 o'clock, after being on the train
from one Sunday to the next, and
spending a most enjoyable week of sight
seeing. I must tell you we passed plenty
of trees of immense height and the size
of them 6 and 7 feet across. Now you
can imagine what a journey we had as
we started on a steamer on August 27,
and got out of the train at New Westminster on September 14 a distance of
7000 miles.
Edward Cosens found work maintaining the boiler in the old Post Office at
Granville and Hastings Streets. He visited England twice, then settled
permanently in Vancouver after 1908.
Cyndi Thompson has studied Art and Psychology, working as an animated artist whenever
opportunity presents itself. She describes herself
as "a proud 3rd generation Vancouverite."
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
8 Pitman *s: The Pioneer Business College
by Helen Borrell
"Warmest greetings and hearty congratulations to the 1988 graduates of
Pitman Business College and its directors and staff, on the happy occasion of
your 90th anniversary." Such were the
tributes sent by the Premiers of Canada
and British Columbia to the teachers
and students of B.C's pioneer business
college. It was a happy occasion - the
banquet at which many older graduates
of the College met again, and discussed
how the Directors had kept pace with
the new office technology. "The Pitman
Business College has remained at the
forefront of Canadian business by adapting to the ever-changing needs of the
business community and providing professional training for men and women."
Thus B.C's Premier summarized the indispensable service of the first, and, for
many years, the only business training
college in the Province.
Like the venerable William Dick
building at the intersection of Broadway
and Granville Streets, this college is a
Vancouver heritage. The Dick Building's top floor has been its home for 62
years. The neon sign, revolving over the
rapids of traffic at a city hub, announces
training in Database, Word Processing
and Computers - office skills which
would have seemed magical to the
founders of the college, Frank Graham
Richards and his daughter, Eveline.
Frank Richards was taught modern
shorthand by its inventor, Sir Izak Pitman, who was his personal friend. The
photo of patriarchal Sir Izak (now
spelled "Isaac") is at the college entrance; also retained is the Certificate of
Proficiency and Teaching Qualifications
issued to Frank Richards in 1878,
signed by Sir Isaac Pitman.
Eveline Richards was twelve years old
when she learned shorthand from her father and transcribed her notes on a new
invention, the typewriter. In 1874
Remington and Sons had placed the
first commercial typewriters on the market. Stiff and heavy, these early models
must have given the operators typewriting cramp. But they lacked the din and
the dangers of mill machines.    Office
Eveline C. Richards
Founder of Pitman Business College.
positions didn't demand the heavy work
and mental stress of nursing. New prospects of salaried employment expanded
for young lady typewriters, as the girls
were first called.
Eveline Richards "attended the Stockport Technical School in England, and
was awarded a certificate as a Teacher of
Sir Isaac Pitman's system of shorthand.
In a contest open to all England she was
awarded first prize as a writer of commercial shorthand."
Gold discovered in the Klondike,
Canada's north wilderness! In 1898,
Frank Richards planned a steamship
line up the lonely British Columbia
coast to the Yukon. Eighteen-year-old
Eveline was the only woman on board,
when her father sailed on the long voyage via the Straits of Magellan. He
could not take a well-bred young lady to
the lawless gold hunters and the deepfreeze winters of the Yukon. He settled
her in Vancouver, a fast-growing infant
city of about 21,000 people. It had
promising futures for trained business
men and women. "Miss Eveline" began
her life career by tutoring a few students
in typing and shorthand. She opened
her school in the old Molson Bank at
Richards and Hastings Streets.
Frank Richards returned from the Yukon's   meteoric   glitter   to   the  secure
investment of the business college. In
partnership with his daughter, he established it in the Strathcona Building at
the corner of Granville and Georgia
Streets. Today, the Birks clock stands at
this central intersection.
Vancouver's commerce increased
steadily; so did the prestige of, and the
need for more Pitman graduates. In
1906 the College was enlarged by specially designed and equipped rooms in
the 600 block on Seymour Street. In
1908, Pitman College was moved to the
Union Bank Building at Richards and
Hastings Streets, its home for more than
twenty years. Next the city's business
section branched across False Creek and
expanded along Broadway and southward. In 1930, Pitman College was
transferred to the William Dick
Miss Olga Gill, later Mrs. Usher, studied typing and shorthand at the College,
in 1911. When she died in 1990, aged
97 years, her sister found among her
possessions the little shorthand textbook, published by Sir Isaac Pitman in
1891, that she had as a student. The
simple phonetic outlines are almost the
same as this rapid, easy business writing
is today. The sister donated this classic
text to the current President of Pitman
Business College, Mrs. Marie Tomko.
During nearly all of its 93 years, until
it changed ownership in May, 1991, this
pioneer of business education was managed by the same family. After Frank
Richards' death in 1921, his son Russell,
and Mr. Ellis Ladner, were elected Directors of the company incorporated
then; Eveline Richards was elected President, and was College Principal until
her death in 1941. Her first students
needed only typing, shorthand and
bookkeeping. In forty-three years of
teaching, she and her colleagues added
business courses in progress with new office equipment and skills. Typewriters
were improved and made easier to operate; comptometers and billing machines
freed bookkeepers from wearisome poring over figures; dictaphones saved time
for both the boss and the secretary. And
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 helps that office personnel continued to
receive. But more valued were the high
standards they learned at Pitman College and the individual help they were
given by its teachers — many of whom
devoted their life service to the College.
One long-time instructor, Mrs. Lillian
Major, was Principal from 1941 until
she retired in 1946. The next Principal,
Mrs. Violet Ferguson, had trained at
Pitman College and had taught there for
over eighteen years.
When its Golden Jubilee came in
1948, Pitman Business College had a
complete curriculum: Typing, Stenography, Secretarial Work, Dictaphone,
Machine Operating, Machine Bookkeeping, Accountancy, Civil Service and
Commercial Law. Business executives
who had qualified at the College went
there to apply for new employees, and
to renew friendships with the faculty.
Young high school graduates came from
many parts of B.C. to train at the College, and its staff kept a Housing
Registry, including private homes where
girls could work for room and board.
Pitman  students  could  enroll  at  any
time and progress at their own speed;
but they had to be well groomed and to
dress for, and observe the efficient work
habits of, the business office. The College's free placement service helped
graduates to find jobs in which they
were best suited, and happy. Vancouver
had new business schools, and commercial classes in high schools; but Pitman
College students were always prized by
personnel managers.
The College's Directors chose only
teachers with the best qualifications and
experience. Programs for Legal and
Medical Secretaries required instructors
versed in these specialized subjects.
Computers transformed the business
world, ending many repetitive office
chores; and Pitman College added
courses in the new clerical skills. But
personalized instruction, and care for
the student's success, was assured by all
Professional standards of the faculty
were such that, after Mrs. Ferguson, the
College had as Principal Mrs. Anna
Kancs, formerly on the staffs of two
United Nations agencies.
Young lady operating an early typewriter.
Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Museum.
Mrs. Virginia Bazilli, Principal of the
College until she retired last year - 1991
- is the daughter of Russell Richards
and grand-daughter of the Founder.
Her son, John Bazilli and his wife, Nancy Cameron, became General Managers
till they planned a sabbatical leave; and
the family business was taken over by
new owners. Like most "retirees" of her
type, Mrs. Bazilli "hasn't enough time"
for the talents which now occupy hen
and she continues her part-time interest
in her College. John Bazilli is President
of the Private Career Training Association of B.C., which was founded by
Pitman College's new President, Mrs.
Marie Tomko.
Students of different ages and experience - beginners taking full programs,
Government Allowance trainees, newcomers to Canada, re-entrants to the
work force - climb the worn marble
stairs of the heritage building. It hasn't
space for an elevator! But the classrooms are now equipped with teaching
videos; desktop computers on which
graphic artists compose; computers
which function like mechanical brains;
and typewriters which, the secretary of
the old days thinks, are jet-propelled.
Unchanged are Pitman's College's professional traditions: practice in organized
work schedules, womanly pride in attractive business dress, how to prepare
an employment resume, regular attendance. The youngest Pitman graduate
has this office experience.
In 1998, the College will celebrate its
Centenary. To former Pitman graduates: the Faculty would be delighted to
contact you.
Miss Borrell took a short course in word processing at Pitman College. She recendy retired in
Vancouver where she is pursuing various research
projects and freelance writing.
"Pitman Business College: Fifty Years of Service, 1898 to
1948*. Brochure pubUshed for the Golden Jubilee.
"Pitman Business College in 50th Year of Service'.
Article in the Vancouver Province, August 14,1948.
"Pioneer College Maintains Quality'. Vancouver Province,
August 24,1957.
Pitman Business CoUege founded when Vancouver was
Fledgling City. Vancouver Province, August 19,1961.
Reference articles given by the College staff:
Two Press Releases: "Pitman's History" and "Pitman Business College Celebrates its 90th Anniversary*.
"Short Talk: Pitman Approaches its Centennial".
Brochures of the College curriculum and services.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
10 The 1918 Flu Epidemic in Victoria
by Gary Sarian
Overshadowed by the dramatic events
of World War I, the impact of the
"Spanish Influenza" pandemic of 1918
on the civilian and military population
of Canada has been ostensibly overlooked in general treatments of
Canadian history.1 Recently, social and
medical historians have revived the
events of this international plague which
claimed twenty-two million lives and
dampened the jubilation of a world returning to peacetime.2 Cloaked by
symptoms usually identified with a common cold, the misdiagnosed 'fever'
swept across continents. Thus, in the
company of military troops, influenza
infected civilians. In Canada, the contagion originated from troop ships, then
spread from east to west in the autumn
of 1918. In its wake, Spanish influenza
left somewhere between thirty and fifty
thousand people dead after striking one-
sixth of Canada's eight million inhabitants. Physicians and pathologists were
helpless and unprepared to face the
menacing onset of symptoms, let alone
the virulent etiology.
By the time influenza reached the
western shores of British Columbia, the
populace had little advance notice.
While published accounts have focused
on the national impact of the epidemic,
this paper investigates the local impact
of the Spanish influenza on Victoria,
British Columbia. Chronological events
collected from local newspapers and city
health records provide supportive evidence, albeit only a partial picture.
Therefore, a secondary objective places
the local perspective in a broader context by introducing preliminary
Historical researchers of the Spanish
influenza out-break confirm the proverbial relationship between war and
disease: the comingling of soldiers from
different nations, under unsanitary conditions, cloistered and undernourished,
inevitably reduced characteristic barriers
of immunity to provide an ideal sub
strate for the development, proliferation, and evolution of virulent strains.3
Nonetheless, according to Epidemic
and Peace, 1918, the medical profession had succeeded in controlling the
typical diseases among troops through
vaccination, sanitation, and drugs.4
Contrarily, the epidemiology of influenza, in general, and Spanish influenza, in
particular, remained hypothetical because it lacked the physical evidence
wrought from microscopic detection.5
To further complicate matters, the influenza of 1918 initially appeared
similar to a bad cold or ordinary flu, attracted little attention at first, and
hardly merited notification in the medical periodicals of the day.6 Hence, the
absence of a prepared response by the
medical and military community hampered correct diagnosis, treatment and
most importantly, efforts to curb the
contagion among closely quartered
The first wave, a mild form of flu,
passed innocuously during the winter
and spring seasons. Originating conclusively from Canton, China, and less
certainly from military camps in the
United States, the disease spread to Europe. The publicized epidemic in Spain
that spring misled British authorities
who assigned its origin to that country
with the misnomer, "Spanish Influenza."8 The second or 'killer' wave
erupted in late summer at Freetown,
Sierra Leone, West Africa (a coal-
producing British colony) and is believed to be the virulent mutation
which appeared almost simultaneously
at supply ports of Brest, France, and
Boston, Massachusetts.9 Thus, with
three continents involved, the explosive
epidemic seized a foothold on critical
transportation and communication byways supporting the war effort. Lasting
from September to December, the second wave was responsible for the greater
proportion of twenty-two million
deaths world-wide.    From January to
March, 1919, the third wave struck
with less severity but equal virulence.l0
The sudden onset of symptoms presented with chills, fever, headaches,
aching back and legs, and general prostration which led to great physical
weakness or collapse. Infection of the
upper respiratory tract, indicated by a
dry, sore throat, hacking cough, and
runny nose appeared nearly indistinguishable from an ordinary cold. The
difference which conclusively identified
influenza was its extremely contagious
nature. Furthermore, typical influenza
results in high morbidity but low mortality which mostly affects the young
and old. Uncharacteristically, the
unique virulence of the Spanish flu carried both high morbidity and mortality
rates, and claimed lives in the prime-age
group, or between twenty and forty
years old.11 Although mistaken for a
bacterial pathogen then, the 1918 pandemic actually spread a virus whose
fatal impact lay in secondary infection
by a bacillus, chiefly pneumonia.12 Furthermore, viral-flu debilitation
accelerated the pace of pneumonia
which destroyed lung tissue and resulted in the grotesquely bluish skin
discolouration (cyanosis) of oxygen-
deprived victims. In fact, death occurred as early as forty-eight hours after
symptomatic onset in previously
healthy, prime-age adults.
The precise date for the communication of Spanish influenza to Canadian
shores remains uncertain. The earliest
evidence of transmissible cases originate
from the hospital ship Araquaya which
carried infected troops from England to
Canada on June 26, 1918.13 Subsequently, ships brought the disease to
Quebec City, Grosse Isle, and Halifax
during the summer months. Though
quiescent until September, the impending virulence of the second wave
incubated within military and civilian
populations. From September through
December Canada fell victim as the in-
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 fluenza ramified along the railway lines,
transporting the disease to central and remote areas throughout the Dominion.
When the infection rate peaked in October, the virus flourished from
Newfoundland to British Columbia. Table 1 lists some of reported fatalities from
the October period. The percentage of
annual deaths attributable to the influenza epidemic range from a high of 32.1
percent (London, Ontario) to a low of
7.2 percent (Victoria, British Columbia);
though incomplete, these figures index
the formidable impact of influenza on
Canadian cities from east to west.
Since no centralized government body
existed to mount a national defensive
strategy, emergency programs fell upon
provincial and municipal authorities.
More so, in the absence of either a federal health department, a sitting
Parliament, or a distinct Quarantine Service, provincial and local boards of
health applied different approaches
which led to inconsistencies across the
nation.14 In Brantford, Ontario, for example, the influenza in October was
underplayed, even denied, by some medical spokesmen, resulting in conflicts
between administrative officials.  In view
of this overall situation, local newspapers constituted an alternative source of
public information about the disease,
its symptoms, prevention and
Initially, newspapers did little more
than raise public awareness of the progressive contagion through summary
reports about areas. Later, when the
threat of local outbreaks provoked municipal health authorities to issue
regulations and critical advice, the daily
edition assumed an essential-service
role. Consequently, this study focuses
on newspaper accounts as they appeared to local inhabitants of the city of
Victoria, British Columbia. Since
newspapers, such as the Victoria Daily
Times, provided a readily available
source of reliable information, one can
gauge the kind of information the average citizen received about various
aspects of the epidemic. On the other
hand, newspapers also carried solicitations, advertisements, and conflicting
viewpoints which undermined sound
advice from official quarters.
Perhaps the first dispatch citizens of
Victoria received about Spanish influenza was reported on page one of
The Daily Colonist on September 12,
1918. The general press release emanated from Washington, D.C, and belied
the potential virulence:
(The Spanish influenza which) recently
ravaged (the) German army and later
spread into France and England with such
discomforting effects on the civil population has been brought to some of the
American Atlantic coast cities, officials
here fear . . . by persons returning on
American transports. . . Spanish influenza, although short-lived and with
practically no serious results, is a most distressing ailment, which prostrates one far a
few days during which he suffers the acme
of discomfort.1*
By early October, onerous reports of
mortality from afflicted Canadian cities
probably influenced Victoria's City
Health Officer, Dr. Arthur G. Price, to
institute an immediate prevention program in Victoria schools by removing
shared drinking cups and towels. The
next day, October 5, an article advised
that the disease is "one of crowds" and
that those "affected with severe cold,
chills, and a stuffiness in the head, . . .
should take to their beds and call a physician."17 Subsequent articles repeatedly
Table 1.  Reported fatalities from Spanish influenza across Canada for the month of October, 1918, in the context of total population and annual deaths,
October, 1918
Total Population
Total Number
Reported Influenza-
Percentage of Influenza
of Deaths
Related Deaths
Deaths Over Total Deaths
Sources: Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1918
The Canada Year Book 1920
The Victoria Daily Times
* Province of Quebec
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
12 identified the same two instrumental
factors that would curb the impact of influenza: the avoidance of crowds and
immediate bedrest. The former reduced
contagion whereas the latter curtailed
pneumonia, a baleful complication.
Prompted by the Minister of Health
and Education, the Hon. J.D. Maclean,
provincial authorities bolstered municipal efforts with an order-in-council
which allowed the Provincial Board of
Health to issue regulations announcing
"the closing of all places of assembly as a
preventative measure against the spread
of Spanish influenza."18 The legislation
enacted by the Cabinet used the Public
Health Act to supersede local authority,
especially when no city by-law provided
for regulations. At the same time, it empowered a city's medical health officer
to implement police-enforced closure at
will. On the same date, October 8, a
Victoria newspaper reported fifty to one
hundred cases of influenza; also, city
health officer, Dr. Price, implemented
the closure power he sought over all
public and private gathering places."
From then on, all public schools,
churches, universities, libraries, picture
and dramatic theatres, public and private dance halls, and community events
closed down in Victoria for thirty-three
days. Influenza articles throughout October concentrated on precautionary
advice from Dr. Price while tracking the
sharply rising number of cases (Graph
Price distilled preventive measures
down to four major points which appeared repeatedly in the Victoria Daily
Times. First, the infection was spread
through carriers by a short-lived germ
transmitted during social contact, particularly from a sneeze or spittle. Second,
sunshine and fresh air destroyed the vectors of influenza. Third, personal
cleanliness, plenty of outdoor exercise,
and a nourishing diet would maintain a
hardy resistance. Fourth, he specifically
advised keeping the nostrils clear, by syringing, and the throat clean, by
gargling, with an antiseptic, such as saltwater, formalid, or listerine.20
With respect to treatment of contracted flu, he admonished that one should
immediately go to bed and call a doctor
because the first twenty-four hours fa-
quarantine nor gauze masks were ordered by Price as they were in Alberta
(Fig. I).22 The only published accounts
for his treatment included house placarding, isolation of the sick, ample
nursing, and nourishment from meat
Although at least one vaccine was feebly distributed in Canada, excluding
Victoria, the most promising therapy,
reported in one daily edition, was practised in Boston. Patients were cared for
in tents or airy wooden shacks and taken outdoors during daylight hours.
This spartan regimen significantly reduced mortality from forty to thirteen
percent.24 Beyond novel approaches
and fate, an invincible cure was virtually unknown.
In Victoria, disinfection work became
a commonplace defense. Dr. Price reported a total of 166 city-wide
fumigations in 1918 of "dwellings, hospitals, schools, churches, hotels, stores,
Graph 1. Line graph depicting daily increases of reported cases of Spanish influenza in Victoria, British Columbia during October, 1918.
30 6
8 \o 12.        H IU 18 ZA
Compiled from:       Victoria Daily Times. October 1918.
"Health Officer's Report" Annual Reports. City of Victoria, 1918.
voured    early    recovery/
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 offices, and salesrooms."25 But this work
was done for other diseases too, such as
diphtheria, smallpox, measles, anthrax,
and so forth. Published procedures advised people to set formaldehyde lamps
in unoccupied rooms for at least six
hours.26 Private businesses publicized
disinfection practices to reassure customers; some claimed store disinfection
every twenty-four hours.27 One newspaper even recommended that banks
should disinfect paper money nightly.28
Dr. Price apparently frowned on disinfection alone: "I am afraid they are too
prone to rely upon this means of combatting the disease."29
Given  the  climate  of apprehension,
people  also   turned   to   self-prescribed
remedies. By October 21, local pharmacies experienced shortages of cinnamon
and     formalin-containing     medicines
(bought for throat disinfection), but no
end to prescription alcohol which was
government-controlled       in      British
The   favorite   prescription   (from
drug stores), however, is alcohol in
its most enticing forms. The Government      Dram      Shop,      the
Government dispensary is doing a
rushed business but unable to handle all the business coming from
the small number of doctors issuing "joy certificates"...30
Coincidental  advertisements,  appear-
Figure 1. Gauze
masks were worn by
all citizens of towns
which required
them whenever they
appeared in public
places, such as
offices, restaurants,
etc. They were
especially popular
in Alberta.
ing alongside serious news releases on
influenza, coaxed the public to protect
themselves by purchasing their products
(Fig. 2). In fact, newspapers were filled
with these types of national advertisements and local curatives as well.
More seriously, the impact of the
growing crisis severely burdened city
hospitals, necessitating adjunct facilities
and staff. When the pre-existing isolation hospital (for small pox and so
forth) was filled to capacity, emergency
hospitals at two fire halls and a private
residence swiftly opened.31 A patient's
stay in the isolation hospital averaged
7.8 days. The acute nursing shortage
required old graduates to report for
work. Dr. Price stated that "amateur
nurses were organized and many lives
were saved through home nursing by
volunteer ladies."32 Due to the war effort, the city also provided the military
with facilities at Stadacona Park to accommodate overcrowding at Willows
In general, violations of the ban neither appear in newspapers nor the
annual police report, but the disruption
of routine community events affected
municipal and commercial revenues as
well as religious services. The loss of
revenue to the city from amusement
taxes, chiefly from theatres, averaged
about six hundred dollars per day.33
Provincial support to municipalities for
emergency efforts to hire nursing staff,
open facilities, and provisioning rose to
a cost of fifty-thousand dollars by November 18.34 Still, monthly
government liquor sales recovered some
provincial and municipal monies from
record-high business.
Lacking published accounts, commercial deficits are difficult to assess, yet
some authorized exceptions from the
ban included ship yards and the I.M.B.
Assembly Plant at Ogden Point.35
As early as mid-October, Dr. Price denied overtures from the clergy about
holding open-air services. By month's
end, crowds at a Victory Loan drive
prompted him to write an emphatic
public letter which warned against further public gatherings:
Wake up! Realize that there is a
war on, a war in our very midst,
an epidemic of influenza.   Do not
sneer at the enemy.  Do not belittle
it by calling it "Flu."   Give it its
full name, be serious and realize
that the undertakers are busy.36
Inevitably, pressure to lift the ban
arose from both business and religious
sectors.   On November 11, 1918, the
allied victory was declared.     Shortly
thereafter at a City Council meeting, a
community of interests spoke for ban
modifications or selective exemptions.
With the approaching Christmas season,    businessmen,    merchants,    and
clergymen concertedly proposed an alternative solution:
Recommended by the Executive
Board of Trade, Rotary Club, Retail Merchants' Association and
Victoria Executive of the Manufacturer's Association, that the
ban now in force for the purpose
of controlling the influenza epidemic be lifted so far as churches
and private business interests are
concerned and that a rigid quarantine of patients and their
households be substituted.37
Within five days, an order-in-council
rescinded the month-long ban.
Though the rate of infection decreased in November and December,
then increased alarmingly in January,
closures were discussed but never tabled
again except for schools.38 Identified
today as the third wave, the January
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
14 '**?*
r-^i KML UttTWtt
~Tt»r lotroducftkMi of Prp*, tbc f aaMHU,
dcw breaibrabi* rromlf fur cuugbt,
colds sod cbnt trouble*, bat rrvotu*
|P»»j»»d |bjC tff »-^*^« of tb«M ailaWlit. —
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to«*«»<j( a*lj haraafal. kwt avariMallj •*••*%*, W
raw**. WU«g*a*»alir »• ■«>M )mk,IW7 *U M
Tklaklaa f*y*«i. kMi ag* r*ftUa*4 tk«t »*y »*•»■
•«Jy thai »m M mcfc im !•»(• Arret  aaaat kala
1   kfWlWtkH tawam. tart   l«Wkt«( WtlW  II iaIa<W
I tw lUiMfcitli MikWWi«*ii*wui%.
•Ma Ibm IW itawk <«atl«**4 ••illa> ifA
•»■>■■■ tW tftfttrvtrr »r »»«*acUt r*9
r«|»ttkmiilUt ■tdkiMlaUib«lMi
•U tW •*» IVf* malum It M alaapa* ft*4
iMlfttiil** tWi II I* * Mfcta IW •••tk trf all.
T«*tiaa#t7 4u»*laa ■ P»a la r**" MMta,
•»4 IW axaJhiaaf lNB*i.%»Ka ata fitta
mil. »tnan »»•* tw kraaik a*4 •#« cmiM
«••»   a»   W   ff«M*»(   ptill   wf tW  lk»*i*4.
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akl.-ft <•••« (W laluac
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tkrW—lfclaVfTrMgil W all^aa-wkKk -2fc*i
IW — *i**m4%4 Urn mtmm»fc.».i iW IM; miu
■•4 UJf4lb*t all lk* 4riU«« »."•**»•»• •! «a*%t
••4 W4it| paaaac**. tWlllr**** ^»aa W4k agaiaal
ladtiiaa •ad«H<U«« «Wfi« W !•««»»»ain»a.
P»l««ft ft** f»WB *» *»•*■« •» •!*•'«. lawslaaaaa,
PMMmU. mt a*> wWi *J»*a»l*U 4r»«.aa4 at* iW«»
Ut* Wat *•» cktUraa'a «M«k» aW cwaata. ftnit
Im  » a fc. K Ulal »•.•*««.
Tltt KMtftftl aUHCUC "*"**
M4«kMI •(!•■•<
!•■* r... •« *••<
Prevent the /fliT
by wearing1
Dr. Chase's Menthol Bag
SINCE 1510 influenza haa jW-riiKli.-all/ awrnt/tiivr the known v«rld.  The
but big epidemic iu thu.euuiitry waa in May, when alm*«t cvery'in-num
in errry b»n*e wa» brought dmvu. *    /
- But the |irt*M*iit Linn. Lituwn an S|iaiusli **Hn'* btHalmc it started iii
Spaiu, mrviu* t»* bv a ui-^l fatal variily4.ii atv«~uut **f the quit'kiH'aa witli
which it devtU|w' iut«i ItmiH'bial-piM'iiufMiiia.    ■
Hrncc Ihi' ui^t.m «.f |.nvinliu^ \j»4t*i:\tiu by every utcaiu iH«diliU'( aihl
our auK^i*«ti<«ii in^u "W«r a Mtotjiol B*jf.**
Wr Lavr Hrraii^ftl fi«r tbeiiiaiiiifaL'tuXj uf tlh»itsNiHU nf tbrftp Mratb<»l
lla^. *»«i wiiilf tin*} U>t *4iall stir tfanu auay tu tlie fir*t |acnN»iui uliii wutl
in tbi* oiii|><an'priiiti-J Ih-Imw.   . '  ^^
T1k>s«-baK-H^n-|«iiiiii*d »»ii ttii* cbi-jit uiiUidtf or tin*  nndvrwi*art and the
iH^at fnMii the luidr raa-m tlw uieutbulTuiih« I*i riw mih! miugk* with the
air yitii brt-albj-flifn-bv kiHiiig tbc }^mu»aiMl |»rnti-vtiu^ y»»n against Spaii-
Ub iuflutHiza and alt iufprtit**** ili>4MMaa.
~   ' It wa*alwa_rj. tht aim »»f itr. t'buM* t«» tx-rvr liia fi-lluu -utati by toe prv-
. vr lit lull i«f di.M-ast- «riifin-\vr |»»>sililrt Hiitliat ibii pift i» in ?'"i' w'*h *hf
pulic^jvbii-h be fHtablishcd.
-  '   Iu bu large llitii^i ]Um,]l I^Ium- fire |a^i* tu tbr tnatmput
of infliiriiza. and «f bu iiiiilu'iiii'Lii tin* market !>r. **L**c1§ Syrup t»f ljn-
accd and Tuipeutine and l>r. CtJfcc'a Nerre Fuud ul- uud tu a|«k*ndul ad-
Taiitai;r in fighting tbU malady. «
■■ ^Thr fJiorrB ami Turitnitntr abtruM hr urd fwrly jtert-ma awn aaHb^re-
w any tviulniry fur tbr tQnat and br»»nrbiaTtiiT*-a tu fir affortcl s
lkr. lliaarft Nrrve Fund ia uacd to atrcngtltin thv artiou of thr heart atiJ
aid in tbv rv»lurative prtMfaa.
The un-at (Mint *»f ktvpiiiK>ln^thy an well as *»f rtgainiu^ ktrvngtb
aftrr illiHiw b> by kii'piiij: tbc \>U»>d purr, rirli aiiU ntL
Urd bkaid is tbr nnalt-«t at gcrmicidfa. f«#r ih» duca»c ran nukr any
great headway au l«mg aa the bluud ia in i-Miidilluti t*» rv»tt»rc tbv waatul
In Dr. Chain•'* N» n>e Kmid an* f*mnd tbi* vital *uU«taiMW whieb g*» tu
tbr* furtnatiuii uf ih-w, rieli bluud.   It fMrtifi«ii the ay«ti*oi apaiiut attark '
Aid ha^li-iu* jfi'.»v« ry.   Vuii ran buy half aM^zi-ii Uan> from your druggist
fnr te.l*. hut be Kurr t« mt the pMrtmit and ai;itatorr of AW. <'lia.v( W.l>.,
uu tbc bux you buy.
Itnl in tbi* iih-aiitiiur v-inl fur a -* ifeiithol ltag** and Jo all y«»u ran tu pru- *
tfi't ViMipM-lf a^in^t the •SihifiiHh "i-'lu."
Coupon for
Dr- Chase's Menthol Bag
l «'.. I.i4. Ym««si.
*•!•  w  **mn
Figure 2. From The Victoria Daily Times. 1918.
Advertisements promoting virtues of influenza medication.
rate increase dwindled remarkably by
spring and abated completely in the
summer of 1919. Fatalities from recurrences through the early 1920s,
however, have been linked to the same
influenza virus.
Table 2 tabulates the statistical evidence of the impact on public health.
Though only 7.5 percent of the city
population reported illness, the epidemic constituted 15.9 percent of the annual
deaths in 1918, and 3.1 percent in
1919. Moreover, mortality from infection dropped by one-half from 1918 to
1919 (3.6% to 1.8%, respectively).
The amelioration of the influenza epidemic fared better in Victoria than
Vancouver where closure was delayed
for the greater part of October. The
rate of mortality in Victoria amounted
to 3.6 percent whereas Vancouver regis
tered 10 percent.3' Perhaps a combination of the medical health officer's
restrictions, the natural isolation of
Vancouver Island, and civilian cooperation curtailed infection. But it is
easier, by far, to document medical and
economic statistical-evidence from
newspapers than the gravity of personal
The dual impact of war and epidemic
rested heavily on a generation of child-
bearing age. In Victoria, as elsewhere,
families were broken or orphaned by the
loss of parents. In addressing these and
other needs, womens' organizations
contributed unstintingly. They organized volunteer girls, nurses, clothing
and food, soup kitchens and an endless
host of supportive functions.40 We can
never fully understand the trepidation
of their ordeal.  What is certain is that
this disease was as indifferent to social
class as human suffering was universal.
Gary Sarian graduated from die University of
Victoria in 1991 with a BA. and B.Ed Since
then he has been seeking full time employment in
the public school system.
This essay was prepared for a history course
while he was a student
1. Standard textbooks on Canadian history available at
university libraries and bookstores rarely contain any
references to the Spanish influenza pandemic or surrounding events.
2. Eileen Pcttigrew, The Silent Enemy, Canada and the
Deadly Ha of 1918, (Saskatoon: Western Producer
Prairie Books. 1983).
3. Petcigrew, The Silent Enemy, p. 4; W.I.B. Beveridge,
Influenza: The Last Great Plaque, (New York: Pn>
dist, 1977), p. 42; Janice P. Dkken McGinnis. The
Impact of Epidemic Influenza: Canada, 1918-1919.'
Medicine in Canadian Society. Historical Perspectives, ed. S.E.D. Shorn (Montreal: McGill-Queens
University Press, 1981). p. 447; Alfred W. Crosby Jr..
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 Table 2.  Reported incidences and mortality from Spanish influenza in the City of Victoria, British Columbia, 1918-1919, with respect to percentages of annual mortality and cases resolving in death.
Y«ar   City Population  Annual Death*
Number of
Influenza Cases
Number of       Percentage of     Percentage of
Influenza-      Annual Deaths     Influenza Cases
Related Deaths  Due to Influenza  Ending In Death
Sources:    "Health Officers Report," Annual Reports*
City of Victoria, B.C, 1918-1919. City Archives of Victoria.
Epidemic and Peace, 1918, (Westport: Greenwood
Press. 1976). p. 9.
4. Crosby, Epidemic and Peace, p. 10. Diseases that were
under some degree of control were smallpox, typhoid,
malaria, yellow fever, cholera, and diptheria.
5. Beveridge, Influenza, p. 1-10.
6. Influenza, like the common cold, was not a reportable
disease until after the pandemic
7. Beverige, Influenza p. 39-53.
8. Crosby, Epidemic, p. 26; Dicken McGinnis, "The Impact of Epidemic," p. 448.
9. Crosby, Epidemic p. 37-40. The mysterious nature of
smultaneous mutation has never been adequately
10. Beveridge. Influenza, p. 31
11. Crosby, Epidemic p. 5.
12. Edwin D. Kilbourne, "Epidemiology of Influenza," The
Influenza Viruses and Influenza, (San Francisco: Academic Press, 1975) 15,485-6.
13-   Pettigrew, The Silent Enemy, p. 8.
14.   Pettigrew. p. 9-21. The Department of Agriculture
administered the Quarantine Service until 1918. The
newly created Department of Health originated as a
result of the 1918 epidemic.
15-   "Spanish Influenza." The Dairy Colonist. September
12,1918, p. 1. After this time, even local influenza
news rarely made the front page.
17. "Guard against epidemic," The Dairy Colonist,
October 5,1918, p. 6.
18. "Prohibition of meetings to check spread of germs,"
Victoria Dairy Times (hereafter referred to as Times)
Oct. 8,1918, p. 7.
19. "City will act do check epidemic," The Dally Colonist,
October 8,1918, p. 4. Dr. Price strongly advocated
closure ban in Victoria, capital of British Columbia,
whereas Vancouver remained wide-open.
20. "Nurses required to deal with influenza cases," Times,
October 10,1918, p. 9. W. Beveridge cites evidence
that sunshine does indeed kill the influenza pathogen.
21. "Prohibition of meetings," Times, October 8,1918,
p. 7.
22. "Epidemic at zenith says Health Officer," Times, October 26,1918, p. 8. E. Pettigrew and other authors
confirm the fact that gauze masks were ineffective because people did not often sterilize them and wore them
mosdy for the benefit of the police.
23. Arthur G. Price, "Health Officer's Report," Annual
Reports for the year end December 31ft, 1918,
(Corporation of the City of Victoria, British Columbia,
1919), p. 88-100.
24. "How Boston fights Spanish "flu" with nature's remedies," Times, October 18,1918, p. 11.
25. Price, Annual Reports, p. 99.
26. "Nurses required," Times, October 10,1918, p. 9.
27. "Prohibition of Meetings," Times, October 8,1918, p.
7. Ballard, manager of Gordon's Ltd., Yates Street advertised his store was disinfected every twenty-four
28. , The Semi-Weekly Tribune, October 21,1918, p. 8.
29. "Nurses required," Times, October 10,1918, p. 9.
30.   "Influenza and alcohol," The Semi-Weekly Tribune,
October 24,1918, . Demand on alcohol was
so great that hotel proprietors were charged by police
with selling alcohol above the allowed 2.5% content.
31 ■   Price, Annual Reports, p. 89-93; Pettigrew, Silent Enemy, p. 76. They were the Kingston fire hall, Fairfield
fire hall at Five Points, and 1124 Fort Street residence.
32. Price, p. 89-90.
33. "Order-in-council cost six hundred dollars," Times,
October 25,1918, p. 13.
34. "Fifty- thousand dollars is cost of "Flu" for Province id
date," Times, November 18,1918, p. 8.
35. "Prohibition of meetings," Times, October 8,1918, p.
7; "Dr. Price's reply," Times, January 16,1919, p. 14.
36. "Dr. Price's warning," Times, November 1,1918, p. 7.
37. "Influenza ban may be totally lifted in week," Times,
November 16,1918, p. 13.
38. "School children suffered a higher frequency of influenza in December and January. Inattendance prompted
39. "Heavy death toll in terminal city," Times, November
27,1918, p. 9. Many complaints were made about
non-reporting of flu by doctors and citizens.
40. "Gave fine service during epidemic," Times, November
18,1918, p. 6. The Lady Douglas Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.) were
recognized for their service do soldiers at military camps
in Victoria. Earlier, the Tillicum Women's Institute
had opened a soup kitchen to provide broth and beef
tea for stricken mothers and children too ill for self-
Beveridge, W.I.B. Influenza: Hie Last Great Plague, An
unfinished story of discovery. New York: Prodist, 1977.
Canada, Dominion Bureau of Statistics.   The Canada Year
Book 1919. Ottawa: F.A. Acland, 1920, p. 111-118.
Collier, Richard. The Plague of the Spanish Lady, the
Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. London: MacMillan,
Crosby, Alfred W., Jr. Epidemic and Peace, 1918.
Westport: Greenwood Press, 1976.
Dicken McGinnis, J.P. "A City Faces and Epidemic,"
Alberta History, 24 (Autumn 1976), 1-11.
 . "The Impact of Epidemic Influenza: Canada
1918-1919, "Medicine in Canadian Society, Historical
Perspectives, ed., S.E.D. Shortt. Montreal' McGill-
Queens University Press, 1981.
Hopkins, J. Castell. "The Influenza Epidemic of 1918,"
The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1918.
Toronto: Canadian Annual Review Limited, 1919.
Kilbourne, Edwin D., ed. "The Influenza Viruses and
Influenza. San Francisco: Academic Press, 1975.
Pettigrew, Eileen. The Silent Enemy, Canada and the
Deadly Flu of 1918. Saskatoon: Western Producer Prairie
Books, 1983.
Price, Arthur G. "Health Officer's Report," Annual
Reports for the year end December 31,1918, (Corporation of the City of Victoria, British Columbia, 1919),
"Spanish Influenza," Tne Dairy Colonist, September 12,
1918, p. 1.
"Influenza finds hold of victims," Tne Dairy Colonist,
October 4,1918. p. 11.
"Drinking cups and towels at schools," The Dairy
Colonist, October 4,1918, p. 11.
"Guard against epidemic," The Daily Colonist, October
5,1918, p. 6.
"City will act to check epidemic," The Dairy Colonist,
October 8,1918, p. 4.
"Spanish influenza,* Hie Semi-Weekly Tribune, October
17,1918, p. 8.
"Influenza and alcohol," The Semi-Weeldy Tribune,
October 24,1918.
"Public schools and places may be closed," Tne Victoria
Dairy Times (hereafter referred to as the Times) October 7,
1918, p. 7.
"Prohibition of meetings to check spread of germs," Tunes,
October 10,1918, p. 7.
"Nurses required to deal with influenza cases," Times,
October 10,1918, p. 9.
"Number of cases still increasing," Times, October 11,
1918, p. 7.
"Decrease shown in influenza cases," Times, October 12,
1918, p. 9.
"Influenza continues to claim sufferers," Times, October
14,1918, p.7.
"Germ to small for microscope," Times, October 15,
1918, p. 3.
"Large increase in influenza cases," Times, October 15,
1918, p. 7.
"Germ prostrates many additional sufferers," Times,
October 16,1918, p. 15.
"Decrease today in new cases of influenza here," Times,
October 17,1918. p. 12.
"How Boston fights Spanish flu with nature's remedies,"
Times, October 18,1918, p. 11.
"Another view of the germs' regulation," Times, October
21,1918. p. 7.
"Relief hospitals will be opened up to combat epidemic,*
Times, October 21,1918, p. 15.
"Influenza epidemic considered on wane," Times, October
23.1918, p. 8.
"Order-in-council cost six hundred dollars each day,*
Times. October 25.1918. p. 13.
"Epidemic at zenith says health officer," Times, October
26,1918. p. 8.
"Dr. Price's warning," Times, November 1,1918, p. 7.
"Province sets its record for liquor sales in October,"
Times, November 1,1918, p. 7.
"Daily average of 'Flu' cases is low," Times, November 4,
1918, p. 7.
"Want ban on church services modified," Times, November 8.1918, p. 17.
"Lifting of ban not contemplated," Times, November 13,
1918, p. 8.
"Influenza ban may be totally lifted in week," Times, November 16.1918. p. 13.
"Fifty thousand is cost of'Flu' for Province to date,"
Times, November 18,1918, p. 8.
"Gave fine service during epidemic," Times, November 18,
1918, p. 6.
"Provincial cabinet removes ban today," Times, November
20,1918, p. 1.
"Heavy death toll in Terminal city," Times,November 27,
1918, p. 9.
"Schools close again on orders," Times, December 9,1918,
"Special circulars to all medical men," Times, January 2,
1919, p. 15.
"Increase in number of influenza cases," Times, January 6,
1919, p. 15.
"Dr. Price's reply," Times, January 16,1919, p. 14.
"Must report all influenza cases," Times, January 20,1919,
"Doctors debate ban's expediency," Times, January 25,
1919. p. 1.
"Education plans to halt influenza," Times, January 27,
1919. p. 13.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
16 Greer's of Burnaby
by Rosamond Greer
Not by heroic deed or great achievement did they alter the history of
Burnaby; but they were a part of it.
There were five of them, and I know
none will consider his years in the fledgling community of interest to any but
himself. So I take pen in hand to
record, in brief, their story, for I feel no
history of Burnaby would be complete
without mention of the name Greer.
The five were William John Jr. 0ack)>
Charles Chauncy Simon (Charlie), Albert Thistle 0Ted)> Hugh Sinclair
(Booie), and James Alexander Thomas
(Jim). Their story begins in Ireland in
the year 1907 when William John Greer
married Grace Letatia Johnston in the
city of Belfast. Within a year their first
child, William John Jr. was born.
From the onset of its history life in the
Emerald Isle has not been easy, and in
the early 1900s it was formidable indeed. Many a man ventured far from
hearth and home, sailing to North
America to seek his fortune. In 1911
John Greer left the shores of his homeland to undertake the long journey to
Canada, promising to send for his wife
and son as soon as he had settled there.
"You may be sure that is the last you
will see of him," was the dire prediction
of Grace's family, for that same parting
promise had been made to many a wife
and sweetheart, who never heard from
their men again. But within a few
months John sent for his wife and son,
and Grace left her home and family to
follow him, never to return.
John had found work in his vocation
as blacksmith with the C.P.R. in Vancouver, and had built a four-room house
at 4331 Oxford Street to shelter his wife
and son.
As the years passed, four more sons
were born to John and Grace, all in the
house on Oxford Street. Doctor Bell attended three of the birthings . . . and
almost attended all four. On Christmas
Day of 1916, just as the turkey dinner
was almost ready to be served, Grace
went into labour, and John dashed off
The Greer family of Burnaby - Portrait taken in 1922. Jim Greer, the baby.
to summons "Old Doc BeU", taking a
shortcut through an empty lot. It had
been raining for days, the ground was
saturated and slippery, it was dark, and
John fell into a newly-dug excavation.
The hole was so deep, and the surrounding wall of mud so slippery, he
couldn't get out, and there remained,
calling for help, for quite some time before his cries were heard and rescue
arrived. When he and Doctor Bell finally arrived at Grace's bedside it was to
find Hugh Sinclair safely delivered by
Mrs. Willcox, the next-door neighbour,
who, according to Doctor Bell, had
done "a fine job of it."
In due time all five of the Greer boys
attended Gilmore Avenue School, along
with the children of other Vancouver
Heights families (For many years the
area was referred to as Vancouver
Heights; later it became Burnaby
Heights; and to-day is sometimes called
Hastings Heights.) Their names mean
little now, but all belong in the account
of Burnaby's history: Waddell, Jones,
Milne, Wirick, Smith, Pummell, Briggs,
Blake, Porter, Bickle, Shantz, Cary,
McManus, Benson, Crosley, Fathergill,
Pritchard, Baxter, Williams. And so
many more, now long forgotten.
Most of the families had migrated
from varying parts of Great Britain and
Europe because life had been so difficult
in their homeland; but little was
changed for them in Canada. Money,
never abundant, became almost nonexistent; the Great Depression descended upon them; and the Municipality of
Burnaby went bankrupt. During those
years everyone worked hard, not to get
ahead, but to keep from going backwards. Mothers laboured to keep their
families clean and fed; fathers to fulfill
the awesome responsibility of providing
food and shelter for their wives and children; and the children left school to
work for wages of $7 or $8 a week just
as soon as a job could be found.
But life within the young community
was not without its pleasures. Activities
at the Vancouver Heights United
Church occupied much of Grace's spare
time; and shopping along Hastings
Street was a social event. It could take
her an entire morning just to purchase a
few groceries, depending upon how
many ladies had ventured forth that day.
B.C. Historical News - Fall-92 For the Heights was a warm and amiable community, and all were friends as
well as neighbours.
During the spring and summer
month, Harry Royle, who owned a grocery store at Hastings Street and
Ellesmere Avenue, sponsored a softball
team that provided entertainment for
the entire community. At various times
three of the Greer boys played on Harry's Softball Team, and Jim was awarded
the exalted position of Bat Boy. (Some
of life's greatest pleasures have no price.)
The enthusiastic spectators would arrive at a cleared area on the outskirts of
what later became Confederation Park
which had been designated "the soccer
field and baseball diamond", bringing
lounge chairs, picnic baskets, babies in
prams, and toddlers who played their
own games around the edge of the field.
None who reminisce about thrilling
games fail to mention Mrs. Grant, who,
accompanied by her six children, never
missed a game.
As soon as the softball season was over,
soccer was the game, and The Shamrocks the best team on the lower
mainland (or so I am told). But the
Shamrocks were only the beginning for
Booie, who went on to bring three gold
medals home to Burnaby from Dominion Championship competitions.
On hot summer days families went
swimming from The Sand Bar on Burrard Inlet, just a short distance from the
bottom of Willingdon Avenue; although
the kids considered skinny-dipping in
the cool, clear waters of Still Creek - or
the Vancouver Heights reservoir - much
more fun. And there was always Scotty
Redpath's herd of goats for amusement
if things got dull. Attempting to sneak a
ride on a goat without Scotty (or the
goat) objecting too strenuously was an
exciting challenge to liven up any day.
At the Regent Theatre on Hastings
Street the residents of Vancouver
Heights could, for a short time at least,
escape from their mundane existence for
the admission price of 25<f (5$ for the
kids). Each performance featured two
movies, cartoons, a news reel, and those
wonderful pre-television soap opera
thrillers called Serials. On Wednesday
nights each adult attending received a
free piece of china, and most of the table
settings   in   the   Vancouver   Heights
homes looked remarkably alike.
In 1927 John Greer built a new home
for his family at the corner of Pandora
Street and Willingdon Avenue. It was
in this house that he died in 1934.
Burdened with medical bills, Grace became a victim of the times, and lost her
home to the mortgage company.
The years passed; Grace's sons bought
her a new house on Triumph Street;
and World War II began. Three of the
Greer boys left Burnaby for a while:
Ted in the Army, Jim in the Navy, and
Booie in the Air Force. By God's good
grace (and in answer to the fervent
prayers of their reverent mother), they
returned safely - to don yet another
uniform, that of the B.C. Electric. In
1946 there were four Greer boys (Charlie, Ted, Booie and Jim) operating
street cars in Vancouver and Burnaby.
A favourite route was running the little
"trolley" up Hastings Street from Boundary Road to the end of the line at
Ellesmere Avenue, every passenger a familiar one; many of whom will never
forget those hair-raising rides when the
operator of the trolley (but of course
not any of the Greer boys) experimented to see just how fast it could careen
down the hill without flying off the
Burnaby as it once was, and the people who made it that way, were not
known to me; but I have been told
about them so often they are certainly
not strangers. In 1950, two years after I
married Jim Greer, we moved into our
home on Capitol Hill - on Holdom
Avenue, just a short distance from
Grace's fourth and final Burnaby home.
Each time we travelled through The
Heights a house would be pointed out,
and a story would begin, "I remember .
. . ." Jim Greer had known just about
everybody living in Vancouver Heights.
He had helped the Blenburn Dairy
milkman distribute his wares from a
horse-drawn wagon; he had delivered
Liberty magazine, the Saturday Evening
Post, the News Herald, and Piggly-
Wiggly grocery orders on his bicycle.
Later he had worked for Roy's Meat
Market as delivery boy; and still later
was promoted to the role of butcher in
the store. He remembers who first
lived in many of the houses on The
Heights, although their occupants have
changed many times since then.
He has so many stories to tell of those
bygone days; of Christmases that began
with a hike up Capitol Hill to find the
best tree among the thousands covering
the hill; of the Hallowe'en he and his
pals moved outhouses just a few feet
from their holes - and of the neighbour
who, no doubt in too much of a rush to
notice, fell in; of the day a notorious
U.S. bank robber named Bagley held
up Harry Royle's store and was chased
all the way into Vancouver before being
One of my favourites begins, "One
Saturday morning when I was about
twelve ....": still suffering from a bad
cold that had kept him from school all
week, but feeling well enough to be allowed out of doors, he ran off to his
favourite play-ground, the dense forest
that spread over land now occupied by
the Burnaby Heights school building,
McGill Library, Confederation Seniors'
Centre and Confederation Park. There
. he fished for a while in the stream flowing through the woods that often
brought forth a delicious brown trout,
then walked deep into the forest to
check his animal trap. He found the
trap closed tight, and inside a wild and
ferocious beast - a very large skunk -
which he promptly drowned in the
creek (but not without a struggle). Deprived of the sense of smell due to his
cold, he proudly carried his prize home.
His mother off shopping, his brothers
at work, no one intervened as the enterprising lad transported his treasure into
the basement, there to skin it (no doubt
with visions of a skunk-skin cap, the
envy of all who beheld it).
The job done, he set forth to the matinee at the Regent Theatre with the
five-cent admission fee, garnered from
the sale of a milk bottle pilfered from a
neighbour's porch. There, so absorbed
in the adventures of Hopalong Cassidy
was he that he was not aware of anything amiss until he felt himself being
propelled into the aisle by Mr. Tommy
Thompson, the one-armed manager of
the theatre, who was holding him by
the ear with the one very strong hand
he did possess. In the fleeting moment
still left him within the theatre before
finding himself transported out the
front door and onto the street, he real-
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
18 ized that not one soul remained within a
large circle of where he had been sitting.
Mr. Thompson's vociferous instructions to, "Get out of here and stay out -
you are stinking up my theatre!" hurt to
the quick; but not nearly as much as his
family's reaction to the stench that permeated their home for weeks to come.
All are gone now: the Regent Theatre,
the swimming holes, the forest, the funny litde street car that wobbled its way
along Hastings Street, many of the people. Of the five Greer boys, only Jim
remains in Burnaby, living now on land
through which Eagle Creek flows on its
way from Burnaby Mountain to Burnaby Lake. Robert Haddon, who
purchased the property on Government
Road in 1919, often found arrowheads
and pieces of tools and pottery as he dug
in his garden, for many years ago Coast
Indians would stop to rest by the waters
of Eagle Creek as they journeyed between NewWestminster and Port
Burnaby is celebrating its Centennial -
perhaps not very old compared to many
communities within this vast land. But
old enough to have gathered a rich history of the achievements of thousands of
people who have lived within its boundaries: their talents and labours, joys and
sorrows, triumphs and tragedies, all contributing to what the municipality has
Happy Birthday, Burnaby - here's to
the next 100!
The author was born and raised in Vancouver,
then served in the WRCNS 1943-1946. She
wrote The Gjr/f offhe Kings Navy, published in
1983 by Sono Nis Press, and still writes for local
Creston Town Council began to think of conservation of local history in the early
1960s when their records exceeded their filing space. A filing cabinet was purchased for "archives" and installed in the library. Volunteer librarians dutifully tucked
away records but gave no further consideration to them. Meanwhile private collectors were acquiring local artifacts for a Pioneer Museum at Yahk, 25 miles east of
Creston. Many residents donated items, while some insisted on a small payment for
their contributions.
The Yahk Museum appeared to be doing well for a year or two then rumors circulated about impending failure and a possible sale. These rumblings grew more
persistent and Creston residents set up a chant, "We can't let those artifacts go!"
The Chamber of Commerce became interested when indeed receivership notices
surfaced. Rae Masse, who had worked at Fort Steele Historic Park urged Creston-
ites to have an official inventory of artifacts done before an auctioneer set foot on
the property. After many phone calls to Victoria an angry Chamber member explained the urgency of the situation to Evan Wolfe, then Provincial Secretary. Wolfe
phoned back, Two workers will be there to start work on Monday morning. Please
provide them with half a dozen helpers."
Creston's only lawyers were already involved with the receivership of the Yahk
property, so the emerging Creston Historical Society tried two or three suggested alternates before finding that Mickey Moran of Castlegar was interested and available
within the few days before the auction was scheduled. That sale of contents had to
be stopped at all costs. Moran directed action which included putting security
guards on the Yahk property 24 hours a day. The RCMP cooperated supplementing their own personnel with deputized volunteers from Creston. Auction day saw
dozens of would-be-buyers arrive and leave disappointed. The Creston group had a
whirlwind fund raising campaign because they had to make a counter offer. The receivers accepted the $32000 proffered, approximately one third of anticipated
amount. Now all the artifacts had to be moved.
Swan Valley Foods had a large warehouse empty on the flats, so artifacts were
transferred there. The small artifacts were packaged by volunteers. Vehicles and
farm machinery was loaded onto every sort of truck. A railway engine was placed
aboard a flatbed, and despite attempts to find a permanent display area, this, too,
went into the warehouse. Masse again advised: this time insisting on an efficient
cataloguing and marking of every artifact. Two winter works manpower projects
were needed to complete this. The warehouse was sold. New shelter was found in
Canyon on the other side of town. Everything was moved except the locomotive.
The Creston Historical Society explored many alternatives to find a permanent museum building. They were most attracted to The Stone House." but the executors of
the estate wanted $135,000 for the property. Finally the price came down to
$100,000. The group raised $50,000 in personal loans and were granted a $50,000
loan (at 1/4% over prime) by the bank of Commerce. The stone house was renovated and readied by volunteers. A Provincial grant was obtained to build a huge
storage building adjacent, various manpower grants allowed much progress. Fund
raising over the ten years took considerable energy, with Bingo the most consistent
source of cash, but the sponsors celebrated by "burning the mortgage" on March 29,
The Creston Museum came into existence in less-then-conventional circumstance.
Editor Herb Legg of the Creston Review refused to publish any account of the 1971
acquisition "because it was barely legal", but he willed the press from his newspaper
to the group. The Creston Museum, only V2 block off Hwy. #3, has many displays
including a collection of talking mannequins. These mannequins were programmed
by Ted Lapins who came to Creston after working on displays at Expo 67 in Montreal. The stofy of this Museum may tempt the reader to visit this Kootenay town.
This Is a summary ot tho report to tho Annual Mooting (March 1992) by President Cyril Colonel.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 Trail's Italian Tradition
by Elsie G. Turnbull
Lower Beyers Lane (The Gulch) 1963.
From overcrowded city states and
provinces Italian immigrants came to
America, looking for jobs, for the adventure of a new life, or to join relatives
already there. Once across the ocean
they dispersed over the continent
wherever opportunity beckoned. One
of the lures was the smelter city of Trail
in the West Kootenay district of British
Columbia. Firstcomers were from
northern and central Italy, from Friuli,
Venezia, Toscana, Abruzzi, Campobas-
Rock oven used by Italians for cooking while constructing rail line alon Kootenay Lake - 1890s.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
so, but after WWII the majority came
from the south - Calabria and Sicily.
Between these two groups, rivalry was
intense. Many northerners, leaving a
fertile land with a rich cultural heritage
considered themselves superior to residents of the rocky, more barren land to
the south. Some people claimed that
those born in central Italy were apt to
be tradesmen, merchants, shopkeepers
with an eye for business. Be that as it
may, each Italian province marked its
inhabitants, imprinting them with different customs and habits. Nowhere
was this more noticeable than in the
field of cooking where each locality had
a favorite dish and its own way with flavouring, spicing and combining foods.
In the new homeland of Canada all
methods became accepted as "Italian
One of the first Italians to establish a
family in Trail was Isaaco Georgetti.
Born in Tuscany he moved about
southern Europe and northern Africa
before emigrating to America where his
wanderings took him to California, Nevada and Montana. In Butte he found
work in a copper smelter owned by Fritz
Heinze. When the latter built a smelter
in Trail to treat ores from the Rossland
mines Georgetti was one of the workmen who followed him to British
Others came to work on the railway
built by Heinze and sold to Canadian
Pacific in 1898. Guiseppe (Joe) Gerace
arrived in 1896, helping to construct the
narrow gauge tramway from smelter to
mines in Rossland. He worked for the
C.P.R for over thirty years and left children and grandchildren in Trail.
At an early date the Lauriente brothers, Camille, Tomas and Mike, left the
walled hilltop town of Agnone in the
province of Campobasso to come to the
Kootenays. They worked as section
foremen for the CPR at Bonnington
Falls and South Slocan. Camille Lauriente in his book, "Chronicles of
Camille" tells of how they lived beside
the railway and cooked for themselves
before wives and families came out from
Italy. Baking was done in an outdoor
oven made of rocks with a brick floor.
Such ovens were used by crews building
the rail line and today remains of them
can be found in isolated spots. For
making bread, the yeast dough was
mixed in a pail with starter from a former batch, and left by the stove to rise
overnight. Next day a fire was built on
the floor of the oven. When the bricks
became hot the fire was raked out and
the loaves put in to bake. To go with
this substantial bread, trout were taken
from the river, rabbits and grouse snared
in the forest. At the earliest opportunity
they planted vegetable gardens and soon
had to buy only basic staples such as
Nearly 400 Italians came to Trail during the first decade, drawn by the
possibility of jobs in smelter and refinery. They settled in the narrow slash
between Smelter Hill and the flank of
Lookout Mountain where Trail Creek
had cut a channel to the Columbia River. Residents were squatters on a land
grant to the Columbia & Western Railway. Years later they were able to buy
these lots and trim residences replaced tiny cottages. Houses rose one above
the other on slopes held back with cribbing and low concrete walls. Every
householder cultivated tidy plots of
corn, tomatoes, beans, and zucchinis,
bordered with herbs such as basil, orega-
no or rosemary. Potted geraniums or
petunias edged verandas or steps while
grapes ripened in arbor or trellis against
a house wall. Trail Creek was enclosed
in a flume, and years later, the railway
tracks were taken up so those in "The
Gulch" had a bit more space.
In April 1905 gregarious, volatile, fun
loving Italian families organized the
Cristoforo Columbo Lodge. In it they
found an oudet for their love of music,
drama, and sports. Festive occasions included food and drink; banquets at
Columbo Hall were renowned throughout the area. The Sisters of Columbo
took great pride in preparing the clear
soups, spaghetti and meat balls topped
with tangy tomato sauce and grated
Parmesan, great platters of fried chicken
and lettuce tasty with beads of oil and
vinegar. Red and white wine, sweet or
dry, was served with the meal which
ended (as a concession to Canadian
tastes) with a slice of Neopolitan cake or
perhaps ice cream.
Italian householders made their own
wine for daily consumption. The children of the family would pick
dandelions in the spring, chokecherries,
elderberries, and huckleberries in season. The fruit with sugar and water was
put to ferment in a barrel in the basement. When ready the 'mother' liquor
was run off and bottled as a first class
product. More water was added to the
remaining mash and soon a second run
of lighter grade with less flavor was bottled for drinking every day. The last of
the mash was distilled, resulting in a
product of high alcoholic content
known as "grappa." Making grappa was
illegal so the distilling apparatus was
usually hidden in the back of the woodshed or a hillside cave.
Tnil housewives strived to duplicate
the specialties of their native province.
All prepared antipasto, a variety of
breads, and a Christmas fruit loaf baked
in a tall mould. Neopolitans introduced
the pizza while Calabrese made "crosto-
li" and "scallele" (the latter a rich cookie
boiled in oil and dipped in honey.)
From Abruzzi came the lacy cookie
known as "pizzelle" or its companion,
"cialde." It was cooked in a special
long-handled mould which turned a
spoonful of dough into a crisp confection like a bit of patterned parchment.
Tuscans favored ravioli and gnocchi.
Truly these cooks were artists in flavors,
creating delights to palate and stomach.
They are keeping alive a culinary heritage from the past.
This article is an edited version of one prepared
for Western Living magazine, March 1977. It is
reproduced with permission of the editor, Paula
The Stone Castle
Not everyone is satisfied to live in a
community whose houses are all of a
pattern, huddled together in conventional style. Many people dream of an ideal
home, scaled to their own demands or
based on memory of past happy associations. One man who had such a dream
was Giovanni Vendramini whose fate
decreed that he would spend most of his
life in Trail, British Columbia, far from
his native northern Italy. Recalling a
stone mansion near his boyhood home
in the Piave River valley he sought to
build a replica of it for his family. He
failed to achieve his vision but his effort
became a landmark in the town, known
to neighbors in the neat rows of cottages
nearby, as The Castle.
Born in 1886 in Nervesa della Batta-
glia, Giovanni Vendramini learned the
trade of stone mason. As a young man
of 24 he went to California in 1910 to
work on the railroad but returned to
serve four years in the Italian Army during the first World War. He married in
1915.   Three children, two boys and a
by Elsie G. Turnbull
girl were born to the couple but after
the war it became more and more difficult for Giovanni to find jobs and feed
his family. Continued pressure from
the Mussolini government to join the
Fascist party convinced him it would be
wise to leave Italy while he still had immigration privileges abroad.
Accordingly in 1923 he emigrated to
British Columbia where he found employment as a bricklayer in the Trail
Trail was situated on the banks of the
Columbia River, a stream known to explorers as the Great River of the West
which had carried detritus from the
mountains along its course to the sea. A
concentration of rocks and gravel on the
flats of East Trail gave Giovanni the material suitable for building his dream
After working at the smelter for a year
he sent fares for Antonia and the children, then 8, 6 and 4 years of age, to
join him. When their landlady evicted
them from a rented cottage he bought a
plot of land on the far side of the Columbia in East Trail beneath the
shadow of Mt. Heinze and began building a log cabin for the family. Forced to
move in before he had quite completed
it Antonia put up heavy blankets to
keep out the snow and wind. Shortly
afterward the younger boy Corrado
came down with rheumatic fever and
his mother, overwhelmed with stress of
his illness and her struggle with language difficulties went back to Italy. As
well as the sick boy she took her daughter Gina but left 9-year old Alfonso with
his father so his education would not be
Then Giovanni began the fantastic undertaking to construct his dream house,
working only in his spare time. Using
sand and rocks found on his lot he had
to purchase only cement, and he made
his own wheelbarrow and scaffolds. After digging a basement 2.74m. (9 ft.)
deep he with the help of his son and
neighbor boys wheeled rocks to form a
structure 12.2m. (40ft.) long, 6.7m. (22
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 qualified engineer from Victoria proved
reassuring. He was surprised to find
that the setting of rocks and cement was
similar to that used by the ancient Romans. He concluded that all of Trail
might collapse but the East Trail Castle
would remain standing!
After sending money to Italy to pay
for the fares of his wife and daughter to
join him in Canada Giovanni had little
to spend on the unfinished building.
Advised that once he added the roof taxes would be high and a forced
completion probable, he shelved plans
for finishing and set to work to replace
the cabin he and his son had occupied
the past nine years. Built next door to
the castle it was a less pretentious domicile but definitely possessed a
Mediterranean atmosphere with its
walls, outdoors
stairway and
round-arched entrance porch.
Here the Ven-
contentedly raised
their remaining
son and daughter,
Alfonso and Gina,
ignoring the
gaunt roofless
building     beside
The Stone Castle and Residence, East Trail, B.C. This was taken in 1966 before complete finishing.
ft.) wide with walls 48.3cm. (19 inches)
thick. All walls were reinforced with
steel rings while flooring on the first
floor was of concrete. Toiling until late
at night after a full-time shift at the
smelter he carried on the back-breaking
job as his wife delayed returning to Trail
because of her young son's illness. Vowing to keep building until she came back
Giovanni piled up four more stories, not
completely finished but with wood
beams and gaping holes for windows.
Nine long years would pass before Antonia returned to Trail after the death of
her sickly son in 1933.
By now the strange stone structure,
open to sky and weather and towering
over houses of the neighbors made them
fearful of its stability but inspection by a
Giovanni never finished his castle, but
proud of his handiwork he offered it for
sale, hoping that someone would recognize its quality construction. Twenty-
five years later he would say: "It's just as
sound as the day it was built!" Those
words were to prove true. After Giovanni Vendramini died in the spring of
1963, a man of 77, the building was
purchased by a fellow Italian whose son-
in-law turned it into a modern dwelling.
A carpenter and bricklayer, the new
owner put a two-bedroom apartment on
each floor, panelling the soundproof
walls, filling in some window spaces and
adding a side projection with balconied
entrance doorways. By 1985 the stone
walls that once were part of the Columbia riverbed are hidden beneath a coat of
cream colored stucco. Dark brown metal edges the flat roof. Windows are
unusually high and narrow, plumb in
line, while the straightness of the corner
walls shows that their builder was an expert mason who knew his trade. A
comfortable apartment house, Giovanni's Castle now blends unnoticed into
the neighborhood and East Trail residents see no relationship with stone
mansions in Italy. His dream has become part of a more practical world.
Elsie Turnball now lives in Victoria. For many
years she was a resident of Trail where she became
die official historian of die Smelter City.
Note from Surrey
Historical Society
The Surrey Historical Society is updating the publication of the 1978 text
"The Surrey Story" by Fern Treleaven.
The 1992 version will have 32 more
pages and photos of the last thirteen
years of Surrey's history. The book will
be in soft cover with a photo of early
Surrey as the cover. The publication
will be released near the end of 1992
with an estimated cost of fifteen dollars. The sales of "Rivers, Roads and
Railways" also by Fern Treleaven continues to be popular with the local
residents and is also In good supply
and sells for five dollars, and thirty-five
cents for GST.
Best Regards,
Wayne Desrochersj
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
22 The Chilliwack: The River That
Couldn't Be Tamed
On November 8-9, 1990, a record
333.6 mm of rain fell within a 24-hour
period, as recorded at the Hope weather
station. For the second year in a row,
the Chilliwack River flooded its banks,
washed out roads, and carried away
houses and vehicles.
Chilliwack River Valley residents and
some environmentalists charged that
clearcut logging was the cause of the
flooding. A 1990 report commissioned
by the Ministry of Forests exonerated
the forest industry from blame for the
practice of clearcutting, but indicated
that road-building on steep slopes, and
failure to properly maintain logging
roads, resulted in increased sedimentation of the Chilliwack-Vedder system.1
Several journalists and concerned citizens contacted the Chilliwack Archives
in order to understand whether the
flooding was a recent phenomenon
caused by logging, or whether it had historical precedents.
Recent engineering and geographical
studies suggest that the flooding was
caused by several factors, interacting in
a complex manner, and that the data
has not yet been gathered to explain it
Climatic conditions are certainly a major factor in the flooding. The Cascade
Mountains capture precipitation from
moist westerly winds, often unpredictably. Heavy rainstorms followed by flash
floods are especially common during the
late autumn and early winter. Flooding
can also be caused by the rapid melting
of the snowpack at higher elevations
during warm spells in the early summer.
The geomorphology of the valley is
also an important consideration in understanding the causes of flooding. For
most of its length between Chilliwack
Lake and Vedder Crossing, the river
flows over glacial deposits of sand and
gravel, which are soft and prone to erosion. There are only a few places where
by Jim Bowman
its bed consists of solid bedrock or is
"paved" with large boulders. During
flood events, sediment is invariably
transported downstream to form new
bars in the river bed. In some reaches,
such as immediately above the Vedder
Bridge, the width of the river bed results in lateral instability.3
After it passes through the narrow gap
at Vedder Crossing, the river forms a
conical alluvial fan (or "delta"). Historically, several different channels have
served as the main outlets of the river,
including Chilliwack Creek, Luckakuck
Creek, and Atchelitz Creek. Since
1894, the former Vedder Creek has
been the main outlet, and below the
bridge at Vedder Crossing, it is known
as the Vedder River.
At the time of the arrival of the first
Europeans, Chilliwack Creek was the
main channel. This waterway meanders
through the present-day urban area of
Chilliwack and enters the Fraser just
west of the town. The Chilukweyuk
River, as it was originally called, was the
main route used by the Chilliwack Indians, and by the Royal Engineers during
their 1859 survey of the Canada-U.S.
Pioneer Chilliwack historian Horatio
Webb settled in Chilliwack in 1870 and
lived in the community until his death
in 1936. He was one of the few pioneers who recorded the shifts in the
course of the river.
In an essay written late in his life,
Webb recalled that the Vedder was originally "a shallow stream only a few
inches deep and ten or twelve feet
wide." According to a diary kept by
Volkert Vedder, muddy water first began to appear in the creek on March 8,
1873 - an indication that some Chilliwack River water was then entering the
Coqualeetza Creek was the original
name of the stream which presently
VedderRiverHotel'- 1915, with log cribbing for flood protection.
Photo courtesy of Chilliwack Archives.
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92 flows along Vedder Road into Sardis.
There it divided into two streams -
Kitsey Sly Slough, which flowed northward into the Chilliwack River; and
Luckakuck Creek, which went northwest and also joined the Chilliwack
A beaver dam across the Luckakuck
had created a small pond in the area.
To increase the extent of his acreage, pioneer farmer A.C. Wells hired native
Indians to trap the beaver, and he broke
up the dam. This increased the flow of
the Luckakuck channel and deepened it.
As Webb wrote, "In some places where
the banks were only two to three feet,
(the channel) got to be eight to ten feet
On November 22, 1875 a heavy rainstorm resulted in what was perhaps the
most spectacular change in the recent
history of the river. On that night the
Chilliwack channel was blocked by a log
jam. The water was diverted equally
into the Vedder and Luckakuck channels. Overnight the Luckakuck channel
widened from fifty feet to 400 feet.
John Sicker, a neighbor of Webb's, lost
his life when the river bank suddenly
gave way. All of the community's
bridges were washed away, forcing settlers to resort to canoes for
Because of the devastation wrought by
the 1875 flood, and by an 1876 flood of
the Fraser, the first of many schemes to
control and divert the Chilliwack-
Vedder River was devised. Edgar
Dewdney, a civil engineer who later became Lieutenant-Governor of the
Northwest Territories, proposed a permanent diversion of the Chilliwack
River into the Luckakuck channel, with
a series of dykes to protect the Sumas
Prairie from the Fraser River floods.
This plan would have required the
Luckakuck to be trained into a deep and
straight channel, in order to prevent silting up. It would have been the simplest
of all possible flood control schemes,
but it was vigorously opposed by the
residents of Sardis (then called South
Chilliwack) who recognized that a permanently enlarged Luckakuck Creek
would divide their community and reduce the size of their farms. Wells,
Webb, and other Sardis farmers were
politically influential, and the government was pleased to have an excuse not
to spend the taxpayers' money. The
plan was abandoned.
Apparently,  the diversion of Chilliwack River water into the Luckakuck
was opposed in ways other than political. According to Fred Toop, the son of
a Sumas farmer, in 1882,
Someone dropped a big tree across
the head of these three streams (the
Chilliwack,   Luckakuck,   and   the
Atchelitz). When    this    tree
stretched across ... it soon formed
a jam and held the water up, (and)
poured  some  of it  through  the
country west into Sumas Lake.
Years later, Fred Toop's father happened to be sitting in the Royal Hotel
when he met the man who felled the
"I was well paid for doing it" and
he told him who the man was that
paid him, but I'm not revealing the
The Sumas (present-day Greendale)
farmers were equally concerned that the
river be prevented from flowing into
their low-lying fields. Soon a full-
fledged feud developed between the Sumas and Sardis groups.
One night the log jam on the Luckakuck was mysteriously dynamited. In
February 1889 when the Sardis farmers
attempted to restore the dam, they were
met with Sumas people carrying guns.
The Sardis people brought a civil action against the Sumas people claiming
that the Vedder was the natural channel. But, on appeal, Mr. Justice
McCreight decided for the Sumas farmers. In spite of this decision, the log jam
on the Luckakuck continued to build
up, and the Vedder continued to establish itself as the main channel.
Finally, the freshet of 1894 stopped
up the Luckakuck channel almost completely. As four Sumas farmers were
preparing to dynamite the log jam, the
Sardis farmers complained to the village
constable, and had them arrested.
The Sumas residents were eventually
acquitted, but at the same time a judicial decision was made to establish the
Vedder as the sole outlet of the Chilliwack River. Subsequently, the north
bank of the river at Vedder Crossing
was stabilized by building a rock-filled
crib across the entrance to the Luckakuck channel.8
By 1903 a permanent bridge was constructed at Vedder Crossing. A small
community developed there: the Vedder
River Hotel was a popular fishing resort
on the south bank, and Mrs. Grand operated a store on the north bank.
On November 30, 1909 a winter
storm washed away the bridge and
much of the cribbing which had been
constructed to protect the hotel. Undaunted, the Township of Chilliwhack'
immediately went to work on a new
All was well until December 29, 1917,
when the rainstorm accompanying the
1917 ice storm washed away Mrs.
Grand's store, the newly-built Vedder
Crossing Hall, and one of the spans of
the bridge.11
In 1918, a log-time dream was fulfilled when the B.C. government found
the political will and the funds to embark on the Sumas Lake reclamation
project. Although many different
schemes had been proposed, the one
that was finally accepted was Fred Sinclair's. The project involved diverting
the Vedder River into a straight, narrow
canal formed between two dykes. Sinclair designed the canal to be self-
scouring, although he foresaw the need
for occasional removal of gravel bars
near the mouth of the canal.12
The Sinclair plan was completed in
1924, protecting the vast area of Sumas
Prairie for intensive agriculture. Because the Vedder Canal dykes extended
eastward only as far as the B.C. Electric
Railway Bridge, the communities of
Yarrow and Greendale were still somewhat vulnerable. However, the
channelization of the river was improved in 1930, when a meander bend
was cut off, and in 1932, when the
North Vedder Dyke was extended eastward to Vedder Crossing.
Floods still occasionaUy occurred on
the river, and the Township of Chilliwack and other agencies attempted to
stabilize it by dredging sediment from
the bed onto the banks or by constructing wingdams.
These projects were undertaken frequently,  but they were usually only
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92
24 short-term reactions to crisis situations.
Without an agency to plan and fund
long-term flood control projects, the
work tended to be ineffectual. Another
problem was interference with the
spawning beds of salmon and steelhead.
As early as 1956 the federal Department
of Fisheries protested the obstruction of
a side channel by the Township. In response to commercial and sport fishing
concerns, the Department began to exert more authority in the late 1960's,
and removal of material from the river
bed was curtailed.13
In the latter half of the twentieth century, major flood events had become
less frequent. 1951 and 1975 were the
only years in which property damage
was caused. Perhaps Chilliwack citizens
had been lulled into a false sense of security, and were surprised by the
encounters with nature's fury in 1989
and 1990.
The question of whether clearcut logging is the cause of flooding can be
answered from analysis of the historical
record. Disastrous floods have actually
decreased in frequency since the 1930's
when clearcut logging on a large scale
began in the Chilliwack River Valley,
This does not excuse the forest industry
from responsibility for proper stewardship of the land, however. Damage to
the Chilliwack river system through sedimentation can be lessened by proper
maintenance of logging roads, avoiding
construction of roads on steep slopes,
and by leaving forested strips along
The build-up of sand and gravel on
the river bed continues to be a problem,
particularly in the section between the
Vedder Bridge and Yarrow. Because the
river is naturally too meandering and
braided to be self-scouring, periodic removal of sediment is necessary to
prevent overflows during flood events.
To avoid damage to the important
spawning beds, dredging during July
and August has been recommended by
at least one engineering study.
"Taming the Chilliwack" has been one
of the goals of Fraser Valley residents for
over a century. Millions of dollars have
been spent on dykes, rockwork, and
dredging to accomplish this goal. Yet,
the river still confounds "the best-laid
plans of mice and men." We can never
The flood of 1917—18 resulted in the collapse of the Vedder Crossing community halt
A few days later the Grand Store was also washed away.
Photo courtesy Chilliwack Archives.
be sure of our ability to control such a
powerful force. The danger of the river
can be lessened to some extent, through
a co-ordinated and informed effort of all
communities-of-interest in our society.
But in the long run the responsibility
rests with individuals to be wary of the
potential for disaster.
The spelling of Chilliwhack" is correct- between 1908
and 1980 there were two different municipalities; the
Township of Chilliwhack and the City of ChiUiwack.
In 1980 they- anulgamted to form the District of
Chilliwack Progress, December 1,1909, p. 2; December 8,1909, p. 1.
Chilliwack Progress, January 10,1918, pp. 1-2.
Louise Shaw, "Transforming Landscapes: Fred Sinclair,
Engineer", Chilliwack Museum Sc Historical Society
Newsletter, June 1989, pp. 4-5.
McLean, pp. 13,175.
Jim Bowman is Archivist at the Chilliwack Archives. An earlier version of diis article appeared
in the Chilliwack Museum & Historical Society
Newsletter. Spring 1991. When assisting Helen
Borrell in her research of "The Silver Thaw" he
was inspired to submit this to the B.C. Historical
1. Peter Jordan and Associates, Hydrology of the November 1989 Chilliwack River Flood and Some
Observations on the Impact of Forest Management,
reported in The Chilliwack Progress Weekender, November 24,1990, p. 3.
2. David George McLean, Flood Control and Sediment
Transport Study of the Vedder River. Unpublished
M.A.Sc thesis, University of British Columbia, 1980,
3. McLean, pp. 45-49.
4. Horatio Webb, "History of the Chilliwack River with
the Vedder and Luckakuck as I Saw Them in 1870."
Unpublished manuscript, ChiUiwack Archives, Add.
MSS. 9, p. 1. Vedder's diary has disappeared since
Webb's essay was written.
5. Webb, p. 4.
6. Webb, p. 7.
7. FredToop, interviewed by Sara Henning, 1973. ChU-
Uwack Archives, Add. MSS. 110.
8. McLean, p. 9.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 /. T. Scott and the Pioneer Saloon
by MarkMcCaig
The events connected with the colonization of British Columbia go back
barely a hundred and fifty years, and yet
this rich heritage is slipping through our
fingers. Every year more attics are
cleaned out, and no doubt priceless artifacts and documentation are committed
to the land fill. The lives and deeds of a
few statesmen and soldiers has been adequately documented. Future generations
will have no trouble learning about Governor Douglas or Colonel Moody.
There were other pioneers who made
important contributions to the develop
ment of the colony. Their life histories
can now only be put together with some
difficult research and less clarity than we
might desire. One of these was the multi-talented John Thomas Scott.
J.T. Scott was born in Dunoon, Scotland on October 13, 1821. His father
was Colonel of the Duke of Athol's
Guards and his mother was Agnes Turner of Edinburgh. When J.T. was twelve
his father died and the family sent him
to live with his uncle in the West Indies
for one or two years. Upon his return to
the British Isles, he proceeded to London
where he enlisted in the thirteenth Argyleshire Rifles as a musician. Directly, his
outfit shipped out for Halifax, where he
was involved in the outfitting of the Halifax citadel with new guns.
Chronologically his time in Halifax
was somewhere around 1837 - 1840.
Next he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here he made the first of his many
lodge connections, joining the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
In or around 1846 J.T. joined the U.S.
army to fight the Mexicans. For reasons
not currently known, he enlisted using
his home town as a surname. Throughout his service he went by the name John
T. Dunoon, even drawing his pension
under this alias. Several newspaper accounts report that J.T. was wounded and
captured during the siege of Acapulco.
A review of contemporary sources relating    to    the     1846-1848     Mexican/
X *
CoLJ.T. Scott
American war yield no references to any
siege or battle fought in or around Acapulco. Further the' campaign maps
show no indication that any American
soldier was anywhere near Acapulco
which is on the west coast. Most of the
campaigning occurred in the north east
corner of present day Mexico. The
main effort centered on Mexico City
and Vera Cruz on the east coast. There
was a siege of Vera Cruz and it is probable that this is where J.T. was
wounded and captured. While he was
in the hands of the Mexicans, J.T.
learned Spanish. He then convinced
his captors that he would lead them
into the American lines. The Mexican
attack was defeated in a resounding
manner and J.T. was promoted to sergeant for luring the Mexicans into the
trap .
In 1848 Sergeant Scott was discharged from the U.S. army in Mexico.
In later years around New Westminster
he was known as Colonel Scott. Only
one account examined so far gives a
source for this title. In his obituary
published by the Province February 17,
1908 it is stated that the title of Colonel was  acquired  in  the U.S.  army
during the Mexican war. In the absence of substantive proof, this claim
must be discounted. In the U.S. army
of the 1800s the overwhelming majority of the officers were graduates of West
Point. To suggest that a foreign born
private soldier could rise to the rank of
Colonel in less than two years is near
the outer limits of credibility. Until definitive proof is available, the title of
Colonel Scott must be considered honorary. ("Colonel" was also a common
nickname at that time.)
In 1848 J.T. was discharged from the
army and headed north to the California gold rush. He had little success as a
prospector so he went into the saloon
business, becoming proprietor of the
Bluebell in Stockton, California. For a
time it appeared that J.T. would settle
down in Stockton. He was involved in
the local militia, becoming a captain in
the Stockton Blues. On June 1, 1857
he married Elizabeth Williams, daughter of Rees Williams a prominent
Shortly after his wedding gold was
discovered on the Fraser river in British
Columbia. J.T. may have been among
the first batch of American fortune
hunters to arrive on board the Commodore that docked in Victoria on April
25, 1858. If J.T. was not one of the
sixty British subjects who arrived that
day, his appearance was not much delayed. Upon arrival J.T. obtained
employment with Mr. George Richardson of the Victoria Hotel, then located
at the corner of Government and
Courtney streets.
After working a short time he was
able to sent for his wife and first born
son John R The family proceeded to
the Fraser and took up land in present
day New Westminster. In AprU 1859
J.T. Scott opened the doors for business
of the Pioneer Saloon. This was on the
site now occupied by the Army and
Navy Department store on Columbia
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92
26 His new saloon was the first establishment of its kind in the mainland colony
of British Columbia. J.T. was definitely
in on the ground floor. The proclamation by Governor Douglas that a new
capitol for the mainland colony would
be laid out on the north bank of the
Fraser, had been issued on February 14,
1859. Only six to ten weeks later,
Colonel. Scott was on the spot serving
drinks. Perhaps it would be more realistic to say that the Pioneer Saloon
opened its tent flap in April 1859. Despite his alacrity, J.T. had already
missed the best part of the gold rush in
the lower Fraser valley. His experience
in California had taught him that in a
gold rush it is easier to make money
provisioning and entertaining the miners than actually digging in the ground.
So before he set out for the Cariboo diggings, he acquired a diverse collection of
business interests. Aside from the Pioneer Saloon, he leased a section of the
water front that was later known as Pioneer Wharf. He started a contracting
company that built wharves, houses and
cleared bush. He also acted as an agent
for the sale of coal and wood.
From the beginning in New Westminster Colonel Scott was involved in every
conceivable community activity. Over
the years these would include amateur
theatrical productions, sporting events,
the May Day celebrations and many
Early in 1862, he headed up to the
Cariboo to try his luck. He worked his
own claim as well as in association with
a Mr. Weaver and "Cariboo" Cameron.
During the summer of 1862 the British
Columbian carried a number of entries
in the "Local Intelligence" column.
These reported that J.T. was having
considerable success in his efforts. In
September there was word that the
Colonel had been injured in a mining
accident. The subsequent issue contained the welcome news that the injury
was not as serious as first thought. He
returned to New Westminster arriving
on Wed. Oct. 15, 1862 on board the
steamer Colonel Moody. It was reported that forty thousand of the two
hundred thousand dollars worth of gold
on board, was the property of Colonel
He invested his windfall in a number
of ventures, among these he converted
the Pioneer Theater to a billiard hall,
bringing in three fine billiard tables
from Phelan and Co. of San Francisco.
The best part of his gold earnings went
into the steamboat business. In association with Captain John R Flemming
he ordered the construction of the
steamboat Lillooet. She was launched
in Victoria on September 12, 1863 and
thereafter made regular freight and passenger runs between New Westminster
and Douglas.
At the end of the following month,
Colonel Scott announced his retirement from the saloon business. He
leased the Pioneer Saloon to J. Ellard
and J. H. Brown who had recently received their discharge from the Royal
Engineers. It appears that Ellard and
Brown were not greatly successful in
the saloon business. Their ad appeared
intermittently into 1864, then nothing.
Brown's fate is completely unknown, J.
Ellard later operated a general store on
Front street. The status of the saloon is
unknown for a fuzzy period ending on
September 21, 1865 when J. T. Scott
again assumed his place behind the bar.
Meanwhile J.T. Scott had no trouble
staying busy, on December 11, 1863 he
was elected Captain of the Hyack fire
department. He was to hold this post
for two one year terms. The steamer
Lillooet made regular runs up and
down the Fraser carrying passengers
and freight.
Although Colonel Moody and others
had pressed the governor for the construction of a road linking New
Westminster and Burrard Inlet, their
early attempts met with failure. Finally
in the fall of 1864 the contract was
awarded to J.T. Scott. The job was initially estimated to be for nine miles of
road. J.T. bid $1800.00 (U.S.) a mile
for a total of $16,200.00. All timber
was to be cut down, the entire width of
the road allowance, and piled not
burnt. Securing a labor force that winter was not a problem. The Cariboo
gold rush was past its peak and many
miners had come to New Westminster
for the winter. So Colonel Scott set to
work with a crew of 150 men. It was a
severe winter with unusually high rainfall. The contract called for a bridge
over Deep Creek of 66 feet. When the
crew reached the area, they found it so
badly flooded that a bridge of 1188 feet
was needed. With the consent of
Thomas Spence the government road
inspector, the work was carried out.
The dense bush was another impediment. In the vicinity of Boundary road
the entire crew was needed to search for
the survey markers, and much time was
lost. With the many difficulties the
deadline for completion of February 6
was not met. It was not until May 12
that J.T. himself drove the governor
and colonial secretary over the new
road. The completed road measured
eight miles and twelve chains. At
$1,800.00 per mile the contract paid
$14, 700.00 in total. J.T. submitted a
supplemental account of $11,875.00
which included $5,940.00 for the additional bridging over Deep Creek.
Unfortunately the road inspector had
failed to obtain authorization for the
extra work and the Colonial Office declined to pay any of the supplemental
Significantly John Robson of the British Columbian did not waste many
words on this incident. Before this
Douglas road fiasco, the "Local Intelligence" section always described the
activities of J.T. Scott with the warmest
regard. However, Robson was an avid
supporter of Governor Seymour and
played down any event that might portray the Governor in an unfavorable
light. At the completion of the Douglas Road, the Columbian carried an
inconspicuous item that implied that
the work may have been sub-standard.
This was a severe financial reverse for
J.T. In a letter to Governor Seymour,
Scott stated that he had lost everything
to his creditors. Both the accounts by
Draper and Meyers use the term bankruptcy to describe Colonel Scott's
financial difficulties of this period. Although there is evidence that the
Douglas Road contract did cause a financial hardship, his claim to governor
Seymour may have overstated the case
slightly. On June 12, 1865 Thomas
McMicking, the municipal tax collector
issued a list of properties that had taxes
in arrears. Among these was the property on block 7, Lot 1/2,1. This was
the Pioneer Saloon. Next on August
22, 1865 a notice appeared in the Co-
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 lumbian for the mortgage sale of the
same property. The property was
scheduled to be sold at the auction the
next day, but this did not occur. In fact
on September 21, 1865 Colonel Scott
announced his return to the saloon
business in a triumphant fashion. A
large ad in the Columbian made the
ironic request for "500 men . . . not to
make roads for the government, but to
come and spend their money . . at the
Pioneer Saloon." On June 23, 1866 another ad for the saloon contained a
cryptic passage to the effect that "that it
is not necessary to consult May's P.P.,
to establish the fact that the dig. of his
place is still sustained". May's P.P.
could be a reference to the Hon. Henry
P.P. Crease who was the Attorney General at the time. Taken this way, J.T.
may have been employing a bit of gallows humor to refute the rumors of
debtors prison that must have swirled
about his head. The troubles continued
on November 27, 1866 when the furnishings and fittings were sold at a
public auction by H.V. Edmonds on instructions from the bank of British
Columbia. Mr. George Dietz purchased
most of what was offered on behalf of
Captain Flemming. That night it was
business as usual. In December the
building and lot were sold for 2,500.00
to Rees Rees, the same man whose
name appeared on the original mortgage. And yet J.T. was still around in
January 1871 when the saloon burned
down. He announced plans to rebuild
at once. By November 6, 1886 the Pioneer Saloon was under the stewardship
of a Mr. J. Benter.
At some point J.T. divested himself of
his interest in the steamboat business.
By August 3, 1873 the ownership of the
Lillooet had passed to Captain Irving.
Around 1886 J.T. opened the Junction Hotel in partnership with his son-
in-law Mr. RB. Kelly. It was the first
hotel in Westminster Junction, which is
part of present day Coquitlam. Shortly
after first arriving in New Westminster,
J.T. had acquired a farm in the Port
Coquitlam area. This was the principal
family residence. Altogether John
Thomas and Elizabeth had thirteen
children, seven of whom survived to attend J.T.'s funeral in 1908. Two of the
children, Alexander Turner and Jeannet
S&PT &£>     /<?£,«,""       j
500 MfiNTo winter
in JVew [Westminster,
not to make road s forme Government, but
to | come and spend
tjieir money witi J.
fi Scott, at tliejPio-
ileer Saloon, in playing Billiards, drinking
g ood W|bisky, ami in-
c ulging in an occasional  «<Weed."
.J. T. S. would intimate to his
friends and the travelling public Ithut lie;is again established
efn jthc old isomer, where he will
be pappy to sec all who i'-ill la-
voit him with a call, as l|io..has
he on at great expense in fitting
up his Billiiard Saloon, winch i&
second to jione in the Colony ;
and to keejj> pace with the times
llie has determined to reduce the
prijw of Billiards to 12£ cents
per game.    Best Wines and Li-
)rs 12i cents. ■ Segars,
T    SCO
SrplonhrrSl*!, ]«l(l.
died in March 1865 at the time of the
disastrous Douglas road contract.
There is no doubt that 1865 was a difficult year for J.T. Scott and his family.
Although J.T. was around 65 years
old when he opened the Junction Hotel, he remained active in the
community right up to his death. He
had a long association with the Masons, the Union Lodge and the Royal
City Lodge. The last mentioned is the
local chapter of the Independent Order
of Oddfellows. He also acted as the
master of ceremonies at the yearly May
Day celebrations in New Westminster.
This account of J.T. Scott and the Pioneer Saloon is far from complete. It is
simply an attempt to pull together into
a reasonably coherent picture, the tantalizing blurbs and snippets of
information available. The whole story
is still out there. It presently resides in
the archives and dusty attics of two continents. There is always hope that
someday a definitive secondary source
will be written on Colonel (Honorary)
John Thomas Scott.
Mark MeCaig prepared this essay for the History 113 class at Douglas CoUege. Much of the
research was done by reading pre-Confederation
newspapers on microfilm.
Should any researcher wish to see die detailed
footnotes, contact die editor of the B.C.
Historical News for a copy of die original
"A Card." The Britiih Columbian. 31 October,
Akrigg G.P.V. and Akrigg, Helen B.    British
Columbia Chronide, 1847 - 1871. Vancouver
Discovery Press. 1977.
Ballard Collection. New Westminster Archives,
Irving House, New Westminster.
"Col. J.T. Scott passes away." The Dairy
Columbian. 17, February 1908,1.
Chambers, Edith, D. History of Port Coqurdam.
Burnaby: B.A Thompson, 1973.
Diaper, W. N. "Some Early Roads and Trails in
New Westminster District" British Columbia
Historical Quarterly. 9 (194S): 30.
Eisenhower, John, S.D. So Far From God: The
U.S. War with Mexico 1846-1848. New York:
Random House, 1989.
Green, George. History of Burnaby and
Vicinity. North Vancouver: Shoemaker, McLean
tc Veitch. (1945) Ltd. 1947.
Gregson, Harry. A History of Victoria: 1842 -
1870. Victoria: The Victoria Observer Publishing
Co. Ltd. 1970.
Harris, Lorraine Gold Along the Fraser. Surrey:
Hancock House Publishers Ltd. 1984.
Howay, F.W. British Columbia: From the Earliest Times to the Present. Vol. 2. Vancouver:
The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914.
"Hurrah for Big Bend." The British Columbian.
23June, 1866.
"J. Ellard." Mainland Guardian. 10 September,
1873. 2.
Kennedy, J. "New Westminster 1861 - 1869, A
Disappointed "Metropolis." B.C Historical
News. Vol. 12 No. 2. February, 1969.
"Lillooet" Mainland Guardian. 3 August 1873.
"Local Intelligence." The British Columbian.
18 October, 1862. 3.    16 September, 1863.
15 December, 1863. 3.   27July, 1864. 3.
6 August, 1864. 3.   4 March, 1865.3.
13May,1865.3.   3 August, 1865.3.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
28 The Dial Telephone's Debut
by Valerie Green
In today's world of cellular and mobile
phones, answering machines, call alert,
three-way calling and touch dial (not to
mention the wonders of Fax!), it is perhaps hard to understand the excitement
generated in the capital city over sixty
years ago by the arrival of the dial telephone system. Nevertheless, this was
something of a milestone in B.C. telephone history and is certainly worth
Just before midnight on Saturday, November 1st, 1930, the entire telephone
system of Victoria was converted to dial.
The change-over was carried out without a hitch in only three minutes and
fifty seconds.
An editorial running in The Daily
Colonist next morning began with the
words "Today Victoria wakens to find
itself in a new telephone era...."
A new era in telephone history certainly did begin on that date, for overnight,
Victoria had become the first major
town in B.C. to have the dial telephone
system installed.
The day of the change-over was the
culmination of two years of hard work
on the part of many members of the telephone company to ensure that British
Columbia's capital city would be a part
of one of the most up-to-date systems in
the world. And it was especially appropriate that the change-over to dial
occurred exactly fifty years after the
opening of the first telephone office in
Victoria in Trounce Alley, pioneered by
RB. McMicking in 1880.
A mere two years after Alexander Graham Bell had invented the telephone in
1876, McMicking secured from Ottawa
the agency for the Bell Telephone to be
brought into British Columbia. When
the first two telephone 'machines' arrived in Victoria, McMicking installed
one in the Colonist's editorial room and
the other at the C.P.R survey office.
On March 28th of that year, the Colonist reported that many people had
visited their offices to try out the new
'machine'. They all went away "amused
Mayor Anscomb of Victoria makes the first call on die dial telephone, November 1, 1930. He reached
Lieutenant Governor RR Bruce in Trail, B.C. Photo courtesy of V. Green
and instructed".
That same year a coal mine mechanic
by the name of William Wall built a telephone line between Wellington and
Departure Bay. This was supposedly
the first line in regular use in British
Two years later on January 21st, 1880,
the first telephone line in Victoria
linked Jeffree's clothing store with Pendray's soap factory, a distance of about a
third of a mile.   From that initial suc
cess, it soon became obvious there was a
definite need for a telephone system in
the city. On March 8th, the Victoria
and Esquimalt Telephone Company
Limited came into being and by July
was operating successfully with forty
subscribers from a telephone exchange
in Trounce Alley.
This first telephone company with its
single line ground system worked well in
the early years. However, in 1903,
McMicking merged his telephone com-
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 pany with the already established British
Columbia Telephone Company. By
1912, with a steady increase in telephone
users in Victoria, a new telephone exchange was built at the corner of
Blanshard and Johnson Streets.
An addition to that building was built
just prior to the 1930 Dial System
change-over, in order to house the new
automatic racks then needed. On these
racks thousands of varicolored wires and
delicate instruments were mounted. It
was estimated that 5,000,000 individual
soldered connections were in place in order to complete the eventual conversion
to dial.
As midnight approached on the auspicious November night, the telephone
big-wigs and numerous other officials,
gathered in the old rack room to take up
their positions. Mr. Bunkerman, the
cut-over dispatcher, sat with Alan Harper, in charge of the pay station testing,
and orchestrated the entire event. As
zero hour approached, the district traffic
superintendent and traffic cut-over supervisor notified Bunkerman that all was
ready in the operating room.
The manual wire chief was asked if he
was ready and then at 11.55 precisely
was signalled to "Pull!". 18,000 coils
were then pulled in unison, thereby disconnecting the old system in 18
seconds. At 11.56, the chief switchman
in the new exchange was also told to
"Pull", a signal which released the
blocking tools and brought the new
equipment into operation, it took exactly 2 minutes and 50 seconds to pull
all 1,000 blocking tools. Almost immediately the telephone calls started
coming in.
The telephone operators left the old
boards and took up their new positions
at the dial service. No longer would
they be answering calls with the familiar "Number please" though. Now
they would be directing customers to
dial "Information" or "Long Distance"
or whatever service was required should
they not be able to dial direct. Although excitement was intense that
night, the oldtimers also felt a sense of
loss as they witnessed the end of an era.
A ceremony was then held at the exchange building with telephone officials
and invited guests. It was officiated over
by the district commercial superintendent, F.C. Paterson. James Hamilton,
Vice-President and general manager of
the Telephone Company, addressed the
assembly, as did Victoria's Mayor, Herbert Anscomb, who praised the efforts
of all those involved. "We should be
very proud of our Telephone Company," he reiterated.
The first official dialed call was then
made by Mayor Anscomb to the Lieutenant-Governor, R. Randolph Bruce, at
Trail, B.C. The Mayor was next connected to Premier S.F. Tolmie who
stated that if the "government can be of
use to (Mr. Hamilton's company).. .we
shall be only too glad to do so."
Mr. McMicking's widow was also
called that night. She looked back with
fondness to the days when her husband
had pioneered the telephone system in
Victoria. From 40 telephones, a directory written on a card, and young boys
working as operators, she felt it was a
great accomplishment to have come so
far and to now service 17,000 subscribers with such efficiency.
Interestingly enough, the big manual
switchboard that began its service in
1912 had functioned almost non-stop
until that dramatic November night in
1930. The one and only interruption to
service had come about as the result of
an overload in 1918. At that time, news
of the Armistice coming over the wires
had been so intense, it had necessitated a
20 minute stoppage.
In 1895, it was the Victoria Colonist
who first coined the phrase "the hello
girls" to describe the telephone operators. Then, in 1930, they were sadly no
The very last signal on the old manual
board was responded to by the all-night
chief operator. The manual service had
already been "killed" and the changeover to dial in place when suddenly a
light flashed up on the old board. The
operator quickly ran across the room to
plug in. But it was a false alarm. The
light was caused by a short circuit. It
was most probably the only error in a
night of considerable success.
Looking east on Johnson Street Cecil Hotel, 1322 Blanshard Street (S. W. corner of Johnson andBlanshardStreets) and B.C. Telephone Co. Ltd, 1321 Blanshard. c. 1930 Photo courtesy of Victoria
City Archives.
Valerie Green is a free lance writer now living
in Victoria. Her most recent book is on the Mayors of Victoria, No Ordinary People. Beach
Holme Publishing 1992.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
30 Emily Carr's British Columbia
by Paulette Goodman Johnston
Emily Carr has come to epitomize the
early days of the province and the difficulty it had in fitting in with the rest of
Canada. By looking at Emily Carr's
British Columbia, we can trace the
changes that were wrought in a relatively
short time as the province sought to find
its identity. "Small" or "Milly" are the
names she uses for herself in her writing.
Apart from two stays "outside" to study
art in San Francisco, England and
France, Emily Carr lived her whole life
(1871-1945) in Victoria.
Her parents met in California where
Richard Carr had arrived in 1849 as a
photographer. He had abandoned that
occupation to take part in the search for
gold, and within a year he had accumulated enough money to invest in two
general stores in the San Francisco area.
Richard Carr was the typical English
wanderer; a youngest son who would not
inherit property and who was looking
for a way to support himself in gentlemanly style. America provided the Carrs
with the economic means to return to
England. This, however, proved to be a
disappointment. "The New Land had
said something to him and he chafed at
the limitations of the Old which, while
he was away from it, had appeared
The Carrs arrived in Victoria in the
summer of 1863. Here Richard could
live well on the money made in California, comfortably surrounded by other
English gentlemen. He purchased eight
acres bordering Beacon Hill Park which
was then a wild and forested part of
town. The first task Richard Carr set
himself was to turn his property into a
veritable English garden. He planted
cowslips and primroses and many English flowers. He made stiles and
meadows that took away all the "wild
Canadian-ness." None of Carr's neighbours considered this odd, as Victoria
was as English as it could be without actually being in England. Citizens made
more fuss over the Queen's  Birthday
than did any other town in Canada.
Sunday was observed adhering to old
traditions beginning with family
prayers, followed by Sunday School at
the Presbyterian Church, an evening
service at the Reformed Episcopal
Church, and ended with bible readings
and hymn singing. Emily played with
the children of Bishop Edward Cridge,
blissfully ignoring the history of the Anglican churchman who arrived in
Victoria in 1854, became dean of
Christ Church Cathedral in 1865, then
seceded from the Church of England in
1874 following a serious disagreement
with Bishop Hills. Cridge founded the
Reformed Episcopal Church favored by
Mrs. Carr. In a later description of the
district where she lived as a child, Emily
noted that, "Bishop Hills' field was separated from Bishop Cridge's field by a
fence and two hedges . . . which was
perhaps just as well." In their English
garden, surrounded by English neighbours, the senior Carrs created an
environment for themselves that was
comfortably dominated by traditions
they had grown up with in England.
Victoria had literally been a garrison
in the days when it was a Hudson's Bay
Company fort. At the time of the
Carr's arrival in the 1860s, it had become a rapidly growing town, thanks to
the gold rush. Suspicious of the American desire for expansion into their
territory, Victoria had to retreat inward
in order to establish itself as a community on the edge of a forest. Becoming
exaggeratedly British ensured Victoria's
survival. In The Book of Small Emily
Carr was critical of the closed-in garrison that Victoria was in its early days;
she said, "Victoria was like a lying-
down cow, chewing. She had made
one enormous effort of upheaval. She
had hoisted herself from a Hudson's
Bay Fort into a little town and there she
paused, chewing the cud of imported
fodder, afraid to crop the pastures of
the new world for fear she might lose
the good flavor of the old to which she
was so deeply loyal. Her jaws went rolling on and on, long after there was
nothing left to chew." Victoria's leisurely pace and complacency made it
unique, but concessions had to be made
to its location in the New World. Habits developed that Emily Carr did not
realize were particular to British Columbia until she went to England as a
young woman. Large families here
were the norm; average ladies had six
children. This was excessive by English
standards, but necessary in an area that
was trying to increase its white population and needed its labour. Distances,
road conditions and the absence of
trained household servants meant that
women who went visiting had to bring
their entire family with them, so afternoon tea became a day long excursion.
Meanwhile cattle and sheep stampeded
through town from the wharf to the
slaughterhouse, churning up dust and
trampling on gardens. Victoria may
have been mostly English but it had a
dual personality as a pioneer town.
The contact that the Carr family had
with the Indian and Chinese communities in the Victoria area was limited to
employing them as servants and, for
Mr. Carr, in giving handouts to the Indians from the Songhee reservation
who loitered near his store. The reserve
was across the inner harbour where the
Parliament Buildings stand today.
When the senior Carrs arrived in Victoria in 1863 the White population was
approximately 3000, the Indian reserve,
with seasonal fluctuations, averaged
2000 and there was a small community
of Chinese. Apart from trade with the
Hudson's Bay Company store on
Wharf Street, Indian groups continued
to trade with each other. Indians were
allowed to pitch a tent on any beach
during their long canoe journeys up
and down the coast. Carr summarized
the parts played by the Indians and
Chinese in the young town. "Indians
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 worked as much as they had to, spent
their money as fast as they made it, and
when in Victoria dressed in European-
style ciothing. Chinese never rested,
hoarded all their money to send home to
China, and wore uniquely eastern
Emily Carr wrote in detail about the
two who worked in the family home.
"The Indian in Mary was more human
and understandable than the Chinese in
Bong." Her conclusions in this regard
raise a number of questions. Although
she gave some revealing information
about Bong, she never stopped to analyze what she said. Arriving in Victoria
as a child of twelve, unable to speak English, Bong was too young to have chosen
to come but would have been recruited
or sent by someone else. When he was
homesick, which seems to have been often, Carr said he would run out to the
yard and talk to the cow. Perhaps he felt
a kinship with the penned-in animal.
More likely he came from a rural setting
in China and felt more comfortable outside; yet his life in Victoria was spent as a
houseboy. Mary, the Indian woman who
did the Carr's weekly washing, started as
a mature woman with her own home
and presumably a family of her own.
She most likely did the washing for several white families and could
independently schedule her workload.
Bong was dismissed as being from another hemisphere, never becoming one
bit Canadian in all the years he worked
for the family. Unlike Wash Mary, he
did not have a family or kinship group
anywhere near Victoria; his feelings of alienation were those that Miss Carr,
safely ensconced in her large family and
circle of friends, could not comprehend.
As Victoria grew bigger social groups
grew smaller, social stratification became
more entrenched, and the individual
within society became more confined.
Expansion meant the addition of new
rules. Gravel roads replaced dirt ones
that had been muddy in winter and
dusty in summer. The piggeries were relocated out in the country; dog licences
were required, and impound laws for
wandering cows were enforced. Cabins
on the mudflats on Humbolt Street were
torn down to make way for a concrete
causeway. The harbour was dredged and
the Canadian Pacific Railway built the
Empress Hotel.   Victoria became linked
to the world with the completion of the
railway in 1886. "From London dock
to Empress Hotel was one uninterrupted slither of easy travel, "said Carr
contrasting it to the arduous journey
her parents had made around the Horn.
Trains from up-island now came into
Victoria. Cedar Hill "went snooty"
and later included a public park named
Mount Douglas. The English navy left
Esquimalt, as Canada now had its own
navy, so there were no more English
balls or English military uniforms about
town. As the number of new-fangled
automobiles increased the number of
downtown taverns decreased. Those saloons which Emily, when little, was not
supposed to notice, disappeared. Victoria changed slowly while watching
Vancouver leap ahead with new factories, mills, wharves and a large influx of
Carr began sketching and painting in
Indian villages outside Victoria in
1895. Emily Carr's early paintings gave
glimpses into west coast Indian villages
that few other Whites had experienced.
On her first visits up the coast she was
confronted by the toll taken on the Indian population by German measles,
whooping cough, tuberculosis, poor
housing and poverty brought on by reduced salmon runs and limited
employment. Carr blamed European
influence for the degraded condition of
Indians and their villages. She felt that
Whites, particularly missionaries, were
responsible for changing the nobleness
of the Indian to humiliation and subservience. Coastal Indians had been
introduced not only to disease but also
to alcohol and other destructive practices. Carr recorded the fate of many
villages in her book Klee Wyck. Her
paintings portrayed the decaying villages, moss covered totems, and the
changes through the years as she visited
new sites and old. Her early work was
ethnographic and served to chronicle a
disappearing way of life.
Miss Carr went to Europe to study
painting at the turn of the century. Biographers now dwell on the fact that
she avoided nude painting classes, but
seeing as she was a lone woman in the
class, plus her rigid upbringing, this reaction was logical. Then she was
hospitalized in East Anglia Sanitorium
for fifteen months.  Early records, now
destroyed, gave her diagnosis as "hysteria" complicated by an amputated toe
which never really healed. It is possible
that exhaustion and overwork, coupled
with her unhappiness in strange surroundings, were at least contributing
factors. Drawing and painting were
considered genteel hobbies for women
and children. Miss Carr became instructor for the Vancouver Ladies Art
Club in 1906; she failed because she
thought the participants wanted to become serious artists and criticized them
accordingly. As a women artist who
sought to be recognized in a male art
world at a time when few women in
Canada seemed to have a similiar goal,
Emily Carr was, and continues to be, an
Even by 1920 women painters were
not eligible for full membership in the
Royal Canadian Academy, but instead
were assigned to a separate category.
Carr describes the years when she was
forced by financial difficulties to devote
her time to making a living as a landlady
in The House of All Sorts. For fifteen
years she abandoned sketching but had
just resumed her art work in 1927 when
some of her paintings were included in
an Exhibition of Canadian West Coast
Art, Native and Modern, at the National Gallery in Ottawa. This brought
recognition to Carr and provided eastern Canada with portraits of Indian life
with which they were not familiar. After travelling east to see this exhibition
in December 1927, she was introduced
to the work of the Group of Seven.
One of the Seven, Lawren Harris, encouraged Carr to leave the Indian
villages that she had been painting and
venture into the forest that hovered in
the background of many of her works.
This lady, who had sketched in villages
like Kitwancool or Ucluelet when White
men had been turned away, was ready to
move in that direction. She produced
paintings called At Edge of Forest
(1931) and Above the Trees (1935).
Her later paintings were often dominated by large distinct trees in the
foreground, with flowing brush strokes
that envelop the viewer and draw him/
her into an abyss beyond. She corresponded with Lawren Harris in Toronto
but was isolated from artists on the west
coast. Her changed style brought her
closer to nature, but the love she pro-
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92
32 fessed to have for nature was coupled
with fear. She painted a big landscape
on a big canvas using big brushstrokes.
She joined, at times led, the Canadian
expressionist movement. Carr's work
has been the basis upon which subsequent British Columbia artists have
Emily Carr's place in British Columbia
history is more than solely as an artist.
Her written accounts of life in pioneer
Victoria give us a glimpse of the town
prior to 1900. Picnics in Beacon Hill
Park, Sunday church-going, wondering
about saloons on every corner were all
activities of the British immigrant upper
class that Carr was born into. It must be
noted, however, that her autobiographies
have a "poor me" quality about them.
As an artist she was plagued by loneliness. The art circle in Victoria was small
and traditional; she rejected it, and was
rejected by it. She felt that her family
did not support or understand her . . .
but they never actively thwarted her art
education or her sketching trips, or her
eccentric life-style surrounded by ani
mals. Indeed her sister Alice -""Middle"
to Emily's "Small" - remained a close
friend all of their lives. What Carr
seemed to have was an intense feeling
of loneliness rather than actually having
been alone. Nonetheless we acknowledge Emily Carr as an ethnographer of
sorts, and interpreter of British Columbia landscape, and a chronicler of life in
Victoria from 1871 to 1945. The
changes in British Columbia as she
knew it have been candidly presented in
her written works, and boldly illustrated with broad brush strokes on
canvasses we are all familiar with.
This is an edited version of a paper prepared
by Paulette Johnston for a history class at Simon
Fraser University. Johnston is nearing completion of an MA. in Communication.
Blanchard, Paula. The Life of Emily Carr. Vancouver
Douglas & Mclntyre Ltd., 1987.
Carr, Emily
A    Fresh Seeing: Two Addresses by Emily Carr.
Toronto: Clarke, Iiwin tc Company Limited, 1972.
B    Growing Pains. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 8c Company Limited, 1941
C    Klee Wyck. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin tc Company
Limited, 1941.
D   The Book of SmaU. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin &
Company Limited, 1942.
E    The House of All Sons. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin 8c
Company Limited, 1944.
Dilworth, Ira, 'Emily Carr," Artscanada: An Anthology of
40 Years of Essays on Canadian Art, volume XXXVIII,
March 1982. pp. 20-23.
Fenton, Terry and Karen Wilkin. Modern Painting in
Canada: Major Movements in Twentieth Century
Canadian Art. Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, 1978.
Frye, Northrop, "Conclusion,* Literary History of Canada,
ed. Carl F. Klinclc Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
Gowen, Ruth. Emily Can. Leamington Spa, U.K.: Berg
Publishers limited, 1987.
Hembroff-Schleicher, Edythe. M.E.: A Portrayal of Emily
Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin Company Limited, 1969.
Johnson-Dean, Christina, "B.C Women Artists
1885-1920,* British Columbia Women Anists
1885-1985. Victoria: The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, catalogue of exhibidon December 13-February 3,
Kline, Marcia B. Beyond the Land Itself: Views of Nature
in Canada and the United States. Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press, 1970.
McGregor, Gaile. The Wacousta Syndrome: Explorations
in the Canadian Landscape. Toronto: University of
Toronto Press, 1985.
Oleksijczuk. Denise, 'Nature in History. A Context for
Landscape Art," Lost Illusions: Recent Landscape Art.
Vancouver Vancouver Art Gallery catalogue of exhibidon November 2-December 29,1991.
Shadbolt, Doris. Emily Carr. North Vancouver: J.J.
Douglas Ltd., 1967.
Walker, Doreen Elizabeth, The Treatment of Nature in
Canadian Art Since the Time of the Group of Seven," unpublished MA. thesis, University of British Columbia,
Emily Carr camping out with some of her pets - Summer 1934.
Photo courtesy ot B.CA.R.S. -Cat. No. HP65557
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 Man Yuck Tong in Victoria
by David Chuenyan Lai
Man Yuck Tong was one of the earliest
Chinese herbalist shops in Victoria's
Chinatown It was operated under a partnership of close friends, relatives, or
fathers and sons at different times
throughout its nearly eighty years' history. The four partners who founded Man
Yuck Tong in c.1905 were natives of
Kaiping County and surnamed Quan:
Kwok Luen Quan, Song Luen Quan,
Song Pun Quan, and Song Pui Quan.1
Kwok Luen was the manager because he
had previously worked in a herbalist
store in China. The shop was first located in a rented premise at 48 Cormorant
Street (now 560 Pandora Avenue.). In
addition to selling herbs, it also sold Chinese groceries as it could not be run with
profit if it depended solely on the sale of
Chinese medicine.2
Man Yuck Tong was managed by Yuen
Yen Quan, son of Song Luen after Kwok
Luen retired. Yuen Yen was not only an
energetic merchant but also a prominent
community leader in Chinatown. He
himself was a tailor and ran a tailor shop
called Wo Kee. He was also engaged in
the greenhouse business and land speculation. In November 1910, he together
with his friend Joe Gar Chow purchased
the Hart's Fisgard Building on 532-536
Fisgard Street.3
Four years later he moved Man Yuck
Tong from Cormorant Street to their
own building at 532 Fisgard Street. He
managed the herbalist shop in the front
and ran his tailor store in the rear of the
building. In 1918 the two shops were
merged into one enterprise, and Man
Yuck Tong was renamed Man Yuck
Tong Wo Kee which also sold Chinese
dry goods. The tailoring section received extra help when in 1921 Charlie
Hall Quan, son of Song Pun, arrived at
Victoria from China. Charlie was also a
tailor. In Man Yuck Tong Wo Kee he
assisted Yuen Yen in selling herbs as well
as in making, altering or mending Chinese labourers' clothes.
In January 1935, Yuen Yen and his
Man Yuck Tong Herbalist Shop, Victoria, 1982.
li i " 'llllWI
wife, Jessie, purchased the On Hing
Building on 538-544 Fisgard Street.4
Four years later, he moved Man Yuck
Tong Wo Kee to his own building at
544 Fisgard Street, planning to expand
his dual herb-tailoring business. Unfortunately, he was killed in 1942 by one
of his greenhouse employees over a
wage dispute. After his death, the tailoring section of Man Yuck Tong Wo
Kee was closed. Hence, in 1949 the
name was reverted to its original form,
Man Yuck Tong, and the trio partnership was Charlie Hall Quan, Jessie
Quan, and Kwok Kim Quan (alias
Chew Lee Quan), a relative of Kwok
Luen. In view of an increasing number
of tourists in Chinatown, Man Yuck
Tong began to sell Chinese artifacts
and gifts as well.
Charlie Quan was one of the prominent elders in the Lung Kong Tin Yee
Association and an entrusted friend of
the Nationalist Party members. Hence,
Man Yuck Tong was not only a well-
known Chinese herb-souvenir shop in
Chinatown but also a popular rendezvous for members of the Lung Kong
Tin Yee Association and the Chinese
National League in Victoria.
In 1959, Yong Foo, Kwok Kim's son,
came from China to Victoria, and assisted his father in Man Yuck Tong.5 After
his father died in 1971, Yong Foo together with Charlie Quan looked after
the herbalist shop. In January 1981,
Yong Foo bought out the two shares
from Charlie and Jessie Quan, and became the sole proprietor. Towards the
end of the year Yong Foo considered retirement and started to dispose of all the
merchandise in the gift section. A few
antique merchants and people from Ottawa were interested in purchasing all
the herbs and equipment.6 I went to see
Yong Foo soon after his daughter-in-law
informed me of the news. Both Yong
Foo and I felt that we should preserve
Man Yuck Tong in Victoria since local
people would be more nostalgic than
outsiders when they saw the sign of Man
Yuck Tong.    Yong Foo promised me
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
34 that the British Columbia Provincial
Museum would have priority over the
other potential buyers in his sale. Meanwhile Zane H. Lewis, Modern History
Division, was working hard to look for
funding. Eventually he succeeded in obtaining the financial support of the
Friends of the Provincial Museum to
purchase all the contents of the shop. In
January 1982 Man Yuck Tong was
closed and sold to the Provincial Museum. In the following month I was
engaged to carry out an inventory of the
shop's stock and equipment which included many articles of furniture, a great
variety of containers, and tools for preparing, mixing, weighing or measuring
the herbs.7 Nancy J. Turner, Jane Chapman and Jean Marchand were engaged
to identify the shop's some 260 herbal
medicines of which about 25% were
roots and other underground parts; 25%
fruits and/or seeds; 20% whole plants,
leaves and/or stems;, 17% woods and/or
barks; and 13% flowers, animal products, minerals, and unclassified herbs.8
Kwok Kim Quan and his son, Yong Foo Quan, 1959.
In January 1990, the Royal British
Columbia Museum began to plan a
Chinese Canadian Exhibit Project
which is now being headed by John
Robertson. One of its essential components is the reconstruction of a Chinese
herbalist's shop based upon Man Yuck
Tong. The Chinese community in Victoria is very supportive of this
restoration project to which the Victorian Chinatown Lions Club, for example,
has made a contribution of $45,000.
In the spring of 1992 Virginia Careless,
Alan Graves, Gerald Luxton, and myself have been working hard on the
herbalist shop project, and received
much advice from Yong Foo Quan on
the arrangement of the shop's herbs.
The official opening of this display is
slated for November 1992.
Dr. Lai is a professor in the Geography department of die University of Victoria. He has done
extensive research on die Chinese presence in
British Columbia, and has directed restoration
of sites in Victoria, Barkerville, Kamloops and
elsewhere. He was honored by the BCHF for his
1988 book, Chinatowns: Towns Within Cities in
1. Charles Hall Quan, a partner of Man Yuck Tong,
Vancouver, Interview, March-April 1992.
2. Zane H. Lewis. "Man Yuck Tong," Discovery:
Friends of the British Columbia Provincial Museum Quarterly Review, VoL 10 No. I June 1982.
(unfolioed pages)
3. Lai. David Chuenym The Foibiddea Chy Within
Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Strecucapc of
Canada's Earliest Chinatown. Victoria: Orca
Book Publishers, 1991, pp. 116-118.
4. Ibid., p. 119.
5. Yong Foo Quan, a partner of Man Yuck Tong,
Victoria, Interview, March-April 1992.
6. Robert Amos. "Take Two Smkeslonj and
Call Me .. .* Monday: Victoria's Magazine,
VoL 8 No. 7 Feb. 12-18,1982, p. 10.
7. Lai, Chuenyan David. An Inventory of Man Yudt
Tong Co., 544 Fiigard Street, Victoria. February
1982 (unpublished manuscript submitted to the
British Columbia Provincial Museum).
8. Turner. Nancy J., Jane Chapman and Jean
Marchand. Identification of Qkinete Herbs from
a Contemporary Heifealist Shop at Victoria,
British Columbia. March 19B3 (unpublished
manuscript submitted to the Bridsh Columbia Provincial Museum).
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 St. Andrew's Day Celebration
From the Prospector, Fort Steele, B. C. Dec. 4, 1897
There could have been no happier results of the labors of the committee of
the Fort Steele St. Andrew's Society than
the splendid celebration which took
place at the Dalgardno Hotel on Tuesday evening last. The spacious rooms of
the largest hotel in the city were
thronged with merry ladies and gentlemen; about 150 people were present, a
number coming from Cranbrook, Moyie, Wardner and other places.
The ballroom was garlanded and festooned with evergreens brightened with
vari-colored papers. The music was furnished by flute, violin, piano and cornet,
played by Messrs. Grez, McMillan,
Cann, and Lindsay.
The guests began to arrive about nine
o'clock and half an hour afterwards the
ball was opened with a grand march.
The first 80 diners were served at 10
o'clock, having marched twice around
the large dining room while F.I. Laing
skirled the bagpipes to honor the Haggis
which was carried aloft, then deposited
with decorum at the head of the table.
The tables, which were very prettily decorated, fairly groaned under the load of
good things provided by Mine Host
Mather - a fact fully borne out when
one scans the MENU.
Following a most joyous hour the table
was set for the remaining members of
the company, who had meantime been
dancing in the ballroom. At about half
past twelve the chairman of the evening,
Dr. Watt, invited the company back to
the dining room where the toast list
The first toast was "The Queen" which
was drunk with great enthusiasm followed by the singing of the National
Hymn. The chairman then in a neat little speech proposed "The Day We
Honor." This was coupled with the
name Wm. Baillie, who gave in brief
form the salient points in the life of St.
Andrew, and narrated the traditions of
St. Regulus or St. Rule and St. Andrew,
and how the latter came to be chosen patron saint of Scotland.
The next toast was "The Land We
Love", with a very happy response by
RLT. Galbraith, who astonished
friends by claiming a purely Scottish
descent, though born (unluckily) in Ireland. He spoke glowingly of the high
eminence of Auld Scotia amongst the
nations of the world, her poets, her soldiers, and her statesmen.
"The Land We Live In" brought
Henry Kershaw to his feet. He made a
most entertaining speech, keeping his
audience in roars of laughter. He was
quite satisfied with the land we live in,
and it seemed the satisfaction was
Responding on behalf of the St.
George's Society to the toast to "Our
Sister Societies," EA. Elton spoke of
the history of two great nations occupying different portions of one small
island, at mortal feud with each other
for many centuries, but at length happily joined in Kingship by one monarch
who in Scotland was James the Sixth
and in England James the First. The
legislative union came later, and the
combination had produced the greatest
Empire the world had ever seen.
RL.T. Galbraith responded on behalf
of St, Patrick's Society, and eloquently
spoke of the glory of the Green Isle.
Mr. Laing sang the soul stirring 'Scots
Wha Hae' which elicited loud applause.
To the toast of "Our American Cousins," there was a quartette (sic) of
gentlemen from the land of the Stars
and Stripes who spoke for their native
land. Messrs. Frizzell, Sheppard, Keep,
and Schagel all spoke with enthusiasm
of the Great Republic and all paid fitting tribute to the Sons of St. Andrew,
"The Ladies" found a happy sponsor
in Mr. Robertson, whose wit and gallantry was fully equal to the occasion.
Toasts to "The Press" and "The Host"
brought the list to a close.
Back again all the merry company
flocked to the ballroom where dance
followed dance till the 'wee sma' oors'
were well worn out.   Thus was closed
the finest celebration of its kind that has
yet taken place in Fort Steele.
Credit must be given to the Committee of St. Andrew's Society. Chairman
Fred Binmore was indefatigable in his
efforts. Mr. Hazan officiated as Master
of Ceremonies in the ballroom. Messrs.
Smith and Lamont received the guests
and saw all properly bestowed with a
grace and care that left nothing in that
respect to be desired. In the banquet
hall Mr. McLeod and Mr. Grassick were
assiduous in their attention to their
guests. Mr. Elton's and Mr. Binmore's
efficiency as carvers could not have been
dispensed with. Messrs. Shier, Thompson, and Morrison were general
overseers, and no part of their duties was
overlooked. The committee could not
have desired a greater success than was
Tak' a Drain.
Ox Tall and Chicken Soup.
Cream o' Cod, i'eat-reeklt.      Mountain Troot.
A Wee Drapple.
llllcd licet an' Greens, Reeklu' hot
Pottlt Zoo's Heed. Uiaxlellatn. Minced Gallops
Talc'   Anltlier   Drniu.
ltostll Surlnln «>' licet. Saddle o' Venison, jelly
A wee Clruinphlc, BtulU'U V.T Saebys.
Rbstlt Wild Duck, wl' currant jelly,
ltostll Domestic ,Clilukcn an' dresslu'
A bit Chicken Salad.
Lolisler nlayomilse.
A l'lcklcd Tongue o' an Ecclotcchau Stott.
Cliapplt Tattles. lilrcelled Tattles.
Noeps an' Cream.        Stewed Tomatoes.
Anlthcr Woo Drapple tne slocken.
Bugllsh l'lum Puddlu.
Lemon,   Mince,  Cranberry   Pie.
Cakes o' Shortbread.       " arls o' Altcake.
Somu lllier bit Cakes.
A wheen Nuts an' lUlslns an' Apples.
French Coffee.
Green aud Black Tea.
"Uuld   nlcht.   an'   Joy   be   wl'   ye   a'."
B.C. Historical News • Fall 92
The Burnaby Historical Society regret the death
of Fraser Wilson on July 31,1992. Fraser was a
founding member of the BHS (1957) and a moving
force behind the Society's activities. Over the
years, he served on the Society's executive council
in various capacities including president. During
his lifetime, Fraser was a commercial artist and
muralist and, at one time, political cartoonist for
the Vancouver San. Along with his son, he
founded his own Burnaby business,
Commonwealth Displays, in 1967.
Fraser's many friends gathered together to pay
tribute to him on August 11 in the Maritime Labour
Centre, Vancouver where one of his outstanding
murals is displayed.
The Burnaby Historical Society has awarded the
Evelyn Salisbury Scholarship for 1992 to Jeffrey W.
Locke who attends the University of victoria.
Jeffrey W. Locke has also been awarded the
BCHF Scholarship for 1992. This student at
University of victoria has submitted an excellent
article to our publication. Watch for it in a future
There was an error in the article "The Coastal
Princesses" in the Summer 1992 News.
Mrs. John Irving and Mrs. R. P. Rithet were the
daughters of Chief Factor Alexander Munro of the
Hudson's Bay Co., and not of Sir James Douglas.
Mrs. Irving is buried in the cemetery in Petersfield,
Hampshire, England, close to her two daughters,
Mrs. Milman and Mrs. Weston, both of whom married British naval officers at victoria.
Thanks to grand niece Sandra Nightingale and
writer Norman Hacking for submitting this corrected information.
Recent advertisements appearing about the
Quesnelle Forks Museum Society are in no way
connected with the Likely Cemetery Society. The
sponsor is an individual seeking funding for a
proposal which has minimal local involvement.
Ruth and Tom Barnett recently celebrated their
50th wedding anniversary at their home in
Campbell River. Tom was an MP from an Island
riding and Ruth was President of the BCHF.
Congratulations and Best Wishes!
Graffiti found on a washroom
wall in Watson Lake.
Winding in and winding out
One begins to have some doubt
About the lout who built this route:
Was he going to hell? or coming out?
Mary Gartrell Orr passed away in June in her
home in Summerland. She was a valued leading
figure in the Okanagan Historical Society and
strived to be liaison between that organization and
the BCHF. Among the honors given this member
of a pioneer family was the Certificate of Merit in
1985 from the American Society of State and Local
The picture side of a postcard often fits into an
archival collection. Alberni Historical Society is
now sorting collections and will sent scenes to
appropriate museum societies. We urge readers to
check their collections and then send those early
postcards to local archives in the community or
district which is depicted in the photograph.
Keith Ralston
Keith Ralson taught history of the Canadian
West at the University of British Columbia from
1967 till his retirement in 1986. He is an active
member of the Vancouver Historical Society.
Bom in Victoria, Ralston was educated in
victoria Schools and Victoria College, graduating
with first class honours in history from the
University of British Columbia. After service in the
Royal Canadian navy during WWII he took
post-graduate studies at the universities of B.C.
and Toronto. From 1952 to 1955 he worked as a
reporter in the B.C. legislature; in 1956 he
graduated from the Vancouver Normal School then
taught in high schools for four years. He next
became curator of the Maritime Museum in
Vancouver (1960-64), and finally assistant
professor at U.B.C.
Keith Ralston is a co-author of Working Lives in
Vancouver 1886-1986, and coeditor of Historical
Essays on British Colombia (1976).
Kamloops is the site for our next annual
conference. Set aside April 29,30 and May 1 to
attend this event.
Report & Notice re Nominations
for 1993.
The Canadian Historical Association annually
recognizes outstanding contributions to the field
of regional histoty. Two Certificates of Merit are
awarded for each region, one for a book, imaginatively conceived and executed, that enhances
our understanding of all or part of the region,
and the other for an individual, organization, or
periodical that has accomplished the same over
an extended period of time. For the year 1991
Certificates of Merit for British Columbia and the
Yukon, announced in early June 1992 at the
C.H.A.'s annual meeting in Charlottetown, were
awarded to:
A] Jean Barman, The West Beyond the
West: A History of British Columbia
(Toronto: University of Toronto
Press, 1991).
The West Beyond the West marks the first
substantial overview of British Columbia history    since    the    publication    of    Margaret
Ormsby's fine work some thirty-four years
ago. Written to appeal to both a scholarly and
a general audience, the book synthesizes the
substantial volume of historical, literary, and
social scientific work that now informs our understanding of the British Columbia
experience. Barman breaks new ground by
shifting the geographic focus of her interpretation away from heavily urbanized centres, and
the thematic focus away from traditional
themes of politics and administration. Emphasizing British Columbia's social history, the
book is particularly adept at telling the story of
ordinary people across the province.
B]   Rolf Knight, private scholar
Rolf Knight has made an important contribution
to the historical study of work and the working
class of British Columbia. Beginning with a biography of his immigrant mother, he has
produced a diverse group of books on British
Columbia's working people, including the life of
a Japanese-Canadian fisherman. In addition,
he has published two autobiographical volumes, one a reminiscence about growing up in
east Vancouver, the other about his own development from east-end kid to tenured
academic. His bibliography on company towns
remains a valuable aid to research in an important but underdeveloped area of British
Columbia history.
Most important among Knight's B.C. works is
an imaginative and path-breaking approach to
the study of White-Indian relations in British
Columbia. Knight demonstrates how the aboriginal population became, from the earliest
days of European contact, an integral part of
the labour force. He shows that in the resource industries of nineteenth century British
Columbia Indian labour was indispensable,
and traces the twentieth century difficulties of
the native population to their progressive exclusion from the work force. Indians at Work
is based upon extensive research into fishing,
forestry, mining, and agricultural industries,
and offers a perspective that was, at the time
of publication, almost entirely new.
The Regional History Committee of the Canadian Historical Association invites nominations
for its "CERTIFICATE OF MERIT" awards.
Two awards are given annually for each of five
Canadian regions, including British Columbia
and the Yukon:
1.   an award for publications and videos that
make a significant contribution to regional
history, and that will serve as models for
Z   an award to individuals for work over a lifetime or to organizations for contributions
over an extended period of time.
Nominations accompanied by as much supporting documentation as possible should be
sent no later than 1S December 1992 to
John Belshaw, Department of History
Cariboo University/College,
900 College Drive, Box 3010
Kamloops, B.C. V2C SN3
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 BOOKSHELF
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver B.C. V6S1E4	
Archdeacon on Horseback:
Richard Small, 1849-1909.
Canon Cyril E.H. Wiliams and
Pixie McGeachie.  Merritt, B.C.,
Sonotek Publishing Ltd., 1991.112p.
ISBN 0-929069-05-6. $9.95
A strange subject for a stained-glass
window! Against a backdrop of pine-
clad hills, a man wearing a broad-
brimmed clerical hat and mounted on
a dark horse approaches a tiny church.
This is the window over the entrance
to the Church of St. Mary and St. Paul
at Lytton. The church in the picture is
this same church, as it looked in the
first decade of the twentieth century.
The man is Rev. Richard Small; missionary at Lytton, chaplain at St.
Bartholomew's Hospital, Lytton, and
Archdeacon of Yale. The archdeacon
on horseback is an appropriate motif
for this account of mission work in the
Thompson-Nicola Valley, suggesting
distances travelled, devotion to a sacred purpose, a figure both attractive
and incongruous.
Canon Cyril Williams is well known
for his nearly twenty years as Anglican
archivist at the Vancouver School of
Theology. It is less well known that he
previously served at Lytton, and travelled the roads that Richard Small had
travelled. This book is therefore a
product of personal experience as well
as careful research. Working with him
to weave the research notes into a narrative was Pixie McGeachie, whose
writings witness to her devotion to
British Columbia local history and
Archdeacon Small's role does not begin until nearly halfway into the book,
but the drama unfolds from the Fraser
River gold rush of 1858, and the invasion by the white man "at his greedy
destructive worst." In 1859 the Society
for the Propagation of the Gospel sent
the Rev. James Gammage to minister
among the gold hunters, but it was the
Native people who responded to his
ministry. In 1867 another Anglican
priest, John Booth Good, took up residence in Lytton (Kumcheen) at the
invitation of its people. From the first,
Good recognized that religion was an
integral part of the native way of life.
While never doubting that Christianity, specifically Anglican Christianity,
was "a better way than they have yet
known", he found in these "heathen"
a spirituality far. exceeding that of
most nominal Christians. Priest and
people travelled many miles to meet,
and to worship the Christian God in
the Thompson language. Good's own
dream of "a pretty Christian village"
was a very English dream, not realizable even in England. His first little
mission school had to be moved because of the establishment of "one of
those vile institutions in which White
men and the worst class of Indian
women meet".
Canon Williams's little book bursts
at its seams, so rich is the record in letters, diaries and official reports, of
nineteenth century contacts between
this fascinating lot of English divines
and the peoples of the B.C. interior.
Richard Small, as the most fascinating
of the lot, is the focus of attention, but
the material on him alone could fill a
much larger volume. He was an Anglo-Catholic scholar who loved the
mountains, the valleys, even the dust,
of the Fraser Canyon and the Cariboo.
He was a skilled administrator, archdeacon first of Columbia, then of Yale,
"with ecclesiastical jurisdiction over
all the Native congregations in the Diocese," a builder of churches, hospitals
and schools, subject to the stresses and
strifes of diocesan politics. But he is
remembered as a man on horseback,
travelling among the people of his
choice, sharing himself and his God.
He used his leaves in England to
drum up support for mission work in
British Columbia. After one such trip,
he was given a new set of saddle-bags;
his comments give us a glimpse of his
"Their capacity is simply marvelous, and the only being who can
have any complaint against them
is Jupiter, my horse. He eyed
them rather askance when they
were first put across his back, but
made no kick, and has borne the
burden of their content, comprising of books and vestments,
vessels and linen, change of raiment, without the least show of
"It was a slow, weary jog over
deep, slippery mud.   Jupiter insisted that he had enough of it,
and persistently turned off the
road to an Indian's place that he
knew of, instead of keeping on
up the hill to a proper stopping
place.    The consequence to me
was a bed on the floor in the corner of the Indian's house, while
Jupiter had to fend for himself."
St.    George's    Indian    Residential
School at Lytton opened in 1901, under
the principalship of the Rev. George
Ditcham.    The publisher's foreword
makes a politically correct disclaimer,
that this book is "not a statement of
the present philosophy of the Anglican
Church in British Columbia".   When
the time is ripe for a dispassionate
study   of   the   province's   mission
schools, it will be found that Canon
Williams has provided an invaluable
starting point, based on his years of research, his personal devotion to the
ideals which drove Small and Ditcham, and his professional knowledge of
the primary sources waiting to be
There is, also, more to be said about
that complex man, Richard Small. For
instance, what compelled him to
throw it all up in the unexpected belief
that he should be a missionary in Korea? He was wrong, of course, and
came back after a year (1890-91). Did
he feel trapped? How did he come to
terms? We want to read more of his
letters and diaries, and get to know
him better.
We must thank Cyril Williams and
Pixie McGeachie for introducing us to
the Archdeacon on Horseback.
Phyllis Reeve
Phyllis Reeve is the author of Every Good
Gift: a history of St. James'. Vancouver.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
Denison's Ice Road.
Edith Iglauer. Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1991.
paper. $14.95
The book, a classic of its kind first published in 1975, describes the reopening
of the winter road from Yellowknife
north to the Echo Bay silver mine at
Great Bear Lake, a distance of some
520 kilometers. Begun on the second
of January it took three weeks to accomplish in the particular year,
presumably in the late 1960s or early
70s. Much of the route was over the
ice of some nineteen lakes, treacherous
at times but generally better going
than the rough portages between
The author, along for the ride, describes how a seriously ill Denison and
his crew worked together to get the job
done despite bitter cold, mechanical
breakdowns and vehicles going
through the ice. From a start in 1959,
Denison believed that trucks could be
operated over winter roads in the
North and it took his determination to
turn it into reality.
This new edition is enhanced by 32
of the author's photographs but regrettably lacks a postscript with more
recent news of both Denison and of the
ice road.
Lewis Green
Lewis Green, a member of the Vancouver
Historical Society, is the author of
The Boundary Hunters. 1982.
The West Beyond the West, a
History of British Columbia.
Jean Barman. Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 1991.
428 p., illustrated. $35.00
With the appearance of Jean Barman's The West Beyond the West, a
History of British Columbia, we have
a worthy successor to Margaret Ormsby's British Columbia, a History
published in 1958 as a British Columbia centennial project.
This first in-depth study of the prov
ince's history, since the centennial
year, covers the social, political, economic and geographical aspects from
the time of the first contacts with the
explorers to the Van der Zalm era.
The closing chapter attempts to discover what is the province's identity.
A task that is fraught with difficulties,
since the province is still changing
both culturally and economically.
Barman points out near the beginning that the geography of the
province has a tremendous impact on
the historical development. It is a region of many distinct areas due to the
mountain ranges which run from
north to south. Although recognition
has always been given to the separation from the rest of Canada by the
Rocky Mountain range on the eastern
border, little has previously been mentioned of the influence of these other
very divisive geographical factors
which have had such an impact on all
aspects of the life and history of the
The author also recognizes the importance of the native peoples in the
development of the province, a factor
which will play a most important role
in the forthcoming years. Previous
works have almost completely ignored the indigenous people when
considering our historical
Although British Columbia history
has frequently been considered both
uninteresting and ponderous, the author manages to interweave political,
social and economic issues in such a
way that the reader is rarely bored.
Maps, illustrations, extensive references and index all make the book of
value to students and researchers as
well as those members of the general
public who are interested in furthering
their knowledge of the province's
One minor criticism can be made
with regards to the reproductions
which are not as clear or sharp as they
could be. The publisher has used the
same acid free non-gloss paper for
both text and illustrations. Reproductions are often printed on coated paper
which produces clearer and sharper
images. In this case, the extra cost involved would probably not have been
justified, since the reproductions do
not lose a great deal.
This work is highly recommended as
a well-balanced and scholarly history
of British Columbia. It will, I am sure,
remain the standard authority for a
considerable time.
Melva J. Dwyer
Melva Dwyer, Librarian Emerita, University
of British Columbia is a member of
Vancouver Historical Society.
Vancouver's Chinatown: Racial
Discourse in Canada, 1875-1980.
Kay J. Anderson. Montreal, Kingston,
McGill Queen's University Press, 1991.
323 p. $34.95
The history of race relations in British Columbia is a subject that has
attracted the attention of scholars from
a variety of disciplines, including political science, sociology and
anthropology, as well as history.
Though it is well-trodden ground, Kay
Anderson takes us to it via a rather different path, and in so doing, provides
us with a new understanding of the relationship between Vancouver's
Chinese and European communities.
This path is one she forges with the
help of a complex body of contemporary social and literary theory. While
the details of these theories need not
detain us, the broad perspective they
provide is worth discussing at some
Over the last two decades, there has
been a growing movement in the humanities and social sciences which has
suggested an alternative way of understanding how we comprehend the
world in which we live. Understanding how we see the world is important
itself, but it also has an added significance because how we conceive of the
world shapes how we act in it. Simply
put, this theoretical position asks us to
consider that what we understand as
"reality" is really a creation of our own
imaginations. How we see the world
is shaped by who we are - our race,
class and gender, for instance - as well
as what we hope to become.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92 BOOK SHELF CONT D
Though we all live in the same world
and are confronted by the same basic
facts of existence, each of us understands those facts differently because
we each bring a different perspective
to bear on them. Each of us attaches
different values and meanings to the
facts that make up our existence, and it
is these values and meanings, rather
than the facts alone, that determine
how we see the world. In essence,
then, we construct the world we live in
by attaching significance to the reality
that is presented to us. Consider, for
example, the biological reality that
women bear children. While this is a
universal and uncontested fact of human existence, it is insignificant in
understanding the nature of past or
present societies. To do that we need
to explore the meaning attached to
women's capacity to bear children.
That meaning is not only specific to individuals but to particular times and
cultures. Not only do different people
construct childbearing differently, but
they have done so differently at different times in the past and in different
Language is central to how we conceive of the world. We use it to
organize our own experiences and to
convey them to others. According to
the social and literary theorists whose
work Anderson uses, language is not
just a tool for communication. Words
don't simply describe things. They are
value-laden. So when we use words
we are both describing the world and
making certain implicit judgements
about it. Again, some examples might
help clarify the theoretical position
I've just outlined. Think about these
two sets of words: King/Queen and
bachelor/spinster. Both "King" and
"Queen" suggest royalty and power,
but "Queen" also has other less regal
connotations, for it is used to describe
flamboyant male homosexuals. Similarly, though both "bachelor" and
"spinster" describe the marital status
of men and women, each summons up
rather different images: "bachelor" signifies a lifestyle of freedom, action and
adventure, while "spinster" suggests
something very different - stooped
backs, orthopedic shoes and a retiring
life of prudence and caution. Finally,
this line of thinking gives even the unassuming pronoun power. When we
use "he" and "his" to describe hypothetical situations we are implying
that the masculine experience is either
universal (that men and women experience things in the same way) or that
women's point-of-view or experience
is unimportant. When we use language then, we not only communicate
meaning but we also create it. We also
create a community - a community
built around the shared understanding - and (as the Quebec experience
has shown) a culture.
Kay Anderson argues that the language of race shaped how western
society as a whole and British Columbians and Canadians in particular saw
the world and acted in it. This "racial
discourse" led white British Columbians to see themselves as superior to
others who were not like them. However, as Anderson shows, the racial
differences upon which white British
Columbians based their claims to superiority do not correspond to genetic
ones. Racial difference was constructed by attaching negative meaning and
value to attributes like skin colour,
language, birth place and cultural
practices. The Chinese were, in a
sense, European creations: what white
British Columbians thought them to
be tells us more about the dominant
society than it does about the lives of
Vancouver's Chinese inhabitants. The
Chinese "race" that Europeans constructed represented everything
European society was not it was morally depraved, dirty and barbaric. In
fact, Anderson contends that it was by
defining the Chinese as alien that Europeans created a positive identity for
Racial discourse and the meaning
conveyed by it had very concrete manifestations. The language of race was
more than words and meaning: as Anderson documents, it was translated
into a series of restrictive laws that disenfranchised the Chinese, barred their
entry into Canada and limited the occupations they could enter. In
general, they formalized the Chinese
as "outsiders."   As is often the case,
however, social status came to be expressed in the landscape. Chinatown
was the spatial manifestation of the
marginal status of the Chinese, who
congregated in the area around Pender
Street not only because they sought
the comfort provided by living with
people of a similar cultural background, but also because they were
forced to do so by an unwelcoming
host society. Anderson, a historical geographer, traces the evolution of
municipal efforts to regulate Chinatown and to channel, if not limit its
expansion, and argues that the municipality's actions were both influenced
by and reflected a racial discourse that
constructed Europeans as superior.
The negative stereotyping of the Chinese and Chinatown began to give
way after the Second World War.
Eventually, the Chinese came to be
portrayed as contributing members of
Canada's mosaic and Chinatown as a
valuable tourist attraction. Despite
these more favourable assessments,
Anderson does not consider them to
represent a significant shift in perception. Though negative racial
stereotypes had been replaced with
positive ones, those positive ones were
still expressed in a language of race.
Race, it seems, was still central to how
white British Columbians saw the society they lived in, and because of this
Anderson contends that racism is never far away.
For all its insights, Vancouver's
Chinatown is not an easy book to read.
The theory is not laid out as clearly as
it might have been and it is not always
integrated as tightly as it could be with
the archival evidence. Nevertheless,
Kay Anderson has brought a new and
provocative perspective to bear on
B.C. history, and as such, has contributed at a very fundamental level to our
understanding of Vancouver's past.
Tina Loo
Dr. Tina Loo is a member of the History
Department, Simon Fraser University.
B.C. Historical News - Fall 92
Honorary Patron:
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LL.D.,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Honorary President:      Keith Ralston
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
Recording Secretary:
Past President:
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1 NO 748-8397
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1 HO 442-3865
Ron Welwood, RR#1 S 22 C 1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4 825-4743
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4 753-2067
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamuchan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9 598-3035
Francis Sleigh, Box 29, Deroche, B.C. VOM 1G0 826-0451
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6 251 -2908
Wayne Desrochers, 8811 152 Street Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5 581 -0286
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Tony Farr, RR#3 Sharp Road Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C. V6S1E4
Subscription Secretary
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0
Nancy Peter, #7-5400 Patterson Ave., Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5
Historical Trails & Markers   John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R1R9
Membership Secretary        JoAnne Whittaker, 1291 Hutchinson Road, Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR 1L0
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Jill Rowland, #5-1450 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4
Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a loan
toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee       Arthur Wirick, 2301 - 4353 Halifax St., Burnaby, B.C. V5C 5Z4
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant - Governor's
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P. O. Box 35326, Stn. E
Vancouver, B.C.
V6M 4G5
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
British Columbia Historical Federation
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the tenth
annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1992, is eligible. This may be a
community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections
giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates, and places with relevant maps or pictures turn a story
into "history".
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included,
with appropriate illustrations, careful proof reading, an adequate index, table of contents and
bibliography from first-time writers as well as established authors.
Note: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual
writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other
awards will be made as recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Kamloops in
May 1993.
Submission Requirements: All books must have been published in 1992, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions of the
book and the address from which it may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933
Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B. C. Historical News
magazine. This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News
P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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