British Columbia History

BC Historical News Jun 30, 1970

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Vol. 3 No. 4 June 1970
Published November, February, April and June each year
by the British Columbia Historical association. Subscription
rates: Free to members of all affiliated societies, or $3*50
per year, including postage, directly from the Editor, Mr P.A.
Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver 8, B.C.
Hon. Patron: Lieut.Gov. J..R.Nicholson
Hon. President: Dr Margaret Ormsby
President: Mr H. R. Brammall
Past President: Mrs Mabel Jordon
1st Vice-President: Mr D. Schon
2nd Vice-P resident: Mr Gorman
Sec. & Editor: Mr P.A. Yandle
Treasurer: Mrs H.R. Brammall
Executive Mr D. New
Committee; Mr H.B. Nash
Editorial 2
Minutes 2-7
Centennial essay contest     7
Society notes aid comments   8
Sandford Fleming  Active
Patriot - Mrs M. Jordon   12
FRONT COVER The sketch of the Beaver is anothor in the series of
early Vancouver history which were drawn by Robert Genn, and tho
pictures were kindly lent to produce the lithograph platos for the
Tho train on tho cover of the last issue was the New
Westminster No. 1, the first train into Vancouver. There wore a
few suggestions, but nono was correct. EDITORIAL
What can be said when the last speech has been given at the
Convention, and the post-mortems have all been discussed? Was it
good or was it bad, or was the whole show worth while? To those
•attending the Convention it is a judgement they themselves must
assess for its worth. My feelings were all good for the Nanaimo
Convention - good speakers and an excellent field trip to the
•Nanaimo Museum and the Cowichan Forest Museum. It is always pleasant to renew friendships that 'have started over the years of attending conventions , and continue to grow, so that each year I start
to look for familiar faces. There is a sadness in all this because
some never come back. Sickness or death depletes the ranks year by
year but still the conventions go on as does everything else. This
is not written out of maudlin sentiment, but a wish that we could
attract younger- people into membership in our societies. The work
is always there, and to survive it must be done, but the age old
question of who is going to do it never gets answered in the way I
would like to see.
We have a good long range programme in the restoration of
Nootka or at least some tangible dedication to the men who became
responsible for the birth of the Province we call British Columbia,
This year we have an'essay competition that should yield some
excellent material, and for a change we have a category for our own
members. Just think p ositively, dear reader, you may be the winner
of our $100 prize. There will be a lot of long dark evenings before
midnight March 15th, 1971 rolls around. And sp eaking of midnigbt
March 15th, 1971, if anyone dares to show up at 11.59 p.m.- on that
night with a submission, he, she or it had better be prepared for a
shock. If I'm sober I'll be extremely nasty as my sheep counting
will have started and I hate to lose the tally. If I'm not sober
the unlucky he "She or it will be mistaken for the local "fuzz"
because who else would be calling at that time of night.
A pleasant summer to all and a hint to fat people - it's
easy to apply sun tan lotion if you use a paint roller.
Minutes of the Fourth'Council Meeting for 1969-70 of the
B.C. Historical Association, held on Friday May 22nd, 1970 at the
Shoreline Hotel, Nanaimo, B.C. Present: Mrs Jordon (Pre"s.);Mr
R. Brammall (1st Vice-Pres.); Mr B.C. Bracewell (2nd Vice-Pres.);
Mrs R. Brammall (Treas.); Mr P. Yandle (Sec); Delegates: Mr
Edwards, Mr Schon (Nanaimo); Mr German (Victoria); Mr D. New (Gulf
Islands); Mrs Ford (Alberni & Dist.); Mr Hunter (East Kootenay);
Miss E. Johnson (West Kootenay).
The President called the meeting to order at 9.15 a.m.
Minutes of Council Meeting held in Victoria on February 15th 1970
were adop ted on motion. Moved Bracewell, Seconded Brammall -
Carried. There was a lgngthy discussion on the present situation and
status of restoration planned for Nootka. The Secretary read all
correspondence available since the last Council Meeting - one
addressed to Mr J. Nesbitt from P. H. Bennett, Assistant Director
Historic Sites, to Mrs Yandle from H.J. Mitchell, Acting Chief,
Operations Division, Historic Sites, to Mrs E. Adams from T.S.
Barnett M.P. Comox-Alberni. From these letters it was established
that (l) The jurisdiction of the area came under the administration
of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development;
(2) The creation in 1968 of a new National Historic Park at Friendly
Cove to be known as Nootka National Historic Park; (3) The hope of
the Department that negotiations can be completed this year with the
local Indian Band for the leasing of the land required at Friendly
Coves (4) The Service has prepared a provisional development plan
for Nootka with the erection of a Visitor-Interpretation Centre at
the site; (5) There will bo no forced encroachment on the way of
life of the indigenous people within the area; (6) All proposals
come within the Service's Five Year Plan; (7) The Yuquot Band has
worked out an arrangement with the Provincial Museum for the
restoration and preservation of some of their more historic carvings.
Mr Schon stated that there was no inclusion of Nootka in the
plans of the Centennial Committee, but felt that the Association
should request a cop y of the Five Year Plan. Mr Brammall agreed
to investigate further the legal aspect of Noittka. Council decided
to leave the matter to the incoming Council who would have had the
benefit cf Mr Bartroli's address to the General Meeting.
Societies delinquent in their per capita payments will be
sent an accounting according to the financial records of the Association. Per capita dues, according to the Constitution, are due
each year by February 27th.
The essay contest outlined by Mr Brammall was endorsed by
Council, feeling there were sufficient funds for adequate prize
money* Moved Hunter, seconded German that this matter be referred
to the New Council to implement according to Mr Bra mmall's report
which would in turn be submitted to the Annual Ganeral Meeting.
New Business Regarding a request from Mrs Blyth asking the Association -s sponsorship for the publication of her history of Port
Edward, it was moved Schon, seconded New, that the Secretary write to
Mrs Elyth explaining that she should submit a copy of her work for
review and appraisal, if she wished our Association to make representation to a funded organization on her behalf. - Carried.
Moved New, seconded Brammall that the meeting adjourn, at
10.15 a.m. - Carried. Minutes of the Annual General _Hee ting-of the B*£~- Historical
Association held in Nanaimo May 22nd, 1970.
The meeting was called to order by the President, Mrs
Jordon, with the reading of the minutes of the meeting held in
Penticton on May 23rd, 1969. MoVed Yandle, seconded Bracewell
that the minutes be adopted as read. - Carried,
The President reported that this was her final meeting as
President. During her three years as President she thought thatt
the Association had shown progress. She had seen the Centennial
Essay contest, which started at the Convention in Cranbrook,
brought to its conclusion with the awards made at the Convention in
Victoria. The "News" had started with her term of office and had
provided a good means of communication throughout the membership,
and asked the mombers to join with her in thanking the Editor. The
petroglyphs at Cranbrook had at last been saved and were now
gazetted as an Historic Site. The restoration of Nootka was now
the main object of the Association and should proviefe the new
council with not only a long range project, but it should be a
challenge to ©very member to see it carried out. There was a new
essay contest which had been endorsed by Council, which should
stimulate the interests and activities of the member societies. It
would be reported on later by Mr Brammall and an outline given then.
She wished to thank everyone - officers and members alike - who had
given her complete coop eration during her term of office,
Mrs Brammall gave the Treasurer's report as follows: Cash
on hand, Ap ril 30th, 1969: $4211.96, Cash on hand, April 30th,
1970: $4437.38. This last figure does not include an advance made
to the Nanaimo Society of $200.00 which, when repaid, will be a
further asset of the Association. The Treasurer reported that the
Savings Account had been transferred to a Canada Permanent Debenture
in March 1970, which will yield an interest return of $342.91 which
could be used for the essay contest. Moved P. Brammall, seconded
Yandle that tho report be accepted. - Carried,
The Secretary reported quite a busy year but would not
repeat much of the detail which had appeared in the News, either
as minutes or as direct information. There had been a problem of
decision making which he had done and risked being chastised by
Council, It was an endorsation that he had signed on behalf of the
Association regarding a brief by the Princeton Fish and Game Club
asking the Hon. Mr Williston to set aside a portion of Paradise Valley
in the Tulameen area as a recreati">n area. Council endorsed his
action and the need to act when time was a factor. The Secretary
stressed the need for more communication by the member societies, as
it was by this means that the News could be said to truly represent
the Association. A Letters to the Editor column was mentioned at
the last convention but did not meet with any great response.
The essay competition was outlined by Mr Brammall, setting
forth the details as to the topic, categories and prizes.  (This
report will appear in detail following the minutes. - Editor.) Reports were read from the following societies covering the
year's activities since the last Convention, by their respective
delegates: Alberni & District, East Kootenay, Gulf Islands,
Nanaimo, Vancouver, Victoria, West Kootenay. There was no representative from Golden.
New Business The site for the 1971 Convention was given to the
Victoria Branch, which had made the formal request through Mr Brace-
well at Penticton in 1969.
Dr Gordon Elliott asked the Association to make representation
to the Provincial Archives in Victoria for information regarding
local histories that had been written at t he expense of the taxpayers and had never been published or put to any practical purpose.
The Secretary was instructed to deal with this matter.
Dr Elliott requested the Association to take a definite
stand on the lack of interest by the professional historians in local
historical societies. It was his opinion that they should be giving
leadership and encouraging tlheir students to take an active part in
these societies. There was considerable discussion on the subject
and several points of view expressed. Mr Wellburn considered that
in view of the fact that the professional historian worked mostly
with young people, was this accusation fully justified or was it the
case of the young peop le not being interested, Mr Turnbull thought
such a resolution would probably generate more heat than light and
would recommend the member societies to solicit the interest of the
students. Mrs Ford expressed the hope that we should have help and
leadership from the professionals and not in any way wish to
create antagonism. Mr Hunter thought that the general lack of
interest on  the part of the vast majority of Canadians was an ethnic
problem, that in general each selfishly thought only of his own
national history. Mrs Brammall felt that students were not encouraged
by adults, and Mr Bracswell questioned the wisdom of finding a place
to put the blame for apathy.
It was moved Elliott, seconded Miss Hayball that we ask
history departments of all institutions of higher learning to make
known to their students the existence of local history societiess
and that the professional staff encourage their students to an
active involvement in such societies.
Mr Schon added an amendment, seconded by Hunter, that the
historical society of the community which has an institution of
higher learning get in touch with the History Department asking for
the names of students taking history courses and that the Society
make a personal invitation to the students, with an outline of their
programme, to attend their meetings. As the motion and amendment
were not in conflict they both carried.
Moved Brammall, seconded Schon, that the meeting adjourn for
lunch at 12,00 noon. - Carried.
Meeting reconvened with an address by Mr Toraas Bartroli on
the "Friendly Cove Project" at 2,30 p.m. From the question period the following motion was made. Moved Schon, seconded Dr Forrester, that
a letter of recognition be sent to the Dept. of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development by the Association for the proposed Five Year
Plan for Nootka, and we ask them to incorporate in the plan the
restoration of the Spanish Fort on Hog Island. - Carried.
Dr Forrester suggested that at the appropriate time the
local Boards of Trade be approached for their support for the p ro-
ject. It was the opinion of the membership that further action be
left to the in-coming Council and that any committee set up to
deal with the project should include Mr Bartroli as a member ex-
Moved Yandle, seconded Schon that Mr Ford be app ointed
Auditor. - Carried.
At 4.30 p.m. it was moved Turnbull, seconded Ethenridge
that the meeting adjourn. - Carried.
Minutes of First Council Meeting of the 1970-71 season
of the British Columbia Historical Association, held in Nanaimo
May 22nd at 5.15 p.m„ Present: Mrs Jordon (E. Kootenay); Mrs
Brammall, Mr R. Brammall (Vancouver); Mr B.C. Bracewell, Mr German
(Victoria); Mr D. New (Gulf Islands); Mr Jordon, Mr Hunter (East
Kootenay); Mrs Adams (Alberni & Dist.); Mr D. Schon (Nanaimo);
Miss E. Johnson (W. Kootenay); Mr P. Yandle (Vancouver).
Mrs Brammall asked a question relating to instructions
given at the last Council Meeting which she had found ambiguous.
On discussion she was empowered, together with the Secretary, to
use her own discretion in the matter regarding delinquent per
capita payments by member societies.
First order of business was the election of officers. Mrs
Jordon as retiring President took the chair to conduct the election.
By unanimous vote the following officers were elected in
the order as listed:
President Mr Robin Brammall
Secretary Mr P. Yandle
1st Vice-President Mr D. Schon
2nd Vice-President Mr German
Treasurer: Mrs R. Brammall
Two Executive members Mr D. New; Mr H.B. Nash (in absentia)
Past President Mrs Jordon
Editor Mr P. Yandle
New Business  Discussion centered around remarks made at the General
Meeting that there wore several groups throughout the Province that
should be affiliated with the B.C. Historical Association. Several
members of Council knew such groups, and overtures had been made,
but it was true that no concerted effort had been made to seek ?
their affiliition. The Secretary felt that this should be the work
of a committee as he found it too much work in addition to his other
duties. It was decided to form a Membership Committee which would
be composed of Mr German and Mr Schon, with powers to add. Mr
German agreed? to be Chairman.
Moved New, seconded Jordon that the signing officers shall
be the Treasurer, toegther with either the Secretary or Mr New. -
Council felt that the site for the 1972 Convention should
be referred to the next Council Meeting. Gulf Islands had shown
an interest in this convention, but Mr New explained the problems
involved, hence the decision to refer the matter.
There was a general discussion on the essay competition, and
it was the feeling of Council that the report given by Mr Brammall
was quite acceptable on all points but it was the length of the
essay that should be established by Council. It was therefore
decided to accept essays of not less than 3000 words and not more
than 6000.
The retiring President, Mrs Jordon, was asked to write a
letter of appreciation to Mr Robert Genn for his cover designs on
tho News for the last two years.
The meeting adjourned at 6.30 p.m. on motion, moved Brammall,
seconded Bracewell. - Carried.
The 1971 Centennial Prise Committee of P. A. Yandle and
H. R. Brammall, in consultation with Mrs Yandle and Mr H.K. Ralston,
suggested that the topic be:
"Some historical aspect of British Columbia within the
Canadian Confederation from an economic, political,
scientific or social point of view."
This was endorsed by Council and will be the topic for
eligibility in the following categories of this competition.
Category A One $200.00 Junior College prize to be available to
the Junior Colleges of Malaspina, Douglas, New Caledonia, Selkirk,
Cariboo, Okanagan, Capilano and Vancouver City College. The
Association reserves the right to divide the Junior College p rize
if the judges deem it advisable.
Category B One $200 University prize for the four Provincial
Universities, on an undergraduate or graduate level.
Category C One $100 open prize to any current paid up member of an 8
affiliated -society in good standing with the B.C. Historical
Association. Any member who is a practising member of the teaching
profession will not be eligible to compete in this category.
All categories will be open to residents within British
Columbia. Essays should be not less than 3000 words and not more
than 6000 words, to be submitted not later than midnight March 15th
1971 to the Secretary of the Association. Footnotes and sources
should be included, and all essays submitted will become the property
of the Association.
This essay competition will be advertised by letters to the
History Dep artments of the Colleges and Universities, and this is
official notice that the competition is to be held. It is also a
suggestion that affiliated member societies get publicity in their
local papers to ensure complete coverage.
The essays will be judged by a committee of members of our
Association as chosen by Council.
The reports from the member societies given at the Annual
General Meeting of the .Association were summaries of the year's
acttivities. Most of the contents of these reports have appeared in
previous issues of the News. Where there have been activities not
previously reported, the. News will quote from that report*
Alberni District Museum and Historical Society
The highlight of the year for our society was the notification
that we would receive a grant from the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, to be applied to the publishing of the memoirs of pioneer
George Bird. Mr Bird kept diaries, was a keen observer with a feeling for historical values. His articles are presently being evaluated
and Selected. The Arts' Council of Alberni Valley grants will also
be directed to this purpose.
In September, a booth at the Fall Fair, courtesy of the Kinsmen Club, stimulated a flow of acquisitions.
At the invitation of the Port Alberni Library, we have had
two displays, which featured artifacts relative to the pioneers
A.W. Neill, M.P., who presented the first Old Age Pension, and Mir
Mackenzie, first white boy born in the valley's permanent settlement.
Guests at our fourth annual social meeting enjoyed slides
taken by Robert Aller, illustrating the art done by Indian children.
The originals have been on exhibit at the National Gallery in Ottawa <,
We are pleased that Mr Aller, who began teaching Indian children
here, has achieved national appreciation. Pictures of Upper Canada
Village were shown by Mr Hammer. In April, Mr Ainsley Helmcken, Victoria City Archivist, showed
recently discovered pictures of Vancouver Island, taken by Bill Penman. These were enhanced by excerp ts from Mr Penman's journal.
The Adult Education Director has asked us to prepare a series
of talks on local history, to commence in the Fall, freparatory
work has begun.
We have been most fortunate in having the support of the
Port Alberni Council, the School Board, the Vancouver Island Regional
Library, the Alberni Valley Times, the Kinsmen, and many others.
East Kootenay Historical Association
  Activities at Fort Steele for the past year were
reported. These included a new Sash and Door Workshop comp lex;
museum balcony furnished; completion of large water supply reservoir;
replica of old water tower built, also a railway station and water
tower for the Dunrobin train; replica of pioneer drugstore; mining
display in museum completed with simulated mine tunnel; etc., etc.
We understrand this year's big project is building an old-time
opera house, and 1971 will see a live vaudeville company there
during the summer.
Rare photographs of early day notables of the area have been
searched out and identified to assist with further panels for the
Museum and also for the Provincial Archives records.
Thanks to the generous donation by the members of the F,W.
Green Medical Clinic our Association has been able to assist
financially with the restoration of the old Goat River Crossing
cemetery near Creston where so many victims of the typhoid epidemic
were buried during the construction of tho Crows Newt Railway in
All historical signs up Wild Horse early-day gold mining
grounds, put up by our As'soclation, were taken in last spring and
put in good condition again. Trigger-happy folks had used some of
them for target practice, and one was even broken up and burned for
camp fire wood.
In conjunction with sister associations from Windermere,
Idaho and Montana, five field Jrips were held last summer, including
a most enjoyable ride on t he River Boat S.W. Kootenay, guests of the
Thanks to the insistent urging of your President, Mrs M.
Jordon, and the Provincial Historical .Association, the petroglyphs
near Cranbrook have been gazetted a protected Historical and Archaeological Site, Now we hope further urging will induce the government to do something about protecting them from vandalism. Although
damaged slightly, they are still in a qpite good state of preservation, but time is important. 10
Gulf Islands Branch
The Branch had a largely uneventful year with the inevitable
difficulty of transport between islands keeping the average attendance at meetings lower than the number of members would suggest,
16,8 out of 63.
Five meetings have been held on the various islands, from
which three achievements can be reported: the 4th printing of our
book, "A Gulf Islands Patchwork", a third of its one thousand copies
already sold; assistance given, in a $100 bursary, to an Indian
student; and a museum-type exhibition illustrating pioneer days on
Pender Island.
Over the years, the contacts we have made through our annual
bursary have shown us how young Indians are t aking advantage of
opportunities offered, to fit themselves for life in to-day's
society. Margaret Anderson's record is typical: from a neglected,
resentful child in Bella Bella, "Impossible to manage in home,
school or community", she has arrived, via school for the retarded,
public and high school, holiday and week-end work at Simpson-Sears,
to passing the Civil Service examination in general office procedures
and permanent employment at the B.C. Institute of Technology. Now
she is attending night-school courses in computer work.
The main active achievement of the year was the Pender
Island "Delve-In", which has been previously reported in the
November '69 News.
Nanaimo Historical Society
Nanaimo activities have beon reported up to date in the
last issue of the News, Since that time the Society's activities
have covered the numerous preparations for the Convention.
Vancouver Historical Society
Vancouver's activities havo been reported up to. date in the
last issue of the News,
Victoria Section
.,.»„. A review of the subjects brought before the members at
the regular monthly meetings discloses a wide variation in the topics
selected. EARLY HISTORY was represented by talks on Captain Cook -
the Navigator; S.S. BeaVer; Development of banking; Tokens and
medals of early B.C.; Early cannery operations. CURRENT HISTORY by
Mining up North; Mapping techniques. GENERAL INTEREST by A visit
to Churchill. Manitoba; An historical interpretation of the restoration of Barkerville and Fort Steele.
The annual field day trip was a visit to Jordan River which 11
was particularly appropriate in view of the replacement of the
electrical generating plant now being undertaken. The historic
significance of the undertaking, both past and present, is bound
up with the life of the capital citiy.
Projects continue as reported last year, viz. (a) Locating,
recording and burnishing of local plaques, (b) Awarding annually of
two books on British Columbia history to each of two students
selected by the Victoria University.
Some satisfaction has been taken by the Victoria group
over the recent announcement that a West Coast Park seems now
assured. About two years ago such a project was advocated by the
group and steps taken urging official action thereon.
r--fest Kootenay Historical Association
..,,. * o. ■>=,... In February a member took us to Iceland, by means of
talk and slides, A guest speaker in March was R.A. Kutherglen,
Conservation Officer with the B.C. Wildlife. He had a lot to say
and pictures to show of pollution caused by careless campers and
resultant changes in animal behaviour. In April the guest speaker
was Mrs L„ Landucci who spentt- three years in India with her
husband who was Works Manager for that period of the jointly-
owned Coniinco-Binani Zinc plant near Cochin in Kerala State, -
a.portion of the beautiful Malabar Coast of South-west India.
At our recent meeting in May, W.M. Merilees of Selkirk
College told of his exp eriences when studying archaeology in
East Africa, particularIky in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. When
in Nairobi he met the famous Dr Leakey, under whose auspices he
was a student for a while, later visiting the Olduvai Gorge, the
scene of the first famous discovery of our ancient forebears.
STCP PRESS From Alberni & Dist. comes this letter to T.S. Barnett,
»;■?—r-sttgrred John I. Nicol, Director, National & Historic Parks
Branch, an extract of which follows.
"c . v . ,The Minister, the Honourable Jean Chretien, has asked me
to reply to your letter of May 4, regarding the Department's plans
for the development of Friendly Cove as a National Historic Park
,.;..»■ The archaeological excavations of 1966 were successful
according to tho preliminary roport but tho final report is not due
until next year and until it is evaluated, we cannot proceed with a
definitive development program. However, it is safe to say that the
results of thss work, -together with that of Dr Bartroli's historical
research, will contribute a wealth of cultural and historical information which can give very effective form to the interpretation of
this intorosting historic si to Tho commencomont of the
program is scheduled to take place in four years timo and its
estimated cost is in tho order of $400,000." ■ 12
The following is the text of an address given at the British
Columbia Historical Association Annual Mooting at Nanaimo, B ,C,
May 22, 1970, by Mrs Mabel E. Jordon, President.
This year, 1970, is one of the significant anniversaries in
the history of Canada. Among these is the 300th anniversary of the
Hudson's Bay Company, and the centenary of the Northwest Territories
and the Province of Manitoba. One that I find of particular interest
is the 200th anniversary of the birth of David Thompson, that
intrepid explorer who surveyed and mapped much of western Canada
including the Columbia River from source to mouth. He was emp loyed
by the Hudson's Bay Company for 13 years in the latter part of the
eighteenth centu :ry in the fur trade.
This is also tho 100th anniversary of pre-Confederation year '■'
for the Province of British Columbia, during which the terms of the
union were being worked out. Perusal of some of these events may
stir in Canadians a foeling of patriotism.
The Oxford Dictionary gives this definition of a patriot:
■''a champion or lover of his country". Sandford Fleming was such
a patriot in the truest sense of the word, both of .Canada - his
adopted country - and of tho British Emp ire.
For those who may not be familiar with my subject, it was he
who among his many other accomplishments:
1. Planned most of Canada's- railways.
2. Put the world on t ime by devising standard time zones
based on the prime meridian as we know this today.
3. Championed the cause successfully for the Pacific cable
from British Columbia to Australia and Now Zealand,
thus girdling the globe with an all British-owned
cable communications system thereby eliminating the
need to rely on a foreign power.
4. Designed Canada's first postage stamp - the Threepenny
Beaver - which did much to popularize the beaver as a
national symbol.
Perhaps the best known of these achievements, to Canadians at any
rate, was his work of surveying and planning the possible and most
practical routes for the Canadian Pacific Railway, as its Engineer-
in-Chief. . -
One hundred years ago, in March of 1870, the Legislative
Council of the Colony of British Columbia sat in lively debate on 13
the subject of Confederation with Canada. Text of the debate^ which
lasted a full month, is an interesting documentation of the mood of
tho then Crown Colony, Nanaimo residents here today might bo interested to know that their Legislative Council member was the
Honourable David Babington Ring. Now Mr Ring was not at all backward in voicing his opinions in the debate. It appears that in
I87O tho residents of Nanaimo were not in favour of entering Confederation. This was made plain by their honourable member who
wanted a plebiscite to decide! the issue.  However, his objections
obviously bore no weight, and mention of this now is intended only
as a point of local interest.
Of the many aspects involved in this joining of British
Columbia with Canada the need for communications and transportation
was important for unification; a trans-continental railway being
paramount. Much discussion in tho Confederation Debates was given
to construction of a Pacific railway. Here again, permit me to
mention the Honourable Mr Ring of Nanaimo in regard to the proposed
railway, He forecast that a railway would not be forthcoming in
the lifetime of the youngest council member thon present, but at
the same time admitted that it must bo the main Resolution in the
debate, and he did make some constructive suggestions.
As we all know, it was under Sir John A. Macdonald's
government that the Colony of British Columbia joined Canada as a
Province in 1871, and next year will be one of celebration and
commemoraiion throughout this province. Tho building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, that distinctively Canadian enterprise,
was a direct result. This is a well known story and need not be
told hero except for some interesting incidents which touch on the
subject of this address - Mr Sandford Hall Fleming,
This man devoted his life in Canada, from 1845 to 1915. to
cementing tho ties of the British Empire in general and to uniting
Canada in particular. Ho landed in Canada Juno 5th, 1845 aboard
the sailing ship Brilliant at tho age of eighteen. At that time
the steamship era was in its infancy. It is an interesting fact
that the first line of ocean steamers was organized by a Canadian,
Sir Samuol Cunard. The first one, the Royal William, was built in
Canada, fed with Canadian coal, and navigated by a Canadian crow,
as early as 1833• Howevor, back to the Brilliant; she was a
typical sailing ship of the day, taking almost six weeks to cover
the distance from Glasgow to Quebec.  (Fleming's passenger ticket
specified that bedding and utensils for eating and drinking had to
be supplied by tho passenger!) Little did this young man realise
as he sailed down the River Clyde how large a part he was to have
in the future to incroase tho means of transportation and communications throughout the world.
To briefly scan his background: he was born at Kirkcaldy,
Fifoshire, Scotland in 1827 and was named after his maternal grand-
l.B.C. Legislative Council. Debate on the Subject of Confederation
with Canada, Victoria, 1912. p. 38-40. 14
father, and an uncle of the same name who was a Sanskrit scholar of
some renown then living in India. The maternal grandfather, of the
clan Cameron, had fought at Culloden in 1745, and with seven others
had rowed Bonnie Prince Charlme over to France and exile.
Young Sandford attended a school at Kirkcaldy where Thomas
Carlyle had been a master twenty years earlier. He was lator a
pupil of the Scottish engineer and surveyor, John Lang, for four
yoars, after which he and his brother David left for the New World
aboard the Brilliant. From the time he landed until his passing
seventy years later, his life in Canada was a whirlwind of adventure
and accomplishments
None of his major achievements succeeded easily, nor without
a considerable amount of opposition of one kind or another. To
begin with, one of the very first calls of any importance made
upon arrival was to see Bishop Strachan of Toronto who advised him
to return to Scotland as there was no future here for a professional
man since all the great works were completed. This in 1845!
■Fleming spent his first two months in the country in and
around Peterborough seriously contemplating buying a farm for himself. While at Peterborough he became friendly with the Strickland
family - Major Strickland and his two sisters, Susanna Moodie and
Catharine Parr Traill. Susanna Moodie wrote of her pioneer
experiences in "Roughing it in the Bush", now a collectors' item,
as are tho writings of Mrs Traill, particularly her natural history
classics. It w*i3 in Peterborough also that young Sandford met the
girl who, years later, was to become his wife.
Fleming took temporary employment at Peterborough as a
draughtsman, where ho surveyed the town and published a plan which
was required to bo lithographed. At that time thero were very few
lithographers in Canada, but young Fleming, now in his twentieth
year, had learned this art in Scotland and decided to do it himself.
Obtaining tho necessary stones for the work ho proceeded and his
plan was duly completed.
Realizing the advantage of securing the correct professional
status, he articled to a firm in Weston and obtained his certificate.
With this he set out for Montreal, then the seat of government, a
long and tedious journey in 1849, Hero ho met with the Commissioner
of Lands and received his commission from Lord Elgin on the very day
of an historic riot in that city. Fleming was a somewhat unsung
hero on this occasion. The riot was caused by the passing of the
Rebellion Losses Bill which Lord Elgin as Governor General had just
signed. As he was leaving the Parliament Buildings an angry mob
pelted h±3  carriage with rotten eggs. By evening the riot was out
of control and the Parliament Buildings wero set afire. Bleming
had witnessed all this and tried to rush into the bui Iding to save
what he could from the very fine library but found the fire too far
advanced. Running through the hall he saw the large painting of
Queen Victoria in a massive gilt frame hanging behind the throne
chair« He determined to savo it. With tho help of thuee others
he pried it from its fastenings but found it too heavy to handle 15
so thoy removed the canvas and the four of them carried it out of
the bui lding - only just in time as the flames were already roaring
overhead, and they had to stoop low to prevent the painting from
being scorched. Some years later this painting, the work of John
Partridge, was taken to Ottawa and hung in the Senate Chamber.
Fleming recorded that a lively account of this incident was given
in the newspaper a few days later, stating that four scoundrels
had carried off the Queen's picture!
With the documentary authority to practise his profession
in Canada now firmly established, Sandford decided to make Toronto
his headquarters. He had no intention, however, of living a mere
bread-and-butter existence. To him anything he undertook was not
to be "does it pay?" but rather "is it worthy?" He had been in
Toronto but briefly when, having met other surveyors, civil
engineers, and architects, he founded the Canadian Institute in
1849, to which the name Royal was added much later. This was formed
for the purpose of encouragement of advancement of the physical
sciences, tho arts, letters, manufactures, and so forth. The
motives and aims were sound enough but difficulties were soon
encountered in diminishing attendance. Undaunted, and with an
enthusiasm not, easily dampened, in February of 1850 when only two
men att'-ended the meeting, Fleming suggested one take the chair and
tho other act as secretary. Without a quorum and with no long discussions they passed a series of resolutions including one that
the Institute should meet once a week hereafter. These resolutions
were circularized and there was a good attendance thereafter for the
rest of Fleming's lifo.
The standing of the Institute may be judged, perhaps, by
the fact that among its presidents were Sir William Logan, Sir John
Henry Lefroy, Chief Justice Robinson, William Henry Draper, Sir
Daniel Wilson and Sir Oliver Mowat, and membership was ijltimately
comprised, of people from all over Canada. Whereas the Institute
(not to be confused with the Royal Society of Canada) at first was
a professional society serving the advancement of science, it did
move with the times in an academic and pop-ular way, and was the
first to present a Canadian publication for scientific articles.
It published Fleming's original articles, which developed into the
world-wide adoption of a prime meridian and standard time, about
which more x>rill bo said later. It also pressed for government
support for research which ultimately led to the present National
Research Council. It maintained an extensive library, and early
collected an archaeological museum, both of which have since been
turned over to tho Royal Ontario Museum at Toronto.2 Fleming,
though a founder and a member of the first council of the Institute
was never an officer. On the other hand he was in 1888 elected
president of the Royal Society of Canada.
This sort of unsolfish idoalism characterised young Fleming
and was revealed in many incidents of his later life. To him the
greatest good to the greatest number was the principal reason for
2. Wallace, W.S., ed. Royal Canadian Institute Centennial Volume,
1849-1949. Toronto, 1949. 16
any of his undertakings. As a practical and far-sighted patriot he
was always somewhat in advance of his time in many of his ideas
and ventures.
Fleming stayed in Toronto from 1849 to 1852 working at his
profession. With an associate he completed a very ambitious survey
of the city of Toronto, and himself did the engraving of the map on
stone, which map was used- by tho City Tax Department for many years.
He wont on to make an alaborate survey of Toronto Harbour and the
adjacent shores of Lake Ontario, which required many weeks of daily
boat work in all weathers. His twenty-fourth birthday was spent
sleeping at night in two feet of snow without shelter of tent, at
14 degrees below zero, with a dozen Indians for companions. The
chart of Toronto Harbour could be found in the wheelhouses of boats
on the Great Lakes long afterwards.
An 'historic relic of his ability as an artist and engraver
is a faded proof of Canada's first postage-stamp found at his
Ottawa home. Beneath it was penned this note:  "This is the first
proof from the copper-plate of the first postage-stamp issued in
Canada, designed by Sandford Fleming for the Postmaster-General,
the Honourable James Morris, dated Toronto, February 1851".  As
mentioned earlier, this was the Threepenny Beaver. A replica of this
stamp was issued in 1951 to commemorate its centenary.
Fleming's railway experience began in 1852 when he joined the
staff of the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Railroad, sometimes known as
the Northern Railway, first as Assistant Engineer, then as its
Chief. This was the first railway in Ontario. Of the five choices
for terminus of this road, after some preliminary work, a place
then called Hen-and-Chickens was chosen, now known as the town of
Collingwood, and the tiny town was christened with a bottle of
wine, At this time a well-to-do farmer in the area honoured the
railway directors and engineers with a dinner and invited some of
the local settlers of the district, mostly Scots. At one end of
the table was a largo dish of haggis, and the man who was delegated
to serve it looked rather puzzled'. As he was about to carve it a
guest asked him what it was. He replied: "Don't know, but it looks
liko a bran mash". Imagine the indignation of the Highlanders!
Bad enough that these Sassenachs were ignorant of the greatest of
Highland dishes, but to compare^'it to the vulgar mess fed to
cattle was intolerable.
This was one incident that helped lighten the monotony of
■that particular' survey in those early pioneer days, Another, not
so humorous at the time perhaps, was during the very hot summer
when thirst became a problem for the engineers during their work.
On this occasion they found a primitive tavern at Penetanguishene,
went in, and found the proprietor. Asking him what he could give
them to drink, the man produced, a decanter of what appeared to be
whiskey. Tired and thirsty tho men waited, expecting the man to
3, Burpee, L.J. Sandford Fleming, Empire. Builder. London, 1915(
p.49. 17
bring wate-^ to go along with it. Finally one asked him where the
water was, to which the man replied, "I'll fetch some from the
pump if you wish but you won't need much for I've watered it twice
One other hot summer day Mr Cumberland, then Engineer-in-
Chief, and Fleming as his assistant, were plodding along a few
miles north of Toronto under a grilling sun, lugging thoir
instruments. They came upon an inviting looking farm house and
agreed that a cool glass of milk would surely slake their thirst.
The lady of the house invited them in to her best room where the
blinds were drawn against the glare of the hot sun. The cool of
the darkened room was welcome indeed. Soon the lady brought a jug
of cool fresh milk and went to a corner cupboard for glasses. These
she filled and handed one to each of her guests, one of whom did
not pause until the last drop was gone, so thirsty was he. The
other man got half way through his then stopped abruptly as there
was an odd ratt le in his glass. Taking it over to the window he
held it to the light, dropped it and retreated hastily outside.
The dear old lady hadn't noticed in the dark that she had poured
his milk into the glass in which she kept her Sunday teeth!
It was in 1855 that Fleming succeeded Cumberland as Chief
of the railroad, and that year he married the girl he had met at
Petertorough six years earlier, Ann Jean Hall. He remained as
Chief of the Northern Railway until 1862, when that portion was
finished between Toronto and Collingwood, tho first sod of which
had been turned in 1851 by the Countess of'Elgin.,
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald then appointed Fleming as
Engineer-in-Chief for the surveys and bui ilding of the Intercolonial
Railway and to be a combined representative of Her Majosty's
Imperial Government as well as for the North American provinces.
This railway line was to unite the Maritime provinces with the
Province of Canada. The survey and the building suffered many
vicissitudes with controversies as to routes and construction,
Fleming wrote a detailed history of this, titled The Intercolonial,
published'in I876 by Dawson Broth fors of Montreal/7 It is illus-
trated with numerous maps and lithographs. Fleming felt sure that
this railway line was the big step in uniting Canada thus far,
exposing the need for a transcontinental railway over British
territory tcconnect and unite the rest of the country.
The Intercolonial was not completed 'until I876, but in the
interval Fleming was appointed Engineer-in-Chief for the Canadian
Pacific Railway in I87I which, as we all know, was a project without parallel on this continent and as gigantic an undertaking as
had ever been attempted, and the most formidable. This was intended to be an extension of the Intercolonial to the Pacific Ocean
and would link the newest provinces, Manitoba and British Columbia,
4. Note: In her paper (1969) on 'Br George, Father of Western
Canadian Geology" the writer was in error when she stated that
Dawson Brothers were connected with Geo. M. Dawson's forbears. 18
with the others. With his intimate knowledge of railway building
Fleming was the logical man to be selected to survey various routes
before a choice be made for the line to the Pacific. There was no
doubt that this would open the country for settlement, and increase
and improve communications between the widely separated segments
of the country. Ever the patriot, Fleming saw this undertaking as
a project of national importance and the challenge appealed to him.
Tho idea of such a rail line was not new. Such a project had
been prophesied as early as 1846 when Sir Richard Bonnycastle said,
"We shall yet place an iron belt from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
from Halifax to Nootka Sound".-5 Five years later at a public meeting Joseph Howe said, "I believe that many in this room will live
to hear the whistlo of the stoam engine in the passes of the Rocky
Mountains, and to make the journey from Halifax to the Pacific in
five or six days".  Other farsighted men also had this dream of a
railway from ocean to ocean over British North American territory.
Not so Captain John Palliser, however, who in 1863 reported that
he would never recommend such a line of communication across Canada
exclusively through British territory. He said that "tho time had
forever gone by for effecting such an object".' Even while Palliser
was making his famous exploration of western Canada from 1857 to
i860 Fleming was giving a lecture outlining in detail the advisability of such a scheme.
An interesting sidelight to the various pros and cons of
building of the C.P.R. is that Fleming was asked in 1863, on the
heels of Palliser's Report, to present to the Canadian and British
governments a report on the means of establishing communication
between the eastern provinces and British Columbia. As a result he
brought forward an ingenious scheme of a road right across the
country to British Columbia to safeguard a telegraph line, the road
in time to be macadamized for wheeled vehicles. This, remember,
was in 1863, one hundred years before the Trans-Canada Highway as
we know it today was completed. He presoited this report on behalf
of the Red River Settlement to John A. Macdonald and to the powers
t 'hat be in England but it bore no fru it directly, yet had results
of far-reaching importance both to Canada and to Fleming personally.
Thus, under the terms of :union with British Columbia the
young Canadian nation was in 1871, amid much opposition, undertaking with rare foresight this colosssl task that Fleming had
advocated in I858, himself now chosen to be in chargo of surveying
the route. His was the main party, working from east to west, in
the summer of 1872. It is interesting to note, however, that George
M. Grant who was. secretary to Fleming's party records in his account
5, Johnson, George. Alphabet of first things in Canada. Ottawa,
1897. p.27.
6, Burpee, L.J. Sandford Fleming, Empire Builder, p.108.
7, Palliser, J. Exploration - British North America. The journals,
detailed reports and observations.... London, I863. : 19
of this survey that on the very day British Columbia entered the
Dominion, July 20, 1871, a party left Victoria for various points
of the Rocky Mountains to begin the western part of the survey.
As with Palliser's exploration westward, so with this survey a
botanist accompanied the party, In this case it was John Macoun,
chosen by Fleming, a professor of natural history at Albert College
in Belleville at the time, a self-educated man in his field and a
good choice. He crossed the west many times in the pre-rail period
cataloguing plants and collecting and naming specimens. He
deserves to be better remembered for his contribution to this
country. Later, in 1879, he joined the Geological Survey of
Canada and among other things he compiled a catalogue of Canadian
birds comprising over 760 pages, which indicates the scope of this
work, published by the Geological Survey, A naturalist by inclination and genius, he was also an undisputed botanical pioneer.
More than 48 species were named after him. He did extensive work
on Vancouver Island and chose to spond his last years at Sidney,
where he died in 1920 aged 89.
I must apologize for these digressions from my subject. It
is just that Fleming was involved with so many interesting individuals. Mention should also be made of the Reverend George M.
Grant who was secretary for the overland survey. He kept a diary
of this journey and later arranged it in narrative form which was
published under the title of Ocean to Ocean and is a travel classic.
It contains a chapter on the (West) Coast and Vancouver Island,
mentioning in particular Nanaimo and some of the coal mines of that
time. Of Nanaimo he says, "At Nanaimo proper is a population of
seven or eight hundred souls - all depending on the old or Douglas
mine". And again, "Nanaimo does notlook like a coal mining place.
The houses are much above the avorage of miners' residences in
Britain or Nova Scotia".° This was as he saw it in 1872. He later
served as .Principal of Queen's University for .twenty-five years.
The selection of the route through British Columbia was undoubtedly the most difficult and hazardous part of the whole survey.
After examining tho summit of the Yellowhead Pass Fleming found
this to be the one with fewest obstacles and decided he would advocate this for the railway because of its low ;altitude. As he
and his party turned up the Mietto ■ River flowing to the Arctic,
at Miette Pass they mot Walter Moberly who welcomed them into
British Columbia. Moberly was one of Fleming's principal assistants and had: travelled from tho west with a party of trail-cutters
to meet the Chief, As they turned westward and came upon the
source of the Fraser River flowing to the Pacific, in a spurt of
patriotism they gathered on the bank of tho sparkling infant Fraser
and drank a toast from its waters to the Queen and to Canada,
Pushing onward they followed almost in the trail which those
distinguished "tourists", Viscount Mlton and Dr Cheadle had taken
in I863. Their overland journey is described in another book of
western travel, "The North West Passage by Land",
8. Grant, George M. Ocean to Ocean, Toronto, 1877. p.24
9. op, cit. p.333-334. 20
Continuing on to Kamloops, Lytton and over the famous roacS
to Yale, then down the river by steamer to'New Westminster, they
sailed through the Strait of Georgia, made a brief visit to Bute
Inlet then to Victoria on October 9th, just three months after
they had left Halifax.
Fleming severed his connection with the Canadian Pacific
Railway in 1880, but three years later while on a visit to England
he received an urgent cable from the Canadian Pacific President
asking him to come back and help thorn resolve a dilemma. The railway was then completed as far as Calgary. His recommendation of
Yellowhead Pass had been rejected. Fleming was now asked to advise
the best route across the Selkirk Mountains. George Grant again
accompanied him on this exploration. An American, Major Rogers,
was in charge of the exploratory work in these mountains and had
made several attempts to cross them without success. Near the
mouth of the Kicking Horse Valley Fleming and Rogers met. Rogers
claimed he had found a pass through the Solkirks by way of the
Beaver River and the Illecillewaet and now seems to be recognized
as its discoverer, whereas Moberly had in fact recommended this
very pass as far back as 1866. Moberly's assistant at that time
was mountaineer Albert Perry and at Moberly's direction did
actually discover it and pass through it. Moberly wrote that this
should have been named Perry Pass and not Rogers,™ ln any event
the railway was ultimately pushed through this pass and completed
in 1887.
Another note of interest here - on one occasion Fleming
was dining in England with some distinguished men interested in
Canada and its progress. He noted in his diaries that who should
be seated beside him on one side but Captain Palliser and on the
other Dr Cheadle. Those men were keenly interested in all the
activity going on in Canada and were "surprised beyond measure to
learn that the iron horse had indeed started its march west from
Thunder Bay".11
Fleming's campaign and work for the Pacific Cable is a story
in itself and certainly worthy of.more comment than time permits
here. From 1879 when he first brought the matter up, until 1902
when the state-owned cable was actually laid, from Vancouver Island
to Australia and New Zealand., it was Fleming who kept the uphill
fight to keop the project alive through sheer tenacity of purpose.
He actually offered to pay personally half the expense of a cable
laying'ship (about $90,000) to get some action. It must have been
of much satisfaction to this practical idealist when the first
message flashed to Canada from tho Prime Minister of New Zealand
was to Sandford. Fleming himself.
10. Moberly, Walter. Early history of the CP.R. road. Vancouver,
1909, p.6.
11. Burpee, L.W, Sandford Fleming, empire builder, p.49. 21
During all his travels both here and abroad the confusion
of time everywhere he went kept nagging at Fleming. Even as early
as I876 he wrote a booklet called "Terrestrial Time" which pointed
to tho need of a prime meridian and standard time zones. He found
that no two places seemed to be on tho same time, and between
Halifax and Toronto the railways were using no fewer than five
different. times, One never knew at what ti,me one was in any, given
place just about anywhere in the world and the discrepancies perplexed the traveller no end. Our orderly system of time zoning is
truly the gift of this man who gave his leadership for more than
twenty years, and thousands of dollars for his own expenses to
accomplish the sensible system of time zoning to the whole world.
The advent of the railway brought about the real necessity for this,
and air and space travel as.we know it to-day points to the need for
such exact timing. As a result of Fleming's campaign the International Prime Meridian Conference was held in Washington in 1884
at which twenty-five nations were represented. On January 1st, 1885
the 24 0'clock system was adopted at the Greenwich Observatory,
although the railways of Canada and the United States, by his efforts,
had adopted standard time in 1883 for the sake of convenience.
This papor has covered only the major highlights of Sandford Fleming's life, In recognition of his work he was made a
C.M.G. in 1887, and a K,C;M'.G. in 1897, the two Jubilee years of
Queen Victoria,
In private life he was a devoted family man. When he
married Ann Hall he had grown a floating board which he wore for
the rest of his life. His large family was a constant delight to
him and one or more of his children o ften accompanied him on his
various journeys. How he managed to spend any time with his family
seems an impossibility for when he was not on railway work he was
travelling elsewhere, often to England, to promote and report on
his work; to various other countries in the interest of his standard
time movement; and to Australia on the Pacific Cable project, and
once on a diplomatic mission to Honolulu. In the interest of
securing-for Britain and Canada tho advantages of (cheapened telegraph service ho visited five continents, traversed all the major
oceans; and gave of himself, his time, and his ;substance without
stint or hope cf personal gain.
In addition ho wroto the many voluminous railway reports,
now collectors' items, he wrote scores of other reports and papers
many for the Royal Canadian Institute and the Royal Society of
Canada,. and even found time to compile an inter-denominational
prayer and hymn book titled "Short Sunday Service for Travellers"
which was widely distributed among the railway workers of the day.
More than once he conducted services for them. Of his second cross
country journey made for the C.P.R. in 1883 he i,jrote a delightful
book called "From Old to New Westminster".
In the midst of somo of his busiest y ears he was appointed
Chancellor of Queen's University, in 1880, a position he held for
35 years, And for 26 jrears, from 1881-1907 he was on the Board of 22
Directors of the Hudson's Bay Comp any, which often required his
presence in London.
Apropos of his journey through the Selkirk Mountains with
Major Rogers, the highest of these mountains was named for him Mt.
Sir Sandford, located in the Kootenay district. While resting in the
Rogers Pass on that journey, their ponies feeding in a lovely alpine
meadow, the beauty of the scene created an atemosphere of enthusiasm.
Wishing to commemorate the occasion Fleming's party decided then and
there to form an Alpine Club of Canada with Fleming as interim president, Grant secretary, and Fleming's son as treasurer. This was the
forerunner of tho present legally constituted Alpine Club of Canada.
Sir Sandford was no politician, in fact it is believed he continually refrained from voting in order to remain non-partisan. He
was equally at ease with the Prince «of Wales in a private box at the
Paris Ballet as with little Willie Gordon, the shoeshine boy in Glasgow, with whom he made acquaintance when on a sentimental journey to
his homeland. He was as undisturbed when, as Chancellor of Queen's,
he conferred honorary degrees on Earl 'Grey and entertained the Duke
and Duchess of Connaught as when on foot in the mountains of British
Columbia in 1872 without food and shelter.
His patriotism to the British Empire and to Canada was not an
obsession by any means, rather was it a basis by which he worked tirelessly for the strengthening of Ihe ties binding the scattered segments of Canada together as well as tho British Empire. Behind it all
was the solid conviction that unity was an advance in the direction of
world peace, foreshadowing a ' pattern for neighbours in other lands.
His own words may best sum up his aims:
"I havo ofton thought how grateful I am for my birth into this
mairvellous world; and how anxious I have always felt that the
humblest among us has it in his power to do something for his
country by doing his duty.
It has been my great good fortune to have had my lot cast in
this goodly land, Canada, and to have been associated with its
educational and material prosperity. Nobody can deprive me of
the satisfaction I foel in having had the opportunity and the
will to strive for the advancement of Canada and the good of
tho Empire".
One writer once suggested that perhaps Fleming's greatest
achievement was vanishing from our hall of fame. He died at his
favourite retreat at Halifax in 1915 - a patriot surely worthy of


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