British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1998

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Volume 31, NO. 3
Summer 1998
ISSN 1195-8294
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
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Web Address:
His Honour, the Honorable Garde B. Gardom Q.C.
Leonard McCann c/o Vancouver Maritime Museum,
1905 Ogden Ave. Vancouver, B.C. V6J 1A3
First Vice President
Ron Welwood
Second Vice President Melva Dwyer
RR #1, S22 C1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
Wayne Desrochers #2 - 6712 Baker Road, Delta, B.C. V4E 2V3
2976 McBride Ave., Surrey, B.C. V4A 3G6
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Members at Large
Past President
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
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Historical Trails
and Markers
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant Governor's
Arnold Ranneris.
R. George Thomson
Ronald Greene
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Anne Yandle
Naomi Miller
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Contact Nancy for advice and details to apply for a loan toward the cost of publishing.
Scholarship Committee        Frances Gundry
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(604) 522-2062 Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 31, No. 3 Summer 1998
Is there a measurable increase in curiosity about our own history here in British
Columbia? The appearance of many
books on local provincial happenings suggest considerable community involvement. Subscriptions for our BCHN have
risen by 15% in the last year. B.C. Heritage Trust  found the 27 applications for
scholarships so full of plans by graduate
students that 5 financial awards were
given rather than a single annual award.
Another factor contributing to public curiosity about and enthusiasm for local history are the centennial anniversaries
being observed. Last year Nelson, Grand
Forks and Greenwood had extended observance of their 100th year. In 1998
Hedley, the Crowsnest Railway, Ymir,
Elko, Kaslo and other communities will be
We wish them all Happy Birthday on the
appropriate dates. And may all those celebrating carry on with researching and
enjoying local history.
Naomi Miller
White Gloves and Parasols    2
by Branwen C. Patenaude
by David M. Balfour
Price Ellison: A Gilded Man in British Columbia's Gilded Age    8
by George Richard
by Gary Montgomery
The B.C. Express Company: Life Line To The Cariboo 20
by Pat Foster
Stanley Park: Tourism and Development 25
by Eric Swantje
by Kelsey McLeod
Writing Competition Entries    5
Conference and AGM 1998   33
NEWS andNOTES   34
Review by David Mattison
Park Prisoners: The Untold Story of Western Canada's
National Parks 1915-1947        35
Reviews by George Newell
Enlightenment and Exploration in the North Pacific 1741-1805     36
Review by Barry Gough
The Business of Power: Hydro-Electricity in Southeastern B.C. 1897-1997 .    36
Review by Ron Welwood
Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British Fur Trade on
the Pacific 1793-1843        37
Review by Brian Gobbett
The BX Express story is one that retains
a "wild west" flavor. Pat Foster's presentation here takes us from a footslogging
letter carrier to the earliest motorized vehicles in the Cariboo. The cover picture
shows a four-horse stage part way along
the Cariboo trail.
Below the picture of the utilitarian stagecoach is a reproduction of letterhead from
the British Columbia Express Co. Limited
after it moved to Ashcroft.
Photo courtesy of the Ashcroft Museum. #3190.
The letterhead is courtesy of Marie Elliot.
Review by Laurenda Daniells
Review by Adam Waldie
From War To Wilderness        39
Reviews by Esther Darlington
Review by Lewis Green
Growing Up;
Childhood in English Canada from the Great War to the Age of Television .    40
Postcards from the Past:
Reviews by Phyllis Reeve
Manuscripts and correspondence to 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 Ltd. White Gloves & Parasols
by Branwen C, Patenaude
A gathering of local residents ofthe upper Horsefly valley in 1930. Taken outside tbe Black Creek school, tbe occasion was a church
service given by tbe Reverend Basil Raker, an Anglican Church Minister from Williams Lake. Annie Patenaude is seen on Reverend
Resker's left. In tbe lower left is Albert Patenaude widi bis baby son Philip on bis knee. Mr. L. C Nelson is to his left. Most of die others
are made up of tbe Albert Patenaude, Frank Jones, Charlie Goetjen and Ernie Williams families.
Annie Moore Patenaude, a pioneer
school teacher in the Cariboo region of
British Columbia between 1910 and
1955 was a most remarkable woman. No
doubt there were many who taught for
just as long, but there were few whose
careers were as diversified. With a natural talent for teaching, when fate handed
her the role of a ranchers wife and she
became a mother of five children, she
managed to combine all three styles in a
career that lasted for over forty years.
Born in Crookston, Minnesota in July
1886, where her father Arthur Moore, a
tea merchant from County Cork Ireland
was involved in the import and export
business, Annie grew up being very
proud of her Irish ancestry. Her mother
Catherine had as her relative the Irish
physicist Sir Robert Boyle. As the youngest daughter in a family of twelve children Annie's musical talents, especially
at the piano, became evident at a very
early age. It was said that she could read
music before she learned to read books,
and that she would rather sit and play
the piano than go out to play.
Educated in Winnipeg, by the time
Annie had graduated from high school
the family had moved to Salt Lake City,
Utah, where Annie's father was involved
in the development of a slate mine, and
in grain farming. On entering the University of Utah Annie studied to become
a teacher and continued with her musical training, becoming proficient on the
pipe organ and the classical Spanish guitar. Her boyfriend at this time was the
son of a Mormon leader, and although
the Moore family were strong Baptists,
Annie was allowed to practice on the
magnificent organ in the Mormon Tabernacle. Unfortunately Arthur Moore's
business ventures in Utah were doomed
to failure when the slate proved to be of
inferior quality, and hail destroyed the
grain crops. Following this the Moore
family moved to Vancouver, British Co
lumbia, where
Arthur returned to
the import-export
tea and coffee business and where he
was instrumental in
the establishment of
the Blue Ribbon Tea
Company and the
now famous
Dickson's Coffee
Armed with her
Bachelor's degree
from the University
of Utah Annie applied to teach
school, but was immediately faced
with taking further
training at Vancouver's Normal School
where she received a
First Class teaching certificate in 1901.1
That September she began her long career as the teacher ofthe 6th Division at
Central School with a salary of $40.00 a
While residing in Vancouver Annie
had often visited her married sister Mary
Galbraith on Bowen Island, and was persuaded to take the school there for a few
years, which she did until 1907 when the
Galbraiths sold out and moved to Vancouver. Both Mary Galbraith and Annies
other older sisters had large families, and
in Annie's eyes, had committed themselves to lives of domestic drudgery; not
what Annie saw for herself. For this reason she shied away from any serious love
For a year or two Annie taught school
in Penticton where she lived with a distant relative and enjoyed her leisure hours
riding her own saddle horse over the rolling hills of the Okanagan. By this time
she had established a reputation as a
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 teacher who always expected the best
from her pupils, and when it came to
discipline, one piercing look from Miss
Moore was enough to discourage anything to the contrary. This was not to
say that Annie did not have fun with her
pupils, for whenever possible she took
them on field trips and picnics, believing that time spent outside the classroom
was equally important. On one occasion
after her pupils had played a prank on
her, Annie cut up some soap into litde
squares and coated them with chocolate.
When she served them to her pupils the
children fell for the trick, chewing the
"chocolates" with relish, until they got
down to the soapy centres.
By 1910 Annie Moore had reached the
age of twenty-four, and was in most people's estimations, on the brink of spin-
sterhood. In applying for another change
in schools that spring she accepted a request for a qualified teacher to start a
school in Harpers Camp, a mining town
in the interior of British Columbia.
Where in the world was Harper's Camp?
At the C.P.R. Railway station Annie was
told that it was not far north of Ashcroft,
but as it turned out it was a four day jour-
ney from Vancouver. On reaching
Ashcroft she took the stagecoach north
to the 150 Mile House, a large, two storey hotel beside the Cariboo Road. Here
she was told it would be another two days
before a stage could deliver her to Harper's Camp, thirty five miles to the north
east. The community of 150 Mile House
was a very busy centre during the early
1900s with several stores, a Government
Agent's Office, a gaol, and quite a sizeable population. While she waited Annie
explored the hotel and found in the sitting room a piano, albeit badly out of
tune, upon which she played much to
the delight of other hotel guests.
At Harper's Camp Annie boarded at
the Horsefly Hotel, operated by Harry
Walters and his wife Alva Younker.
While her accommodations were
adequate, the hotel did not allow Annie
a quiet place to prepare her lessons, or to
entertain her friends. It was not long
before she found herself cleaning out an
old chicken house which she called home
for many months. The schoolhouse at
Harper's Camp had been an old log
bunkhouse used during the local gold
rush period at the turn of the century.
Annie's ten pupils, none of whom had
received any formal education, ranged in
age from five to fourteen, composed
mostly ofthe Walters family. Where the
several big boys amongst them might
have thought they could intimidate the
litde teacher, for Annie Moore was barely
five feet tall and might have weighed 100
lbs., they found instead that they were
falling over each other to please her.
Annie also set several new standards of
dress in the litde village. Arriving with a
parasol and gloves as part of her attire, it
was not long before every female in the
district had sent an order to Eaton's for
similar accessories. Early that winter
when things got very dull Annie
organized a community band among a
number ofthe local citizens, who proudly
displayed their talents at the first
Christmas concert.
Annie had taught school at Harper's
Camp for less than a year when she became the bride of Albert Joseph
Patenaude in January of 1911. The
Patenaudes, Joseph Philip and his sons
Albert and Ernst of La Chute, Quebec
had arrived in the Cariboo in the late
1880s. Locating first in the 150 Mile
hotel and store while his sons worked on
the ranch; after this the family rented the
Pinchbeck ranch at Williams Lake for
five years before moving to Harper's
Camp in 1898. There J.P. Patenaude
bought the store and operated the mail
delivery and telegraph office while his
sons ran a cattle ranch nine miles up the
Horsefly River Valley known as the
"Woodjam". By 1914 Albert and a partner Billy Reid had established another
ranch further up the valley at Marten
Creek, where in 1916 Annie and their
first child Ida went to live. Following this
three boys, Albert Jr., Harold, and
Wilfred were all born on the ranch, without the assistance of a doctor.
By 1923 Annie had returned to teaching school. At this time married women
were usually considered ineligible to
teach, but in Annie's case where she was
able to include three of her own children
to make up the required number of pu-
Taken by tbe author at Horsefly Lake in 1952,
Annie Patenaude is seen with two of her several
grandchildren, Anne and David Patenaude.
pils to keep a school open, her application as teacher was probably welcomed.
With four children in tow, she taught for
a year at Miocene, a rural community
halfway between Harper's Camp and the
150 Mile. With her own children, the
other seven pupils were made up of the
Wiggins family and one or two of the
hired men. The schoolhouse at Miocene,
an old log building across the road from
the Wiggins house was hard to heat in
winter due to the high ceiling through
which the heat escaped. Annie and the
children lived in a sod roofed shanty close
to the schoolhouse where she and young
Ida did their own cooking with groceries and supplies provided by Albert, who
visited them fairly frequendy. It must be
realized that all through her career as a
teacher, and wherever she lived during
the time, Annie was without the luxury
of electric lights, washing machines, or
refrigeration as we know it today.
Wilfred, who was only two when his
mother taught at Miocene, was tended
during school hours by an older woman
who sometimes went to sleep on the job,
leaving Wilfred to get into mischief. On
one occasion when Annie was in a hurry
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 The Albertf. Patenaude family residence at Marten Creek, 1914-1962.
Photo Courtesy of BCARS 86163.
to make some biscuits, she found the
baby had dumped a tin of syrup into the
flour bin.
By 1925 several new families, the
Hockleys, Jones, Goetjens and Williams
had established homesteads at the top
end ofthe Horsefly valley, bringing about
an immediate need for a school. Living
on the Patenaude ranch at this time was
a Dane, Lars Christian Nelson, who had
done well in the Yukon gold rush. He
had wandered into the Horsefly valley
in the early 1920s where he found his
niche on the Patenaude ranch. When he
found that the waters of Marten Creek
agreed with his constitution he decided
to remain there, as he did for the next
twenty odd years. "Mr. Nelson" as the
children referred to him, made himself
very useful on the ranch. As a finishing
carpenter and cabinet maker he was kept
busy building and repairing constandy.
When a school was needed at Black
Creek, two miles east of Patenaude's
ranch, the community, including Mr.
Nelson, provided and put up the logs and
roof of the building, but it was Mr. Nelson who did all the interior work, and a
fine job he did. The floors were built of
tongue and groove lumber left over from
an old mine near Horsefly, the walls were
finished with "Nametco" board, and
there were lots of windows, well made
cupboards for books, and a cloakroom.
Annie Patenaude taught there for five
years, until 1929, when her youngest son
Philip was born.
In 1933 Annie was summoned to
Likely where she taught for two years in
a mining community beside the Quesnel
River, at the foot of Quesnel Lake. During the 1930s while the rest ofthe world
suffered from the worst depression ever,
Likely was enjoying prosperity. Dependant on the mining industry, the community boomed when the price of gold
doubled from $16.00 an oz. and the big
Bullion mine was hiring dozens of men.
This brought a large transient population into the area including married couples with children. The Likely school, a
large building with a lean-to kitchen built
on at the back, stood on a hill behind
the town. To reach it one climbed a
number of stairs to a small platform outside the front door. On alternate weekends the schoolhouse became a crowded
dance hall, and unfortunately there were
always a few who fell off the front steps
during the evening. The Patenaude family who had all been taught to read music and play an instrument, played for
the dances which often lasted until the
wee hours ofthe morning. Most people
in Likely made their
own home brew
which was usually
stored with the vegetables in a cellarlike space under the
kitchen floor. In the
house where Annie
and the children
boarded a large supply of beet wine had
recently been
poured off, capped,
and stored. It was
not long after this, at
about two o'clock
one morning, when
they were all awakened by what
sounded like a small
war for several hours
while most of the
bottles of wine blew
their caps and broke. The cellar looked
like an abattoir, the red wine splattered
all over everything.
Following her two years at Likely,
Annie taught at Dog Creek in 1936 and
in 1940. To her it was like going to another world. Not only was the climate
totally different, but also the way of life.
Situated sixty miles south west of
Williams Lake, where in summer the climate was hot and dry, Dog Creek was
primarily a cattle ranching country close
to the Fraser River. There the three families of Charlie, Joe, and Frank Place comprised the majority of Annie's pupils,
with the addition of her own two sons,
Philip age seven, and Wilfred who was
doing his high school studies by correspondence. Both the schoolhouse and the
cabin where Annie and her children lived
were on the Charlie Place ranch. Annie
found that social life at Dog Creek centred around the Charlie Place home,
where Ada Place, Charlie's wife, had developed their home "Casa Grande" (Dog
Creek House) into a holiday lodge where
she entertained visitors from all over the
world.2 From time to time Annie was also
invited to supper by the other Place fami-
lies, who lived on separate ranches
nearby. Annie's family from Marten
Creek often visited her on weekends,
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 bringing news from home and taking
advantage of the excellent duck and
grouse hunting in the Dog Creek area.
To say that Annie Patenaude had a
passion for teaching would be an understatement. It was obviously the most
important part of her life, and her pupils adored her. However she was not one
to shirk her other responsibilities, those
of being a rancher's wife and a mother.
While teaching seemed to stimulate
rather than tire her, the real work came
during the summer when the school year
ended and Annie and the children returned to the ranch at Marten Creek.
There her days were filled with preserving a garden full of produce for the coming winter, berry picking and preserving
fruit and jams, cooking for the haying
crew, and sewing and mending the family's clothes for the next year. Annie also
made her own brand of potato yeast and
home made bread, and when she had
enough fat saved up would make a lye
soap, which she used in the laundry. Accepting the work cheerfully, she would
delegate many of the chores to the children or anyone else who happened to be
around. In between the work were many
joyous occasions in the ranch house at
Marten Creek, around the dinner table
where Annie fed her family and almost
always a few visitors; at the piano where
she played for community church services in the large sitting room; with neighbours who came to call; and with her own
family around the piano in the evenings,
when several of her children would accompany her on the violin, accordion or
Between 1942 and 1955 Annie
Patenaude taught at several other schools
in the Cariboo district including another
year at the Horsefly school, the 150 Mile
school, and at the school in Beaver Valley, where she substituted for short periods of time.
Annie retired from teaching in 1955,
a year after the death of her husband
Albert, and was honoured as the first
school teacher in a special ceremony for
Horsefly's pioneers in October of 1961.3
Prior to her death on July 15, 1966,
Annie lived with her daughter Ida
Zirnhelt at Beaver Lake.
Even today, many years after her death,
former students of Annie Moore
Patenaude fondly recall their teacher who
would always insist that they "work hard,
tell the truth, and enjoy life."
Branwen Patenaude is an enthusiastic writer,
specializing in Cariboo history. This Quesnel
resident has published several books including
two volumes of TRAILS TO GOLD describing
the stopping houses on the old road to the
1. Sessional Papers, 1902. Public Schools Report, p.
2. Trails To Gold. Volume 1, p. 64,65, by Branwen C.
Patenaude. 1995.
3. The'Williams Lake Tribune, October 18, 1961, p. 4.
A lot ofthe information in this article was gleaned
from a cassette tape entided "The teaching career of
Annie Patenaude", Aural Tape #3234:2. of the
Provincial Archives of B.C., made in May of 1973
when Ida Patenaude Zirnhelt was interviewed by
Christine Houghton for the Horsefly Historical
Society. Other members ofthe Patenaude family, Anne
Patenaude Nilsen, Mary Patenaude, Albert J.
Patenaude, and Wilfred H. Patenuade also contributed.
Entries in fhe 1997 BCHF Historical Writing Compefifion
by Richard Somerset Mackie - UBC PRESS
by Gwen Szychter - SELF PUBLISHED
LIGHTHOUSE by Susan Hulland -
Barry Gough - McCLELLAND AND
edited by Loma Robb - RICHMOND RETIRED
COUNTRY by Leah WHlot - locally sponsored
BRIDGES OF LIGHT by Cyril £. Leonoff -
BRIDGES OF LIGHT by Cyril E. Leonoff -
A CENTURY OF CARING by Daphne Thuillier
OPENINGS by Laura Cameron - McGILL-
DISCOVERY JOURNAL by John E. Roberts -
COLUMBIA by Eric Newsome - ORCA BOOK
REMEMBERING THE 50s by Lorraine BlashUl
DEEP CURRENTS by Valerie Haig-Brown -
IMAGES OF HISTORY by William Rayner -
AROUND THE SOUND by Doreen Armitage -
DANGEROUS WATERS by Keith Keller -
CHILCOTIN DIARY by WillD. Jenkins, Sr. -
by Jim and Alice Glanville - BLUE MOOSE
Fbumier and Ernie Crey - DOUGLAS &
FRASER by Richard Backing - DOUGLAS &
Terry Reksten - DOUGLAS & McINTYRE
• Lt Governor's Medal - ** 2nd Prize
•»* 3rd Prize - HM - Honorable Mention
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 The Naming of Mount Lepsoe
by David M. Balfour
'Lest we forget'. The words appear on
the document signed by the Honourable
Glen Clark on November 11,1996 naming Mount Lepsoe to honour Robert
Lepsoe ofTrail, B.C. killed in action October 18. 1944. The name and location
were approved by the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical
Names and will appear on future official
government maps.
The newly named mountain is located
on Highway 3B between Nancy Greene
Lake and Rossland. It is the third highest peak in the Nancy Greene Recreation
Area at 7141 feet. The highest, and best
known, is Old Glory at 7795 feet. August is frequently the only month the
upper reaches of Mount Lepsoe are free
from snow.
The Lepsoe family came to Trail from
Norway in 1925 when Robert Sr. was
recruited by the Consolidated Mining
Robert Lepsoe fr., 1944.
and Smelting Company of Canada Limited; later known as Cominco. He was
accompanied by his wife, Hjordis, and
three sons, Gunnar, Christian, and
Robert. Mr. Lepsoe was an outstanding
electrochemist whose research played a
major role in the technical advances of
the company. Away from his laboratory
he enjoyed the outdoor life at the family's camp at Robson.
On October 18,1944 the Lepsoe family received word Robert had been killed
in action. His squadron commander later
confirmed that Robert's Spitfire had been
hit by enemy fire while returning from
an attack on the German held positions
on the Schelde Estuary. The squadron,
one of an R.AF. fighter wing, were supporting Allied forces, including many
Canadians, in the drive to open up the
approaches to the port at Antwerp and
allow use by Allied supply vessels.
Robert's sole ambition had been to
study medicine.
When he graduated from the Trail
Tadanac High
School in 1941, at
a time when many
of his classmates
were enlisting, he
decided he could
contribute best
through medicine.
He enrolled in the
University of Al
berta and immediately joined the
Canadian Officer
Training Corps.
However, with the
air war expanding
rapidly, he gave up
his studies and enlisted in the Royal
Norwegian Air
Force, a choice that
relieved the sorrow felt by his parents who
had looked forward to a career in medicine for Robert. Initial training and early
flying lessons were put in at Litde Norway stations in Toronto and Muskoka
and then on to the RC.A.F. flying school
at Camp Borden where he earned his
wings at the top of his class flying single
engine Harvards. He was posted overseas
immediately for advance training on one
ofthe outstanding aircraft of WWII, the
His quiet times were spent at his grand
piano. Being the private person he was,
few people in Trail realized they had a
pianist of such note in their midst. Well
known musicians from across the province came to hear him play.
When WWII came all three of the
Lepsoe sons enlisted. Gunnar and Robert
in the Royal Norwegian Air Force and
Christian the RC.A.F Robert did not
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 itage he enjoyed exploring the shores of
the Arrow Lake by sailboat. Membership
in the 1st Trail Troop of Boy Scouts under Scoutmaster, Jack Gibson, made
Robert a true woodsman with an appreciation and respect for the mountainous
West Kootenay. As a Junior Forest Warden he shared in the toil of planting hundreds of trees at the start ofthe program
to bring green back to the hills around
Winter meant weekends of skiing near
Rossland with overnights in the Rossland
Ski Club's log cabin high on the flank of
Granite Mountain on the trail to Record
Ridge. A huge rock beside that trail
caught the eye of every skier. In the winter of 1940 Robert and his chum, Jim
Kilburn, included a can of red paint in
their supplies. The result let to a flurry
of guesses as to who had painted the sign,
In 1946 Robert Sr. retired from
Cominco and accepted the offer of a professorship at the university in Trondheim,
Norway. He and his wife arranged to have
Robert's remains moved to the family
plot in Bergen where he had been born.
son, Grand Forks, and Chase where he
retired. Christian, who never married,
lived in Robson.
It was suggested, and the family
agreed, the document should be displayed where it's significance would be
appreciated; and where better than a
Legion hall? The Trail branch of the
Royal Canadian Legion agreed and on
July 2,1997, in a moving ceremony, accepted the document for display alongside others honouring citizens of Trail
whose lives were lost in war. A second
document was presented for display beside the first. The 'British Columbia
Commemorative Place Name Remembrance Day List' dated November 11,
1996. Ten geographical locations and the
names of those honoured are listed.
Robert's body may lie in far off Bergen
but his spirit lives on in the Monashee
Mountains he loved so dearly.
Robert Lepsoe with bis motto on a rock
Gunnar and Christian lived out their
lives in their adopted homeland. Gunnar
had a family of four sons, Robert, Derek,
Christopher, and David and a daughter,
Barbara. Gunnar taught school in Nel-
David Balfour grew up in Trail, a close
friend of Robert, together in Boy Scouts,
highschool and Junior Forest Wardens. After
serving as a pilot in WWII Balfour worked in
various aspects ofthe Chemical industry - latterly as manager of exports to 60 countries. He
is now retired in Vancouver.
Pixie McGeachie receives "*
an Appreciation Award from
President Ron Welwood
«- Naomi Miller & Jean Barman shown at
the presentation of Heritage Trust
Scholarships to (Lto R) Keith Carlson,
Douglas Harris and Rudy Reimer.
*" Chuck Davis -
after dinner speaker
at tbe Awards
May 2, 1998.
Wayne and"*
Desrocber - with
our newest
member, Emilie
Joan Desrocber.
W*: T^B
Li '
r*      ^
mW:   ' - -x
V   *
Richard ■*
Somerset Mackie -
winner ofthe Lt.
Governor's Medal
jbr his book
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Price Ellison: A Gilded Man in British
Columbia's Gilded Age
by George Richard
Price Ellison
British Columbia politicians in the late
1800s to early 1900s were some ofthe
most corrupt in Canadian history. Price
Ellison is one of these men. Despite this
infamy, little has been written about the
Okanagan Valley pioneer. The late
Margaret Ormsby writes a passing note
that at the turn ofthe century, he operated the largest ranch in the valley1 and
became a member in the McBride government where he ascended from backbencher to Finance and Agriculture
Minister.2 Two of Ellison's descendants
are the only ones to describe his life in
any detail.3 Because of this, one must be
critical of the mythical tone in which
Ellison is depicted and how the controversies that surrounded this man are simply ignored. In eulogy, Bishop A.J. Doull
described Ellison as "a man among men,
a true spirit."4 Much of this praise can
be attributed to Ellison fitting the mould
of the self-made man, who
came to the country with
nothing and through hard
work made himself wealthy.
There is no doubt Price
Ellison made a major contribution serving Okanagan
Valley residents as a community leader and politician.
However, Price Ellison
should also be viewed as a
man who manipulated his
position as a community
leader and politician for personal gain. In a sense, he was
very much a man of his time;
Price Ellison was a gilded
man in British Columbia's
gilded age.
Price Ellison was born on
October 6th, 1852 in
Dunham-Massey, England.
As a child, he received basic
schooling and an apprenticeship as a
blacksmith. When he turned 21, he left
for the United States in search of riches.
After trying his luck in the Californian
gold fields, he left for the Cariboo with
nothing more than "blankets on [his]
back."5 Ellison and his partners decided
to head to Cherry Creek in the North
Okanagan when word of a find filtered
through the Fraser Valley. After months
of work, they found two nuggets worth
125 and 120 dollars each.6 By 1876,
Ellison started working for George
Vernon at the Coldstream Ranch and two
years later, he had saved enough money
to buy 320 acres in Priest's Valley for 320
dollars. The locale later became known
as Forge Valley. Ellison established a
blacksmith operation in the vicinity
where Vernon's Poison Park is today.
The "Smart Aleck" incident brought
Ellison to the forefront in the commu
nity in 1882. That summer, Enderby
Government Agent T Lambly commissioned Aeneas (Enos) Dewer to collect a
poll tax from Chinese gold miners near
Cherry Creek. He went missing and by
November it was strongly suggested
Dewer succumbed to foul play. At that
point, Ellison volunteered to "ferret out
the cause of absence and if possible, arrest the party."7 A couple of days later
Dewer's body was recovered under the
cabin of a Chinese miner named "Smart
Aleck."8 For the next two months, Ellison
travelled parts of Montana, Idaho, Washington and as far south as Portland looking for "Smart Aleck". His determination
is demonstrated in one telegram sent to
Victoria from Missoula, Montana when
he proclaims "there are 6000 chinamen,
he may be here, will go through there
again."9 Ellison returned to the
Okanagan Valley in January without
"Smart Aleck"; however he did receive
300 dollars from the Attorney-General
for his efforts.10 His journey won him
the admiration ofthe community. A couple of months later, the Attorney-General's Ministry endorsed a community
petition of 54 names suggesting he become a special constable for the North
As a community fixture in 1891, Price
Ellison's name constandy appeared in the
Vernon News, a media outlet he
founded. Two years later, he gained controlling interest in the newspaper which
he held until his death in 1932.12 Ellison
used this medium to effectively boost his
profile and eventually perpetuate his
image. One image both the Vernon
News and Inland Sentinel cultivated was
Ellison as the gentleman hunter and fisherman. One time in Kettle River country, Ellison and his companions came
back with seven caribou "bringing home
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 A Price Ellison orchard in Vernon cl910.
have seen."13 Ellison appeared to be quite
the fisherman as well. On a trip to the
Mission with William Postill, both men
caught 36 trout, "principally of the sil-
ver species. "
Price Ellison also appeared to be an
exceptional farmer, orchardist and
rancher. One reporter commented on the
bumper crop of hay grown on Ellison's
land near the Shuswap, describing it as
"very heavy [with] over 200 tonnes being put up in stacks."15 One of Ellison's
orchards in the Mission also seemed to
be doing quite well as "all trees are thriving beyond expectation and the prospects
for bearing orchards are something wonderful."16 Eventually, that particular orchard helped produce an exceptional
bounty as "red Bitigheimer apples 14
inches in circumference"17 were housed
in glass jars to be put on display at the
Imperial Institute in London. Ellison also
won prizes at valley-wide fall fairs for his
wares. In 1891, Ellison took home 16
prizes in categories ranging from the
quality of his horses and sheep to the
grade of his fruit, jams and corn.18 His
biggest agricultural accomplishment occurred in 1893. Ellison's Barley won first
place at the Chicago World's Fair. Before
his family left by train en route to the
United States for their first trip out of
the district in nearly 15 years, his newspaper described how "a great many of
their friends were out to see them off,
and Vernon will be quite lonesome without them for a while."19 They returned
over two months later with stories ofthe
Photo courtesy of Vernon Museum Archives.
fair and their brush with Illinois' upper
class. Ellison and his family socialized
with members ofthe American hunt club
in Bloomington, Illinois and had an audience with U.S. Vice-President
Stevenson. A reporter wrote that Ellison
"obtained privileges we are safe in saying
have not or would not be obtained by
any other visitor from British Colum-
Price and Sophia Ellison hosted many
people in their home and threw grand
parties. One late winter night, Ellison
threw a "necktie" party under the auspices of the Ladies Aid Society of the
Presbyterian Church. Most people at the
affair had been "unanimous in their verdict that it was one of the most enjoyable affairs ofthe season, which has been
prolific in entertainments of this description."21 Ellison frequently donated his
services for social gatherings. One resident noted "when Kalamalka Lake froze
during the winter of 1903, Price Ellison
sent his team of horses to take the whole
school skating every afternoon."22 Their
hospitality is equally noteworthy. One
Okanagan woman felt quite comfortable
when invited for the weekend to the
Ellison farm. In her diary, Alice Barrett
found them to be "so good and kind"23
and believed she had never seen "a more
truly generous man than Mr. Ellison and
Mrs. Ellison seems to agree with all he
says and does."24
Perhaps the fondest memories of the
Ellison household belonged to his daughter, Myra:
I have later memories of my father as a
wonderful host, sitting at the head of a
long table and cooking [an] immense
roast... and a table laden with fine fruits
and vegetables, all products ofthe ranch.
And what a good talker he was with his
tales of early times . . . and a keen sense
of humour.25
It was not just Myra that held Ellison
Ellison Family 1895.
Photo courtesy of Vernon Museum Archives.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 in high regard. By 1892, community
leaders had named not one street after
him, but two.26
Ellison participated within the community and eventually turned his public
work into a political career. Some of his
positions within a two year period in the
early 1890s included a directorship on
the Kamloops Hospital Board and Chairmanship of the Vernon School Board.27
By 1863, citizens wanted Ellison to become Mayor. A petition circulated
throughout the community requesting
he run to become the city's leading political figure.28 However, Ellison declined
as he had agreed not to run against his
friend WF. Cameron for the position.29
That decision benefited Ellison.
By year's end, Vernon city council forwarded his name to the Provincial Government as a candidate for the position
of Justice ofthe Peace. When receiving
his commission, the Vernon News proclaimed his appointment was "an extremely good one."30 Five months later,
Ellison received a promotion to Stipendiary Magistrate after city council considered it a necessity "and an influential
petition signed by a number of prominent citizens and by several Justices of
the Peace in this district was forwarded
to the Government."31 In the same article, it was no surprise to find a newspaper reporter supporting his employer
suggesting "we have no doubt that this
will meet with general approval, as Mr.
Ellison is known far and near as a gentleman who by virtue of his level-headed
tact and judgement is eminendy suited
for such an office."32
He used his office and popularity to
win the 1898 provincial election. For the
next 18 years, he represented the constituencies of Yale and later Okanagan,
winning five re-elections. Myra DeBeck
credits his political success to his charac
He was a man ofthe highest integrity
and great force of character. [He showed]
principles, purpose and tenacity. In his
private life, [he showed] generosity,
kindliness, unselfishness and love of his
fellow man.33
This is not true. He succeeded in politics by cultivating an image of integrity,
purpose and kindness in the community
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through the media and public events. He
sought political power, social status and
influence to ensure that he prospered. If
the community prospered as well, that
would be a bonus. Ellison used his
landholdings as a vehicle toward prosperity. Perhaps an incident in 1885 motivated the blacksmith and special
constable toward his drive for power.
In October of that year, Ellison got into
a land dispute with two neighbours and
the local Indian agent. He had built a
fence across a trail which had been "a well
recognized highway from time immemorial."34 Ellison did this to consolidate his
When Government Agent W.
Dewdney tried compromising with
Ellison by suggesting a gate allowing access to other properties in the east "he
flatly refused to [comply] and not in a
very becoming manner."35
Claiming that construction of a new
road around Ellison's property would cost
the government and residents around
2500 dollars, Dewdney brought the issue to a magistrate's court for a decision.
The two Justices ruled against Ellison.
Dewdney did not think much of Ellison's
testimony to the court or his conduct
after the decision:
I must confess that I never heard a man
prevaricate more glibly than Mr. Ellison
did when giving his statement. Some
men appear not to have the slighest regard for the truth . . . Not finding himself successful in that direction, he turned
on the two Justices and insulted them at
the same time saying he would not comply with their decision. He became so
violent in his language that I had to order him out of the office and he left as
quickly as he came in.36
After being threatened with a court
order to open the trail, Ellison built the
gate. He lost this batde to his "avowed
enemy"37 but it would not be the last
time Ellison was before the courts over
land issues.
In 1891, Ellison received an early
Christmas present from the courts when
his action to recover land from a property owner named Campbell succeeded.
The judgement went to the "plaintiff
with costs."38 During this time, Ellison
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 LLISON PROPERTY
is now selling
.":•.-: -urvcv bas been completed and tbrcc close-in subdivisions arc being offered lor the first time
~t:s portion is back of tbe High School building aod Soutb of Barnard Avenue.     Bcautifa!  Like
v.:-.'.    All in acre lots.    A most attractive proposition.
These lois join Mr. Ellison's grounds on the Cast.    "Tbey .vary io slir from one to three acres.
Ov;;!oo'»'fcg the City aod reached by an extension of Eleventh street.    Ideal building sites.
This is a subdivision of tbe forty acres of level' land adjoining City Park and tlie new Hospital
si'c.   Seventh Street will be opened to It.   The City Is certain to grow this way.   All acre lots.
This is an Opportunity You Cannot Afford to Miss
Prices and Terms od application to-
Dickson Land Co.-
■Mutrie & Mutrie
Advertisement in the Vernon News, August 27,1908
built a formidable land empire by gobbling up property from aged ranchers
who purchased land in the 1860s. His
newspaper reported frequently on purchases he would make in the valley ranging from buying 310 acres of land from
P.C. Thurborn for 400 dollars cash39 to
taking control ofthe Simpson Ranch in
the Mission for 11,000 dollars.40 In one
land auction, Ellison purchased four of
the 17 lots available, grabbing close to
40 acres of prime land for over 1600
dollars.41 By 1894, Ellison controlled
over 11,000 acres which included lands
from Lumby to Swan Lake and as far
south as the Mission. He dedicated much
of the land "to wheat, and he ran 2500
head of cattle and 300 horses on his own
Ellison's grandson claims the pioneer
did not want to be a land developer:
Price likely never acquired property
with the idea of subdivision and profit.
He saw the need for more land for the
city (Vernon) and accordingly, let parts
be sold to achieve this.43
This is simply not true. There were
plenty of occasions between the 1890s
and 1910s where Ellison purchased land
and then sold it for profit. Sometimes,
he would display the traits of a gilded
capitalist by subdividing land and then
cultivating an image through his news
paper of being a social custodian of the
wealth. One example occurred in 1892
when Ellison staked off 45 acres of his
land to the east ofthe city in residential
lots. He insisted on selling only to people who were willing to build credible
buildings, thereby discouraging speculation.44 However, Ellison also used his influence to improve the value of his land
for a future subdivision later developed
by Sam Poison.
In the same year, Ellison met with directors of the Okanagan Land and Development Company. At the time, he sat
on the Board of Directors of the
Kamloops Hospital and had recently
chaired a public meeting aimed at establishing a hospital in Vernon.45 After the
meeting, a newspaper reporter wrote:
The Directors of the Okanagan Land
and Development Company, at the
insistance of Mr. Price Ellison, decided
to grant an entire block ... on seventh
street, on the south side of Long Lake
Creek, as a site for the proposed local
hospital, in lieu ofthe three lots formally
donated by them for the same purpose.46
The two-and-a half acre parcel in question is adjacent to Ellison's property to
the east. However, Ellison did not stop
there to improve his land value. One year
later, his newspaper reported "the old
school building was purchased from the
government by Mr. Price Ellison who had
it removed from the school grounds to a
lot of his own adjoining it."47 Ellison not
only sat as the chair of the local school
board at this time48, but his wife, Sophia,
initially ran the school when it was built
ten years earlier.49 Then in 1908, the
Conservative backbencher convinced the
McBride government to release funds to
build a new high school at the same location as the old school.50 Later that year,
the politician sold his land to Winnipeg
land developer Sam Poison. Two weeks
after the sale to Poison, advertisements
for the land developer's subdivided property appeared in his newspaper promoting the fact that the high school and
hospital were located nearby.
Ellison used a similar ploy as a cabinet
minister to further add value to his various other properties. As Finance Minister, he approved of and opened two new
schools in 1912 in Rudand and the district that would later be known as Ellison.
Ellison located both schools on his own
property.51 The map shows the approximate location ofthe Rutland school and
the intended growth of the residential
area after such a facility is constructed.52
A piece of tax sale property Ellison acquired in the early 1900s not only made
him some money, but built for him a lasting memorial. Ellison purchased the 640
acres on the east side ofOkanagan Lake,
16 kilometres south of Vernon in 1903.
In 1911, Finance Minister Ellison decided to construct a new courthouse near
one of his Vernon properties costing taxpayers 200,000 dollars and taking nearly
three years to build. At the same time,
Ellison created a granite quarry on his
lake property as "a large quantity of cut
stone was needed for the new courthouse."53 Ellison "received a footage royalty on all stone removed."54
Ellison's greatest legacy to Okanagan
valley residents dealt with his tenacious
support of irrigation. Once again, Ellison
had an interest in this scheme to make
money for himself. Certainly he realized
that the community could prosper converting wheat and rangeland to orchards.
However, he also saw that he could increase his land value by having fruit trees
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 r a.
i B/ri5sd-rzAwmi/tn
%     Rutland School    C1912
rl       Where Rutland Road North runs in a north/south direction today
Map of Rutland d 910.
Courtesy of Kelowna Museum Archives
rather than cattle on his property.
Ellison committed to the fruit industry in the early 1890s by planting roughly
1000 trees on newly acquired property
in the Mission and completing an irrigation ditch to the trees.55 A reporter shared
Ellison's enthusiasm:
The older orchards promise an enormous yield of fruit, and there is no doubt
that in the near future an immense revenue will be derived from this industry.
This is the opinion of an experienced
horticulturist, who backs up his statements by largely investing here himself.56
By 1907, Ellisons eight years of lobbying as a backbencher in Victoria started
paying off. The Provincial Secretary's office committed 5000 dollars toward a
commission investigating different irrigation schemes. This occurred after a
dramatic address in the Legislature when
he showed off "a desk laden with Newton pippin yellows and Ben Davis reds"57
from his orchard showing the merits of
irrigation. Later that year, Ellison accompanied the Commissioners on their tour
of the North Okanagan. Commission
author Professor Louis Carpenter says
they "drove down by Long Lake to
Kelowna, noting during the drive thousands of acres of valuable land which are
expected in the near future to be brought
under irrigation."58 Some of the land
Carpenter saw on that valley trip belonged to Ellison. By this time, there had
been plenty of growth in the valley's orchard industry. Central Okanagan Land
and Orchard Company President Dr.
W.H. Gaddes told a Vancouver newspaper there had been phenomenal growth
in the industry within six years. He cited
Dominion census information saying
B.C. fruit-growing acreage ballooned
from over 7400 acres and 650,000 trees
in 1901 to 25,000 acres and 1.5 million
trees in 1907.59 Gaddes says "year by year,
good orchard land is becoming more
valuable as the settlers pour into the
country."60 In fact, while addressing the
Western Canada Irrigation Convention
in Vernon in 1908, J.M. Robinson said
all orchard land in Summerland six years
earlier had been worth 100,000 dollars
but in that year, the same land with irrigation was assessed at two million dollars.61
Ellison also believed irrigated land was
highly-valued property. While address
ing the same convention, he told delegates "a few years ago, lands in this district were assessed at two dollars an acre;
today under irrigation, they are assessed
at hundreds of dollars an acre, and they
stand at that enhanced value not only for
today but for all time to come."62 Ellison's
newspaper covered the event yet astutely
did not report his comments concerning land value.63
Critics of my argument suggest that if
Ellison wanted to make money turning
over most of his holdings to irrigated land
from the pasture and wheat fields he possessed, he would have done so during this
period. These critics could point to
Osoyoos water district records from 1911
which clearly show that despite the
amount of land Ellison owned, very little of it had waterworks.64 There are several fundamental reasons why Ellison
chose not to or could not transfer the
majority of his landholdings to irrigable
lands. They include the lack of powerful
influence he had in the McBride Government, the cost of maintaining such
works, the current labour situation in the
Valley, the quality of labour service
Ellison had at his disposal and the fact
that one bad political move and an even
worse business decision prevented him
from reaping the rewards he tried to sow
in his development career.
It took Ellison 11 years of service and
winning re-election three times before
Premier McBride gave him a Cabinet
While serving those 11 years as a backbencher, his only major accomplishment
involved the 1908 Commission report
on irrigation and the New Vernon High
School. He often said "the government
was going rather too slow in this matter
[irrigation], and the Hon. Mr. Fulton had
said that they would go slow."65 Five years
after the Commission report, Ellison held
the portfolio of Finance and Agricultural
Minister. Despite this, he had still not
convinced McBride and other politicians
in the lower Mainland and Vancouver
Island to setde the irrigation question
satisfactorily. He informed the Western
Canada Irrigation Association Convention in 1913 that "the government has
appointed a commission to inquire into
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 matters pertaining to agriculture in all
its branches . . . and I have no doubt
that it will depend very largely upon the
recommendation of that committee what
policy the government will adopt."66 In
other words, Ellison could not influence
policy on his word alone. He took a
chance the Royal Commission on Agriculture would support the concept of
government paying for irrigation.67
Ellison wanted the government to pay
for the total cost of surveying and constructing irrigation works and then to tax
orchardists for the works for the first ten
years. Afterwards, ownership ofthe system would revert to the orchardists with
fees paid to a taxation district.68 Ellison
acknowledged "the initial cost if undertaken by the government might be
greater than if performed by a private
company, but the cost would be nothing
compared with the extra taxes they would
derive from that land after the water was
put onto it."69 In one way, Ellison probably felt his political peers discriminated
against him because of the location of
his riding. He said "the government of
the day was spending thousands of dollars in dyking land [in the lower mainland] to keep the water off, and [added]
they could very well afford to spend very
much more in putting the water on the
land, for the returns would be much
greater."70 In fact, by 1915, the Provincial Secretary's office responded to petitions from lower mainland farmers
urging the province to maintain and administer dyking and draining infrastructure in their areas by doing just that.71
Ellison knew he had to get the government on board with this idea because he
and other orchardists could not make
money if they had to pay for and maintain the infrastructure themselves. Ellison
told irrigation officials and farmers "the
scheme is so large that private capital cannot take care of it [and] these companies
have found it a greater undertaking than
they thought."72 Concurring with this
would be the Kelowna Land and Orchard
Company. It controlled the shares ofthe
South Kelowna Land Company (SKL).
SKL's irrigation system had been difficult to build and a tremendous cost. As
a result, the land did not sell well. This
caused problems for KLO directors such
as T.W. Sterling. In a letter to another
director Bob Pooley, Sterling outlined the
There is no way of the SKL continuing in business, nor can one see that there
is likely to be any prospect in the near
future of their being able to do so, except by the guarantors throwing sops to
the bank and also finding the funds for
the running expenses ofthe company. If
we did this, we are almost certain to find
ourselves after a period of time in just
the same position as we are now but with
our resources further depleted and less
able to meet our obligation to the bank.73
Ellison probably saw this as a big obstacle in trying to convert his rangeland
into orchards.
Another obstacle for Ellison dealt with
the lack of available labour for a working orchard. Prior to and throughout
World War I, limited farm labour existed
in the valley. The 1914 Royal Commission on Agriculture report found "the
difficulty in securing efficient labour was
frequently assigned by witnesses as a reason, not only for failure to extend farming operations, but even for their
curtailment, as where small fruit growing has been abandoned and dairying
given up in favour of selling hay."74 There
would have been no point in Ellison converting his farmland to orchard when he
did not have the available labour to help
with the harvest.
Besides, the current farm hands on
Ellison's land were not competent. In
1909, a neighbour north of Lumby successfully sued Ellison for 470 dollars in
damages; a fire spread out of control from
Ellison's hired men who were clearing
land for the politician. Ellison appealed
the decision two years later, saying "his
men acted against his instructions."75
Five years later, the fruit inspection department ofthe government conducted
a special report on Ellison's orchard near
Swan Lake. Sydney Dash reported most
trees were in such a bad state that "any
horticulturist, possessed of meagre intelligence, would remove [the trees] under
any circumstance."76 Many of the trees
looked like small bushes because they
were never pruned and they also were
infested with insects like the Apple Leaf
Hopper. Many farmers and irrigation
experts must have felt Ellison's embarrassment at the 8th annual Western
Canada Irrigation Association convention in Penticton when during a question and answer session, he shared a
problem he had at another orchard:
The sheep got in by mistake last year
and did great damage to 500 trees. My
advice is to keep the sheep as far away
from the orchard as you possibly can, for
they trimmed the trees as clean as you
could have done with a knife.77
Upon hearing this, Mr. Johnstone in
the audience responded "I may say I kept
my sheep all last winter in the orchard
and fed them all the good hay on it, and
certainly they never touched a single
Ellison's frustration over the quality of
his workers bubbled up in a meeting with
a bank manager in 1916:
I have had several managers or rather
mis-managers during my tenure of office in Victoria, and I have found them
to be very expensive & altogether incompetent, reckless and not able to handle
men or know what a day's work is ... I
take pride myself in being able to handle
men and get the best results. They know
that I understand what is required of
It's unfortunate Ellison's daughter did
not attend that meeting. Myra DeBeck
felt her father's "attitude to them was
generous, fair minded and kindly."80
The beginning of the end for Price
Ellison took place in the late days of February in 1915. At this time, he sat on the
board of directors ofVancouver's Dominion Trust company. This brokerage firm
dealt with mortgages, stocks, bonds, insurance and sold and purchased real estate. That month, Lands Minister WR.
Ross came under heavy fire for selling
public lands at low prices to speculators,
namely Dominion Trust. Additionally, an
opposition backbencher in the Legislature asked Ellison about the sale of some
cows and horses from the government's
Colony Farm near Coquitlam in 1912.
Ellison confessed he purchased the livestock, and later on, that he was associated with Dominion Trust.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Days passed, and Ellison refused to
resign or explain his actions beyond the
question asked in the Legislature. The
Editor ofthe Vancouver Sun found this
simply unacceptable:
Every day [Ellison remains silent] adds
to the shame of British Columbia. They
know that unless the Hon. Minister can
clear himself of the grave accusations of
graft that he is admittedly unfit to hold
office ... Every day poor men are being
sent to prison for crimes infinitely more
justifiable than the one with which Mr.
Ellison is charged.81
The next day, Ellison stood up in the
legislature to give a full explanation of
the livestock purchase. He claimed he
paid full market value for the animals,
he bought the animals sight unseen from
Victoria and, in the end, he sustained a
heavy loss as the animals were in poor
shape.82 Presumably, Ellison chose to
explain this scandal and not his role in
the Dominion Trust Scandal because the
former was less damning.
Myra DeBeck suggests that "although
a strong conservative in politics, [Ellison]
endeavoured to keep [the Vernon News]
as unbiased as possible and to give his
opponents a fair chance."83 Ellisons local opponents certainly did not have a
fair chance to explain their side in his
paper during this scandal. Opposition
claims in this incident never made the
paper that week; only Ellisons explanation to which the Editor obliged his employer with the headline "A FULL
Himself Completely of any Unworthy
Motives in Connection With Colony
Farm Transaction."84 Ellison told the
Legislature this "petty affair"85 had been
trumped up by the opposition to make
political capital and suggested "the people of [Okanagan] would have the opportunity of saying whether they thought
him guilty of any such things."86 Despite
those words, he then resigned as Finance
and Agriculture Minister as Premier
McBride dissolved the Legislature. The
bitterest irony that Ellison had to live
with happened two weeks later when the
government ordered a Finance ministry
engineer named AR. Mackenzie to conduct a report on the physical and financial conditions of the irrigation projects
ofthe province.87 Mackenzie eventually
recommended that the government pay
for and maintain works through irrigation districts, something Ellison had always promoted and which would have,
not coincidentally, made him a rich man.
As the election approached in the fall
of 1916, much of Ellison's landholdings
were in jeopardy. Ellison became President of Dominion Trust in 1916 and
made a fatal mistake in pledging his
landholdings "as security to the bank in
order to keep the company going as the
other partners were unable to come up
with the money."88 In November, a legal
notice appeared in his newspaper stating
that the banks seized most of his property as collateral from the bankrupt Dominion Trust Company.88 Politically, the
news was worse two months earlier. On
September 14th, Ellison lost the election
to Liberal Dr. K.C. MacDonald in the
Okanagan as the Grits swept the scandal-ridden Conservatives under
McBride. Ellison now only possessed his
Vernon home and little more than 271
acres which was held under his son's name
during the liquidation.
Ellison tried to make a political
comback but did not succeed. He ran
under the Conservative banner in the
1920 election, but disarray within the
party caused Ellison to back out just before the election campaign. In 1924, he
created his own party and ran as leader.
His political opponents scoffed at his
comeback saying the bankrupt Vernon
resident "has not got a dollar and has not
bread enough to eat?"90 Ellison would
counter making fun of his plump frame
and question, "Do I look as though I have
not bread enough to eat".91 Despite having some support in Vernon, Ellison finished third in balloting.
Life became bleaker for Ellison. The
next year he suffered a stroke from which
he would never recover. In 1931, the
upper portion of his Vernon house sustained sixteen thousand dollars damage
in a fire and it "likely was a contributing
factor to his death several months later."92
On December 12th, 1932, Price Ellison
died in Vernon Jubilee Hospital of bronchial pneumonia at the age of 81. His
wife Sophia, along with seven of his eight
children, could not attend the funeral
service due to their contraction of influenza.93 Probate records show Ellisons net
worth, willed to Sophia in the height of
the depression, to be over 14,000 dollars.94 Part of that estate included shares
in the Vernon Daily News where
Ellison's daughter Myra had been employed as a reporter since 1929.
Certainly Price Ellison's contribution
to the Okanagan Valley was immense,
not just through his community involvement, but also in advocating lasting contributions such as government subsidized
irrigation infrastructure for the valley.
However, one must keep in perspective
what motivated Ellison to do these
things. He espoused how his actions benefited the community or Okanagan society; however, under examination, his
actions mirrored that of other politicians
of his time; men who used their office,
whether at the local or senior level, for
financial gain. Price Ellison, the
Okanagan Valley pioneer is a symbol of
self-interested politics in early British
Columbian history.
The author, winner ofthe Burnaby Historical
Society Scholarship in 1997, is a student at
Okanagan University College majoring in History. He is married and lives in Kelowna.
1. Margret A Ormsby, A Study ofthe Okanagan Valley
of British Columbia, (MA Thesis: UBC, 1931), p. 54.
2. Margaret A Ormsby, British Columbia: A History,
(Vancouver: MacMillan, 1958), p. 356..
3. Myra K. DeBeck, "Price Ellison, A Memorial by his
Daughter", 12th Report ofthe Okanagan Historical
Society, 1948, p. 48-58.
Ken Ellison, A Short History of an Okanagan Valley
Pioneer, (self published: Oyama, 1988)
Ellison made 50 copies to give to family, friends, and
museums. He is the grandson of Price Ellison.
4. Vernon Daily News, December 15th, 1932.
5. This is detail given by Price Ellison in a campaign
speech held at the Empress Theatre in Vernon on June
4th, 1924. \ernon Museum Archives.
6. Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 5.
7. The Inland Sentinel, November 9th, 1882.
8. Telegram from Kamloops Governmenr Agent G.E.
Tunstall, November 11th, 1882, A-G Ministry-files
Box 1, File 11, Folios 168,199,159,166,202 & 198
(or "Smart Aleck" file), BC Archives. L193.
9. Smart Aleck file, November 30th, 1882, BC Archives.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 12.
Registrar of Company Records, BC Archives. It should
be noted Ellisons wife, Sophia, was the principal
shareholder in the newspaper for those 40 years. Ellison
was Chairman ofthe paper in 1912 and stayed on as
President until 1925.
Kamloops Inland Sentinel, October 20th, 1888.
Vernon News, July 2nd, 1891.
Ibid., November 5th, 1891.
Ibid., June 2nd, 1892.
Ibid., October 4th, 1894.
Ibid., October 15th, 1891.
Ibid., May 18th, 1893.
Ibid., July 27th, 1893.
Ibid., March 8th, 1894.
Phyllis A LaLonde, "The French Family - 1881-1966"
in the 31st Report ofthe Okanagan Historical
Society, 1967, p. 130.
Diary of Alice Barrett, Vol. 4 Nov. 18, 1891 - Mar. 22,
1892 (Unpublished: Courtesy Vernon Museum
Archives), Feb. 23, '92.
Myra K. DeBeck, "Price Ellison, A Memorial by his
Daughter", 12th Report ofthe Okanagan Historical
Society, 1948, p. 53.
Maps in the Vernon Museum Archives show in 1890,
one ofthe roads was called "Ellison Avenue". Two years
later, rhe town map showed "Price Avenue" had been
added parallel and north of Ellison Avenue.
He also became fire brigade captain, a director ofthe
Vernon Curling Club, trustee to the Presbyterian
Church and First Vice President of the Okanagan and
Spallumcheen Agricultural Association during this
Vernon News, January 12th, 1893.
Ibid., January 19th, 1893.
Ibid., November 9th, 1893.
Ibid., AprU 19th, 1894.
DeBeck, "Price Ellison", p. 58.
Lerter from Hozier et al to William Smithe, October
26th, 1885, Price Ellison file, Vernon Museum
Dewdney's letter to the Chief Commissioner of Lands
and Works, November 28th, 1885, Price Ellison file,
Vernon Museum Archives.
Ibid., December 17th, 1885.
In a letter from Dewdney to his superiors, he writes
about affidavits and counter-affidavits being filed by
the parties involved before the hearing. Dewdney
suggests in his phrasing from a pervious conversation,
Ellison declared the plaintiff to be his enemy, Ibid,
December 5th, 1885.
Vernon News, December 24th, 1891.
Ibid., July 30th, 1891.
Ibid., AprU 28th, 1892.
Ibid., December 3rd, 1891.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 23.
Ibid., p. 30.
Vernon News, March 31st, 1892.
Ibid., March 3rd, 1892.
Ibid., March 17th 1892
Ibid., May 18th, 1893.
Ibid., June 30th, 1892.
Ormsby, Okanagan Valley, p. 161.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 33.
This cl910 townsite map is the only one of its era
available. Both the Black Mountain Irrigation District
and Rutland Water Works confirm their oldest maps
do not go beyond 1927. Map courtesy Kelowna
Museum Archives.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 26.
David Falconer, "Hewers of Granite" The 4lst
Report ofthe Okanagan Historical Society,
Nov. 1977, p. 60.
Vernon News, July 21st, 1892.
Ibid., June 2nd, 1892.
Unidentified newspaper article from Price Ellison file,
Vernon Museum Archives, dared April 10th, 1907.
Report ofthe Irrigation Commission to the Provincial
Secretary's Office, February 11th, 1908, BC Sessional
Papers, 1908 Microfilm, p. 1.
Reprinted in Vernon News, Aug. 13th, 1908.
Report of Proceedings from the 2nd Annual
Western Canada Irrigation Convention in Venion,
OUC Archives, p. 25.
Every speaker in the Report of Proceedings including
Ellison at least talked briefly about increased land value
through irrigation. The newspaper reporter wrote
something about every speaker and each story at least
alluded to land values with the exception of Ellison's
speech. The omission of this detail by the reporter
could well be innocent, but certainly is an interesting
coincidence considering Ellison owned the newspaper.
Osoyoos Water District Records ofthe Kelowna
Precinct, November 29rh, 1911, Kelowna Museum
WCIA Minutes, Vernon, 1908. p. 25.
Ibid., 1913 minutes, p. 49
As it turned out, the Royal Commission supported the
Governments stance to have private land companies
construct and maintain works. This despite "the
existence of a great deal of confusion with respect to
water rights" as court batdes between land owners and
the government took place. The controversy of British
Riparian water rights and new provincial water laws
allowing private control could have been another factor
why Ellison would have been tentative in converting
most of his land to irrigation.
This would be the equivalent to how an irrigation
district operates today in the Okanagan.
WCIA Convention, 1908, p. 25.
Ibid., p. 24.
Petitions and follow-up correspondence involved
Burners around Dewdney and the Langley Drainage
and Dyking District. Found in Provincial Secretary
Archives, 1915, B.C. Archives.
WCIA Convention, 1913, p. 49.
Letter from Sterling to Pooley, December 3rd, 1913,
cited in Paying for Rain: A History ofthe South
East Kelowna Irrigation District, Jay Ruzesky and
Tom Carter, SEKID, 1990, p. 47.
The Royal Commission on Agriculture Report, B.C
Sessional Papers, 1914, Microfilm, p. 23.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 28.
Sydney Dash's report on the Honourable Price Ellison's
Orchard cl914, B.C. Archives, Box two, file four, p.l.
Report of Proceedings from the WCIA Convention
in Penticton August 17th-19th, 1914, p. 90.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 27.
DeBeck, "Price Ellison", p. 58.
Vancouver Sun, March 6th, 1915.
Victoria Times Colonist, March 7th, 1915, B.C.
Legislative Assembly Sessional Clippings, Microfilm
DeBeck, "Price Ellison", p. 58.
Vernon News, March 11th, 1915, p. 1.
Times Colonist, March 7th, 1915.
Ruzesky & Carter, Paying for Rain, p. 45.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 27.
Afernon News, November 22nd, 1916.
Speech by Price Ellison at Empress Theatre in Vernon,
June 4th, 1924, p. 8.
Ellison, Price Ellison, p. 18.
Vernon Supreme Court Probate Records, 1932, B.C.
Archives, Box 5, File 12.
Attorney-General's Files, Box 1, file 11, Folios 159, 166, 169,
193,198, 199 & 202 (Smart Aleck files), B.C. Archives.
Barrett, Alice. Diary. Vol. 4 Nov. 18,1891 - Mar. 22, 1892.
Unpublished: Vernon Museum Archives.
Ellison, Price. June 4th, 1924 Campaign speech, Empress
Theatre in \fernon, Price Ellison file, Vernon Museum
Hozier, Dewdney et al. Letter to government. Price Ellison
file, Vernon Museum Archives.
Inland Sentinel 1882 -1890. Microfilm, OUC.
Map of Kelowna. cl910. Kelowna Museum Archives.
Maps of Vernon. cl890-cl895. Vernon Museum Archives.
Osoyoos Water District Records of the Kelowna Precinct,
1911, Kelowna Museum Archives.
Provincial Secretary Archives. 1913-15, B.C. Archives.
Registrar of Company Records, B.C. Archives.
Report of Proceedings of the Western Canada Irrigation
Associations Conventionsi 1908, 1913, 1914, OUC
Report on the Honourable Price Ellison's Orchard and other
Irrigation Reports. cl914. Box two, file four, B.C.
Report ofthe Irrigation Commission to the Provincial
Secretary's Office. February 11th, 1908. B.C Sessional
Papers, 1908, Microfilm, OUC.
Royal Commission on Agriculture Report. B.C Sessional
Papers, 1914, Microfilm, OUC.
Vancouver Sun. 1915, Microfilm, Vancouver Public Library.
Vernon Daily News. 1932. Microfilm, OUC
Vernon News. 1891-1893,1908, 1915. Microfilm, OUC
Vernon Supreme Court Probate Records. 1932. Box 54, File
12, B.C. Archives.
Victoria Times Colonist. 1915. B.C. Prov. News Index,
Carter, Tom and Jay Ruzesky. Paying for Rain: A History of
the South East Kelowna Irrigation District. Kelowna:
SEKID, 1990.
Ellison, Ken. Price EUisom A Short History of an
Okanagan VaUey Pioneer. Oyama: Unpublished, 1988.
DeBeck, Myra K. "Price Ellison, A memorial by His
Daughter" 12th Report ofthe Okanagan Historical
Society, 1948, p. 48-58
Falconer, David. "Hewers of Granite", 41st Report ofthe
Okanagan Historical Society, Nov. 1977, p. 59-66.
LaLonde, Phyllis A "The French Family - 1881-1966", 31st
Report of the Okanagan Historical Society, 1967. p.
Ormsby, Margaret. British Columbia: A History. Vancouver:
MacMillan, 1958.
Ormsby, Margaret. A Study ofthe Okanagan Valley.
Vancouver: UBC, 1931.
George Richard, author of this essay -
winner of tbe Burnaby Historical
Society Scholarship.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Booze Across the Border
by Gary Montgomery
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Thirst quenchers jbr Montana visitors near Fernie, B.C c 1922.
Along the 49th parallel that marks the
International Boundary between the
United States and Canada, there's a 100
mile stretch in the northwest corner
Montana and the southeast corner of
British Columbia, where there are only
two places the line can be legally crossed.
But, that's 100 miles as the raven would
fly. Should one decide to follow the actual border, he or she would traverse a
much greater distance and encounter
along the way terrain that requires mountain climbing skills. It is safe to say, that
except for the eight mile wide Tobacco
Plains and the roughly mile wide North
Fork drainage, the remainder is either
impassable or passable only to a hiker or
a pack train.
The span of the Tobacco Plains has
been a place to secretly cross the International Border
for as long as there
has been a border.
Even as early as the
1870s, whiskey and
other contraband
was smuggled
north into what
was at that time the
Northwest Territories, where neither
Indian nor white
man could take a
legal drink.
When work was
completed on the
Canadian Pacific
railroad in the early
part ofthe century
and the Chinese
workers were laid
off, the Americans
immediately passed
the "Chinese Exclusion Act." Still,
the Chinese managed   an   under
ground railway between the well
established west coast Chinese in Vancouver with those in Butte and to a lesser
extent in Missoula, where opium and
refugees were commonly slipped across.
Indians treated the imaginary line with
total disregard and on at least one occasion "Buffalo Soldiers" from Ft. Missoula
were sent to quiet things at the border.
Later, Canadian farmers casually drove
tractors and trucks across the border to
avoid paying a high duty.
As early as 1915, in the climate of
World War I, which Canada joined in
1914, British Columbia began going dry.
By 1917 they were totally dry and along
with the gradual drying out came the
steady increase in smuggling bootleg
whiskey north. But now, the largely Prot-
estant and family oriented grain farmers
who were then and remain to this day a
formidable force to be reckoned with at
the polls, started agitating for prohibition in Montana. It came in 1919 and
then Federal prohibition of alcohol followed in 1920. The Treasury Department
jumped hard on the little border towns
where enterprising men and women
stood ready to profit no matter which
way the booze moved. Ironically, Canada
did not forbid the export of alcohol so
warehouses of it existed in basements and
barns near the border. Now the flow reversed as whiskey was moved out of
Canada into the U.S.
The small towns of Rexford, just a few
miles south of the border along the
Kootenay River, and Fernie, nestled along
the Elk River some-40 miles to the northeast, were also connected by a spur line
that ran between the main east-west lines
of the Great Northern and Canadian
Pacific Railroads. And so, with full prohibition in effect and lots of Federal
money to fund the project, extreme pressure came to bear on those who would
flaunt federal authority to meet the demand for tax free alcohol. Not long after
the end of World War I, the "dry squads"
were becoming a potent force in northern Montana.
From the beginning, it was an uphill
battle for the authorities and by the time
prohibition had ended in 1933, an expensive lesson had been learned - morality cannot be legislated. Prohibiting
the manufacture and distribution of alcohol did nothing to stem the demand.
It merely took it from under the watchful eye of government and there was no
shortage of people ready to step forward
to meet the demand and reap the profits. The fact that the Canadians did not
prohibit the making of booze for export
only made enforcing the law south ofthe
border that much more difficult.
One ofthe major players in southeast-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 ern British Columbia was Fernie entrepreneur Emilio Picariello. From humble
beginnings as an ice cream peddler,
Picariello rose to become a major player
in moving liquor across the border into
the United States. He and his henchmen,
who included his son, most commonly
worked the border in the prairie country
of western Alberta, but the Tobacco
Plains saw more than a few of his liquor
laden cars pass its way in the early 1920s.
Gus Costanzo: "Picariello went through
here (Tobacco Plains) the odd times. There
were quite a few roads and trails like between Gateway where the Great Northern
came through and the customs here at
Roosville. That's quite a space there and
there's lots of open country they could go
But, the money that Picariello accumulated did him no good when in a fit
of anger he shot Alberta Provincial policeman and former chief of police of
Fernie, Stephan Lawson. Picariello was
ultimately hanged for his rash act. Unfortunately, a quiet and enigmatic young
woman, Florence Lasandro of Fernie, was
also caught up in the people's quest for
retribution. She too was hanged one dark
day at the provincial prison near Edmonton, Alberta, although it is unlikely that
she had anything to do with the killing
beyond the fact that it was her misfortune to be in the bootlegger's car at the
Jim Costanzo: "Emilo Picariello used
to come to our ranch. He was visiting all
the time when he was in that bootlegging
business, f think most ofthe supply came
from Alberta 'cause old Picariello, he had
a lot people making that moonshine. The
cops there couldn't catch on to him. Either
that or they didn't want to. f don't know
which. The woman that got hanged with
him - she was our cousin. But, she was innocent. What happened there, see old
Picareillo, he was pretty well off and he figured he could buy his way out, eh? So he
got her to take the blame for it. But, she
never done the shooting. She said she did
and the reason she said that was she figured that he'd be able to get her off, but it
didn't work that way. They both were
hanged "
The spur line of the
Great Northern Railroad
that ran between Rexford
and Fernie for the purpose
of moving coal into the
States was also a popular
means of moving illicit
booze. Specially designed
sacks were used to prevent
the bottles from breaking.
Sid Workman: "fknow
one guy who'd ride a coal
train to Fernie and he'd get
him a pack sack full of Canadian whiskey and ride
the coal car back to
Rexford "
Jim Costanzo: "Us guys
were pretty young fellows.
We seen quite a bit of it
though. Like the guys when
they were hauling in cars and stopping
trains and loading the booze into the coal
cars. We knew some ofthe guys that were
traveling around with it, eh? A guy by the
name of Alabama Joe, he worked for Jack
Wilson, Wilson was a bootlegger in this part
ofthe country same as Picariello was for
Alberta. They used to travel at night in big
cars. One day we were going down to a place
they call four-mile just out of Fernie and
we saw the two cars at the crossing and this
train was there and these guys were loading sacks of booze into the coal car. That
was around 1926-27, something like that."
• Eureka
The Southeast corner of British Columbia.
The coal train, though a popular means
of transporting the untaxed alcohol, was
far from the only way the booze was
moved. The Kootenay River was also
Mary Roo: (reading from the book,
Backtracking) "fn the bootlegging days,
Oliver Abbey (herfather) built several large
flat boats for a bootlegger, who would load
them up with liquor and go down the
Kootenay River with high water. The first
load was lost when the boat hit the rocks in
some rapids near Newgate, but after that
many 'successful'trips were made."
Enjoying a trip to stock up.
Pictures from a pioneer collection owned by the author.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Tyler Lindberg: "Me and another kid
pulled a boat out ofthe river and a bootlegger bought it from us for $20. He loaded
it with whiskey and turned it hose and met
it on the other side ofthe line. And they'd
take wire and tie two logs together and load
the whiskey on and let them go. They bootlegged everyway you could imagine. Even
airplanes come in here. Howard Brown was
a big chief bootlegger. He used to have those
big Hudson cars and that. So he bought a
plane and got a pilot to bring it up and
land it. They'd even get the Indians down
there. One fella loaded up their wagons and
then put their tents on top and the police
wouldn't bother them."
Alec GraveUe: "There was a few bootleggers that would get the Indians to pack
it across the border. There was a guy named
Jette Smith, he was a big bootlegger around
Eureka. My dad had this Model T Ford
My mother would make it look like they
were moving back down to the 69 Ranch.
They were haying there. Any way we didn't
cross the border at the legal crossing. We
went around to Scott's Grade. Jette Smith
met us there at the 69 in a big Buick and
then would take it all the way to Missoula."
The large touring cars ofthe day were
the most common, and perhaps the most
practical means for transporting boodeg
alcohol, as sooner or later, no matter how
it got across the border, the contraband
liquor had to be distributed to "speakeasies" or "blind pigs," as they were sometimes called.
Mary Roo: "So you see the States was
dry. The liquor all seemed to come in from
Alberta to a licensed warehouse in Fernie.
Then they had places down here where the
bootleggers would come. They would load
up with their liquor and away they would
go across the line. 'Boots' Coombs, who was
my husband's (Fred Roo) great friend, was
a dry squad man down there. They used to
catch them, take their liquor and have auctions every once in a while to sell off their
cars. My dad (Oliver Abbey) got a nice
Studebaker one time."
Tyler Lindberg: "The road down to the
states was just a ditch. They'd get stuck, bust
a drive shaft, bust an axle, my father 'd take
the horses out. They'd unload whiskey and
dad would put it in the barn and nobody'd
know a thing about it. They'd pay him for
it. The cops were comin round all the time,
they didn't know where it went. Some of
the cars had big bumpers made out of railroad steel. Sometimes they'd wait around a
curve and when the dry squad came along
they'd backup and push them over the bank.
There was PaulBedner, he had a big Hudson. And Freddie Roo used to haul whiskey."
Vernon Uphill: "The next time I went
down to Grasmere was in 1924. And my
father made arrangements for me to get this
ride with this fellow from Grasmere. He
had a Model T Ford with a Ruxall gear.
When he picked me up, he had 40 to 46
cases of liquor. He picked it up at the export house in Fernie."
George Shea: "My uncle had a big barn
in the Flathead with an old shed behind
it. A lot of times if it got too hot for one of
those bootleggers so he'd park them in that
shed for a few days 'til it cooled off. I knew
a lot of those "dry squaders" around here. I
don't know what they were, must of been
Federal. There was a bunch of them around
here. Oh hell, they had everything fixed
Those bootleggers knew what the dry squad
were doing. They paid their dues. If they
didn't, they'd catch em. If people down here
in town wanted to go to Canada and pick
up a load of liquor, he'd stop down here in
town first and talk to that guy and pay him
his fee. Of course, part of that went to the
dry squad and maybe the sheriffs office.
Any way, when they come back the damn
dry squad would be on U.S. 93 and the
bootleggers took the next road over. Next
time the dry squad would be on the other
road and 10 or 12 or more of those guys
hauling liquor run together."
While many ofthe runners came from
out of the area, some of them became
local folk heroes as there was little sympathy for the government's effort, regardless of which side ofthe border one lived
on, to stem the flow of alcohol. Besides,
World War I ended just as prohibition
began and many ofthe returning soldiers
had nothing else to do as the Great Depression got off to an early start in this
economically depressed part ofthe country.
Mabel Leonard: "Most ofthe ones mak
ing the runs weren't locals. The only way
the locals might have been involved is they
might have had a cache somewhere and
load it for the runner. People just didn't
want to get involved My dad said, 'You
don't want to say anything. Some of those
bootleggers don't give a darn. If you turn
them in, you're in trouble. 'Iknow a lot of
them down town here were helping them
out too."
Darrell Roose: "Maurine Thomas had
a Model A and she used to haul us kids
around in it and 01' Webb Gorey had one
just like it and every now and then the "dry
squad" would stop us and think it was Webb
Garey, He was packing booze, you know?
They tell about a time that Foster
Hendrickon and his dad, Ed, helped Webb
Garey out. They worked for the county and
in those days they just had a grader and a
Cat to smooth the road with. And on the
old highway between where Smithers and
the old brickyard used to be out that way
they were grading road andol' Webb came
by and yelled at them to turn that thing
around Webb went on to Foster, he turned
that Cat around and of course, that grader
was way behind. It took Ed 15 or 20 minutes to turn that thing around and before
he got it turned around the "dry squad"
came along and they couldn't get by "
It was Webb Garey who came up with
what might have been the most novel
means for transporting booze across the
Darrell Roose: "Out here at the
Hollenbach place, that used to be the old
Garey ranch. My uncle, he rented that
ranch out there and 'ol Webb let him have
it for nothing just to take care ofthe horse
and the whiskey when he brought it down.
This 'ol mare had a colt and they'd leave it
in the barn and take the mare up to the
line and load her down with booze and
turn her loose. Of course, she'd come back
to her colt."
That the government was fighting an
uphill battle is typified by the fact that
boodegging was often a family affair, thus
proving that much of the populace did
not consider the act to be a crime. Not
uncommonly, children were privy to
what was going on and were even used
as cover in some cases.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Darrell Roose: "Some of them would
take their cars and go up there - I won't
mention no names - they'd take their kids
with them and take the back cushion out
ofthe old touring car. They'd go up and get
a load of whiskey and come back with the
kids in the back-end and they got by with
that for awhile.
Running the border wasn't always a
lark and innocent people sometimes got
caught up in the governement's effort to
stem the flow.
George Shea: "There used to be some
people up there by the name ofBedner. They
had a party house. You could go up and get
all the drinks you wanted. Even business
people went up to have a drink. Don Bierly
went up for awhile and come back. He was
out here coming down 93 and the "dry
squad" was after him and I guess he wasn't
paying much attention. I suppose he had a
few drinks, but they tried to stop him and
he didn't stop. They unlimbered their guns
on him and goddamn, he had half a dozen
bullet holes in the back of his car. It's a
wonder they didn't kill him. He stopped
then and he didn't have nothin."
All the alcohol that was consumed in
those tumultuous days was not legally
Canadian liquor. Moonshiners operated
on both sides of the border. More often
than not they were small operators who
worked their homesteads and supplemented their meager incomes with cash
from the sale of still-made whiskey. This,
even more than running the border, was
commonly a family affair.
Sid Workman: "All the stuff that my
folks ever made never poisoned anybody or
anythingand they'dgetpeople to come back
after it, you know, whoever their customers
were. About that time it was selling for ten
dollars a gallon - 85, 90 proof stuff What
my folks did wasn't big. They had just regular customers. A lot of people just come by
and say 'Well, it's time formypintor quart
of whiskey some of them a gallon. That'd
hold them over until they thought you had
another gallon ready.
"It took the mash about two weeks to ferment. They called it - stop workin, 'Course,
to run that is just one night's work or maybe
half of one night cause this thing runs.. .if
you get it to run one quart every few min
utes you're doing real good. I can remember when I was 12 going and keeping the
fire for the folks. Stayin'up a couple hours.
I'd get ten cents a quart. I'd have to get
that fine kindling early in the evening -
burning steady there. You don't need very
much fire. Once you get her going just keep
everything burning steady and you gauge
everything by how much is coming out.
"The neighbors would know what each
other were doing and they'd swap stories and
different methods and stuff like that. The
best part about it we had a good sheriff in
those days, ol' Frank Baney and he'd just
about like to let everybody know when he
heard the revenue officers were comin
lookin'for a still. He'd get word to you some
way and give you time to clean everything
out and let'em come and go and not find
"I wasn't quite going to schoolyet, I must
have been five. My dad got word that there
was going to be - they used to call it a 'revenue raid.' There'd be four or five of these
guys come and search your house. My dad
had this 30 gallon barrelgoin and he had
a nice teepee tent that he always took hunting with him. One day he asked me, says,
How would you like to play in the tent for
awhile? First I gotta dig a hole.' So he and
another guy got out there and they buried
that barrel and then pitched that teepee tent
over the top of it. I remember the revenuers
comin and lookin around. Everything was
underground so they couldn't smell anything. Otherwise, you could smell this stuff
fermenting if you was around say in the
"My dad paid off a mortgage with whiskey at ten dollars a gallon. The guy was a
judge, Judge Pomeroy. At one time, I think
he was a representative or a senator. We were
living in town at that time, 1929 or 30.
My dad would bundle it up and put it on
my sled and I'd haul it to town and take
my sled right up the stairs. The judge would
put it in the closet and give me a dime."
The glory days of smuggling booze
across the border ended in April of 1933
when the United States changed presidents. But, just prior to that, arresting
the boodeggers had reached a fever pitch.
Gary Wilson in his book, "Honky-Tonk
Town," tells us that late in 1932 the dry
squads made 180 arrests in one month
alone and bootleggers who had been
centered around Havre, Montana moved
their operation to the west side of the
Rockies. ". . . Customs officers combined
to catch a 'relief column 25 miles west of
Whitefish. The convoy consisted of eight
men and eight autos with a cargo of 4000
quarts of scotch, bourbon, rye and beer from
Canada. Four of the drivers were from different areas of Montana and the rest were
Canadians. Hudsons, Cadillacs and
Oldsmobiles were the favorite mode of
From its very inception, the border
between the United States and Canada
has been only a minor obstacle to those
who were serious about moving contraband back and forth between the two
countries. The spirit of cooperation that
exists between businesspeople, friends
and families that inhabit the border region has always been, and most likely will
remain, the greatest obstacles for government enforcement agencies to overcome.
Gary Montgomery was born in Pennsylvania,
grew up in Florida, was educated in Colorado
then moved to Montana in 1973. He now lives
in Eureka, Montana close to the Canadian border. He publishes a small magazine The Trail
(formerly the Tobacco Plains fournal) and interviewed all the quoted old times for stories in
his magazines.
Send your change of address to:
Subscription Secretary.
B.C. Historical News,
Joel Vinge
RR#2 Site 13 Comp 60
Cranbrook, B.C.
Only $12 per year before
Christmas - $15 per year to within
Canada starting in 1999. Add $5
for an address
Contact Joel at
the above
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 The B. C. Express Company:
Life Line to tbhe Cariboo
by Pat Foster
four horse stage in front ofthe old B.C Express office in tbe 1890's A436.C
In 1861, a solitary man walked from
Yale to Soda Creek with a sack of mail,
newspaper and parcels on his back. From
Soda Creek he paddled an Indian canoe
to Quesnel. Several times a year, in
spring, summer and early fall, as long as
the weather allowed, he made this difficult, seven hundred and sixty miles return trip, keeping the gold fields of the
Cariboo in contact with the outside
world. The charge for this service, two
dollars per letter, one dollar per newspaper, a price readily paid by the lonely
This intrepid man was Francis Jones
Barnard. Born in Quebec City in 1829,
he was a descendant of Francis Barnard
who came from Europe to Deerfield,
Massachusetts in 1642. His father Isaac
Jones Barnard moved to Lower Canada
in the early 1800's where he established
a hardware business. Francis was only
twelve years old when his father died in
1841, but he went to work and was able
to provide for his mother and younger
siblings. When he was twenty-five, he
married Ellen Stillman, and two years
later he and his wife and son moved to
Toronto but he was unable to earn a satisfactory living there, so decided to seek
his fortune out west. In 1858, he left his
wife and son, went to New York, and
sailed on a trading ship to Victoria. He
survived the appalling conditions in third
class steerage - heat, overcrowding, and
rotten food - that caused the deaths of
several of his fellow passengers.
He left Victoria and arrived in Yale
with only a five dollar gold piece in his
pocket. To earn money, he split fire wood
and delivered it to homes and businesses
in Yale. By living frugally, he saved
enough to stake a gold claim, which he
soon sold at a small profit. In 1859, he
was elected constable, a dangerous job
in those days when claim jumping (con
sidered to be the ultimate crime) and disposing of the claim owner (almost as serious) were very common. His last duty
as a policeman was escorting two prisoners to New Westminster by canoe.
When they attempted to escape, Barnard,
a powerful man, was able to subdue the
convicts and get them safely to the penitentiary. However, he decided to find a
less dangerous job, and hired on as purser
on the newly built steamship Fort Yale,
on which his wife and son arrived in
1860. On its very next trip, at Union Bar
two miles above Hope, the ship's boiler
exploded, not an uncommon event in
those days. Five of the crew were killed,
but Barnard, who was eating his dinner
in the dining saloon, was thrown clear.
He took this as a sign that he should again
look for less hazardous employment.
He worked for a short time on the trail
being built from Yale to Boston Bar, then
he started packing mail to the Cariboo.
In 1862, he was awarded the government
postal contract and arranged with Dietz
& Nelson to carry their express from Yale
north. He bought a small mule, loaded
the mail and express on its back, and led
it up the trail to the Cariboo - the beginning of Barnard's Express.
In 1863, when the government completed the road to Soda Creek, Barnard
expanded to two-horse light wagons
which carried three passengers as well as
mail and freight. In 1864 he put on the
first four-horse, fourteen passenger stage
connecting with the North Fraser canoe
service at Soda Creek. In this year, his
wagons and stages covered 110,600
miles, he employed thirty-eight men, not
including agents, and used one hundred
sixty horses. Fifteen hundred passengers
were transported as well as four hundred
fifty pieces of express, and other valuables, including gold, to a value of
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 $4,619,000. On one trip alone a BX stage
carried $600,000 of the precious metal
from the Barkerville mines. By 1865, as
the road was completed, he extended the
service to Richfield, Barkerville and
In 1866 Barnard purchased the business of Dietz & Nelson of Victoria and
gained control ofthe express and passenger business from Victoria to all points
in B.C. By 1868 he had added six-horse
stages and hired several more employees.
Thus developed the B.C. Express Company, better known as the B.X. Company, the first established land
transportation system west of the
Rockies, and eventually, with routes covering over a thousand miles, second in
size only to the legendary Wells Fargo.
The stage coach trip from Yale to Soda
Creek, which took from forty-eight to
fifty-two hours was made twice a week,
and never a trip was missed in all the years
that this route was in operation. Business men, miners, Indians, Chinese,
dance hall girls, the whole spectrum of
interior B.C. society, crammed the
coaches on their way to make their fortune in the gold fields. Some lucky passengers were able to ride outside with the
driver, listen to his stories, and enjoy the
breathtaking scenery. Mind you, this was
not for the faint of heart - the wheels
just inches from the thousand foot precipices, the flimsy-looking trestles and
bridges tenuously attached to the jutting
rocks, all too easily seen from the outer
seat could be terrifying.
Charles G. Major drove the first stage
to Barkerville while Steve Tingley went
ahead leaving extra horses at relay stations which he estabUshed at the "Mile
Houses" which were approximately fifteen miles apart. Fresh horses were always
ready, and hay and barns awaited the ar-
riving animals, meals and lodging
awaited the passengers. Enterprising residents, many of them road contractors,
who lived where water was plentiful and
vegetables and hay could be grown, established these stopping places. Because
the original road came from Lillooet,
most of the houses were numbered according to their distance from that town,
although later some indicated the dis
tance from Yale or
Ashcroft, thus the
apparent discrepancy in their numbering.
Some of them
were noted for the
quality of their
food and lodging,
some were not so
good, but in general the traveler
fared well on his
journey. As the
gold fever simmered down, prices
stabilized, and a
meal or a bed
ranged from 50<J a
person as far as
Quesnel to 75<f beyond there, and
generally would include all you could
eat of at least one
type of meat, several vegetables, pie,
cake, fruit, milk
and cream. Breakfast was substantially the same,
except porridge
might be added.
Some of these
houses still remain,
Ashcroft Manor
and Cottonwood
House being two of
the best preserved,
as well as the very
large stable at 83-Mile which was built
in 1892-3 on property owned by Steve
Tingley. These historic buildings are open
to the public and well worth a stop by
the history buff. Sadly, most ofthe houses
have been destroyed by fire.
Tingley began his thirty-year career
with the BX on that first stage trip, the
start of an association which saw him rise
from driver to partner in 1864, to director, to manager, and ultimately to sole
owner in 1886 when the fifty-seven year
old Barnard, after twenty-five years running the BX, decided to retire. Tingley
had arrived in Yale in 1861, coming from
/ British Columbia Express Go. J]
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BXThne Table A20&C
New Brunswick via San Francisco. He
tried his hand at mining in the Cariboo
for two seasons, then, as did many novice miners, decided there was a better living to be made in business, so returned
to Yale and ran a harness shop for a short
time before joining Barnard.
Barnard was not totally out of the
transportation industry when he sold the
BX In partnership with Beedy, he imported two steam coaches from Scodand
for use on the Cariboo Road carrying
freight from Yale to Soda Creek. Although these machines made much faster
progress than horse teams on level
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BBJTBHCOUIflBfA
BX Saute map. A208.C
ground, they had to make numerous
stops to pick up the wood needed to
operate the boilers. In addition, going up
or down hill so affected the water level
in the boilers that they became overheated and developed leaks - not too
useful on this mountainous road. The
first and only trip came to a sudden halt
when the coaches were unable to climb
up Jackass Mountain in the Fraser Canyon so Barnard abandoned the project
and sold them to Jeremiah Rogers for
clearing timber in Vancouver.
While still running the BX Barnard
had represented the Yale-Lytton riding
in the B.C. Legislative Council, and at
the Yale Convention
of 1868, with DeCosmos and Robson, he
was instrumental in
convincing the delegates that union with
Canada was both desirable and necessary.
He was a member of
the House of Commons from 1879 to
1886 and had contributed substantially to
the development of
British Columbia and
Canada by the time he
died in 1889. His sons
carried on his tradition of service to the
province and the
country, (Sir) Francis
Stillman Barnard as
of British Columbia
and G.H. Barnard as
The CPR tracks had
been  laid  through
Ashcroft in 1884 and
a bridge constructed
across the Thompson
River     connecting
Ashcroft     to     the
Cariboo   Road   in
1886. When Tingley
took over sole ownership of the BX, he
moved his headquarters to Ashcroft. People, mail, and freight came to this point
by train, then transferred to the stagecoaches and freight wagons. Ashcroft became the new gateway to the Cariboo.
As the BX prospered so did Ashcroft.
One of the most important businesses
with the office, freight and wagon warehouses, livery stable, and houses for employees right in town, barns, corals, and
fields on the outskirts, the BX attracted
many other private businesses: wheelwrights, blacksmiths, merchants, hotel
and restaurants.
We tend to picture stage coach drivers
as rough-hewn, hard-drinking fellows,
but not so the BX employees. Chosen
for their ability to drive and their reliability, they handled the horses and stage
with expertise and took seriously their
obligation to deliver the mail, express and
passengers safely and on time. The horses
were unhitched, fed, and bedded down
as soon as they arrived at a stop, then the
passengers were attended to. The driver
was a good host, sitting at the head of
the table to ensure everyone was properly cared for, and entertaining his passengers, often with stories ofthe Cariboo
Road. Women, no matter what their station in life, from prostitutes to the wives
of the gentry, were always given special
consideration, offered the choice of places
to sit on the stage, seated to the right of
the driver at meals, and given the most
comfortable room at the stopovers.
Just as the drivers of the stages were a
special breed, so were the horses that
pulled them. Never broken as were horses
used for other purposes, they were useful only for pulling the stagecoaches, but
at that they excelled. It was rarely that
the driver needed to use the long whip
that he carried.
To guarantee a safe departure, a specific routine had to be observed. First the
mail, express and baggage were loaded
and made secure, then passengers were
asked to board. After the driver had taken
his seat, the wheel-team was brought out,
positioned, their harness and rigging adjusted to the satisfaction of the driver,
and their reins passed to him; the swing
team was brought out, and the same
process followed. Only then was the lead
team brought from the stable. This lively
pair usually inspired some very colorful
language from the hostler who had his
work cut out for him to hook them up
and get out ofthe way before the driver
released the brake. Immediately they
were off, rearing up on their hind legs
once or twice and unnerving the more
fainthearted passengers, before they settled down to a brisk trot to the next sta
The BX schooners, bright red with
yellow trim, pulled by these high-spirited horses, were an awesome sight as they
flew down the long hill into Ashcroft. In
the 1860s, needing more horses to keep
pace with his expanding business,
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Barnard sent Tingley to Southern California to purchase five hundred head
which he drove overland to Vernon to
start the BX Ranch, which from that time
supplied all the stage horses.
An old timetable advertises the BX as
"650 miles of the best equipped stage
lines of America". The average trip took
four days each way. Special trips were frequendy made in less time. All pans of
the Interior were served by the BX, including Lillooet, Chilcotin, Alkali Lake,
Horsefly, Quesnelle, 150-Mile House,
Soda Creek, and Barkerville.
In winter, stages were replaced by sleds.
The first to try this was Steve Tingley in
January, 1867. Snow and intense cold
made the going extremely difficult. At
150-Mile House, Tingley found a large
sled, secured the bed of the stage to it
and drove to 127-Mile. With more than
two feet of new snow covering the road,
they started for 83-Mile but by nightfall
they were only at 100-Mile. More snow
greeted them the next morning, but
Tingley acquired two extra horses from
the owner ofthe roadhouse and they finally arrived at 83-Mile at 6 p.m., taking three days to complete a trip that in
normal conditions
would take one. It
was this tenacity
that allowed the
BX to be the only
company that kept
the Clinton to
Barkerville road
open in winter,
transporting passengers, mail and
express all year
When Lord and
Lady Dufferin, the
of Canada and his
wife, made an official visit to B.C.
in 1876, the BX
spent $1,200 to
have a special vehicle built in San
Francisco. It
seated seven passengers, six inside
and one outside beside the driver, and
could be used as an open or closed coach.
Steve Tingley himself drove the Dufferin
Coach for the vice-regal visit. It was used
for many years by the BX to transport
prominent patrons, and it was often
hired, at twice the rate of ordinary vehicles, by those who wished to make a big
More than fifty years after it was built,
the coach was still in use, although not
with its original distinction. Al Young, a
former stage coach driver used it as a hack
in Prince George in 1914 and 1915, after which it came back home to Ashcroft
for seven years. In 1922 it was sold to
Bill Livingstone who carried mail and
passengers between Quesnel and
Barkerville. Livingstone traded it off to
a rancher who replaced its elegant coach
with a rack and pulled it behind a tractor to haul firewood. Its leather braces
were sold to a Chinese shoemaker. Luckily a Quesnel citizen rescued the old vehicle before the braces became half-soles,
and invested many hours and dollars to
restore the Dufferin to its original appearance. It is now on display at Irving House
Museum in New Westminster.
The cost of operating the stage line was
approximately $50,000 per year. For example, in 1896, wages ($50 per month
per driver) and feed for the horses came
to approximately $20,000 per year. Repairs to the coaches, replacement of iron
wheel rims, and shoeing horses cost about
$30,000 per year. The mail contract
brought in about half of the operational
cost, the rest came from passengers and
The BX guaranteed safe delivery of
gold from the Cariboo to Yale, something
Governor Douglas, even with the Royal
Engineers at his disposal, would not do.
There were surprisingly few robbery attempts considering the miles of remote
roads covered by the red and yellow
coaches and the value ofthe cargo they
transported. All coaches carried an expert shot to discourage any hold-ups and
penalties for breaking the law were severe and immediate. In addition the only
practical route away from the Cariboo
was the railway at Ashcroft where any
stranger would immediately be noticed
and investigated.
In 1897 Tingley lost the mail contract
to Ryan Kilgour and Charles Miller of
BXpassenger sleigh m Ashcroft, 1911 taking children for a Christmas ride. This normally held sixteen passengers, mail and band luggage.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Unnumbered (This is Helen Forster's own picture) The last B.C. Express office which still stands on Railway Street in
Ashcroft. Helen Forster lives in this building now.
Toronto, and sold the BX to them. He
lived in Ashcorft until about 1910, then
moved to Vancouver where he died in
1915. His obituary called him "the pioneer whip ofthe Cariboo Road", an appropriate tide of which he would have
S.T1M6UY. M*n«t«r.
general Sffice of
StaBIii^ A/«DfCE0.
Bull's and 5>M'1
with Orivrri for $p<rial
;'-    _Ir.'££.     ■'.
:v freight  "':r
Receivtd (, kllvortd with
,'•;.-    ditpatch.   -;,--
Jprrial Hates Quoted.
111 ACKSMI I H-S   S'lOK
been jusdy proud.
From 1896 until 1920, the
BX operated a fleet of steamboats and smaller sternwheelers
on the Upper Fraser from Soda
Creek to Fort George. At its
busiest it had three steamboats,
and did a large business in
freight and passengers, hauling
supplies south for the PGE and
Cariboo products north to be
forwarded to markets in Edmonton and Prince Rupert.
Between 1910 and 1915 the
BX stages were replaced by red
and yellow 60 hp Winton Six
automobiles - fresh air taxis. A
large garage to house them was
built adjacent to the other BX
buildings south of Ashcroft. Finally, in 1920, due to the completion ofthe PGE Railway and
the advent of truck transport,
the BX after more than fifty years of service, closed its doors for the last time.
No company has been more closely associated with the history of this province
than the B.C. Express Company. The BX
was an important part of the development of the interior of B.C. and the
Cariboo trail, and remains a part of
Ashcroft where the office building still
stands, and the "Welcome to Ashcroft"
signs proudly display a BX stage pulled
by a handsome six-horse team.
Pat Foster was a teacher in Alberta who came
to Vancouver Island to retire. Sbe and her husband then moved to Ashcroft where they have
energetically researched Cariboo history.
Ashcroft Museum and Archives
Note- Many thanks to Helen Forster of the Ashcroft
Museum for all her help.
Pictures - from Ashcroft Museum Archives
190 O
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Stanley Park: Tourism and Development
by Eric Swantje
On 29 October 1889 on the ancient Indian clearing of Chaythoos, i.e., "high bank," and of Pipe Line Road, First Narrows, Stanley Park, and
in the presence of his worship David Oppenheimer, second mayor of Vancouver, and a small group of eminent citizens, Lord Stanley threw his
arms to the heavens, as though embracing the whole thousand acres of primeval forest, and dedicated it (his words) "to the use and pleasure of
peoples of all colors, creeds and customs for all time."1
A city that has been carved out of the forest should maintain somewhere within its boundaries evidence of what it once was. and so long
as Stanley Park remains unspoiled that testimony to the giant trees which occupied the site of Vancouver in former days will remain.2
Nothing in this, nor yet the next world would tempt a Coast Indian into the compact centres ofthe wild portions ofthe park, for therein, concealed
cunningly, is the "lure" they all believe in.3
The totem poles, a
curious sight,
Stand four together, in
a row,
Wrought with a patience
By Indian carvers, long
Vancouver has the public image of a
beautiful, exciting, booming, cosmopolitan city with Stanley Park as its outstanding landmark. Negative impressions ofthe
city are rare. Stanley Park proved to be
central in the formation of Vancouver's
identity, because it gave the city a sense
of place. During the early twentieth century, the park was seen as "high status,
undeveloped, and large," and it was
lauded as one of the finest parks in the
world primarily because of its "one thousand acres of virgin forest."5 Because of
its size, a visitor to the park is able to escape the hustle and bustle of nearby
downtown and perhaps even the values
associated with a business-oriented world.
In the world of Stanley Park, only towering trees take precedence6 - they offer escape. However, despite the image of the
park as a natural, unspoiled wilderness in
the city, it was a human-modified environment. Bearing in mind that the concentration of human-made attractions is
related to population density,7 Vancouver
was situated in an ideal spot. During the
inter-war years as well as today, the overwhelming popularity of the zoo, the totem poles, and Lumberman's Arch attest
to this fact. Thus, it seems fair to say that
Stanley Park is an important dimension
of our urban existence. Moreover, since
society as a whole relies on visual perceptions to form opinions,8 one could argue
that tourist impressions of Stanley Park
can be used as an indicator of one aspect
ofthe city's livability.
The land which was to become "Vancouver's Eden" was acquired by the city
of Vancouver through a certain amount
of serendipity: it had been set aside as a
military reserve in 1863 (which, incidentally, saved it from the interests of private
loggers) with a plan to place artillery at
Brockton Point in order to ward off a
feared invasion by the United States.
When the threat of an American invasion
abated in 1886, the first act ofthe new
City Council was to petition the federal
government requesting the land for a civic
park.9 (The lessening friction with the
United States was also an important factor in the transfer of lands for peaceful
purposes.10) The request was granted by
the Dominion government in 1887 for
use as a public recreation spot,11 and the
park - Vancouver'r first - was opened one
year later.
As one ofthe largest civic urban parks
in North America, Stanley Park was officially opened by Vancouver Mayor David
Oppenheimer on September 27, 1888
(under a 99 year lease from the federal
government) in honour of Canada's Governor General Lord Stanley. At the opening ceremony, Lord Stanley dedicated the
park "to the use and pleasure of peoples
of all colors, creeds and customs for all
time."12 Lord Stanley's proclamation alludes to — perhaps unintentionally — the
potential of drawing increasing numbers
of tourists to the city in future years. However, at its birth the park "was still a dense
forest relatively inaccessible beyond its
shoreline fringes."13 As McKee notes, the
problem facing the city was how to administer and develop it for posterity. Obviously, the park was seen as an
"irreplaceable civic asset" which played a
key role in establishing Vancouver's identity: thus, during the twenties and thirties, the forest playground
ever-increasingly transformed into a
"tourist mecca" and "the centrepiece and
pride of the entire civic park system." Its
potential for tourist development using
natural and historical resources seemed
The creation ofthe park resulted from
a middle-class British notion in which
local public parks were seen as "breathing
spaces where citizens might stroll, drive,
or sit to enjoy the open air."14 It was obvious that parks were for passive, not active, recreation; hence, the transformation
that Stanley Park underwent during the
interwar years (from natural green space
to tourist mecca) is significant for what it
suggests about the changing perceptions
Vancouverites had of this civic treasure.
During the inter-war years then, the traditional paradigm of the character and
role of the park as a natural urban green
space was augmented with a new perception of Stanley Park as a booster for the
tourist industry.
How Stanley Park was perceived by
Vancouverites and visitors alike will be
revealed through a discussion ofthe commercialization of the park; conservation
efforts in the park, the Lions Gate Bridge
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 debate; relief work in the park; and the
park's role as a symbol of Vancouver. As
well, the white construction of the notion of "Indian-ness" will be examined.
Commercialization of Stanley Park
The commercialization of Stanley Park
would prove to be an inescapable issue.
Despite pre-World War I efforts to prevent the park from undergoing a metamorphosis into a "commonplace city
park," the inter-war years witnessed increasing commercialization ofthe park -
albeit not without opposition championed largely but not exclusively by the
high-status educated elite ofVancouver.15
Nonetheless, the Stanley Park ofthe twenties was somewhat modified as it combined "within itself something of the
majesty and magic ofthe primaeval [sic]
forest" in addition to tennis courts,
putting and bowling greens, and other
recreational facilities.16
The utilitarian version ofthe forest playground was not unanimously popular,
however. The Local Council of Women
were particularly vociferous opponents to
the commercialization of the park, because they felt it would shatter the "old-
time peace." For instance, the Council
expressed their disapproval with the Vancouver Golden Jubilee Committees plan
to charge admission to the park during
the celebrations in 1936. "The Council
condemned the plan to transfigure the
natural [emphasis added] grandeur of
Stanley Park with cheap attractions ofthe
Coney Island variety."17 (The proposed
attractions included dance pavilions, tea
gardens, and other exhibits between the
Pavilion and Lumberman's Arch.)
The temporary commercialization of
the park opposed so vehemently by a particular group implies that many
Vancouverites resented a challenge to the
environmental integrity of their forest
playground. Undoubtedly, they felt it represented a shift to the gaudy entertainment centres of the United States which
were lacking in aesthetic appeal. The unpopularity of the Coney Island theme
underscores the ethnocentricism of
Vancouverites. After all, "what would not
the Americans give for such a park near
one of their busy cities?"18 Precisely because of its priceless value as a natural
charm - "a primitive virgin forest close to
the city" - the desecration of the park
through logging and commercialization
ofthe park is also symbolic ofthe changing social and economic paradigm towards civic parks during the inter-war
years: Stanley Park was destined (or
doomed) to undergo a metamorphosis
from natural urban green space to "tourist trap". (Despite the negative perception
ofthe park evident here, it remained the
premier tourist attraction in the city.19)
The temporary commercialization (i.e.,
admission fee) which was to befall Stanley
Park during the Vancouver Golden Jubilee Celebrations never materialized. In
large part this was due to the fact that:
The people ofVancouver have regarded
Stanley Park with a sense of affectionate
ownership for so very long that the experience of having to pay to get into even a small
part of it will tend to make it seem like alien ground20
This comment appeared on the editorial page of the Vancouver Sun on May
11, 1936 before the celebrations took
place. It interestingly illustrates that the
feeling of "affectionate ownership" harboured by numerous Vancouverites would
likely change to "militant affection"
should an admission fee be levied, even
temporarily. Greed, according to the
writer of this editorial, is no excuse for
the commercialization of Stanley Park. In
light of the foregoing remarks, it is not
surprising that the proposed admission fee
(and the installation of mechanized attractions) was denied, since the policy ofthe
Park board was to keep the park in its free
and natural state.21
Although the park, by and large, was
not distastefully commercialized during
the inter-war years, modest development
did occur. For example, Lost Lagoon was
stocked with fish, and it was proposed by
the Park Board that people wishing to fish
in Lost Lagoon would have to purchase a
fishing licence. (The licence would cost
$1 per day to a maximum of 10 trout.22)
Also, the proposal in February 1936 to
construct a miniature railway "along the
shores of Lost Lagoon to Second Beach,
[and] the Board to share in the profits
from such"23 exemplifies the increasing
development of "Vancouver's Eden"
amidst conflicting interests. For instance,
a "Save-the-Park Campaign" was started
in February 1935 by a group of conservationist-minded citizens that transcended
class boundaries.24 The creation of a miniature railway, zoo, golf courses and tennis
courts, bowling greens, and the Malkin
Bowl (1934) can be seen as a sign that,
during the thirties, Stanley Park was
changing into a more user-friendly green
space.25 It should be noted, however, that
the Park Board pursued a policy to keep
the " [g] reatest part in the forest and made
accessible by roads, trails, bridle-path,
Obviously, the Park Board had realized
that the conservation of Stanley Park's
natural qualities was inextricably linked
to its continued tourist appeal. In this
sense, it seems fair to say that although
popular perceptions of Stanley Park during the inter-war years had progressed
from a conservationist to a more utilitarian ideal. Vancouverites still saw the natural beauty of the park as the key factor in
establishing Vancouver's identity. Here we
see how the conceptual integrity and naturalness of the forest had remained intact
despite large-scale changes in people's perceptions of Stanley Park Commercialization had taken place in moderation;
hence, the sublime nature ofthe park did
not change.
Conservation Efforts
The issue of conserving the Stanley Park
forest was the paradoxical result of the
revenue-motivated effort to commercialize the park. Although substantial alterations were made to the park (i.e.,
human-made structures were added), a
concerted effort was also made to conserve
its wilderness character for tourists and
visitors.27 This environmentally friendly
attitude, which was already prevalent in
the beginning ofthe twentieth century, is
significant for what it suggests about the
sentiments of the people of Vancouver
towards Stanley Park During World War
I, the city's "laissez-faire attitude" to the
forest playground was gradually replaced
by a more conservationist ethos. The result was the post-war emergence of a Vancouver identity premised on the natural
beauty ofthe place—not on the city's commercial attractions. Nonetheless, the
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 changing role of Stanley Park represented
the advent of the business of tourism in
Vancouver as well as embodying the philosophy of "capitalizing the scenery." For
example, efforts to beautify the "foul-
smelling and unsightly" tidal flats around
what is now Lost Lagoon began as early
as 1908.28 Thus, one could argue that
these aesthetic improvements were rooted
in civic pride29 which attests to the perception of Stanley Park as "the finest natural park in the World."30 Moreover,
schemes for park beautification can be
seen as a concerted effort by the city to
attract tourists. The increased usability of
the park was central to the construction
of a Vancouver identity during the inter-
war years. This eclectic notion saw the city
in general and the park in specific portrayed as world-class destinations on par
with Banff and Jasper National Parks aa
nd Niagara Falls, for example. Furthermore, the changing perceptions of Stanley
Park shed some light on the modicum of
thought towards recreational space as
such: parks were now being seen not only
for their intrinsic nature value but also as
potential sources of revenue for the city.
The changing perceptions of Stanley
Park were a product ofthe Depression era,
because the park was inexorably linked to
prosperity. Although the inherent value
ofthe land as a "noble forested area and
as a playground and breathing space"31
was never forgotten, its value as advertisement and as a tourist attraction dramatically increased. In light of the
environmentally harmful side-effects of
tourism, reform-minded, progressive citizens argued that "the word park' suggests
conservation, the preservation ofthe beauties nature has created."32 Hence, it seems
fair to say that many upper-middle class
Vancouverites realized that the intrinsic
value ofthe park should be more important than its economic potential; therefore, it must be held sacred for posterity
and for tourists. After all, "[w]e can not
expect people to come far, or often, to look
at our logged-offlands."33 As perceptions
of Stanley Park changed throughout the
twenties and thirties so did the environmental impact on the park itself.
Employing the notion of development
was central to the Park Board's desire to
make the park accessible to all, thereby
increasing not only the forest's but also
the city's appeal as a tourist destination.
Nonetheless, popular sentiment sought to
maintain the integrity ofthe park which,
it was hoped, would increase property
values in the area and attract tourists.34
Through the promotion of tourism by
various agencies such as the Vancouver
Publicity Bureau, the media, and Premier
Pattullo. Vancouverites began to see the
park "as a centre for games, amusements,
[and] rallies .. ."35
Despite the feeling expressed by Alderman William Brown that parks were a
waste of space, because "a man never got
a square meal of scenery,"36 further desire
to conserve the urban wilderness of
Stanley Park came after a brutal wind and
snow storm destroyed large numbers of
trees in the park during the winter of
1934-35. Under the auspices ofthe "Save-
the-Park Campaign," civic-minded citizens "from those in high office to the man
on the street" were called upon by the City
Council "to expedite the urgendy needed
salvage job" before fire-season began.37
Obviously, Stanley Park was considered
such an irreplaceable civic asset that many
Vancouverites felt compelled — out of civic
duty and privilege — to assist in the cleanup.38 Only "cold-blooded indifference"
would prevent one from helping out.
The Lions Gate Bridge Debate
The controversy over construction of
the Lions Gate Bridge is further emblematic of the struggle to conserve Stanley
Park. The issue of a bridge crossing at First
Narrows had been discussed five years after the birth of the park, but "the proposal to drive a roaring speedway through
the heart of the Park" came to the forefront of civic business again in 1927. A
plebiscite regarding its construction was
held in June of that year but was emphatically rejected by the City Council39 in an
effort to defend the park from "injury and
mutilation." (Similarly, a plan to build an
Edwardian museum and art gallery at Lost
Lagoon was introduced by city planners
in the twenties but then shelved.40) The
initial opposition to the construction of
the causeway and bridge represented a
"battle, albeit microcosmic, that had been
waged between industrialists [i.e., prag-
matic businessmen] and conservationists
across North America over the natural
heritage of this continent."41 What then
accounted for the 1937 construction of a
bridge which was commonly portrayed in
the media as an injuty to the citizens of
Again, the decision can mainly be seen
as a result ofthe changing social and economic paradigm. The economically depressed mind-set of the thirties probably
placed less value on the environmental
integrity of the park; therefore, the predominant desire to encourage British investment prevailed in the city's decision
to approve construction. So, in the early
thirties, "a privately financed project was
welcomed as a means of opening the western section ofthe North Shore for suburban development and as a source of
employment."42 Simply put, the Lions
Gate Bridge was paid for by the Guinness family of Ireland to allow automobile access to their real estate holdings
known as the British Properties.43 The fact
that this major construction project was
undertaken in the midst of the Depression interestingly illustrates Stanley Park's
role not only as a popular destination
where poverty-stricken citizens could
momentarily escape reality but also as a
potential source of employment in the
building ofthe Lions Gate Bridge.
Relief Workers in Stanley Park
Even during the midst of the Depression, the park had not lost its pride of
place. A plan was conceived by the municipal government of the day to bring
the work that needs to be done in Stanley
Park and the unemployed labour together.
"The clearing of all dead wood and undergrowth and the cutting down of pest-
infected and dangerous timber in Stanley
Park.. "u was especially popular, because
it beautified the park for tourists and
employed relief recipients. Construction
ofthe Sea Wall and the improvement of
Deadman's Island were affected by a similar strategy.45 In a broader sense, the idea
of employing relief recipients in the cleanup ofthe park is representative of a "work
and wages" scheme (urged by the Pattullo
government) rather than a relief system,
and it also embodies the traditional concern that the work ethic would be eroded
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 by indiscriminate charity. Moreover, the
employment of relief workers in the park
bespeaks the pride that the citizens of
Vancouver took in their "holy retreat." For
this reason, it seems fair to say that Stanley
Park - because of its unparalleled natural
splendour - truly was instrumental in
forming a Vancouver identity.
Stanley Park as a Symbol of
The development of the park and the
perception which visitors formed of it
were inextricably linked to foreign models, especially Britain and the United
States. Chicago's World Fair of 1893 displayed American urban park achievements and, in turn, gready influenced the
park system in Vancouver46 (e.g., the City
Beautiful Association.) Ironically, it was
this "park plagiarism" that was central to
the construction of a Vancouver identity.
As for the development of public recreation spaces within the park itself, the
City Council was urged by Fred Crone,
chairman of the Park Board, to increase
its breathing spaces and provide for the
future.47 Public sentiment supported Mr.
Crone's recommendations, because
Vancouverites saw their park system as a
"proud distinction" of the city. Not surprisingly, civic pride virtually dominated
the Park Board's decision to add to the
amount of recreation spaces. This exemplified the Board's desire to maintain
Stanley Park's idyllic image. By 1934, additional facilities for large picnics appeared
in the park,48 and, by 1936, a proposal to
introduce more recreation areas and to
light the tennis courts at night on a "pay-
as-you-play" basis had been accepted.49 In
the same year, $55,000 would be spent
on giving Stanley Park a make-over (e.g.,
building Jubilee Fountain in Lost Lagoon)
for the Vancouver Jubilee Celebrations.50
Obviously, the perception that visitors and
tourists had of Stanley Park was linked
with the image they had of the city as a
White Construction of "Indian-ness"
in Stanley Park
Perceptions ofthe park and the city are,
however, only a part ofthe overall picture
of supernatural British Columbia. Images
ofthe Indian have always been fundamental to Canadian culture. The Indian im
age has been constructed by the dominant
culture to fit whatever mold it desired at
the time. Consequendy, the Native village at the totem poles in Stanley Park is
a non-Native creation put there for tourist purposes - not to gain a better under-
standing of Native peoples. (What
particular tribe or nation of Indians is actually represented at the totem poles is insignificant to most non-Native observers.
In fact, non-Native tourists expressed an
ambivalence to Indian culture so long as
what they were seeing was authentic.51)
Even though the totems themselves were
carved by local Coast Salish Indians, actually seeing an Indian face at the site was
(and still is) rare. This fact reflects the
times: Indian culture was something to
be marvelled at, but Indians as human
beings were to be shunned. Simply put,
their culture was part of Canadian society, yet they were not. As Daniel Francis
notes, "the fact that the Indians were vanishing added an urgency to the tourists'
quest for novelty."52 They were seen as an
"ancient and dying race," and,
The fact that it will not be long before
these interesting peoples have disappeared
before our advancing civilization should
make us eager to gather their story in permanent form in our art and literature?3
The marketing ofthe Stanley Park totem poles was part of a "curious phenomenon." For example, during the twenties
the provincial Liberal government of John
Oliver (1918-27) had prohibited the erection of totem poles and other Native symbols, yet approximately ten years later the
Liberal government of T.D. Pattullo was
appropriating the totem pole as an unofficial symbol of British Columbia.54 This
simply echoes my earlier assertion that
only the white notion of Native culture -
rather than the Natives themselves — was
part of Canadian society.
The city's claim to undisputed control
over Stanley Park has been challenged by
its original inhabitants throughout the
park's existence. The Indians, members of
the Burrard, Musqueam, and Squamish
bands, who resided and buried their dead
at several sites in the park55 saw it as their
permanent home. With the arrival of
Europeans in Burrard Inlet in 1791, however, the Indian population was gradually
displaced. Then, the setting aside of the
park for a naval reserve in 1863 witnessed
the end of Indian title to the area. As a
result, the original occupants of the peninsula became squatters. Although no
notable exodus of squatters occurred,56 the
displacement of Indians is significant for
what it suggests about the white construction of "Indian-ness" in Stanley Park:
whites wanted Indian symbols such as
totem poles to remain in the park,57 but
no one wanted to see an Indian face beside them. Thus, the image ofthe Indian
that (white) tourists desired was an inaccurate one constructed by the dominant
majority- not by the Indians themselves.
The case of Dr. Raley provides us with a
poignant example. Dr. Raley, a local non-
Native minister, was to supervise the erection of four new totem poles in Stanley
Park The purpose of the additional totems was "the need for a knowledge of
totem pole legends so that questions by
Jubilee visitors can be answered by local
residents."58 This comment embodies the
notion of a non-Native construction of
"Indian-ness": Jubilee visitors would probably be white, yet their queries about Indian totem poles would be answered
almost exclusively by white residents.
There was absolutely no Native representation on what were essentially Native
matters (i.e., totem poles.) Here we see
how the old-world view ofthe "noble savage" was perpetuated: the white image of
the Indian was never challenged by an
Indian voice - there was a total lack of
Native agency.
To further illustrate this point, the case
of Dr. Raley again provides a good example. In 1937, Dr. Raley published a history of the totem poles. He was given
permission "to conduct the sale [of booklets] from the Board's booth at
Lumberman's Arch and other booths as
may be arranged, until the end of September, no commission to be charged by
the Board."59 Ironically, just four years
earUer Chief Matthias Joe ofthe Squamish
tribe was denied permission to sell curios
at a booth near the totem poles.60 Hence,
one could conclude that indians as such
played no part in the creation of their
image. Only whites were permitted to
construct "Indian-ness" which undoubt-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 edly affected the accuracy of the image
While Stanley Park had once served
primarily as a natural green space for rest
and relaxation during the pre-World War
I era, the inter-war years saw the forest
playground develop into a proverbial gold
mine as a booster for the tourist industry
- a function which it serves to this day.
The selling ofthe park resulted in a positive world view ofthe city itself. The perception that tourists had ofVancouver
undeniably influenced such factors as
immigration and trade in a positive way.61
Through increased immigration from different ethnic backgrounds, the promotion
of arts and cultural development also occurred. In addition, conservation of the
natural and historical resources of Stanley
Park works to maintain its status as an
unspoiled natural setting thereby adding
to its economic and social importance in
an increasingly intergrated and diversified
tourist industry.
One should, however, bear in mind that
the acquisition of the park was a "fortuitous event," and because of this Vancouver developed a very unbalanced and
unplanned civic park system.62 Conse-
quendy, Stanley Park received preferential treatment from the Park Board while
other natural green spaces were neglected.63 This undeniably accounts for
the overwhelmingly positive perceptions
and unabating affinity that the people of
Vancouver share for their forest playground. Even today, Stanley Park is still
seen as a civic gem. To many people, it is
the pride ofVancouver. Yet despite the
park's ever-increasing role in bringing in
tourist dollars, the federal government
(i.e., the owners ofthe land) remains stalwart in its mission to protect the pseudo-
sacred forest. When Vancouver Park
Board chair Duncan Wilson was in Ottawa last week promoting the Board's proposal for a tunnel linking West Vancouver
to downtown, Heritage Minister Sheila
Copps expressed the federal government's
desire to preserve "the environmental integrity of Stanley Park."64 This comment
suggests that maintaining the image ofthe
park as "the finest natural park in the
world" is as important today as it was
during the inter-war years.
The author prepared this essay for Dr.
McDonald at die University of British Columbia. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in the
spring of 1997. When an undergraduate,
Swantje was employed as a tour guide with Gray
Line ofVancouver.
1. City ofVancouver Archives (CVA), Additional
Manuscripts (Add.Mss.) 54, Major Matthews Collection,
Hie 282, vol. 13, Stanley Park Correspondence, "Stanley
Park - golden anniversary," 1939.
2. Vancouver News-Herald, October 30, 1939.
3. Pauline E. Johnson, Legends ofVancouver
(Vancouver. Privately Printed, 1911), p. 74,
4. Robert Allison Hood, By Shore and Trail in Stanley
Park (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1929), p. 61.
5. Ellen Janet Nightingale Berry, "The Tourists Image of
a City: Vancouver, BC* (Master of Arts thesis, University
of British Columbia, 1979), p. 106.
6. Ibid.
7. British Columbia, Bridsh Columbia Tourism
Development Strategy! An Opportunhyfbr the
Eighties (Province of British Columbia, Ministry of
Tourism, 1980), p. 15.
8. Nightingale Berry, MA thesis, p. 277.
9. The petition was organized by three businessmen
involved in local land sales. Park promoters realized the
potential the forest had as "an attraction for tourists and
visitors to the city." See Robert A.J. McDonald, "Holy
Retreat' or 'Practical Breathing Spot'?: Class Perceptions
of Vancouver's Stanley Park, 1910-1913" (Canadian
Historical Review, vol. LXV, no. 2,1984), p. 139.
10. Elsie M. McFarland. The Development of Public
Recreation in Canada (Vanier, On.: Canadian Parks/
Recreation Association, 1970), p. 8.
11. McDonald, "Vancouver's Stanley Park," p. 127.
12. CVA, Add. Mss, 54, Major Matthews Collection,
Stanley Park Correspondence, 1939.
13. William C. McKee, "The History ofthe Vancouver
Park System 1886-1929" (MA thesis, University of
Victoria, 1976), p. 36.
14. McFarland, Public Recreation, p. 14.
15. McDonald, "Vancouver's Stanley Park," pp. 133-34.
16. University of British Columbia, Special Collections
(UBC-SC), Pamphlet File, W.S. Rawlings, "Vancouver,
British Columbia, Its Parks and Resorts," (Vancouver
Board of Park Commissioners, 1919.)
17. Vancouver Sun, May 5,1936, p. 8.
18. Vancouver Daily Province, July 24, 1927, p. 12.
19. Vancouver Daily Province, July 5,1938, p. 1.
20. Vancouver Sun, May 11,1936, p. 6.
21. CVA, 48-A-3, Vancouver Park Board Meeting Minutes
(VPBMM), file 2, March 20, 1931. (The Park Board is
significant not only because it administers Sranley Park
but because it acts as an arbitrator in the development of
the park as a civic booster for tourism. It plays a tough
role, because it has to represent "traditional principles,
interests in beautification and a desire to incorporate
some ofthe latest reform notions about the value of
athletic activity for adults and of structured play for
children." Sec McDonald, "Vancouver's Stanley Park." p.
22. CVA, 48-A-3, VPBMM, Hie 2, March 28, 1929.
23. CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, February 13, 1936.
24. Vancouver Sun, February 9, 1935, p. 1.
25. The creation of the miniarure railway, zoo, golf and
tennis courses, bowling greens, and the Malkin Bowl are
discussed in CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, December
12, 1940. In addition, the unsuccessful proposal to
construct a stadium in the park - which truly bespeaks
the issue of commercialization - is discussed in CVA, 48-
A-4, VPBMM, file 2, May 13,1937.
26. CVA, 48-A-3, VPBMM, file 2, November, n.d., 1931.
27. McDonald, "Vancouver's Stanley Park", p. 127.
28. Ibid., p. 131.
29.   Personal Contact (Eric Fulscht, Vancouver, January 31,
30. The Oakland Times (California) dubbed Stanley Park
"the finest natural park in the world." See Vancouver
Daily Province, June 23, 1927, p. 1.
31. Vancouver Daily Province, June 11,1926, p. 6.
32. Ibid.
33. Ibid.
34. Patricia E. Roy, Vancouver: An Illustrated History
(Toronto: James Lorimer Company and Publishers,
1980), p. 49. The possibility of increasing property value
is alluded to by Alderman W.J. McGuigan in 1899 with
respect to the proposed sawmill on Deadman's Island. See
McKee, MA thesis, 1976. However, the desire to
maintain the paries integrity - its natural state - was
espoused by the Park Board during the inter-war years.
Sec Vancouver Daily Province, June 11,1926, p. 6.
35. This comment is made by Robert A.J. McDonald with
reference to the proposed Coal Harbour stadium;
however, Stanley Park as such was likely seen in the same
light. See McDonald, "Vancouver's Stanley Park," p. 34.
36. McKee, MA thesis, p. 47.
37. Vancouver Daily Province, February 8,1935, p. 1.
38. This view is expressed by CA. Cotterell, a local
businessman, in Ibid.
39. CVA, Vancouver Park Board, Annual Report for 1927
(Office ofthe Superintendent of Parks and Recreation,
Vancouver), p. 4.
40. Robin Ward, Robin Ward's Vancouver (Vancouver
Harbour Publishing, 1990), p. 127.
41. McKee, MA thesis, p. 51.
42. Ibid., p. 41.
43. The bridge cost $6 miUion to build and was paid for
by tolls of 25 cents per car until it was sold back to the
city in 1955 for the cost of construction, $6 miUion. See
Gray Line ofVancouver, "Tour Commentary Manual"
(Vancouver Gray Line ofVancouver, 1996), p. 72.
44. CVA, 48-A-3, VPBMM, file 2, December 30,1931.
45. CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, July 13,1933.
46. McKee, MA thesis, p. 32.
47. Vancouver Sun, July 6,1929, p. 3.
48. CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, AprU 12,1934.
49. Ibid., July 20,1936.
50. Vancouver Nevn-Herald, March 31,1936, p. 11.
51. This argument is advanced, albeit with respect to
attitudes of white writers to indigenous culture, by Terry
Goldie, Fear and Temptation! The Image ofthe
Indigene in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand
Literatures (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press,
52. Daniel Francis, The Imaginary Indian: The Image of
the Indian in C*naAlan Culture (Vancouver: Arsenal
Pulp Press, 1992), p. 182.
53. Vancouver Daily Province, August 8, 1926, p. 6.
54. Francis, The Imaginary Indian, p. 184.
55. Mike Sreele, Vancouver's Famous Stanley Park: The
Year-Round Playground (Surrey, BC: Heritage House
Publishing Company Ltd., 1993), p. 6.
56. McKee, MA thesis, p. 42.
57. The West Coast Indian theme is likely the most
intemarionaUy famous cultural and historical resource in
the province. Since the coastal tribes have "an interesting
and dynamic lifestyle with a sophisticated and impressive
level of material development," the tourist appeal ofthe
Indian culture was not insignificant. See British
Columbia, Tourism Development Strategy, p. 15.
58. Vancouver Daily Province, June 13,1936, p. 5.
59. CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, July 8, 1937.
60. CVA, 48-A-4, VPBMM, file 2, May 11,1933.
61. E.J. Hart, The Selling of Canada: The CPR and the
Beginnings of Canadian Tourism (Banff: Altitude
Publishing Ltd., 1983), p. 8.
62. McKee, MA thesis, p. 54.
63. H. Bartholomew and Associates, A Plan tor the City
ofVancouver (Vancouver: Town Planning Commission,
64. Vancouver Sun, March 19, 1997, p. Bl.
We inadvertently omitted the Bibliography. This may be
obtained by writing or phoning the Editor.
B.C. Historical News • Summer 1998 The Tie Hackers
by Kelsey McLeod
The Tie Hack - With a railroad needing 3000 ties per mile during
construction and a steady supply of replacements, ties were a major
component of a raUway and the Tie Hacks role an important one.
Here is a Bull river Tie Hack in typical dress with bis full line of
equipment, a one man crosscut saw, a scoring axe and a broad axe.
Stamina and a natural dexterity were a must on this job.
Throughout British Columbia, wherever a railway ran, ties were needed. From
the Kootenays to the Coast, from Southern B.C. to the Skeena River where the
Grand Trunk Pacific eventually cut
through to Prince Rupert, the need for
ties never ended. (It was estimated that
2800 ties per mile were used.) And there
were always men willing to take on the
task of providing those ties. - Gruelling
winter labour it was, yet was welcomed
by those involved, for it meant needed
The tie camps! Three simple words that
cannot begin to tell the behind-the-
scenes story. When you look at a railway
track, or ride a train, litde or no attention is given to the ties on which the steel
rails lie. Yet without those ties the railway could not function.
What a wonderful vision brought-to-
life the railways were! Because of them,
vast areas of our province were opened
up, resources discovered. Immigrants quickly followed to
seek out, build, make new and
better Uves, and one ofthe ways
they made money in their new
land was hacking railway ties.
Our mountainous terrain
made transportation difficult
and dangerous till the railways
came. And even after the Canadian Pacific and Canadian
National Railways opened up
the eastern and southern parts
ofthe province, long after the
Cariboo Road cut through to
Barkerville, northward nothing
changed for many years. The
Telegraph Trail did lead north
and west from Quesnel, reaching Hazelton, but after its construction was stopped in 1866,
the route became more and
more hazardous. The entire
area, with its resources of timber and minerals, remained
largely unknown, and certainly untapped.1
The coming of the Grand Trunk Pacific, which was finally completed after
many delays, on April 7, 1914, changed
all that overnight. And when the Line
became the Canadian National on January 30, 1923, nothing changed as far as
the need for ties was concerned.
In the north, the pattern followed that
already established in the Kootenays and
elsewhere, and in all areas the fact that
tie cutting was done in the winter, when
most construction and other work opportunities slowed down or stopped altogether, made it all the more important
economically. Winters were-and are-
long, between the Rockies and the Pacific Ocean.
The term "tie camp" can be misleading, for it did not necessarily mean hundreds or even dozens of men gathered in
a permanent location,  housed
bunkhouses. "Most ofthe tie camps were
just clearings in the woods with anywhere
from two to a dozen men keeping each
other company, each cutting his own ties.
A canvas tent and an air-tight heater, a
common wash basin and nails on the
trees to hang things on, a cache on a platform, and all the mosquito netting the
men could afford ... "2 However, judging from stories in Ties To Water, it appears that camps in the Kootenays tended
to be somewhat larger than those in the
Locally it was called tie hacking, and
it was a difficult and dangerous occupation, aside from the primitive living conditions and the isolation. "Two serious
accidents occurred in the CPR tie camps
up river last week. One man cut his foot
badly with an axe, but remained in camp.
Another was in the way of a falling tree.
.. and a pointed piece penetrated his side
. . . He was carried on a stretcher ... a
distance of eight miles."4 "It was a rough
life. 4 men died in one accident, 2 in
another. Eventually lost lives became
common enough to receive casual mention in the back pages of the Herald . .
."5 "At present four men are prostrate
from accidents caused by axe and
broadaxe . . ."6 "Accidents happened
sometimes and I remember hearing an
injured man calling for help in the
Early on, the camps drew men eager
or desperate for a job. In todays coddled
world, it is easy to forget that in years
past, each individual was in a sink-or
swim situation, dependent entirely on his
or her own resources. For example, Carl
Strom of Prince George has stated that
his father came to Prince George with
the express purpose of getting employment in the tie camps. There were many
like him.
The first step in becoming a tie hack
was the obtaining of a contract from the
railway for a certain number of ties. -
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Ties that were to be hewed from comparatively small surveyed blocks of timber land. Once he had the contract, it
was up to him.
"Each of us had a 500 tie contract from
George Ogston of Vanderhoof. . . We
spent a happy carefree winter in the tie
camp... we had a Spanish guitar, a mandolin banjo, and a banjo-uke ..." "I decided to return to Ft. St. James ... I
collected my broadaxe, scoring axe,
Swede saw, and bedroll... left for Chilco
. . . had no problem obtaining a 500 tie
contract..." "We then, each of us managed to get a contract to hew 250 ties ..
."8 If he didn't have money at all, he could
come north, ignore the rule calling for a
license, cut ties, make money and get out
The trees used for ties were Douglas
fir, jack pine, lodgepole pine, larch. The
work had to be done in the winter and
early spring months before the sap began to flow.
Tools employed were: short, one-man
crosscut saw, a large double-bitted axe, a
broad axe which had a twelve-inch blade,
and weighed eight pounds or more, a
picaroon. The crosscut saw was short in
order to prevent whipping on the unsupported end when used by a lone faller.
(Sometimes a bow, or Swede saw was
used instead.) The double-bitted axe was
kept sharp as a razor, on both sides, but
was filed thinner on one side. (The thick
side cut off hard knots, the thinner was
used on the softer wood in the trunk.) A
draw knife or spud was also used.
The tree was felled, the limbs taken off
to where the trunk would be too small
to make a tie. This top with its halo of
limbs, would help steady the tree while
the hacker stood on it to do his hewing
of both sides ofthe log with quick, even
strokes ofthe broad axe. The remaining
rounded sides were sometimes peeled
with a spud or draw knife. Bark left on
would break off in transit.
The ties had to be hewed to railway
specifications. — A certain thickness and
a certain width of faces. - This was accomplished by using the scoring axe, and
the depth in which it was driven. "To
watch an expert at this job was like
watching a dancer, as he moved with
graceful motion along
the tree with his axe
rhythmically swinging . . ."10 Once the
tree was scored the
broad axe came into
use to flatten the sides
ofthe timber. Here a
hacking motion was
used, hence the term
"tie hack." Much
pride was taken in
producing a smooth,
flat surface, and some
men's product looked
as if it had been finished with a plane.
Finally, the saw was employed to cut the
tie into eight-foot lengths.
The last touch to each tie was its marking with the hacker's individual mark.
This was done by a heavy hammer that
had a man's own mark in raised letters.
Thus did the tie loader keep tally of each
worker's output. Sometimes a coloured
crayon was used, but this obviously was
not as effective or long-lasting.
For this labour, prices varied as to the
quality of the tie, and to the year it was
produced. In 1912 a tie paid the man 28
cents in the north. ". . . they would be
paid from 12 cents to 25 cents a tie depending on the times and circumstances."11 As the years passed prices
naturally increased, and by 1953 a
number one tie in the north brought in
$1.70, a number two tie, $1.50, and a
number three 90$.
Once the tie was hacked, if the tie camp
was remote from the railway — and most
were — there was the problem of getting
it to that railway. With luck it could be
simple (though never easy). The ties were
delivered by horse and sleigh over icy
trails to the tracks, there to be stacked.
Sometimes boxcars were left on a siding
for this purpose. Helen Hagberg, who
grew up in Finmore, out of Vanderhoof
(the community no longer exists) remembers the stacks of ties all along the
railway right-of-way. Her uncles and her
husband all hacked ties, and she states
how welcome the income those ties
brought in was.
In the Kootenays the Bull River was
used to transport ties. "In the winter of
Tie piles up tbe Tanglefoot.
1919 Carl and two companions cut ties
and piled them on the banks ofthe Bull
River. Come spring, the ... waters would
whisk thousands of . . . ties down-
stream.   z
But the most ingenious, and dramatic
stories of transporting ties come from the
north, and centre around Isle Pierre. Isle
Pierre is 20 miles west of Prince George,
on the south bank ofthe Nechako River.
Today it is the location of a stud mill
owned by CANFOR, and as such mundane enough. But what a history centres
around this island, when transport of ties
is brought up. For here the turbulent
Nechako separated the tie hackers from
the railway, and so not only difficult terrain, but the river, separated the men
from their market. The solution was an
ice bridge, a seemingly impossible structure. The ingenuity of those pioneers who
dreamed this up deserves special commendation.
As if navigating the trails from those
north-bank tie camps to the river was not
hair-raising enough! "It was a treacherous trail, not wide enough at any one
point for two tie sleighs to pass. On the
upward trip each driver paused as he
rounded a bend and gave a lusty shout."
If there was an answer from the trail
above, the empty sleigh pulled into one
of the spaces cut into the bank till the
loaded sleigh passed.13
A ferry crossed the river at Isle Pierre,
but as soon as slush and ice began to
come down the river the ferry had to be
discontinued. A heavy rowboat attached
to a heavy cable was all that crossed the
river till the ice bridge could be con-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 structed.
The current on the Nechako's north
shore, as well as in the river's centre was
swift enough to prevent freezing in even
the worst winter, and this was what led
to the creation ofthe ice bridges.
"... two fin booms were thrown out.
. . from the north bank . . . beyond the
centre ofthe stream. A cable attached to
the outer end ofthe boom was brought
back and anchored... to the shore. This
boom shot the ... water toward the opposite bank and created a pocket to still
water on its lower side." The still water
quickly froze. "Logs were ... cut on the
south bank... and rolled to its edge...
One end of a cable was attached to the
log lying farthest downstream and the
other end fastened to a log sunk into the
ground back from the water's edge.
"Two men in a small boat... dragged
the other end ofthe log into the.. river
and the . . . current carried the log . . .
and boat . . . across to the end of the
boom where it was fastened with a cable. Four . . . logs were carried across in
this manner and fastened to the boom..
. .Small poles were thrown across these
timbers and brush placed on top. The
water, slush and... ice pouring... over
this . . . froze into a solid mass which
extended all the way from the north bank
to the south bank .. ,"14
Predictably, there were many accidents
when ties were being delivered in such
conditions. Alvin Hagberg lost his team
of horses, sleigh and load going down the
frozen river near Finmore. The ice ap-
"Tiesto Water" with pickeroons and pike poUs.
peared strong, but water had backed up
and weakened the ice; he was fortunate
to save himself. But there were accidents
even when the ferry across the river was
operating. "Fred Ellas came down the
coulee with a big load of ties. He had
not been using the customary brakes on
the back of his sleighs, but simply rough
locks on the runners. As he neared the
last steep pitch down to the ferry, he felt
it would be a waste of time to stop to
adjust the rough locks. .. As the horses
rushed down the last pitch to the ferry
the ring at the end of one of the hames
snapped, letting the pole drop." There
were five tons of ties to be stopped. "They
raced across the strip of gravel, onto the
ferry and plunged to their death... The
driver jumped, and caught the rail."15
The overall picture becomes clearer as
one reads accounts ofthe far-gone days
of tie hacking. Men working in isolation
and in primitive conditions, yet taking
pride in turning out ties that were first
A good tie hack in a good stand of timber could make forty or fifty ties a day.
Excellent pay for days long ago. One
young Norwegian man became a legend
in the Kootenays for his superior ability
at hacking. He stood over six feet, and
weighed two-hundred pounds, which no
doubt helped his record. While most men
made thirty or forty ties a day, Gunnar
Almie hacked from ninety to a hundred,
and what was more, he made it appear
easy, whisding and singing as he worked.
Once, when inspectors from Calgary
were present, he waded into a stand of
trees, and cut and
hewed thirty-three
ties in one hour. A feat
likely never equalled
by any other hacker.
The days of the tie
hacker are long gone,
though ties were still
being cut by hand, at
least in the north, in
1953. In three districts in the Prince
George area in that
year 83,000 ties were
made by hand,
though, as might be
expected, many ties were by then sawn
in the mills around Prince George,
Vanderhoof and Fort Fraser. And, by this
time, the ties were counted not as ties,
but as board feet.
Still, though the romance of the early
days of tie cutting has ended, with the
Bull River no longer clogged with ties at
spring breakup, with the ice bridge at Isle
Pierre but a memory to those pioneers
who are left, the record of this vital part
of our history relating to the railways remains.
Tie hacking - tie cutting, whatever you
want to call it, played an important part
in the opening up of our province. Those
hardy men who stacked their hard-cut
ties beside steel lines along the banks of
the Skeena and Nechako, lines that led
to Prince Rupert and to Jasper, and those
who worked farther south, for the C.P.R
and the C.N.R. whose rails wound
through mountains, and over coundess
tresdes, through tunnels, finally leaving
the Dry Belt behind, finally reaching the
Pacific with its ports and markets, are
mosdy gone, but their exploits remain a
link in the chain of our railway history.
The author did considerable research while in
Prince George and northern B.C. She is now
retired and lives in Vancouver.
1. Map of Early Travel Routes into the Vanderhoof Area.
2. Cutting up the North, p. 22.
3. Ties to Water, picture, p. 77.
4. Ibid., p. 74.
5. Cutting up the North.
6. Ties to Water, p. 83.
7. Ibid, p. 83
8. Goldseekers.
9. Cutting up the North.
10. Ties to Water, p. 73.
11. Cutting up the North.
12. TiestoWater,p.75.
13. Tie Hacking in British Columbia.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid.
Goldseekers, Ralph HaU, Sono Nis Press.
Cutting up the North, Ken Bernsohn, Hancock House.
A History of Prince George, RunnaUs.
Yellowhead Pass and its People, Valemount Historical
Ties to Witer: The History of Bull River in the East
Kootenay, Verdun Casselman.
Article: Tie Hacking in British Columbia, by Nellie R.
CampbeU, in FamUy Herald and Weekly Star, May, 1953.
Helen Hagbergs personal memories.
Photos courtesy of the Casselman - Bjorn famUy.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 Conference    98 in Surrey
The pre-conference genealogy workshops
co-ordinated by Melva Dwyer were much
appreciated by almost 60 attendees from
across the province.
A most pleasant welcome was created by
the host society on the Thursday evening witti
a wine and cheese reception. A greeting
from a Surrey City Councillor was followed by
a delightful display by 15 teenaged girls
trained in Irish dancing by the Steel School
of dance.They alternated between soft shoe
and clog numbers.
A slide show, "the Changing Face of Surrey"
prepared by the Surrey Museum, gave
viewers a condensed history of the 20,000
acres now defined as Surrey. Farming,
logging, the expansion of trails into roads,
railway building, early landmark stores,
waterfront recreation areas, fisheries and
canneries, ethnic settlers, community centres,
schools, the combination railway/highway
bridge, ferries and more were depicted on
the screen.
The rest of Friday morning was given to "A
History of the Fraser River" as told by
Jacqueline Gresko of Douglas College. After
lunch the speakers were Victor Sharman, a
devotee of Inter-urban Railways local and
across the continent, plus Jim Foulkes who
gave an excellent presentation "Telegraph
Trail" which depicted the entry of telegraph
lines into southwestern B.C.from points in the
U.S.A.. A fun evening reception, including a
singalong, capped the day.
Saturday morning the Annual General
Meeting was ably conducted to cover a
large agenda buffo conclude with sufficient
time for those who signed up for tours to
A Sternwheeler took 60 delegates from New
Westminster Quay to Barnston Island. Out-of-
towners enjoyed the skyfrain ride to the Quay
from the hotel and return. Others opted for a
4 hour bus tour with stops at Historic Stewart
Farm, the Surrey Museum and the clubhouse
of Surrey Golf Course. The tour guide
introduced passengers to the various
subdivisions of Surrey, waterways, churches,
schools, old highways and new ones, and the
independent community of White Rock. The
weather was perfect for these afternoon
The Awards Banquet featured good food,
good fellowship and interesting speakers.
Pixie McGeachie spoke of the challenges
faced by the judges then presented a
cheque, certificate and the Lieutenant-
Governor's medal to young Dr. Richard
Mackie for his book Trading Beyond the
Mountains. Runners up were Norma V.
Bennett of Terrace for Pioneer Legacy:
Chronicles of trie Lower Skeena River, and
Richard Booking for Mighty River: A Portrait
of the Fraser. Mrs. Bennett, 87, was represented
at the banquet by her son and
granddaughter. The Best Article winner, Erin
Payne of Prince George, was not present to
receive his award for the article "A Chinese
Secret Society in the Cariboo."
A very special event was the inclusion of
three winners of B.C. Heritage Trust
scholarships. Chair of the Trust, Dr. Jean
Barman, and former Trust director Naomi
Miller welcomed Keith Carlson, Douglas Harris
and Rudy Reimer to the banquet and
described their ongoing studies. Each winner
was accompanied by his wife and Carlson
had his 7 month old son captivating nearby
diners. Keith Carlson, from Powell River, is
historian for the Sto:lo Nation and is writing
his PhD thesis on aboriginal oral tradition and
historical evidence. Douglas Harris, with a BA
in Honors History and a Law degree, is
working on the history of law pertinent to
Fisheries regulations and native fisheries. Rudy
Reimer is working on a Masters degree in
archaeology at Simon Fraser University with
a view to seeking prehistoric sites in alpine
regions near his home in Squamish. (Previous
searches have been limited to valley
bottoms.) Two other scholarships, also for
$5000 each, were awarded to Claudette
Gouger at the University of Northern British
Columbia to study aboriginal cattle ranching
in the Kamloops area 1870 to 1930, and to
Dorothy Kennedy who is presently at Oxford
university in England.
The after dinner speaker Chuck Davis
delivered a lighthearted description of his
research and filing methods.
Annual General Meeting
The AGM ran smoothly chaired by President
Ron Welwood.Treasurer Doris May gave her
final report before turning over the books to
Ronald Greene.Of special note were several
donations ($600 in total) given in memory of
Don Sale.
Reports from member societies were given
crisply. Many groups are responsible for a
museum, some concentrate on caring for
archives, some members have assisted
genealogical groups to catalogue old
cemeteries. Specific activities will be
reported In the Fall issue of the B.C. Historical
Tony Farr, Chairman of the News Publications
committee reported on the change of
subscription rates as required by Canadian
Heritage. Beginning January 1, 1999
members of member societies pay $12 per
year, individual subscribers $15, and
Institutions $20.
Pixie McGeachie spoke briefly on the Writing
Competition, noting that Shirley Cufhbertson
will replace her as chair. E.L.Affleck resigned
as a judge and was thanked profusely. The
top essays submitted for the 1997 Scholarship
have all appeared in the News. Entries for
1998 are due on May 30,1998.
John Spittle noted that the Society for the
History of Discoveries, founded In 1960, will
hold its annual meeting in Vancouver in
November. The Vancouver Maritime Museum
and the Map Society of B.C. will host the
gathering for members and non- members
interested in the discovery, exploration and
mapping of the earth's land and sea from
earliest times to the present day - EXPLORERS
Membership Secretary Nancy Peter reported
that the BCHF currently represents 1865
members of member societies and 604 in
affiliated groups. Organizations recently
added to our roster include Anderson Lake
Historical Society, Nicola Valley Museums and
Archives Association, and Texada Island
Historical Society.
Melva Dwyer thanked Canada's National
History Society for funding a pre-conference
workshop in 1996, '97, and '98. The free
genealogy workshop on April 30, 1998 was
well attended. Any future workshop will have
a fee attached. Melva also reported on the
provincial Heritage Council, with a
representative from each of the provincial
societies for Archaeologists, Heritage,
Museums Association, Underwater
Archaeologists, Archivists and the B.C.
Historical Federation hope to meet soon with
the recently reconstituted B.C. Heritage Trust
Alice Glanville was created an Honorary Ufe
Member of the BCHF. Leonard McCann
accepted a further year as Honorary
President. Appreciation Awards were given
at the banquet to Pixie McGeachie, E.L.
Affleck and Wayne Desrochers. Past President
Alice Glanville conducted the election of
officers. Ron Greene of Victoria is a new face
on the executive.
Delegates were apprized about the change
in management and supply of the book
stores on B.C. Ferries. During the changeover
the display of books by B.C. authors and
publishers has vanished. A motion was made
instructing the secretary to protest
vehemently on the part of the Federation.
Individuals and societies were urged to
protest to the Ferry management and to
individual politicians.
The meeting concluded with a hearty vote
of thanks to the Surrey Historical Society,
especially the team of five who planned and
managed the weekend so well.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 NEWS & NOTES
Mailing Spring Issue
Our apologies to subscribers who missed the
Spring 1998 issue. A number of renewals, with
postmarks ten or twelve days prior to reception
date, came in after our mid-March mailing.
Bowen Island Heritage Days
The February 20,1998 HERITAGE SUPPLEMENT of the newspaper Undercurrent listed
Things to do at Heritage Days, Saturday, Feb.
21 and Sunday, Feb. 22.
1. Get a free souvenir Boarding Pass.
2. Leam how to tie a seaman's knot.
3. Tap out a message in Morse Code.
4. Shake hands with Captain Jack Cates
5. Join in a rousing sea shanty chorus in the
Ladies Salon of the Britannia.
6. Listen to Union Steamship tales from Purser
Art Twigg.
7. Take a cruise to the past in a recreated Sannie
8. Leam about the Maritime Museum from Len
9. Watch an authentic boat maker at work.
10. Talk to Mike, the scuba diver.
11. Visit the Coast Guard cutter at the
Dallas dock.
12. Sink your teeth into a luscious Island made
dessert in the Lady Alex dining room.
And lots more.
Our compliments to members of Bowen
Island Historians for arranging a great
Nursing Home Gift
A director of Activities at an Intermediate
Extended care unit takes the B.C. Historical
News to read and discuss with the residents at
Story Time. Do vou know other care homes
where our magazine would be appreciated as
a gift?
Our Parliament Buildings
Celebrate 100 Years
The legislature was recalled on February 10
for one day only, to celebrate the centennial of
the parliament buildings in Victoria. Ceremonies began at 10 am with the arrival of
Lieutenant-Governor Garde Gardom. There
was a salute by cannons, carillon recital, the
5th B.C. Artillery brass band playing in the
driveway and a long lineup of visitors awaiting
tours after 1 pm. The Arion Male Choir sang in
the upper rotunda, as had their predecessors
at the 1898 official opening of the Rattenbury
designed building. Scores of former MLAs and
other dignitaries made a point of attending this
anniversary. John Rattenbury, son of architect
Francis Rattenbury, remarked, This is truly a
place for people [of this province]"
Thunderwater Map
Graphics designer Jan Perrier combined with
Keith Carlson, a historian working with the
Sto:lo Nation in Chilliwack to create a lovely
27" by 38" map in color which plots fur trade
posts alongside Aboriginal language groupings. It covers the Pacific Northwest from
Oregon to the Yukon border. This map is
recommended for classrooms and areas
where heritage displays will benefit from the
information presented. These maps may be
obtained for $17.50 (inc. GST) plus $5 postage
from: Thunderwater Group, Box 1097, Fort
Langley, B.C. V1M 2S4 Fax/Phone (604) 513-
Birth Announcement
Vice-President Wayne Desrochers and his wife
Stephanie proudly announce the arrival of their
first child on April 17,1998. She is Emilie Joan,
7 lbs. 1 oz. Daddy Wayne is very proud of this
newest member of the Historical Federation.
We send congratulations and best wishes to
this new family.
Hedle/s 100 Year Celebration
July 31 and August 1,1998 will be very busy
as citizens and friends have a big party to
celebrate the anniversary of earty activity on
Nickel Plate Mountain. A parade in the morning
is a prelude to demonstrations of mining and
gold panning, vintage cars, music, dancing,
helicopter rides to view the Mascot Mine, and
kiddie contests. Both mornings start at 7:30 am
with a pancake breakfast. The Upper
Similkameen Indian Band has promised to
make a presentation. Pre-registration is urged.
Contact the Hedley Centennial Committee,
Box 190, Hedley, B.C. VOX 1K0 Phone (250)
292-8422 or Fax (250) 292-8101.
Hedley citizens have been buying the 1997
publication BLUEBELL MEMORIES by Terry
Turner. Why? because the sister of S.S. Fowler,
manager of the Bluebell Mine in Riondel, was
married to Wm. Hedley, founder of their
Dave Falconer 1944 -1998
The tallest schoolteacher in the Cariboo died
suddenly on March 19. Dave Falconer was a
very heritage minded person who led his
students and adult neighbours in the
restoration of the Quesnel Forks / Likely
cemetery. He led many summer tours over
historic prospectors' trails, and put out a
newsletter for history buffs keen on Cariboo
QualkunYs General Money
Brigadier General Noel Ernest Money visited
Vancouver Island in 1913 for a 10 day fishing
trip to Shawnigan Lake and land scouting
which resulted in the purchase of six lots in
Qualicum. He returned to Canada, from
England, with his wife Maud when they bought
and managed the Qualicum Hotel. When WWI
broke out, this veteran of the Boer War
returned to army service, while his hotel
became a convalescent hospital for officers.
Money returned to Qualicum in 1919, regaining control of the hotel in 1923. From then until
1940 Money's hotel entertained every
Governor General of Canada, the King of
Siam, and Hollywood celebrities such as Bob
Hope, Bing Crosby, Errol Flynn and Spencer
Last winter a Victoria collector advertised
Money's military medals for sale. The community of Qualicum Beach quickly raised funds to
buy them ($7,500) and when these were
unveiled at the local museum, a grandson,
Gordon Money was present. Gordon has
loaned his personal souvenirs from his
grandfather to the Qualicum Museum for
display during the summer of 1998.
Golden Buildings Replicated
Twenty of Golden's earliest buildings have
been recreated at the scale of 1/4 inch per
foot. The first police station was built from 1903
blueprints. Buildings still in use are photographed, research done in the Golden
Museum about their history, and construction
done with scrap wood, glue, nails and paint.
Stuart Soles of Parson was always keen on
woodwork, making lamps from burls, and
birdhouses and coffee tables. Now that Stuart
is retired he prefers to challenge himself with
projects that take about six weeks each.
Trail-Tadanac High School 1941
This class held traditional reunions in Trail then
met in 1995 in Vancouver. The organizei, David
Balfour, prepared a review of what classmates
had done since 1941. There were 98 in the
class, 53 M and 45 F. Of these 26 M and 1 F
enlisted; 6 were killed (all pilots), 1 became a
POW, and 1 evaded capture and got home via
the French and Dutch underground. Almost all
took post high school education, 13 RNs, 2
MDs, 2 professors, 0 went to jail but 1 as a
B.C. Supreme Court justice, sent a few.
The profit from the last reunion was directed
to buy a metre of the Trans-Canada Trail for
each of the classmates killed in WWII.
Crowsnest Railway Route Centennial
The centennial of the building of the railway
from Fort McLeod to Kootenay Lake will be
celebrated in many communities along the line.
Cranbrook has designated August 21 to 23
"Centennial Weekend."
There will be a receptions, displays, antique
vehicles, activities for all age groups, contests,
street actors, a pancake breakfast and church
service on the Sunday and more.
For detailed information contact the CRRC
office at 250-426-5138
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the Book Review Editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Bridges of Light: Otto Landauer of Leonard
Frank Photos, 1945-1980. Q/ril E. Leonoff.
Vancouver, Talonbooks, 1997. 208 p., illus.
Otto Landauer, of a similar Jewish German background to Leonard Frank, was the perfect successor to Leonard Frank. Bridges of Light is the
companion volume to Leonoff's award-winning
biography Frank, An Enterprising Life
(Talonbooks, 1990). Leonoff and Talonbooks have
produced another evocative album supported by
an affectionate biography of \foncouver's most important postwar industrial photographer. Unlike the
Frank collection which is split between the Vancouver Public Library and the Jewish Historical Society, the entire Landauer photograph collection is
housed at the JHS, \foncouver.
Landauer, from Munich in southern Germany
(Frank was from a small town in northern Germany), spent more than half his life in Germany,
Liechtenstein and Switzerland, where he worked
and played hard as the son of a successful businessman. Following their father's death in 1928,
the brothers Otto and Albert carried on the carpet
business Simon Landauer had established in 1887.
A decade after his death, Germany's Nazi government legislated Jewish-owned firms such as Gebr/
der Landauer out of business.
With the help of relatives abroad and through
necessary subterfuge, the immediate members of
Otto Landauer's family escaped the Nazi slaughter
of non-Aryans. Otto fled on skis to Liechtenstein in
1937 and eventually moved to Switzerland, where
he was reunited with his sister and brother-in-law.
It was during the early years of the war, after befriending a Swiss Catholic Father, that Otto converted to Catholicism.
Because his German passport did not specifically identify him as a Jew, Otto was able to move
from a sales job in Liechtenstein to Switzerland in
April 1939, where he enrolled as an agricultural
student Through a friendship his brother-in-law had
with a Canadian Ricific Railway agent in Lausanne,
Otto's sister and husband emigrated to \fencou-
ver, also in April 1939. Another friendship developed in \foncouver between Otto's brother-in-law
and Bernard Frank, Leonard's brother. It was that
relationship which ultimately brought Otto to \kxi-
Landauer's luck at navigating wartime bureaucracies and transiting occupied countries was nothing if not extraordinary. Travelling through France
and Spain, he and other refugees sailed from Bilbao to Cuba. With his younger brother already established in Portland, Oregon, Albert with the
financial help of his mother's cousin obtained a
United States Immigration visa for Otto. He reached
Portland in mid-summer 1941. Following the entry
of the U.S. into the war, Otto engaged in war work.
Otto, already a gifted amateur photographer and
knowing of the void created by Leonard Frank's
death in 1944, enrolled in 1946 in Fbrtiand's Northwest School of Photography with GI Bill of Rights
aid. While still enrolled in the school and with a
loan from his brother-in-law, Otto purchased
Leonard Frank Photos on October 1, 1946. Following graduation from the school he moved to
Vancouver as a landed immigrant in 1947 and became a Canadian Citizen in 1954. Otto also married in 1954 an English immigrant and school
teacher, Barbara Graham.
Four years earlier Otto's budding reputation as
a skilled industrial photographer nearly ended with
a compound leg fracture on a skiing trip at Garibaldi
Provincial Park. With his family's help and that of
his darkroom assistant, Jack Bowman, Otto kept
Leonard Frank Photos afloat while he recovered
his mobility over several months. Though there
were a few who did not appreciate Otto's perfectionism, assistants such as Bowman, Kelly Duncan
and John Tincombe who doubled at times as photographers in addition to their darkroom activities
under Landauer's guidance, contributed in their
own way to the success of Leonard Frank Photos.
Landauer earned an unrivalled reputation over
his 33 years at Leonard Frank Photos for attention
to detail and dedication to his craft as a photographer's photographer. Like Frank before him, he
believed in the staying power and beauty of large-
format black and white photographs. Although his
remained a vigorous outdoor enthusiast, Landauer
did not roam as far afield as his predecessor.
Landauer's customers were nearly all within in the
Lower Mainland region. As Leonoff makes clear in
his biography, large-scale construction projects
throughout the region from the 1950s to the mid-
1970s provided Landauer with a steady flow of
comfortable revenue; Landauer would photograph
practically every significant public building, downtown office tower, and metropolitan bridge built
during this period (1946-1971), as well as many
commercial and industrial complexes. His client
base would become a who's who of Xfoncouver's
architecture, engineering, and construction companies of the day. (p. 33).
Bearing the look and feel of Leonoff's tribute to
Leonard Frank, Bridges of Light is distinctive in
its own way. The typeface is different, the ink is
lighter, the paper glossier and the duotone photographs printed in a subdued, often flat light gray
tone. With more than 300 photographs, an index
to image content, a feature also lacking in the Frank
book, would have made the Landauer work even
more useful. Both works also lack a bibloigraphy,
but there are fewer footnotes to Landauer's life.
Many of Landauer's photographs are as distinctive as Frank's and the growth of the Lower Mainland is well represented in both books. Perhaps it is
the photograph's age and wide-ranging coverage,
but I found Frank's images more appealing than
the often static and humanless industrial and architectural photographs by his successor. Leonoff comments on this spare aesthetic, partly reflective of
the actual content; the client wanted a visual record,
not an artistic impression. Landauer's visual legacy,
however, will only grow in value as time increases
its worth to anyone studying the past Leonoff and
Talonbooks are to be congratulated for their part in
preserving and publishing this bridge to our past
David Mattison,
David Mattison, a reference archivist with the
B.C. Archives, is a photographic and film
historian, the author of two books and many
Park Prisoners. The Untold Story of
Western Canada's National Parks, 1915-1946.
Waiser, Bill. Saskatoon & Calgary, Fifth House
Publishers, 1995. 294 pp. Maps, Illus. $27.95.
The title and sub-title of Park Prisoners are somewhat misleading. The author, in his chapter "Transients", states that the subjects of that chapter "were
not in the strict sense prisoners"; and not all the
activities described in the book took place within
the boundaries of the national parks.
The prisoners of the title were the men "sent to
Canada's mountain and prairie national parks between 1915 and 1946 as part of a general government effort to remove them from Canadian society.
They were Canada's unwanted - unskilled foreign
workers, the jobless and the homeless, pacifists,
possible subversives and enemies of the state, and
prisoners of war." The stories of their activities are
not, as Waiser points out, well known - the subject
matter is one of which people generally do not wish
to be reminded.
Managing the various groups of men, often most
unwilling participants, demanded administrative
talents and abilities that were usually lacking. Much
of the book is taken up with litanies of the problems which plagued the projects undertaken. Yet
there was solid work achieved. The national park
system profited from the projects. "While regular
Parks funding was being reduced in response to
war and depression," Waiser writes, "the national
parks experienced one of the most intensive development periods in their history."
There are many good features to this book. The
maps are kept simple: they show what needs to be
shown and are easily read and understood. The
photographs - over one hundred and twenty - are
an essential part In them are shown details which
flesh out the text in significant respects - general
and detailed views of the camps, buildings, both
outside and inside, men walking through the snow
to their daily jobs. Above all the photographs depict the men themselves, emphasising that people
were at the focus of the projects. The extensive notes
more than compensate for the lack of a bibliography; readers will find in the notes details which will
enable them to pursue any particular aspect of the
Overall Park Prisoners is a very adequate treatment of an intriguing subject Anyone who has visited the prairie and mountain national parks will
find much of interest, and not a few surprises.
George Newell,
Deep Currents: Roderick and Ann Haig-
Brown. Haig-Brown, \felerie. Victoria, Orca
Book Publishers, 1997. Foreword by Steve
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
Raymond. 216 pp., 80 photographs. $32.95.
Valerie Haig-Brown, the eldest daughter of
Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown, states in her introduction that Deep Currents "is obviously and of
necessity a very personal biography; it is my story
of my parents and our family life." This describes
the book well. In large part the author draws on
the diaries and "great many letters that we have
kept in the family." "Great many letters" is not exaggeration. Both Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown
had a deep and life-long affection for writing and
reading - it is appropriate that they should have
met in the Seattle book store where she was employed - and the reader feels throughout Deep
Currents the great enjoyment each received from
writing the letters and the wonderful rewards for
the recipient reading them. Few biographers have
had such rich sources to draw on; clearly the author was faced with an "embarrassment of riches".
The result, to her credit, is a rewarding read.
Deep Currents, while essentially about the private lives of the two principals, of necessity has
much that will interest those aware of the more
public aspects of Roderick Haig-Brown's Ufe. There
are, for example, some comments on his (usually
private) feelings about the reception given to his
writings. The author notes that "He ... felt some
annoyance at not being noticed by the wider literary community, in spite of his often-praised ability," a sentiment echoed by the critic George
Woodock in his essay "Remembering Roderick
Haig-Brown" which was published in Raincoast
Chronicles, no. 7, in 1977. The suggestion in Deep
Currents that "neither the essay form that came
naturally to him nor the subject of fishing were particularly valued" in the literary community certainly
has its merit
Then there was the relationship which Roderick
Haig-Brown developed with respect to the country
which he adopted. It may well have been the personal pressures brought on by the Second Wsrid
War which helped clarify for him his own feelings.
In 1945, the author writes, "Roddy told Ann that,
more than ever, being in England made him realize how much he was now a Canadian. The house,
the garden, the river and fields in Campbell River
meant everything to him in terms of place." He has
a wonderful section in Fisherman's Summer telling of how he fished for grayling in the Arctic's
Coppermine River. As much as about fishing, the
account is about the country he was visiting and
about the young Inuit boy who went with him and
the history of the place. Haig-Brown writes that it
was by "good fortune" that he was obliged to stay
for a few days at the mouth of the Coppermine -
"good fortune" for Haig-Brown being something
that for most would be a most unwelcome imposition. It is interesting to consider the Haig-Brown
response to his new homeland and those of other
transplanted (and published) Englishmen such as
R.M. Fcitterson (Dangerous River, Far Pastures)
and TA. (Tommy) Walker (Spatsizi).
The reader of Deep Currents, however, is not
permitted to dwell exclusively on the life of the husband and father. This is very much a dual biography. "Ann was every bit his intellectual equal,"
Steve Raymond writes in his Foreword. "In addi
tion to her traditional role as homemaker and
mother, she was an activist and leader in community and church affairs, a teacher and a librarian."
The record of her contribution over, not years but
decades, a lifetime, deserves preservation. The communities of this province have been built in large
part by the unsung Ann Haig-Browns.
The "balancing" of the two lives, one more public
and acclaimed, the other more private, may represent this biography's most valuable aspect The
story which emerges is good social history.
George Newell,
Enlightenment and Exploration in the North
Pacific 1741-1805. Edited by Stephen Hayccx,
James Barnett and Caedmon Liburd. Seattle and
London, University of Wfoshington Press. Published
for the Cook Inlet Historical Society in the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, 1997.232 p., illus.,
maps. $19.95 U.S.
It is a well known fact that the exploration of the
Northwest Coast coincides with the Age of Enlightenment, but this is better known in the generality
than in the particular. Spanish scholars have stressed
this theme greatly, and less so British and French
savants. Yet is fair to say that the overall theme lacks
a full appreciation, and this book of essays is a fine
attempt to bring European and Coastal themes into
conjunction. Because the work consists of so many
different contributions the examples, or case studies, are various and not always on the mark. Still,
the chapters do have a common basis, and they
are a great credit to the organizers of a conference
held to commemorate the exploration of the Northwest Coast by Captain George Vancouver, RN.,
Individual contributions are as follows: Iris
Engstrand, "Spain's Role in Pacific Exploration
during the Age of Enlightenment," Glyndwr
Williams, "George Vancouver, the Admiralty, and
Exploration," Robin Inglis, "Laperouse 1786: a
French Naval Visit to Alaska," and Phyllis Herda,
"Ethnology in the Enlightenment the \foyage of
Malaspina." These are clustered under the heading "Motives and Objectives." They nicely set the
themes for specific analyses under the title "Science and Technology": John Naish "Health of
Mariners: Vancouver's Achievement," John
Kendrick, "Evolution of Shipbuilding," Alun Davies,
"Testing a New Technology: N&ncouver's Survey
and Navigation in Alaskan Waters," Andrew David,
"From Cook to \foncouven British Contribution to
the Cartography of Alaska," and Carol Umess,
"Russian Mapping of the North P&cific to 1792."
The third and last section is "Outcomes and Consequences," and included here are: J.C.H. King,
"N&ncouven a Cautious Collector," Kesler Woodward, "Images of Native Alaskans in the Work of
Explorer Artists," Anthony Ffeyne, "Publication and
Readership of Voyage Journals in the Age of Vancouver," Stephen Langdon, "Efforts at Humane
Engagement: Indian-Spanish Encounters at
Bucareli Bay, 1779," and Robin Fisher, "George
Vancouver and the Native Ffeoples of the Northwest Coast" These are all brought together under
an excellent introduction by James K. Barnett,
"Alaska and the North Pacific: a Crossroads of
This publication completes a cycle of conferences
begun with the James Cook Bicentenary in 1978,
and it is possible that other such gatherings will address such themes of rich importance to historical
scientific, and cross-cultural studies. Certainly the
whole historiography of the Northwest Coast has
been enriched by these many conferences, and by
this one in particular. It has often been pondered
"why celebrate centennials?" The answer in terms
of historical love is obvious, though the scholarly
rationale is often stretched to the point of view of a
certain convenience, even opportunism. To this
reviewer, judging this particular book, it seems as if
all the great talents had been brought together for
one last time. In the last analysis, the book is a treasure, and it should take its place as a classic acquisition for anyone collecting in the field of 18th century
Northwest Coast history.
Barry Gough,
Wilfrid Laurier University,
Waterloo, Ontario.
The Business of Power: Hydro-Electricity in
Southeastern British Columbia 1897-1997.
Jeremy Mouat Victoria, Sono Nis Press, 1997.199
p., illus. $21.95.
Energy is central to almost all of our everyday
activities whether it be used for work, recreation,
comfort or necessities; and the most common form
of energy in Canada is electricity (our reliance on
electric power was graphically depicted by the chaos
created when the severe winter ice storms in Ontario-Quebec in the winter of 1997-1998 cut off
this power source to over a million Canadians in
January). Although this book examines the history
of electricity in southeastern British Columbia and
describes the first hundred years of the electric utility, West Kootenay Bower & Light (WKPL), Mouat
successfully depicts the growth of this company in
the context of the larger provincial (and national)
Formed in 1897, West Kootenay Rawer is one of
a handful of B.C. companies to have operated for
a century or more. Initially the company was formed
to supply power to the booming mining industry in
the Kootenays at the turn of the century. Fortunately
for WKPL, the nearby Columbia and Kootenay
Rivers provided an inexpensive and effective solution to the mines' constant demands for more
Both the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway's
expansion into southeastern British Columbia and
the history of the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Trail (later Cominco) are woven
into the fabric of West Kootenay Fbwer's growth
and development In fact, the smelting company's
success was largely due to its subsidiary, WKPL,
which enabled Cominco to produce crucial commodities during both world wars (zinc during WWI
and heavy water during WW2).
Jeremy Mouat's first book, Roaring Days:
Rossland's Mines and the History of British Columbia (UBC Press, 1995 - BCHN review, Fall
1995), indicated the author's penchant for exhaus-
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
tive research and detailed analysis. This book is no
different Mouat has the uncanny ability to intertwine regional development within the context of
the provincial and national scene. Although the text
is replete with references to annotated endnotes,
his writing style is far from pedantic. In fact, it is
embellished and complemented with both photographs and quotations from primary sources (often displayed in a framed side-bar or pull quote).
The book also includes a "bibliographical essay",
appendices (WKPL related data) and a four page
Anyone who is interested in either the history of
hydroelectric power in the province, or of a century-old corporation, or of the industrial growth and
development of southeastern British Columbia,
should definitely include this book on their reading
Ron Welwood,
Ron Welwood is Librarian at
Selkirk College, Castlegar.
Trading Beyond the Mountains: The British
Fur Trade on the Pacific, 1793-1843. Richard
Somerset Mackie. \fencouven University of British
Columbia Press, 1997. 420 pp., illus. maps, hard
cover, $75.00 paperback. $29.95
Native and fur trade history have been productive areas of scholarship since the 1970s: A J. Ray,
Jennifer Brown, Sylvia Van Kirk, and others have
examined the fur trade in the interior and northern
regions of Canada, while Barry Gough and James
Gibson have provided insight into British marine
activity and the American and Russian coastal fur
trades, respectively. There has been, unfortunately,
little scholarship into the fur trade and commercial
enterprises of the Columbia District, a region that
had reached its greatest territorial extent by 1843
stretching from Sacramento to Stikine and Taku,
and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific coast
An excellent contribution to the field, Trading Beyond the Mountains serves to extend the
historiography of this subject
In 1832 the Boston merchant, Nathaniel Wtyeth,
lamented the Hudson's Bay Company's (HBC)
control of the coastal trade. He spoke with admiration of "The more economical methods of the British", and suggested - prophetically as it turned out
- that the HBC would be defeated only by diplomatic manoeuvres. This anecdote illustrates the
economic domination of the lower Columbia by
the HBC in a region where American traders had
equal rights of access and trade. Mackie meticulously traces the origins and development of this
superior position, and the emergence of the idea
of a transcontinental commerce that sought to connect the Canadian colonies to the Facific and beyond.
While the earliest commercial visions and ventures originated with Alexander Dalrymple, Alexander Mackenzie, and the North West Company,
it was only after the merger with the HBC in 1821
that a more comprehensive commercial development began in earnest Under George Simpson,
the HBC expanded upon established resources,
trade routes, and labour supplies in pursuing two
goals: first, the extension of the fur trade, and, sec
ond, economic diversification and market development The Company was successful on both
counts. The intentional "scorched-earth" policy of
trapping fur bearing animals to extinction on the
"frontier" area of the Snake country brought the
region under HBC control by 1828. The American retreat allowed the HBC freedom to experiment with new exports: salmon, lumber, wheat,
flour, potatoes, and butter were exported to markets such as Hawaii, California, and the Russian
settlements in Alaska. By 1841 the salmon trade at
Fort Langley, for example, was worth about a third
of the fort's fur trade. Further, Mackie discusses the
transition of native labour from participants in the
fur trade to more formal, explicit working relationships. Over these five decades, Mackie argues that
the economic development of the region was dramatic: in 1793 commerce consisted primarily of a
riverine fur trade; by 1843 the region possessed
the rudimentary elements of a commercial
economy, including established trade routes, export trades, local markets, and a large and cheap
labour supply. Mackie maintains that such developments were a catalyst for the resettlement of the
Trading Beyond the Mountains makes several
contributions to fur trade historiography. For example, Mackie takes issue with James Gibson's
contention that American interests withdrew from
the northwest coast as the sea otter trade declined;
in contrast, Mackie argues that extensive capital
resources, assertive shipping practices, and experienced personnel allowed the HBC to out-compete
Americans. Similarly, Mackie contradicts A J. Ray's
assertion that the HBC diversified its economic activities only after 1870 in the Columbia District, at
least, this date is pushed back to the 1820s. This
well-researched and important work is accompanied by a series of excellent maps and reproductions.
Brian Gobbett,
Brian Gobbett is a graduate student
at the University of Alberta.
A Woman of Influence: Evlyn Fenwick Farris.
Sylvie McClean. Victoria, BC. Sono Nis Press.
1997. 270 p. illus. $22.95.
Sylvie McClean has written a scrupulously detailed and absorbing biography of Evlyn Farris, a
fascinating woman who evolved from being an idealistic young girl in the Maritimes to an occasionally formidable woman of considerable backroom
power in British Columbia. Her influence on the
development of B.C. in the early part of the century has largely been ignored by historians, perhaps because of her own self-effacement, which
was characteristic of many women of her period, a
period when brilliance and assertiveness were considered unwomanly attributes. Bom at a time when
not only men, but also women, believed that the
sexes had been assigned to separate spheres by
natural and divine laws, it is not surprising that Farris
refrained from basking in the political limelight and
preferred to stand in the shade of her husband's
The reconstitution of the life of a circumspect
woman is no easy task. The author was originally
inspired by four of Evlyn Farris's speeches which
were contained in the J. Wallace de Beque Farris
papers in the UBC Archives. As she recounts it
"Those speeches are so well written, rational, full
of enthusiasm, at the same time modem and old
fashioned that, when I read them, I felt compelled
to get to know her" Getting to know Evlyn involved
studying at length her upbringing and education in
the Maritimes, following her life in British Columbia as reported in newspapers, minutes of clubs,
University records, private material lent by relatives,
and many archives. Six years of fact-gathering pose
a danger to a biographer, too many facts can complicate unnecessarily, or add the smell of the lamp
to a creation. Fortunately McClean has managed
to convey the essence of the Farris character and
work rather than just the simple facts of her life.
And she has confined her more academic comments to endnotes which, in fact, are in themselves
very enjoyable.
Evlyn Farris was bom in Nova Scotia in 1878, a
time of intellectual awakening and religious ferment
in the Maritimes. The old Anglican, anti-democratic
class which had formerly held office had long been
banished by Responsible Government, which in
turn was succeeded by Confederation. It was a climate in which education and literature flourished.
Evlyn's father, a liberal Baptist minister, encouraged her to see women as important as men in
God's eyes. Deprived by tuberculosis of his wife
and son when Evlyn was only twelve, he treated
his daughter as an intellectual equal and devoted
himself to her upbringing. As a result, his pretty,
precocious daughter entered Horton Collegial
Academy at the impressionable age of fourteen and
was exposed to the idealistic social evangelism and
"women's pride" prevalent in that institution. Indeed, her graduating speech was entitled "dux
femina facti" which she translated as "woman, the
leader of the deed, or, a woman leads the way". In
it she pointed out, in a tone which presaged her
own future, that "We may fairly expect that with
her enlarged privileges of education and her wise
use ofthe ballot, she (the educated woman) will in
future become the leader of the social life of the
nations". This was pretty heady rhetoric for a sixteen year old. It is not surprising that she continued
on to Acadia University where her father taught,
and where she earned both a BA and MA with
Like many women of her time her options after
graduation were fairly limited. She temporarily
chose teaching as a career, but, in fact, her real
career decision had been made during her last year
as an undergraduate at Acadia, when fate, in the
form of the dashing J. Wallace de Beque Farris,
crossed her path. Although he was not her equal
as a student and was only a junior, he was a fine
debater and the captain of the football team. It was
not insignificant that Evlyn's graduating oration was
entitled "The Welcome of its Heroes, the Truest
Test of an Epoch." She was drawn to \Afellace, an
honoured athlete and budding politician, in spite
of the reservations of her father and her friends.
Though this was clearly a love match, doubtless
she instinctively recognized in him an ambition
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
which equalled her own and in which she could
play a role. Her concept of marriage was similar to
Milton's "He for God only, she for God in him".
After a suitable wait in which Evlyn taught very
successfully and Wallace finished his law studies,
they married and came out to B.C. where they lived
modestly and frugally in the West End. Evlyn was
initially lonely, her upbringing in the Maritimes was
different from the almost frontier life of B.C. and
she was tied down with babies while her husband
was out in the world. However, she gradually began to direct her considerable energies to improving the position of women in society. To this end
she founded the University Women's Club of \fon-
couver, joined the Liberal party and began to use
her husband, who had become attorney-general
in 1917 in the Liberal government of B.C., to fashion legislation which could help women's causes.
Evlyn's main influence was to be in the area of
higher education. Rallying members of the University Women's Club and the Liberal party and even
her Baptist connections, she promoted the creation of a provincial university. As usual she worked
behind the scenes and was particularly pleased
when in 1908 the new University Act provided that
women students should have equality of privilege
with men students. She spearheaded a drive to get
every woman in the University Women's Club registered as a voting member of the University Convocation and she herself was elected by the
Convocation to be one of only two women members of the Senate of the new University of British
Columbia. She was disappointed, however, when
the government appointed only men to the Board.
In spite of setbacks she began to take an interest in
University politics. Seeing them as a segregation of
women she opposed in particular the creation of
courses in home economics and domestic science.
By 1917, shortly after Wallace's appointment as
Attorney-General, Evlyn achieved her ambition to
become a member of the Board of Governors of
As a member of the Board she was able to extend her influence considerably, partly by promoting the University in speeches and in being a
traditional hostess and partly by working behind
the scenes with the Liberal government She
reached her zenith in this work, becoming a close
friend to the University president Klinck and jealously guarding the rights of women to higher education. However, as time went by she became
increasingly conservative, even to the extent of
changing her Baptist values for those of the more
fashionable Anglican church. Eventually she retreated into her family and retired from public office.
Sylvie McClean has created an absorbing exposition of the life of an extraordinary woman.
McClean's analysis of the University politics of the
twenties and thirties throws considerable Ught on
the near disastrous period when the University
nearly collapsed after atrocious cuts were made to
its budget in 1932 and the various faculties were
set at odds against each other. Her discussion of
this period which was still making elderly professors weep in the 1970s is quite brilliant I question
only one of her conclusions. McClean casts doubt
on the claim of Professor Henry Angus in his autobiography that Evlyn Farris had threatened to have
him fired when he summed up the position of the
Arts faculty during the Lampman hearing on the
situation. She supports this with the fact that Angus was under the impression Evlyn was a member of the Board at the time when, in fact, she was
only a member of the UBC Senate. However, she
was more generally known as a Board member
and was sitting beside the President during the hearing. Furthermore, the story was well known on the
campus and Professor Angus, who was the soul of
accuracy, once described it vividly to this reviewer
"she hissed at me as I was leaving: 'I'll see you get
Aside from this quibble, there is very little to criticize about this splendid book except perhaps that
is does not take Evlyn Farris to the end of her life.
McClean is no muckraker. It is of course difficult
for any biographer who has received the confidence
and trust of relatives to record the less attractive
side of her subject, and the last days of Evlyn Farris
were sad indeed as she and her family coped with
her growing loss of memory and rational thinking.
However, since it is unlikely that another biography of her achievements will ever be written (who
would dare try to improve on this competent book)
it would have been more satisfactory to bring its
subject's life to a conclusion.
The Sono Nis Press has made a splendid production of this important biography. It is handsomely printed by the Morriss Printing Company
and it contains a number of appealing family photographs. Sylvie McClean is an accomplished writer
and this biography enlightens us on the life of a
Canadian woman of great distinction who contributed a great deal to the development of education
in British Columbia.
Laurenda Daniells
Archivist Emerita, University of British
Scalpels and Buggywhips: Medical Pioneers
of Central B.C. Eldon Lee, with Jack McKenzie
and Al Holley. Surrey, Heritage House, 1997.160
p., $16.95.
Books by or about doctors have had a spotty
record in B.C., but it appears that Dr. Lee has a
winner with this account of the earty practitioners
in north central B.C.
Dr. Lee is himself something of the genre he is
writing about Bom in California, he moved with
his family at an early age to a ranch in the Williams
Lake area, and on completing his schooling joined
the RCAF where he became a bomber pilot On
return to civilian life he studied medicine in Seattle
and worked for a time at the Wrinch Memorial
Hospital in Hazelton. He then did graduate studies
in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and for thirty
years was the only obstetrician and gynaecologist
in F'rince George, serving a vast area.
He is a man of omnivorous interest including
recreational flying, classical Greek studies, fiction
and non-fiction writing, and a continuing participation in the activities of his church. Despite his many
accomplishments he writes with an earthy touch,
betraying something of his roots in the land. It is
interesting how often in writing of the early doctors
he comments on their attending to both the physical and the spiritual needs of their patients.
He has set a commendable precedent in writing
a chapter on the doctor's wife almost every time he
writes about one of these early practitioners, and
in several instances the women are more remarkable than their husbands. Two of the chapters have
been given over to colleagues who knew the subjects better than the author did, and in two more
he has shared the writing.
The Wrinch Memorial Hospital in Hazelton has
been in existence for nearly a hundred years but
the account in Dr. Lee's book is the best capsule
summary I have read of the life of the remarkable
man for whom it was named in the mid twenties.
Horace Cooper Wrinch (1866-1939) was an honours graduate from the Ontario Agricultural College and a successful farmer when he decided to
retrain as a medical missionary at the turn of the
century. He opened the first Hazelton Hospital in
1904 complete with gardens and a dairy farm to
support the enterprise. A training school for nurses
operated for the next 28 years, by which time the
second hospital had been built (1930). The third
and present structure opened in 1977.
Stories of some of the early doctors are somewhat shadowy, but good mini-biographies are presented of Dr. Ross Stone of \fonderhoof, Dr. Carle
Ewert and Dr. Edwin Lynch of Prince George, Dr.
Williams Wight of Alexis Creek, Dr. George Sansun
of Clinton and Ashcroft, and Dr. Dundas Herald of
150 Mile House. Of interest is a note that Dr.
Sansun's sister in law, Trixie Campbell of Victoria,
was an excellent singer and an annual visitor to
Ashcroft where she always gave a concert Later
she would be known as the grandmother of Ian
Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia fame.
By far the best portrait to emerge from this book
is that of Dr. Gerald Rumsey "Faddy" Baker, in a
chapter aptly titled "Quesnel and its 40 year love
affair with Dr. Psddy Baker." Few small town doctors anywhere will depart this earth with their names
attached to a hospital, an extended care unit, and
a school in the same community. Dr. Alex Hawley,
the Quesnel-bom surgeon who spent his career
practising in his home town, is quoted saying "Dr.
Baker never tired. Never tired." Dr. Lee relates a
series of anecdotes attesting to the legendary reputation of Dr. Baker in his profession and in his avocations of hunting and fishing. However, he gropes
for words trying to explain away how this famous
man could have cast aside an ideal Cariboo wife
for a nubile upstart twenty-five years his junior. "..
.. Dr. Baker's reputation suffered only mildly since
it was recognized that, after all, he was only human."
One assumes that any reviewer is going to indulge in a litde nit-picking, but fortunately there is
litde for me to criticize. Every time I see the name
"Mount Rocher Deboulle" it is spelt differently. For
the record Akrigg and Akrigg use the above version, (page 46). There is an Albert College in
Belleville, Ontario, where Dr. Wrinch took his pre-
med studies, but I can find no reference to
"Belleview" (p. 47). On page 27 the captions for
the two photographs appear to have been reversed,
B.C. Historical News • Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
as the lower one shows typical Skeena smoke
houses (with no smoke) and the upper one tiny
cabins, albeit with lots of smoke. Throughout the
book listing of temperatures in Fahrenheit below
zero is awkward, (page 144). Fterhaps the use of
Celsius would be simpler nowadays.
These are minutiae. Most of us will find a new
anecdote or two about an old doctor we have
known or heard about The book is an overdue
volume in the annals of B.C. folk history, and popular medical history in particular.
Adam C. Waldie, MB.,
Vancouver, B.C.
Chilcotin Diary; Forty Years of Adventure. Will
D. Jenkins Sr. Surrey, Hancock House, 1997.270
p. illus. $19.95
It is somewhat brave when a writer nearing the
century-mark in age has his face on the front cover
of a book. But the tough reflective face of the adventurer has stamped itself inexorably on Jenkins'
patrician head, and I looked forward to reading this
biographical account of life in the Chilcotin before
clear-cut logging and the exercises of NATO forces
broke the sound barrier in the hitherto vast silence
of the remote valleys and mountains of a region
that has become legendary.
God knows why some people want to stare
down the wilderness. The same people climb
mountains most of us are content to experience
within the cozy confines of home and hearth, watching the Knowledge Network. But wilderness might
be a misnomer in the case of the Chilcotin, and
certainly in the present day Chilcotin, if adventuring purists like writer Edward Hoagland have anything to say about it And Hoagland did say a lot
about the wilderness in his book, Notes From The
Century Before, a book some people feel is the
best book about B.C. ever written, and Hoagland
is from New York City. But if fights with grizzly bears,
travel and travail over the roughest of mud roads
with ruts and potholes more than a foot deep, and
a few hamlets and ranches spread wide apart over
a territory as large or larger than some European
countries is sufficient evidence of "wilderness", the
Chilcotin still qualifies.
Jenkins' book is filled with snapshots from the
family album and numerous sensitive drawings of
wild animals, birds, and the landscape around Little Eagle Lake, where the author and his wife
Mildred settled in the mid 50's. The text is written
in a spritely, professional style because Jenkins was
a journalist and worked on the Vancouver Sun and
other newspapers before retiring. He charts the
family's discovery of the Chilcotin in the mid 30's,
and the couple's eventual decision to settle permanently there in 1954. In those days, a party of
Chilcotin Indians camped along the Chilcotin Road,
hobbled horses nearby and a campfire cook-out
was a common sight The country was still as pristine a wilderness as one could imagine, before logging trucks roared up and down a paved highway
every few minutes, and the Indians complained that
the sonic boom of diving jet bombers was scaring
away the game, ruining their trap lines, and depriving them of income.
Jenkins' descriptive writing is lyrical and his genu
ine love of the land is reflected on every page, even
those devoted to the extrication of sundry vehicles
from gumbo, ice and snow. His reference to the
hearty characters who shared the Chilcotin experience with him, brought back old memories for the
writer, who lived in Williams Lake in the early 60s
and had friends in the Chilcotin. The country was
so remote in those days, messages were heard daily
over the radio, conveyed from town to the far-flung
inhabitants of Nemiah V&lley, or Chezacut, or some
other outpost that a child was ready to be discharged
from the hospital, or a part for a tractor was waiting
for a rancher at so and so's, and so on. Fteople in
the Chilcotin depended upon one another, and
everyone knew everyone as the saying goes. Those
names on the radio became familiar. Like family
members. Jenkins' mention of Olaf Satre brought
back memories of that rancher's remarkable recovery of a derelict ranch near Tatiayoko Lake which
he and wife Louise and family worked hard to make
a Nordic style dream. Satre died some years ago,
but a son, Sven, continued to live in the Chilcotin,
and was killed by a grizzly only recentiy.
Jenkin's sense of humour emerges now and
then. His description of herding some loons on Little Eagle Lake, for example. But the pathos is there
too, when he describes the heart rending struggles
of wildlife to survive the savage Chilcotin winters.
All in all, I found Jenkins' book a very interesting
read. If I have any criticism at all, it is the questioning of the inclusion of the chapter dealing with explorer Alexander Mackenzie, and the chapter
dealing with Mel Rothenberger's excellent book,
Chilcotin Wars. In my opinion these sections detract somewhat from Will Jenkins' entertaining personal story.
Esther Darlington
From War To Wilderness. Cyril Shelford. Victoria, Shelford Publishing, 4210 Kincaid St, Victoria, B.C. V8X 4K6 1997. 250 p., illus. $19.95.
The present romance blossoming between the
media and the public in the realm of personal journal writing and oral reminiscing is one of the most
pleasant and illuminating circumstances we are
experiencing on the eve of the millennium.
Cyril Shelford has published an extraordinary
collection of letters written by his father Jack
Shelford to family in England during the Boer War
and the years that followed when Shelford took
himself to the pristine wilderness of North America
to help him forget the horror of one the bloodiest
wars in the last century. The letters might be one of
the finest accounts of life on the Alaskan frontier
that has ever been published. If that seems a little
hyperbole, consider that a good deal of material
that has been written about Alaska and northern
B.C. has been in the form of melodrama. Robert
Service poetry, and the novels of Jack London
come to mind. Jack Shelford's letters deal with the
mundane toil of survival. They are written with
matter-of-fact detail, but detail that springs to life as
it unfolds the on-going learning and cathartic process of acquiring new skills, building shelters, trapping game, hunting to keep from starving to death,
using his carpentry skills to supplement his income
from trapping, fishing, and woodcutting. And there
isn't a note of self pity in any of the letters. Jack
Shelford was an extraordinary man.
Shelford's description of the death and destruction around him in the Boer War, including a photo
of a shelter for wounded and dying men that was
littie more than a filthy abandoned building, the
brief but telling description of campaigns waged in
the style of the Macedonian phalanx against a wily
Boer adversary with incredibly effective tactical skills,
is told with subdued passion.
There are maps of South Africa, Alaska and
northern B.C. to help the reader along, but I was a
littie disappointed that there weren't more photographs, particularly in the period of homesteading
at Ootsa Lake, where Jack Shelford eventually set-
tied with his wife Safie. They married in 1915.
The book is in two sections, the first being the
Boer War period. The transition from War to Wilderness is smoothly edited.
Some of the sections of the book leave haunting
images. A forest fire, for example, when stampeding moose, bear and terrified birds, some with their
feathers on fire, flee from an inferno that threatened Shelford's building and possessions. Shelford
explains to his father in his letters, how the Alaska
government introduced reindeer farming to the
Inuit, revealing a strong humanitarian concern for
the indigenous people. In fact, Shelford's respect
for the native Indian skills, some of which served
him well in the years that followed, is evident and
gratifying to read, when the prevailing prejudices
of the day held native culture and peoples in much
less respect.
I enjoyed the book. Even the meticulous account
of building cabins, boats and a barge, clearly activities that challenged and brought out the best in
young Jack Shelford. But perhaps the horror of
the Boer War had prepared Jack well for the formidable challenge of survival in the North American
The letters cease about the time of Jack and Safie
Shelford's forging of a ranch and homestead in the
northern British Columbia wilderness. Arthur
Shelford, Jack's brother, who accompanied Jack
into the Ootsa Lake country when the brothers were
looking for suitable land to ranch and farm, wrote a
fascinating account of their pioneer life in the Oosta
Lake country that in some measure, continues the
Shelford wilderness saga. Arthur's story was published in Volume 2 of Pioneer Days in British
Columbia, 1975, Heritage House Publications.
Esther Darlington,
Esther Darlington lives in Cache Creek
Klondike Paradise: Culture in the Wilderness.
CR. Fbrter. Surrey, B.C., Hancock House Publishers, 1997. 173 p., illus. $19.95, paperback.
The book's title is misleading with the paradise
Ben-My-Chree, Manx-Gaelic for 'Girl of My Heart,'
located in northern British Columbia close to 400
miles southeast of the Klondike. Two stories are
intertwined, that of the Fartridges who established
it and that of the author who first saw it in 1938, fell
under its spell and would return in 1972 as the
new owner of the then dormant property.
Otto and Kate Fartridge, both bom in England,
had come north from California during the Klondike
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 BOOKSHELF
Rush but had remained in the Bennett to Carcross
region involved in shipping and lumbering enterprises. About 1911, a lode gold discovery made
by Stanley McLellan, a miner and prospector they
had grubstaked, would bring them to the head of
Tagish Lake's Taku Arm, some 75 miles by water
from the setdement of Carcross. Their Ben-My-
Chree prospect lay high up on the mountainside
and the equipment and supplies required to develop it were freighted to the landing below where
the Fartridges were living on a houseboat The venture ended in disaster in 1912 when a slide destroyed the cookhouse at the mine killing McLellan
and his wife.
Mining was abandoned but the Fartridges stayed
on, enchanted with the setting on the eastern flank
of the glacier-draped Boundary Ranges. Living
there year around they and Ludwig Swanson, an
employee, worked together to develop the buildings and gardens. These plus the Partridges' hospitality soon became legendary and Ben-My-Chree
drew visitors from all over the world. Among well-
known names in the visitors book were those of
Teddy Roosevelt; Edward, Prince of Wales, and
Lord Byng of Vimy at the time Canada's Governor General.
The White Pass and Yukon Company with their
transportation monopoly, an enemy in mining days,
now became an ally in building up the tourist traffic. In later years their magnificent sternwheeler
Tutshi would make three trips a week to Ben-My-
Chree, leaving Carcross at noon and steaming up
Tagish Lake to arrive in the early evening. Passengers not staying over were treated to a guided tour
of the gardens and at the homestead offered refreshments including home-made rhubarb wine.
Then, entertained by Otto's stories and Kate's organ music, they would reboard the Tutshi and arrive back in Carcross the following morning. After
Otto's death in 1930 and Kate's a few months later,
the White Pass purchased the land from the government, a detail that the Fartridges had never got
around to. The company continued to operate Ben-
My-Chree, initially with the Swansons in charge,
until it was finally shut down in 1955 and the Tutshi
taken out of service the following year.
In 1971 the author purchased Ben-My-Chree
from the White Pass fulfilling a dream that dated
back to his 1938 visit as a teen-age steward on the
Tutshi The final pages of the book describe the
family's trips to it, the building of a new cabin and
relics from the past discovered in the decaying buildings. Reluctantly the property was sold again in the
late 1980s after family conferences concluded that
it would be a burden rather than a benefit to the
younger generation.
The book is profusely illustrated, with photos
from both the Fartridges' time and later coloured
ones from the author's personal collection, complementing the description of what was surely an
unusual paradise.
Lewis Green,
Lewis Green has spent many years in the
north as a geologist
Growing Up: Childhood in English Canada
from the Great War to the Age of Television.
Neil Sutherland. University of Toronto F'ress, 1997.
327 p. Notes, index, illus. $21.95 paperback,
$55.00 Cloth.
Remembering the 50's; Growing Up in Western Canada. Lorraine Blashill. Orca Book Publishers, 1997.167 p. illus. $26.95.
It comes as a shock to find that one's own childhood has become a topic for history. Neil Sutherland was bom in 1931, Lorraine Blashill in 1945,
so they have written their own history as well as
mine, and they have written it in two extremely
different modes.
Sutherland deploys the scholarly apparatus appropriate to a Professor Emeritus of Educational
Studies at the University of British Columbia. While
his title claims all of English Canada, his research
focuses on two Vancouver neighbourhoods, Cedar Cottage and Kerrisdale, and on the rural community of Evelyn in the Bulkley Valley. With
socio-historical theories to test, he insists on anonymity for his interviewees, erasing identifying details so scrupulously that they emerge on his pages
as supporting quotations rather than personalities.
Then, sometimes uncomfortably, he tests their comments against the published testimony of such well-
known contemporaries as Mordecai Richler,
Maureen Forrester, Roy Daniells and Stuart Keate.
Blashill takes the opposite tack, blithely eschewing editing, organisation or verification. The book
has several sections, in which the same people comment on different aspects of childhood in the 50's.
Unfortunately, without even a table of contents, let
alone an index, this structure is lost amidst the rambling and often repetitious reminiscences. Her territory is Manitoba and points west
Blashill at least seems to have enjoyed both living and reliving her childhood, "our good old days."
On the other hand, I worried about Sutherland: he
wonders if Richler exaggerates the importance of
comic books or if this is an east/west variation, confuses the names of NHL teams (omitting Les
Canadiens altogether!), and doubts the social significance of birthday parties.
But from time to time, Sutherland piles up his
evidence so profusely that the reader may forget
the theories and begin to add personal memories.
"Was it quite like that?" Most of the time, Sutherland's account is close enough. Near the end, in
the chapter "children in the Culture of Childhood,"
this reader was crowded with memories and almost ready to put myself in historical context
In that experience lies the value of these books:
as record, witness and stimulus. After reading my
way through recognition, denial, vague dissatisfaction, and only a litde nostalgia, I recalled childhood
as neither the best of times, as Blashill's respondents would have it, nor the worst, as Sutherland
may have wanted to prove.
Phyllis Reeve,
Phyllis Reeve is younger than Sutherland and
older than Blashill.
Postcards from the Past; Edwardian images
of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Fred
Thirkell and Bob Scullion. Heritage House, 19%.
176 p. Bibliography, index, illus. $24.95.
A visiting friend found this book in my living room
and for the next half hour his conversation consisted of such exclamations as, "Fred Thirkell, eh?
well, well" or "Look at this" or "I remember..." It
was a delight to witness his obvious pleasure. Pleasure, the authors claim, was a major reason for producing the book: their pleasure "in researching,
compiling and presenting the material" and the
reader's pleasure "in reading about and viewing
pictures produced during the years when Vancouver came of age as a city."
Eighty-four lithographed postcards, most dated
between 1901 and 1910, have been enlarged to
picture-book size. As the authors point out, a significant percentage of these pictures will not be
found in any public archival collection. Each image
occupies a full page, with the facing page devoted
to facts and commentary. A map identifies sites of
buildings, both the survivors and those which have
been razed. For these latter, a thread of regret runs
through the book. We have been careless with our
architectural heritage. The second Hotel Vancouver, called here "Vancouver's most elegant building... probably the most sumptuous building ever
built in Vancouver," was replaced after only twenty-
three years. The authors lament, "Had the old Hotel
Vancouver survived into our own times, it would
probably be internationally regarded as one of the
world's great hotels."
Everyone will choose their favourite vignettes. I
like the picture of the St Alice Hotel bus with an
abandoned bicycle at the roadside; the description
of the tramcar with two toilets and a watercooler; a
vista of "my" beloved Hycroft as a gorgeous debutante of a building; and the view of the comer of
Main and Hastings with the new Carnegie Library
made of Gabriola sandstone on one side and in
the upper opposite comer "the feet and legs of
someone whom we can only suppose to be a B.C.
Electric lineman."
The postcards came from New Westminster,
Abbotsford and Squamish, as well as Vancouver.
This book is indeed a pleasure.
Phyllis Reeve,
Phyllis Reeve sends postcards from
Gabriola Island
Also Noted:
Wild, Wacky, Wonderful British Columbia;
answers to questions you never thought to ask. Eric
Newsome. Victoria, Orca, 1997. 128 p., illus.
$9.95. Answers questions and provides scores of
little-known facts about this province's past
Recollections of a Homesteader's Daughter.
Margorie (Barr) Pratt Cobble Hill, B.C., The Author, 1997. 122 p., illus. $15.00 About
homesteading days in Saskatchewan. Available
from Marjorie Barr FVatt, 3697 Marine Vista, Cobble Hill, B.C. VOR ILL
Orca's Family and More Northwest Coast
Stories. Robert James Challenger. Surrey, B.C.,
Heritage House, 1997. 48 p., illus. $9.95. A collection of Westcoast fables from Victoria.
B.C. Historical News - Summer 1998 MEMBER SOCIETIES
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The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the sixteenth annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1998, 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
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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 individuals.
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award
and an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Merritt in May 1999.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been published in 1998 and should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted. Books entered become property ofthe B.C. Historical Federation. Please state name, address and telephone number of sender,
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