British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1987

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Volume 20, No. 2.
Spring, 1987
ISSN 0045-2963
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Railway Issue
Trains ... Trains ... Trains MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their
society is up-to-date. Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses
given at the bottom of this page. The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone
numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1985/86 (Volume 19) were paid by the following Member Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHF — Gulf Island Branch, c/o Marian Worrall, Mayne Island, VON 2J0
BCHF — Victoria Section,c/o Marie Elliott, 1745 Taylor St., Victoria, B.C. V8R 3E8
Burnaby Historical Society, c/o 8027 - 17th Ave., Burnaby, V3N 1M5
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. VIC 4H6
Galiano Historical and Cultural Society, P.O. Box 10, Galiano, B.C. VON IPO
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Lantzville Historical Society, c/o Susan Crayston, Box 76, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station 'A', Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Nanooa Historical and Museum Society, R.R. 1, Box 22, Marina Way, Nanoose Bay, B.C. VOR 2R0
North Shore Historical Society, c/o Mrs. Helen Spragg,103 - 225 E. 16th St., North Vancouver,
B.C. V7L 2S8
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o Mrs. Cora Skipsey, P.O. Box 352, Qualicum Beach,
B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, P.O. Box 705, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney and North Saanich Historical Society, P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocal Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG ISO
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Valemont Historic Society,      P.O. Box 850, Valemount, B.C. VOE 2A0
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
West Vancouver Museum & Historical Society, P.O. Box 91785, West Vancouver, B.C. V7V 4S1
Affiliated Groups
B.C. Museum of Mining, P.O. Box 155, Britannia Beach, B.C. VON 1J0
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin St., White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
Fort Steele Heritage Park, Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society, 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society, 100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Second-class registration number 4447.
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. Our Charitable Donations number is 0404681-52-27.
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B, Victoria, B.C., V8R 6S4.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions and all other matters should be directed to the Vancouver address above.
Subscriptions: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members), $8.00.
The B.C. Historical Federation gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the British Columbia Heritage Trust. British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 20, No. 2.
Spring, 1987
CPR No. 374 and F.R.F. Brown 3
Fritz Lehmann
The Dining Car — Memories 6
Ben Benning
Vancouver's Three CPR Passenger Stations 8
Ron Meyer
The Victoria and Sidney Railway 12
Geoffrey Castle
Move Over ALRT 13
Ross Westergaard
Chateau Prince Rupert: A Forgotten Dream 15
Ron Hawker
The 'Live Yank's' Hotel 18
Branwen C. Patenaude
Quadra — the town that almost came to be 21
Darryl Muralt
B.C. Museum Association: An Overview 25
Helen Tremaine
News and Notes 24
On the Shady Side, Vancouver 1886 - 1914 26
review by Duncan Stacey
Lucky to Live in Cedar Cottage 26
review by John Gibbard
Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-Naturalist 27
review by George Newell
Wilderness Dream 28
review by Clare McAllister
The B.C. Historical News welcomes submissions of interesting and informative
articles or photo essays on any subject relating to British Columbia history.
Manuscripts should be typed (double-spaced) with footnotes and/or bibliography
provided, if possible. Length to 2500 words. Photos or illustrations appreciated
and returned. Sent to: The Editor, P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B, Victoria, B.C., V8R 6S4
The bright Canadian lexicon is
enriched by the names of many
railways, large and smaU. They are
bound up in the panoramic splendour of our land from the rocky
Canadian Shield, across woodland,
prairie and mountain to the margin
of the western sea. Their names roU
richly from the tongue: Canadian
Pacific, Pacific Great Eastern,
Grand Trunk Pacific, the homely
Esquimalt and Nanaimo.
Their going is freighted with images of romance and the famiUar
names of Banff, Lake Louise,
Hell's Gate and Cheakamus Canyon are bound up with and owe
their-fame to their associations with
the steel rail.
These are the proud railways of
Canada, past and present, the
weed-grown branchUnes of fading
commerce and the poUshed rails of
the transcontinentals. It's not difficult for the imagination to draw
a plausible paraUel between the progress and economy of Canada and
the great passenger and freight
trains setting out for destinations in
the far west.
Central to this high talk is the
steam locomotive, a device that has
never been improved upon if one
takes into account its function, not
only as a means of transport, but
as a symbol of enterprise and greatness. The steam locomotive was the
main agency of settlement in the
Canadian west. Its Unk with that
drama is such that it's safe to
speculate that, if the diesel had been
the source of motive power, the
wonder and glory we associate with
those halcyon years of growth and
development would be stripped
away with the poetry and romance
that we so dearly revere. It's clear
that the steam engine's hold on the
imagination is more than equal to
(cont. on page 11) Letters to the editor
To the Editors:
In the course of my research I came
across some information that may
be of interest to your readers.
In 1979 the Church Missionary
Society Archives began the transfer
of their pre-193 5 holdings to the
University of Birmingham Library
from their previous location at 157
Waterloo Road, London. The
Society has mission records for
Africa (Group 3), which include
Sierra Leone, Nigeria, South
Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda,
Ruanda/Burundi, Egypt, Sudan,
the Mediterranean region (Palestine, Turkey and Asia Minor,
Greek Islands, Malta and Abyssinia), New Zealand and the West
Indies. Group 2 has the West Asia
mission records: India, Ceylon,
Mauritius, Madagascar, Persia and
Turkish Arabia. Group 1 (East
Asia records) consist of missions in
Canada, China and Japan. The
records for Canada were transferred in 1985.
Catalogues for each record group
have been deposited in Birmingham
as well as the following sets: CMS
Proceedings/Annual Reports/
Yearbook 1801-1971, the CMS
Historical Record 1919, 1922/3-
1956/7, The Missionary Register
1813-54, and the CMS Annual Letters 1886-1912, together with the
CMS Register of Missionaries and
Native Clergy, Stock's History of
the CMS, Hole's Early History of
the CMS and the Centenary
Volume of the CMS.
Requests for access should be addressed to Miss CL. Penney,
Special Collections, Main Library,
University of Birmigham, P.O. Box
363, Birmingham, B15 2TT,
Lome F. Hammond
From the News
Publishing Committee
The committee was very pleased
with the 'look' of the last issue. The
new three column format offers the
editor more flexibility in the use of
pictures, Federation notices, etc.
Congratulations, Bob!
In order to better reproduce the
old photographs which so often
enliven articles, it has been necessary to increase the weight of paper
used in the magazine. This has added $200 to our costs — leaving us
about $300 below average costs last
The quality of our magazine continues to depend primarily on the
articles sent in by Federation members and other historians. We are
delighted that so many excellent
submissions on a wide variety of
topics are continuing to arrive. The
editor will probably have to alternate 'theme' and general issues in
order to accommodate all this interesting material.
This issue focuses on British Col
umbia's early railways. We are very
fortunate to have the editorial assistance of Darryl Muralt, President
of the B.C. Railway Historical
Association. Geoffrey Castle, of
the Victoria branch, is introducing
a regular column based on material
drawn from the Provincial
Anne Yandle and her book reviewers are also to be congratulated
on their incisive reports. This section of the magazine is a favourite
of many readers.
Mailing is one of the most onerous jobs associated with publishing
the News. Rhys Richardson, with
the help of Pat Scobie, has looked
after the past two issues. This one
will have been shipped off to you
by Joan Selby, a PubUshing Committee member, with the help of
Mary Ralston of the Vancouver
branch. Thank you all for this major undertaking.
Ann W. Johnston
Treasurer's Comments
The operator in the word processing centre was most apologetic
when she realized that the "receipt/
month" and "expiry issue" had not
been printed on the address labels
for the last issue. It was her oversight of recorded instructions and
these entries should be on the ad
dress labels for the current issue.
We seem to be in a satisfactory
financial position, but all bills for
volume 20, no. 1 have not reached
me so there is no way of comparing costs with earlier issues.
J. Rhys Richardson
March 11, 1987.
That the B.C. Historical Federation set a flat membership fee of
one dollar per member to a maximum of $60, with the proviso that
if the income so derived is not sufficient to cover operating expenses
plus 10%, those branches paying the maximum $60 shall be charged an additional 10c per member. CPR No. 374
Francis R.F. Brown
Fritz Lehmann
The locomotive displayed in
Vancouver's Kitsilano Park for
many years, and now appearing at
the old CPR Roundhouse site on
False Creek, is presently identified
as Canadian Pacific Ry. number
374. This is a genuine locomotive
of the CPR's early years. For that
reason two railfan organizations,
the West Coast Railway Association and the B.C. Chapter of the
Canadian Railway Historical
Association, were willing to put
thousands of volunteer man-hours,
with the assistance of government
grants and some paid experts, into
the demanding job of restoring the
374 for display at Expo '86. We
should now be ready to take a more
realistic look at the history of this
engine and at the man responsible
for designing and building her.
Omer Lavallee, the CPR's
historian and (just retired) corporate archivist, offers a small correction to Vancouver perceptions of
the 374's place in history. The first
transcontinental train to reach the
West Coast in regularly scheduled
service left Montreal on 28 June
1886. It reached the CPR's original
western terminus, Port Moody, on
4 July, and on the last lap from
North Bend to Port Moody it was
pulled by CPR 371, an identical
sister of 374 from a group of eight
engines built by the CPR in its
Montreal "New Shops" during
May, June and July of 1886. The
374's historical moment came the
following year. When the main line
was extended beyond Port Moody
to Vancouver, 374 pulled the first
official train into the new city terminus on 23 May 1887. '
374 (and 371) were typical of the
locomotives of their era. Their
4-4-0 wheel arrangements (a four-
wheel leading truck to guide the
vehicle on the tracks; four larger
drive wheels; and no carrying
wheels at the rear of the
locomotive) was by far the most
popular design in North America in
the nineteenth century. The
demands for power and speed increased constantly as the CPR
developed and trains became
heavier and their operations more
frequent and demanding, but these
locomotives were well-designed and
well-built. They soon enough lost
their glamorous assignments on
main-line through trains, but continued to serve in various more
humble capacities. 371 was the first
to go, scrapped in October 1915 —
long before anyone was interested
in preserving her as an historic artifact. The others were scrapped
from 1916 through 1929, averaging
a very respectable service life of
33.5 years as a group. 2
The 374 was the last survivor, set
aside in the 1930s as a memorable
object and finally acquired for
display by the city of Vancouver.
She had been re-built and renumbered several times before she
was retired. In April 1907 she
became CPR 92, in December 1909
CPR 245, and in February 1913
CPR 158, the number she kept until retired to museum status.
Lavallee has a photo of her in service in 1899 at Kamloops, showing
that she had already been rebuilt
from her original 69-inch-diameter
drive wheels for high speed
passenger service to a more mundane 62-inch-diameter set for mixed service. 3
The 374 is interesting to railfans
and to the general public, but she
should be seen not just as a unique
locomotive that once performed a
"first trip" to earn historical
survey, but as a representative
machine that made an era in Canadian history. There are in fact a
great many 4-4-0 locomotives
preserved (some in operating condition) in Canada and the United
States that are much like the 374 in
general description. The list includes six examples from the Canadian Pacific Railway, and includes
two sister locomotives of 374, built
to the same design at CPR's Montreal shops. 4 What is unique about
the 374 and her sisters? For one
thing, they were designed and built
in Canada. The designer was one
of those immigrants who brought
both energy and technical skills to
Canada and helped make our country what it is today.
Francis Robert Fountaine Brown
was the man. Born in Scotland
(Helensburgh, Dumbartonshire) on
29 September 1845, Brown belonged to that pioneering generation of
engineers who learned their profession on the job and not in a
university. 5 He was apprenticed
"as a pupil in the shops and drawing office of the Great Northern
Railway at Doncaster, England"
from    1863-1868,    and    later
B.C. Historical News employed by the same railway at
various places on its system until
1874. In his later years he was stationed at London, which may have
given him the contacts for his next
adventure. Whatever the reason, he
did boldly try a new setting for his
skiUs, by accepting an appointment
in 1874 on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. This was one of the
first great trunk Unes in India, with
rails reaching across the subcontinent from a base in Bombay.
Brown increased his responsibiUties
in India until the hot season of 1876
struck him down:
When riding on the Engine accompanying the new Viceroy
Lord Lytton over my division
... I contracted a sun-stroke
followed later by Typhoid fever
which compelled my return to
England in August /76 for Medical treatment.
Having twice suffered from sunstroke in India myself, I can sympathize with Brown! His bout with
the cUmate of India did not end his
interest in working abroad, but it
did turn him in a new and cooler
direction — Canada.
In 1877 he took a new position
as manager of the Grand Trunk
Railway's Point St. Charles shops
in Montreal, the principal shop
faculties of what was then Canada's
premier railway. At Point St.
Charles he served under mechanical
superintendent Herbert WaUis, and
had the good fortune to have joined the Grand Trunk in a period of
expansion. The Grand Trunk's first
mechanical superintendent, F.H.
Trevithick, had built one locomotive in the Montreal shops in
1859. His two successors built 34
more between 1864 and 1873.
WaUis took over from a brilUant
engineer, Richard Eaton, in 1873.
In 1877 he began a new phase of
locomotive buUding in the company
shops, coincidental with Brown's
appointment as Locomotive Works
Manager. Brown was in charge of
repairs and maintenance as well,
but undoubtedly the most interesting assignment to him was the
V   .1     I. i,,/i/      t:,,,,,„r,      f„i       firi.jhl     r,j„/     .\f,.r-.l       rr„ffir
Fia  ). f.,>ttfjitiitfiiinl    S'rtiim
manufacture of a large number of
new locomotives:
[I] joined the G.T.Ry. service in
Canada in May 1877 — Remaining in the service of that Coy. as
Loco Works Manager at Point
St. Charles till July 1883 — During which time I built over 100
(one hundred) new Locomotives
for that Coy., which were of the
Mogul — Heavy Passenger —
Suburban & Switching types. 6
In fact, if we count a batch of
locomotives begun but not completed before Brown left the Grand
Trunk, he built 103 locomotives for
the GTR and Herbert WaUis. 7 This
experience  enabled   Brown  to
become thoroughly familiar with
the Canadian variations on British
railway engineering practice.
In July 1883 Francis Brown got
his chance to be the boss himself
with his new appointment as
Mechanical Superintendent for the
Canadian Pacific Railway. Here he
had a wider range of duties and
responsibilities, but included
among them was the responsibility
for motive power. Brown finally
got a chance to design and build
locomotives according to his own
ideas. He did this with great success, which we'll look at in a moment. But to round out his career
so far as we know it, he did not stay
long with the Canadian Pacific. He
resigned in July 1889 to take a
similar position with Dominion
Bridge in Lachine, Quebec; from
there he moved in November 1891
to Toronto as general manager of
the Ontario Forge and Bolt Co.;
and in 1892 he went to Moncton,
N.B., as mechanical superintendent
of the Intercolonial Railway. 8 In- •
terested researchers have not yet
found any further record of this
remarkable man.
Although Brown belonged to a
generation of engineers who learned the profession on the job and
not at school, he was nevertheless
just as committed to engineering as
a profession as his later successors
who enjoyed formal technical training. He joined the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers in 1886 and
was also a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in
London (since 1880). For his British
colleagues, he prepared a
remarkable description of his work
in Canada, "On the Construction
of Canadian Locomotives." '
Although he could not be present
to read the paper himself at the Institution's regular meetings, the
paper was read for him, and a
report of the discussion which
foUows gives the comments of some
of Britain's leading engineers of the
Francis Brown put his
locomotive designs in the context of
Canadian conditions. The
parameters within which his
machines were conceived and built
were of two kinds: the physical
features of Canada and the CPR
tracks, and the economic-poUtical
conditions within which workmen CANADIAN      10CDM0TIVES
and materials had to be found and
utilized. The CPR was largely a
single-track Une spanning a huge
and relatively undeveloped continent. The roadbed was often
rough, and subject to severe
climatic assaults. Skilled workmen
were in short supply, and more expensive than in Britain. Many of
the materials including boiler plate
and some steel forgings had to be
imported, with costs increased by
Canada's high tariff policy and its
distance from the suppliers in
Brown held out as his best comparison his SA class light passenger
locomotives, the group that includes CPR 374. His British peers
and rivals were astonished to see
that he was building these locomotives at a cost of 1,071 pounds
sterling each, or about 2.44 pence
per pound, compared to a standard
Midland Ry. locomotive of the day,
about 6 tons heavier, built at a cost
of 1,677 pounds sterling each or
about 3.36 pence per pound. 10
Brown's SA class had a flexible bar-
frame with 3-point suspension
system that enabled them to respond to rough track with maximum
flexibility. One of the British com
mentators complained that British-
built locomotives were solidly built
for endurance and working
economy, not Uke Brown's designs
which seemed to aim at a
locomotive which "when it broke
down, could be readily patched up
at an out of the way district." "
The same critic admitted that
British engineers did not design
locomotives for use on railways "so
seriously disturbed by frost and
thaw as they were in Canada." '2
This demonstrates how significant
it was for Canada to have its own
engineers designing locomotives for
our conditions!
But one of the British engineers,
David Greig of the Leeds locomotive building firm of John Fowler
& Co., noted that he had been in
Canada and ridden on the Canadian Pacific Railway:
He had himself passed over the
Canadian Pacific Railway as far
as about 400 or 500 miles beyond
Winnipeg, but no further; and
on a track that was being laid at
the rate of 3 3A miles a day he had
seen  locomotives  coming  up
before it was levelled. Such a
sight he had never seen before.
English locomotives could not
do a thing of that kind. '3
Greig added that he was "particularly impressed" with the North
American  locomotives  such  as
those   Brown   described,   for
simpUcity,  cheapness, and "the
remarkable ease with which its
parts could be replaced." u
The man who ran what was then
the largest locomotive-manufacturing firm in Britain spoke of his
experience in manufacturing nearly four thousand engines; but he
could not understand how Brown
could turn out his SA class
machines at "so low a cost as only
1,071 pounds steriing." 15 Brown's
explanation was both simple and
professional. Technology, after aU,
is the practice of making most productive use of existing conditions.
Where British builders preferred to
use heavy forgings, Brown had
learned to substitute castings —
because the men and machinery for
making heavy forgings weren't
available in Canada. He still had to
import some forgings such as steel
connecting rods from Britain, at a
heavy cost with freight and customs
duty, but where possible he had
deliberately designed his locomotives to substitute castings. Furthermore, his Montreal shops on
the CPR then lacked a foundry
(although the Grand Trunk's Point
St. Charles shops did have an adequate foundry) so that he had to
buy his castings from private Canadian firms. He obtained cast iron
wheel centers and cyUnders cast
with half-saddles this way, and
again made his designs to suit the
technical level of his suppUers. (He
preferred the quality of English
castings, but not enough to make
up for their higher cost when
freight and duty were taken into
consideration.) 1<s Brown also used
different materials (mild steel instead of copper for fireboxes, for
example) and designs (bar frames
instead of plate frames).
Brown triumphantly concluded
that it was very strange of British
builders to be unwiUing to compete
with Canadian builders in a highly
protected country, where necessary
materials have to be brought long
distances. He claimed that his savings were in labour and in his design
of Canadian engines which permitted him to economize labor and
parts and "cheapen the cost of production without detriment to the
finished engine." "
Francis Brown was thus a true
professional in the new discipUne of
engineering that emerged in the
nineteenth century. He drew on a
wide range of experience and training to produce a mix of technique
and design that was appropriate to
our conditions. The survival of 374
and her two sisters a full century
after they were built is not just a
remarkable tribute to these machines, but to the man who designed them. Men Uke Brown, and his
unsung workmen in the CPR's
Montreal shops who executed his
(cont. on page 14)
B.C. Historical News The Dining Car
"A Pleasure to Dine On ... Organized Confusion to Work On"
The Experiences of a Dining Car Waiter in the 40s
Ben Benning
The Canadian Pacific Railway
was justly proud of its passenger
car service from the early days up
to the 1940s and 50s. Nowhere was
this pride more evident than in the
equipment used and service provided by the Sleeping, Dining and Parlour Car Department. The cars that
I worked on were mostly of the
"A", "B", "L", "S" and "W"
Classes. Of these, the most presti-.
gious were those of the "A" and
"W" types. (No pun intended)
These class-letter designations were
taken from the names of the cars
which were derived mainly from
stately English and Scottish
The Class "A" cars included the
Argyle, Arundel, Athlone, Alys-
ford, Anesbury and others. These
cars were built in 1929 for the Trans
Canada Limited, one of the great
name trains of that era. The cars
named above were those used on
the Vancouver to Calgary line of
the Canadian Pacific, mostly on
Trains No. 1 and 2, 3, and 4, 7 and
8, 13 and 14. Even in the beginning, these cars were fully air conditioned, beautifuUy designed and
opulently constructed of the finest
inlaid woods.
The Class "B" cars included the
Buckingham, Bangor and Berwick
and the Class "L" cars the LinUth-
gow, Lumley, Lincoln, Leicester,
Ludlow, Leeds and Lancaster.
These two classes were similar in
design but were older cars that had
been periodically rebuilt and updated with semi-air conditioning
and other features. Some of the
"B" class cars were rebuilt into
commissary cars for use on troop
trains during World War Two.
The Class "S" cars included the
Saltwood, Stafford, Sandgate and
Somerset and were not air conditioned. The Saltwood was equipped
with a copper galley instead of the
usual Monel or stainless steel type.
Class "W" cars consisted in part
of the Walmer, Wark, Winchester,
Windsor, Woodstock, Worchester,
and WalUngford. These cars were
buUt in 1921 and compared favourably with the Class "A" cars.
To truly appreciate the complexity of dining car service let's take
a nostalgic trip on Train No. 4 from
Vancouver east in the 1940s. The
train, which was scheduled to depart Vancouver at 19:15 o'clock,
was made up in the Drake Street
Coach Yard. (Later the site of Expo 86) The crew were required to
be in the yard at 14:00 o'clock to
stock the car with provisions. The
chef and cooks would also begin
preparations for the evening meal
as the train would leave the city
within five hours.
The waiters were required to
check all silverware, dishes and
linen as it was received from the
store room and the cooks made
sure that the galley was stocked
with emergency supplies. When all
were satisfied that the car was in
order, they had a brief rest or could
read in the car before departure. If
time permitted, some might even go
home for an hour or two but had
to be back on the train an hour
before departure time. Finally, the
yard engine hooked onto the train
at about 17:00 hours and we proceeded through Drake Street Tunnel to the Vancouver Station.
Dinner was served as we left
Vancouver and generaUy consisted
of two sittings, depending on the
passenger load. The First Waiter
was responsible for all silverware,
the Second Waiter for all Unen, the
Third for aU water bottles, salt and
pepper ceUars, and sugar bowls and
the Fourth for general duties as required. I usually worked as a Second Waiter.
The last call for dinner was
usually given at about 21:00 or
21:30 hours and we tried to have
the last passengers out by 22:00 so
that we could eat our evening meal.
After supper, the waiters cleared
out the dining room while the cooks
looked after the gaUey. Next the
tables were taken down and stacked
in one corner while the 36 chairs
were formed into beds for the chef
and stewards. A part of the carpet
was roUed away to reveal a large
trap door in the floor. This was
opened to removed ten camp cots,
mattresses and blankets which comprised the sleeping accommodation
for the cooks and waiters. These
were made up along both sides of
the car and two ropes were strung
down the aisle on each side and curtains hung. When everything was in
place, it was hard to tell the dining
car from any ordinary sleeper.
In the morning the sleeping car
conductor caUed us at 05:00 and the
process of the previous evening was
reversed and the car transformed
back into its role as a diner. The O^N-^DI^^rvJ R^VCIFIC
first call for breakfast went out at
06:00. The fuU dining car crew consisted of a steward, chef, five cooks
and five waiters for a total of
During mealtimes one waiter was
stationed at the electrical panel to
control the Ughts and air conditioning when passing through the five-
mile Spiral tunnel on the hill above
Field or the Connaught Tunnel. We
managed to have breakfast finished
about 10:30 but it was always a
rush. As we passed into Mountain
Standard Time at Field we lost an
hour, but passengers being as they
are, they crammed in for lunch,
even though they had completed
breakfast only an hour before.
After lunch came preparations for
dinner as we carried on into
The stay in Calgary lasted an
hour and we would stiU be serving
diners as we carried on towards
Medicine Hat. This was the longest
Division on the Canadian Pacific
and we wouldn't arrive at Medicine
Hat until midnight to 01:00 a.m. If
we were lucky, we'd have been
asleep for a couple of hours by this
time. We'd be jolted awake as the
dining car was cut off and the
switch engine would take us over to
the turntable and turn us for the
return trip.
Dining cars were usually run with
the galley forward because the coal
fired ranges worked better that
way. Train No. 4 would continue
eastward without us, picking up
another dining car at Swift Current
for the run on to Winnipeg.
We were now part of Train No.
3 heading west. This train had
dropped its previous dining car at
Swift Current and would then pick
us up at Medicine Hat. We would
be up again at 05:00 to prepare
breakfast for passengers heading
into Calgary. We'd spend another
hour in the Stampede City and then
whistle off for Vancouver again.
We finaUy arrived back at our
home terminal as Train No. 3 at
about 18:30 on the fourth day. The
trip west was sUghtly less arduous
than the trip east because we gained an hour as we crossed from
Mountain Standard back to Pacific
Standard Time.
After arrival in the home terminal, there was another ritual to
observe and the car had to be spotless, and aU the equipment checked.
Great care was taken to make sure
that none of the silverware was
missing. It's even been said that the
C.P.R. cared more about the knives
and forks than they did the crew.
But it wasn't all bad. There was
a treat in store if you happened to
be working Trains No. 1 or 2. These
trains usuaUy carried a smaller
passenger load and only required
one or two waiters. The train left
Vancouver at about 10:15 a.m. and
arrived in Calgary at 23:00, late in
the evening. The train stopped over
in Calgary until the next day, giving us about ten hours in the city.
The westbound Train No. 1 left
Calgary on the return trip at about
23:00, which gave us about another
ten hours because there was no
point in towing the car on to Medicine Hat when it wasn't needed. I
use the word "towing" in the proper sense, because when we left
Calgary the diner was attached to
the rear end of Train No. 1. When
we reached Katz, near Ruby Creek,
we would be put on the siding to
spend the night. At about 06:00 the
next morning we would be hooked
into Train No. 11, the Kettle VaUey
Express, and serve breakfast as we
ran into Vancouver.
Dining cars were not used on the
Kettle VaUey Express because of
heavy grades on the Coquihalla —
Rock Creek sections. I beUeve a
cafe car was run east of Nelson,
through the Crows Nest Pass to
Lethbridge, but I am not positive
about this.
I worked on several troop trains
on this Une. There was no such
thing as packaged fast foods or
microwave ovens then and everything except the bread was cooked
on board the dining car; pies, puddings, cookies, muffins and roasts
were aU a part of the chef's fare and
To support the passenger train
services, stores depots and laundries
were located in Vancouver, Calgary, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg and
Fort WilUam. The ranges, which
were monstrous affairs, were coal
fired and the preferred fuel was
Canmore Briquettes. The ranges
were so heavy that a counter balance had to be placed in the waU
of the car opposite them.
During the war years we were
often puUed off the regular trains
for troop train service. Sometimes
you would be away for a month and
would run aU over the country, but
then, that's another story. My years
on the dining cars are filled with
memories of good times and I wish
I could do it all again.
Victoria resident Ben Benning was raised in the town of Hudson Bay Junction
in northeastern Saskatchewan. The
early influence of the railway stayed
with him as he grew up and he moved
west to work for the Canadian Pacific
Railway in dining car service. Ben
and his wife Janet are now retired in
Victoria where Ben serves as a Director in the B.C. Railway Historical
B.C. Historical News VANCOUVER'S THREE
Ron Meyer
In this, the centennial year of the
first transcontinental passenger
train to arrive in Vancouver, it
seems appropriate to look back in
time at the three very different
depots that have occupied the location of that early arrival. No
passenger trains of any kind now
operate along the tracks that permitted the first train's weU-attended
entry into the city one hundred
years ago, but that is a relatively recent turn of events.
Construction of the Canadian,
Pacific Railway's main Une in
western British Columbia began in
1882 from tidewater at Port Moody
and continued eastwards. For five
years the town boomed as the transshipment point for incoming construction suppUes; finally, eight
months after the November 7,1885
last spike ceremony, Port Moody
witnessed the arrival of Canada's
first transcontinental passenger
train, on July 4, 1886. The town
seemed assured of a rosy future as
Canada's west coast metropoUs,
despite the unsettUng rumours that
the CPR itself was unhappy about
the choice of the western terminus.
In fact, as early as 1884 the
railway had decided the make
GranviUe, now Vancouver, its
Pacific port and end of steel and
prepared to commence construction. Once they learned of the
CPR's intentions, Port Moody
residents responded predictably.
UnwiUing to lose the glory and
potential gains as major west coast
port, several Port Moody land
owners obtained an injunction to
prevent the railway from building
the extension westwards to Vancouver across their Burrard Inlet
properties. Local rivalry between
the two communities intensified until the Supreme Court of Canada
handed down its decision — in
favour of both the CPR and Vancouver. Port Moody's halcyon days
ended abruptly.
Construction of the 13-mile
grade between Port Moody and
Vancouver resumed immediately,
and on February 23,1887, the first
train of any kind to enter the city,
consisting of a locomotive, four
work cars and caboose, was
reported to have reached the foot
of Alexander Street, as far west as
rails had been laid. The last rail to
the CPR wharf was installed on
April 26, while a month later, Vancouver was to have its day of glory.
On May 23, 1887, the first
transcontinental passenger train
scheduled to reach the new west
coast city arrived to a cheering
welcome by both officials and
onlookers. The locomotive pulUng
this train was No. 374, portions of
which exist in the restored repUca
now on display at the Roundhouse
on the Expo 86 site in Vancouver.
The First Station — 1887
But what of the station itself,
Vancouver's first? Although there
are number of photographs of the
structure, little documentary
material concerning the station appears to exist. Most of what can be
learned was gleaned from local contemporary newspaper accounts, or
from jottings by Major J.S. Matthews, Vancouver's late City Archivist. ActuaUy, the construction
of the passenger depot was preceded by the building of freight sheds
which were begun in 1886. The entire complement of CPR sheds,
docks, and depots, both freight and
passenger, was built along the
waterfront between the north ends
of GranviUe and Burrard Street.
Since the shoreUne of Burrard Inlet then was considerably south of
where it is today, aU CPR faciUties,
including the main Une tracks,
sidings, and aU buildings had to be
built on piUngs over the water.
The passenger depot itself was
first referred to in the Vancouver
News of October 27,1886, in which
it was stated that plans for the
building were to be prepared on instructions from general superintendent Abbott of the CPR. On April
15, 1887 the News announced that
the passenger station was to be buUt
with a Mr. Westcott in charge of
the work, which was to be pushed
through as rapidly as the material
could be suppUed. On May 11 it
declared that the station was nearly completed. The building was
located below the bluff, at track
level, almost exactly at the north
foot of Howe Street.
The station was a simple, one-
storey  wooden  structure  with  a
peaked, shingled roof. It was
described in the News as having a
design "after the style of the Swiss
chalets" which "makes a very pret- ty appearance" (May 11, 1887).
The dimensions of the station were
about 40 by 25 feet, although the
considerable roof overhang on all
sides covered an area about 60 by
50 feet. From the station there extended eastward a single, long narrow platform, about 200 feet long,
which was completely roofed over.
As can be seen in the famous
photograph of Vancouver's "first
train" on May 23,1887, this is the
total extent of the station at that
time. But within a year or two, a
similar, but sUghtly longer building
had been erected at the far end of
the long platform. This structure
was approximately 60 by 25 feet,
not counting overhang. With the
opening of this building, Vancouver's first passenger depot was
complete. The older building at the
west end of the platform was used
as ticket office and waiting room,
the newer and larger building at the
east end was used as an express office and baggage room.
Considering the large size and extent of CPR holdings in the new
townsite of Vancouver, it is interesting to speculate on the choice
of location made by the raUway for
its depots and docks. By the time
that other railway companies arrived in Vancouver, the city's form
and direction of growth were quite
apparent. At the time of the CPR's
arrival, however, the city was in its
formative stage and whatever decisions the CPR made would largely
determine the city's future development. With this in mind, it is interesting to note Major Matthews'
analysis of the choice in location
made by the CPR:
"There were several good reasons
for locating the terminus at this
precise place. To the west and to the
east the shore was shaUow, but here
a cliff one hundred feet high, dropped almost straight down to deep
water suitable for ocean docks. The
location was at the centre of vacant
land known as "CPR Townsite";
to the east Granville Townsite was
privately owned and built upon. At
this place a smaU guUy gave easy ac
cess to level ground — Cordova
Street — above, and it was directly in line with Brockton Point
where vessels turn towards the
shore, and, also, the highest crest
of the land, Granville Street and
Georgia Street where, upon the
eminence it was proposed to erect
a palatial hotel. The location of the
smaU guUy determined the position
of the sloping roadway from shore
to level, now Cordova Street above;
the adjacent deep water determined the position of the first ocean
dock; the position of the ocean
dock determined the site of the first
railway station, and the site of the
station determined that the principal thoroughfare should be GranviUe Street. This street led directly
to the crest or summit of the land
where, at the southwest corner of
Granville and Georgia Streets, and
commanding a magnificent view of
harbour and mountains, the Canadian Pacific Railway erected, 1887,
their first hotel in Canada, the first
Hotel Vancouver."
The arrival of the CPR meant
that Vancouver was really to
become a city, and this was eagerly anticipated at the time. As Vancouver's first mayor, Malcolm
MacLean stated in his speech of
welcome for the first train, "This
occasion should be . . . memorable
in honour of the Canadian Pacific
RaUway Company, its directors and
the Government of Sir John A.
MacDonald, who has placed Vancouver among the important cities
of Her Majesty's possessions."
The effects of the railway were
soon felt. The city was now truly
a Canadian port, the nation's
"Gateway to the Pacific", with
shipping and lively import-export
business rapidly on the increase.
The railway was also the catalyst required for Vancouver's population
growth, for "it provided an excuse
for hundreds of entrepreneurs and
workers to come west to make their
fortunes" (Robinson and Hardwick, p. 445). Population statistics
reflect this growth: in 1886 the city
had a total of 2,000; in 1889,
10,000; and 1891, 14,000. As
another source notes, "in seven
years the CPR had transformed a
small lumbering town into a major
centre of shipping and trade" (Roy,
P. 54).
Vancouver's Expansion and
the CPR's Second Station —
The growth of Vancouver during
the last decade of the nineteenth
century continued to be impressive.
From an 1891 population of
14,000, the city was approaching
30,000 by the turn of the century
and, with the prospects of improved
economic conditions, the future
looked even better. Hence it was
not surprising that the CPR, still
one of Vancouver's major industries, decided that it was time to improve its facilities in the city.
Wharves and freight sheds had to
be expanded, but the most important requirement was the need for
a new passenger depot and general
office building.
Accordingly, plans were drawn
up and construction was begun.
The first stone of the new station,
to be located right at the foot of
Granville Street, was laid at 8:00
a.m. on April 19, 1898, and as the
Vancouver Province of that date
noted, "the long looked for depot
is now an assured fact." This
building was a grand structure in
the "Chateau style" which came to
be closely associated with railway
hotels all over Canada, and which
was even extended into the architecture of government buildings at a
later date. Indeed there are some
who argue that this was the most
attractive of all Vancouver's
raUway stations. It iUustrated many
of the attributes of Victorian architecture with its two unmatching
main turrets, the asymmetry of its
eastern and western wings, its vertical and horizontal balance, and
the textured intricacy of its many
small windows and dormers.
As for Vancouver's reaction to
the station, the Province of August
6, 1898 stated:
B.C. Historical News "By far the most important
building now in the course of erection in Vancouver is the Canadian
Pacific Railway's magnificant new
depot which is being buUt to fiU the
pressing need of several years. The
building, the handsome design of
which is famiUar to Vancouverites,
is being built upon plans made by
Mr. (Edward) Maxwell, the CPR
Company's architect, of Montreal
and construction is under the supervision of W.T. Dalton, of this city. The enlargement of the excavations made some years ago according to the original and less extensive plans, was commenced last
January and the work of building
in April.
The front is massive stonework
and the whole structure wiU be
made of Calgary stone and Victoria
pressed brick. The building will be
roofed in before the autumn rains
commence and wiU be finaUy completed early in the spring. The cost
of the building wil be $175,000."
Although this was the cost
quoted at the time, a much more recent statement, issued by the CPR
PubUc Relations Department states
that the cost of the station was (approximately) $67,000. It opened for
business on November 11, 1899.
One of the most apparent
features of the new station was the
wide stone arch above the main entrance. In a memorandum in Vancouver's City Archives, Major Matthews noted that this entrance way
was considered an architectural
marvel at the time. The station certainly had a fine location, commanding a view aU the way up GranviUe
Street. During its short life of only
15 years, it was a major landmark
in the city, as many old
photographs of Vancouver reveal.
This second CPR station was
located south and east of the first
depot, which was stiU used during
The opening of the second CPR
station meant that the original
depot was obsolete. Another CPR
Public Relations statement notes
that "the cost of demoUtion of the
old shed was $2,000." Although it
appears that the eastern or baggage
room portion of the first station,
along with the platform, were soon
demoUshed, the older, western section of the depot was retained. In
fact, this portion, the old waiting
room and ticket office, was
transported intact approximately
one mile east along the CPR tracks
to a new location at 10 Heatley
Avenue, just north of Alexander
Street. Here it began a new life as
Hastings Station, serving the East
End of Vancouver. East End
passengers were able to embark or
disembark at this station, thus
avoiding the unnecessary trip
downtown to the main depot.
The old station was stiU at this
location when it was "rediscovered"
by the Vancouver Sun on
November 5,1948. The reasons for
this are as follows: sometime
around the turn of the century a
CPR switchtender by the name of
Mr. WiUiam Alberts had been injured while on the job. After moving the station, the CPR permitted
Mr. Alberts to Uve rent free in part
of the building for the rest of his
life. He continued to work as
trackswitcher, right outside his own
front door, until retirement, and
Uved to be 80, dying in March 1948.
His daughter, a Mrs. Ross, was
preparing to move out of the old
depot in November 1948, and some
how the Sun was alerted to the
story. The newspaper reported that
the original waiting room benches
and the Uttle round stove on high
legs were still there in a room which
Alberts had used to store junk. The
article included a photograph of the
building as well.
The depot must have been torn
down soon after that, for when City Archivist Major Matthews finally discovered the article and visited
the site on October 17, 1953 he
reports being told that "the CPR
tore it down about four years ago."
From the Sun photograph,
however, Matthews concluded that
the building was undoubtedly the
same depot that appears in the picture of Vancouver's first passenger
train. It is remarkable that Van
couver's original station should
outlast its successor by nearly 35
years, only to be torn down with
almost no-one aware of its passing.
The Third Station — 1914
Between 1901 and 1911, Vancouver, along with the rest of
Canada, experienced its greatest
percentage increase in population.
From a 1901 population of about
30,000, Vancouver grew to an
amazing 121,000 in only ten years.
It was obvious that Vancouver was
to become a major city, certainly
the largest in the province, for while
it was approximately the same size
as Victoria, the next largest town
in 1900, by 1911 it was almost four
times larger than the capital city.
On a visit to Vancouver in
September 1911, Sir Thomas
Shaughnessy, the president of the
CPR, announced that the city
would have "a new and splendid
depot" (Province, September 5,
1911). In January of the same year,
the Province had noted that a new
CPR station would be built facing
Seymour Street, "and the present
one wiU be demoUshed to make way
for a traffic bridge to accommodate
passengers going to and from the
coastal steamers" (January 23,
1911). A year later the Vancouver
World in a special Progress Edition
noted that the Canadian Pacific
was going to spend "upwards of
$2,000,000 on improving the Vancouver terminal." In place of the
existing depot would be erected "a
passenger terminal and office
building that wiU be adequate for
the handUng of the volume of
business carried on by the company
in this city" (January 6, 1912).
The first work on the project,
which involved the building of a
crane to undertake excavations for
the foundations, began on May 30,
1912. This third Vancouver CPR
station was opened in August 1914.
It was designed by the architectural
firm of Barott, Blackadder, and
Webster of Montreal, while the
engineers on the site were Church,
Kerr, and Westinghouse. This latter firm was also in charge of
10 demoUtion of the old station, which
was removed as soon as the new
one opened. In fact, the east wing
of the second station had to be puU-
ed down at an early stage during
construction of the third to permit
it to extend right to Granville
Street. Thus the three CPR stations
in Vancouver were located progressively eastwards.
The new CPR station dwarfed its
predecessor. Measuring 375 feet in
length, as compared to the less than
200 feet of the chateau style station,
it was nearly 150 feet wide at its
widest point while the older depot
had been less than 75 feet in depth.
Although not as taU as the six
stories and turret roof of the
chateau station, the four stories of
the newer depot, with its greater
size, provided several times more
office space as well as a large and
attractive high-ceiUnged waiting
room. Nevertheless, there are those
who feel that the newer station has
Uttle of the charm and character of
the building which it replaced.
With its white stone columns,
cornices and arched windows, the
new depot followed the neoclassical style so popular at this
time, and seen in such famous contemporaries as New Yrok's Grand
Central and Pennsylvania stations.
Inside the huge arched windows
permit shafts of light to enter in a
manner again similar to that of
Grand Central Station. The high
vaulted ceiUng is created in the
grand manner of pubUc buildings.
High around the sides of the
waiting room, in the rotunda, are
a number of large oil paintings, but
their distance from the floor makes
it difficult to see them properly. According to a memorandum in the
CPR's PubUc Relations Department, there is an unsubstantiated
legend to the effect that these paintings were done on canvas by the
wife and daughter of a CPR
General Superintendent about
1916, and then attached to the waUs
permanently. The story continues
that opera glasses were once sup-
pUed so that people could observe
these paintings more clearly.
Another interesting feature of this
station, the truth of which is not in
doubt, was its full time resident.
For 16 years-until her retirement in
1960, Mrs. Katharine Faint, the station's matron, Uved permanently in
a two-room suite on the second
floor — right behind the great stone
pillars. She was the only person to
actually reside in the railway
In its nearly 60 years of existence,
this depot has witnessed many
events, but possibly the most unconventional occurred after the arrival of a group of Doukabours in
Vancouver on December 1, 1921.
There followed the first recorded
disrobing of Doukabours in pubUc
as three of the group proceeded to
remove their clothing. In this way
Vancouver was introduced to what
has been described as a "unique
B.C. custom" (Morley, p. 167).
One can imagine that they were not
long permitted to remain on the
The last decade has seen major
changes in travel patterns, each affecting the former CPR depot. On
June 17, 1977, the Sea-Bus commuter ferry service across Burrard
Inlet was inaugurated, using the
station as its southern terminal.
Two years later, on October 27,
1979, the last regular passenger
train to use the depot made its
departure. Via Rail Canada, now
the sole operator of transcontinental rail service, had decided to
schedule all future train service
from the CN station on Main
Street. After more than 92 years of
service, passenger trains over the
Port Moody-Vancouver extension
had ended.
Six years later, a different type
of train service began using the old
CPR depot. Sky-Train commuter
trains connecting Vancouver and
New Westminster commenced
regular service on January 3,1986.
After many years of discussion and
planning, the old building had
become a regional transit centre. In
time, commuter trains from Co
quitlam, Maple Ridge and Mission
may even retrace the route over the
CPR right-of-way that Locomotive
No. 374 foUowed on its historic
journey into Vancouver one hundred years ago this May.
(cont. from page 1)
the tonnage that it hauled. With the
locomotive, so also have the gleaming tuscan red or PuUman green
passenger trains of the past, with
heralds lettered in dulux gold
become an endearing part of our
romantic and historic past.
The first theme issue of the B.C.
Historical News takes us back to a
time not long ago when life was
centred on the town station, when
the pulse of the community beat in
time with the scheduled arrival of
the train. It's therefore appropriate
that this issue commemorates our
railway heritage. We hope you wiU
enjoy these articles which cover a
varied spectrum of railway
Darryl Muralt
Don't let your
subscription expire.
Check your address label for
date off renewal.
B.C. Historical News
Geoffrey Castle
The Victoria and Sidney Railway, completed in 1894, ran from
a temporary station at Tolmie
Avenue to Sidney where it picked
up railroad cars shipped to and
from Vancouver on the company's
ferryboat, Victorian. The contractor for construction of the railway
was T.W. Paterson who was lowest
bidder at $285,000.
Locomotive No. 1 was a 2-6-0
(Mogul) acquired from the Canadian Locomotive Company. It
started out hauUng passengers on
the "Cordwood Limited."
Although two daUy trains each way
were scheduled, the service quickly gained a reputation for
unreliability. Derailments and
breakdowns were frequent and
there was no profit to invest in new
Increased traffic at the turn of
the century merely imposed greater
wear and tear on the engines, rolling stock and roadbed. Debts increased owing to damage claims
and the Great Northern Railway
Company had to come to the
In 1910, the V. and S. abandoned its Cormorant Street station in
the Market Building and moved its
terminus to Blanshard Street. This
eUminated a steep grade along
Victoria and Sidney Railway Locomotive No. 1
Picture credit: Barry F. King
Fisgard Street and a sharp curve
onto Blanshard.
The B.C. Electric Railway completed its Une from Victoria to Deep
Cove in 1913 and provided competition. The G.N. fought back and
put a modern gas-electric coach into service, but when the Canadian
Northern Pacific (later C.N.R.)
Railway started yet another service
in 1917 it spelled doom for the V.
and S. Railway which had to be
abandoned in April, 1919.
Veyaness Road and Lochside
Drive in Central Saanich run along
the old V. and S. .and C.N.R.
roadbeds — silent reminders of
steam days on the Saanich
Castle, Geoffrey and King, Barry F.
Victoria  Landmarks,   Victoria,
Castle and King, 1985.
Hearn, George, and Wilkie, David.
The Cordwood Limited, Victoria,
The  British  Columbia  Railway
Historical Society, 1966.
Turner, Robert D. Vancouver Island
Railroads, San Marino, Golden
West Books, 1973.
Geoffrey Castie is president of the Victoria section of the B.C. Historical
Federation. He is a former archivist
with the Provincial Corporation of the
District of Saanich.
Ross Westergaard
British Columbia's ALRT —
Advanced Light Rapid Transit —
system, racing along lofty stressed-
concrete roadbeds and diving
through deep caverns on its ultramodern route from Vancouver
through the MunicipaUty of Burnaby to the City of New Westminster, is actually a second-
The old B.C. Electric Railway interurban lines not only stretched
farther, but for their day were
equally fast, and carried freight as
well as passengers.
British Columbia had Canada's
second interurban Une, completed
in 1891. The first tram ran between
Vancouver and New Westminster
on October 3 of that year, over
what came to be known as the Central Park Line. The original builder
was, however, the Westminster and
Vancouver Tramway Company.
Burnaby, through which most of
the Une passed, would not be incorporated until the following year —
largely because of the tram's effect
in opening up what heretofore had
been inaccessible bushland. Prior to
the interurban, the only pubUc land
transport had been a horse-drawn
stage clattering along Douglas
Road, between New Westminster
and New Brighton Park.
IronicaUy, the original method of
locomotion proposed was the
horse. Barns to house the animals
were constructed at what is now the
intersection of Kingsway and Griffiths — present site of a B.C.
Hydro electrical substation. Electric
locomotion technology had made
great strides in the interim between
planning and building, however,
and so a steam plant for electric
generation was built near the
stables, which had been converted
to "car barns".
Not only passengers were enthusiastic about the new service,
but freight shippers as weU. Burnaby then was noted for its
strawberries, which were brought to
the rails by the wagon-load and
there trans-shipped to Vancouver-
bound freight cars.
Expansion of the system began
with its acquisition by the newly
formed B.C. Electric Railway Co.
in 1897. The Vancouver to Steveston passenger service began in
1905, when the Vancouver and
Lulu Island Railway was leased
from the Canadian Pacific Railway, and electrified; and the Marpole (then Eburne) to New West
minster Une was opened in 1907. In
1910 passenger and freight service
reached 65 miles up the Fraser
VaUey to ChiUiwack; 1911 saw
completion of the famous Burnaby
Lake Line, and the original Central
Park Line was double-tracked in
At the height of its glory the B.C.
Electric Railway operated some sixty trains each way daily on the Central Park Line; twenty trains each
to Steveston and New Westminster
from Marpole, and the Burnaby
Lake route handled fifteen. The
longer Fraser VaUey Une usually
carried only three trains daily. For
many years the interurban Unes carried about five million passengers
The trams superficiaUy resemble
their prosaic brethren, streetcars,
but were larger, faster, and frequently operated in multi-car
trains. Of the many trams once
operated by the B.C.E.R., only one
survives in British Columbia in
more-or-less original condition.
Tram No. 1223 is on display in Burnaby's Heritage ViUage Museum at
4900 Deer Lake Avenue. She was
built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1913,
and was one of twenty-eight sinular
units bought in a block by the interurban Une, which assigned them
numbers from 1217 to 1244.
Number 1223 was powered with
four General Electric GE204A
motors, and St. Louis Car. Co.
type 23ES trucks supported her
empty weight of over thirty-five
B.C. Historical News
13 tons. A bulkhead with a sUding
door separated the smoking and
non-smoking compartments, whUe
a long cord ran through a series of
inverted "V" brass frames for
signals from conductor to motor-
man. On either side of the beU-cord
hung swaying Unes of leather straps
to supplement the brass seat-back
hand grips for standees.
Her route on the Burnaby Lake
Line took her from the downtown
Vancouver terminal at Carrall and
Hastings Streets past the rural settings of Burnaby Lake with its
farms, tiny settlements and logging
camps, into Sapperton; and then
jogged south to New Westminster
for a total distance of 14.7 miles.
When the Burnaby Lake Line
was discontinued on October 23,
1953 — prematurely, it now appears — Number 1223 was put out
to pasture. She was on unprotected
display for several years, during
which time she was ravaged by
Heritage Village Museum acquired the tram in 1971, and the
desecrated vehicle was moved to a
permanent site within the Village
where staff and volunteers worked
to restore her. Their efforts were
successful, and the priceless piece
of British Columbia history is once
more intact.
The beginning of the end of the
interurban Unes came with cancellation of the Sapperton-New
Westminster portion of the Burnaby Lake Line in 1937. 1949 saw
the Fraser Valley route handUng
only freight, and from then on curtailment of passenger services accelerated. At the close of 1956 only the Marpole to Steveston service
remained, and this finaUy closed in
Although most of the trackage
was retained for freight trains, the
Burnaby Lake Line was completely abandoned and few vestiges remain. Heritage ViUage managed to
obtain and restore "Vorce Station", one of the many open-
fronted shelters which dotted the
Burnaby Lake route — which was
discovered being used for hay
Were the interurban lines prematurely abandoned? Many believe
so, and their convictions are strengthened by the fact that the ALRT
trackage foUows basicaUy the same
routes as the B.C.E.R. The Light
Rapid Transit system may have certain advantages, but there are a
number of people who would readily swap the multi-million dollar
streamliner for the sight of a big
single yellow headUght swaying
down the tracks, and the sound of
the hoarse "Hooooo-hoooooo' of
a tram's whistle.
Ross Westergaard is a writer living in
Clinton, B.C.
(cont. from page 5)
F.R.F. Brown
plans, UteraUy helped build our
country. Without their successful
adaptation of raUway technology to
our conditions, the CPR could not
have survived — and British Columbia might not have been linked
to the rest of British North
' Omer Lavallee, Canadian Pacific Steam
Locomotives (Toronto: Railfare Enterprises Ltd., 1985), pp. 45 - 46.
2 Ibid., pp. 237, 253, 255, 288, 290, 453.
' Ibid., p. 55.
4 Ibid., pp. 237, 238, 453.
5 The best source for Brown's training and
experience is his own hand-written
"Statement of Professional Record"
made c. 1886 for his application for
membership in the Canadian Society of
Civil Engineers, now in the Public Archives Canada, MG28IZ77 vol. 46, with
the society's membership records. The
direct quotations which follow are all
from Brown's two-page statement. Further information in Lavallee, op.cit., pp.
40, 51. There are many letters to and
from Brown in the CPR Archives (Montreal), and during his later career on the
the Intercolonial, in the ICR correspondence, now available in microfilm
form at the Public Archives Canada,
RG30, many volumes (for example, vol.
12000, General Manager's Office Letters, 1893 - 1894, includes letters from
D. Pottinger, General Manager, to
s Brown, "Statement . . . ," p. 2.
In Memorium
Francis Armour Ford passed
away on March 8, 1987. A Service
of Remembrance for him was held
at AU Saints AngUcan Church, Port
Alberni, on March 11, 1987.
Armour and his wife Helen were
founding members of the Alberni
District Historical Society in 1965.
He directed the registration of the
group as a non-profit organization
and for a number of years was its
able Treasurer. In this role he is
remembered for his succinct reports: "AU our bills are paid and
there is still money in the bank."
On occasion Armour and Helen
would report on trips they had
made to less famiUar parts of
Canada with special mention of
that community's history.
Many members of the B.C.
Historical Federation wUl have met
Armour and Helen at Annual
Meetings and will recall their keen
interest in the activities of the
The Alberni District Historical
Society has lost a helpful and supportive member of long standing.
Their loss is shared by the members
of the Federation at large.
William D. Edson with Raymond F.
Corley, "Locomotives of the Grand
Trunk Railway," Railroad History 147
(Autumn, 1982), pp. 42 - 183, particularly pp. 61, 78, 126, 128, 137, 146,
152, 164.
Lavallee, op.cit., p. 51.
Francis R.F. Brown, "On the Construction of Canadian Locomotives," Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical
Engineers, 1887, pp. 186 - 273.
1 Ibid., p. 222 (Samuel Johnson, Loco.
Supt., Midland Ry., Derby)
Ibid., pp. 227 (Robert Burnett, English
consulting engineer, formerly with the
New South Wales Ry., AustraUa)
! Ibid., p. 224 (Burnett)
' Ibid., p. 231.
' Ibid., pp. 231 - 232.
' Ibid., p. 245 (James Reid of Neilson &
Co., Hyde Park Locomotive Works,
! Ibid., throughout Brown's original
paper, pp. 186 - 218, and his reply to the
discussion, pp. 255 - 273.
' Ibid., pp. 272 - 273.
14 Chateau Prince Rupert:
A Forgotten Dream
Ron Hawker
In the summer of 1985, while
preparing for the instaUation of insulation in the attic of Victoria's
Glenlyon School, Headmaster Keith
Walker found two sets of plans
down one of the eaves in a dormer
on the south side. Part of Glenlyon
School was designed and built by
Francis Mawson Rattenbury as his
private residence in 1898. One set
of these plans, consisting primarily of blueprints, deals with the
technical details of his Library and
East and West wing additions to the
ParUament BuUdings. The originals
of these have recently been acquired
by the British Columbia Provincial
Archives. The other set consists of
283 drawings in various media dealing with a hotel commissioned by
the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
for Prince Rupert, the company's
proposed Pacific terminus. In May,
1986, under the direction of Martin Segger of the University of Victoria's Maltwood Art Museum and
Gallery and with the financial
assistance of the Heritage Trust
Student Employment Program, the
author was given the opportunity
to study and prepare an exhibition
plan for these drawings.
The Prince Rupert plans date between 1911 and 1913. Fourteen of
these drawings were done in pencil
on paper, nine in pencil on tracing
paper, fourteen in ink on tracing
paper, one hundred six in ink on
Unen, one hundred twenty-nine are
Second Avenue elevation, ink on linen, June 1, 1913.
blueprints and eleven are brown-
prints. The hotel was designed in
the Chateau style, an architectural
style influenced by Bruce Price's
Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City
and the early Canadian Pacific
Railway hotels.
Rattenbury, who had arrived in
British Columbia from Yorkshire,
England in 1892, ' is most famous
for his designs for the British Columbia ParUament Buildings. He
began work with the Canadian
Pacific Railway in 1901 when he
won the competition for the CPR's
proposed Vancouver hotel. Although his original plans for this
structure were altered, the CPR
seems to have been satisfied with
his work and he was commissioned
to design the company's proposed
hotel for Victoria in 1903. Named
the Empress in 1905, this hotel is
now considered to be the finest example of the Chateau style in
Western Canada.
EssentiaUy a reinterpretation of
the French Gothic style with its
steep hipped roofs, pointed finial-
ed dormers, corner turrets and
oriels, this Chateau style became
extremely popular because it was
felt that it embodied aspects of both
EngUsh and French architecture
and therefore symbolized Canada's
unique cultural background. It also
echoed elements of the Scottish
baronial style which was extensively
used in railway architecture in northern Great Britain during the late
nineteenth century. The CPR was
instrumental in its spread across
Canada, and through his involvement in the CPR, Rattenbury became one of its leading architects.
Francis Rattenbury was always
enthusiastic about the business
potential of the north. As early as
1903, he had purchased eleven
thousand acres of land in the
Nechako VaUey in the hope of profiting from the resource and agricultural development that would
follow the construction of a northern railway. 2 In 1903, the Grand
Trunk Pacific Railway had engineered an agreement with the federal
government and proposed to build
a second transcontinental rail Une.
In November, 1906, the GTP commissioned the architect to design a
hotel for their proposed Pacific terminus in Prince Rupert. Seeing his
future as being Umited with the
B.C. Historical News
15 CPR and perhaps hoping to cash
in on the development of northern
British Columbia, Rattenbury resigned from the Empress commission in December, 1906 and committed himself to the GTP.
Prince Rupert had been chosen
as the Pacific terminus for the
GTP's Une after months of coastal
exploration by the company's
engineers in 1904. The Prince
Rupert site was considered to be the
best natural harbour on the entire
Pacific coast and was commercially valuable because it was two days
closer to the Orient than either Vancouver or San Francisco. The GTP
promotional material recounted
glowing reports of the possibilities
of fishing and logging industries
along the coast and farming in the
interior. The first land sales were
successful and the population
doubled within three months in
1909. Charles Melville Hays, the
company's general manager, was
planning to make Prince Rupert the
most beautiful city in North
America. Right from the start of
the project, he had hired the landscape architects Brett and Hall of
Boston to assist in town planning. 3
Although Rattenbury had completed plans for a smaller hotel for
Prince Rupert in December 1906,
the GTP intended to replace it with
a much larger structure. In 1911,
they commissioned him to draw up
a series of plans for a chain of
hotels. Rattenbury, who had recently completed a study hoUday in
Europe, developed schemes based
on those Medieval, Renaissance
and Classical themes he deemed appropriate to the specifications of
each commission: French Renaissance and EngUsh Jacobian for the
larger hotels, Renaissance and Classical for the terminals, Swiss Chalet
for the smaller resorts and American vernacular for the mountain
stations. 4
Rattenbury had begun preliminary sketches for the second, larger
Prince Rupert hotel by September
1911, and by February 1912, surveys and test borings had been done
at the site itself. Included in these
plans are seventeen conceptual
drawings, six of which are on
Union Club stationary. These are
the first scribbled attempts at working out the designs for the hotel's
exterior composition as weU as the
floor plan and some interior details.
The hotel was to be in the Chateau
style and was intended to face the
harbour, where the railway and
steamship terminals were to be
located. The site was situated between Second Street and McBride
Street along First Avenue with First
Street leading to the city-facing
In October, 1911, the hotel plans
caUed for four hundred twenty-nine
bedrooms. The first floor would
have a lounge with a large dining
room to one side and smoking,
waiting and reading, and ladies'
drawing rooms to the other. A
Palm Garden and Ball Room was
set at the back with a fountain
under an interior glass dome overlooking the harbour.
By November, 1911, Rattenbury
had drawn up two proposals for the
exterior. Both had a symmetrical
composition consisting of a main
central block flanked by two smaUer
wings connected by low corridors.
The hotel would have steep hipped
roofs, dormers, square turrets and
an arched colonnade on the central
block. The main distinguishing factor between these two proposals
was the proportion of the central
block. In one solution, it was high
and narrow, while in the other it
was lower and wider.
Over the next two years, the plans
evolved and changed as Rattenbury
altered his proposals according to
the desires of his cUent. The number of floors was decreased. The
plan was condensed with the wings
attached directly to the central
block and the corridors eliminated.
The site was even relocated to between First and Second Avenues and
Third and Sixth Streets. The plans
then caUed for a garden complex on
the First Avenue side and a customs
building and a post office flanking
the hotel on Second Avenue.
In June, 1913, an excavation plan
had been prepared and building
specifications had been detailed. It
would seem that the final plans had
been set and the hotel was now
ready to be built. The plans called
for a terrace and stairs leading to
the ladies' entrance on the first
floor. The porte-cochere was
located on the side, with a cul-de-
sac coming from Second Avenue.
The first floor would have offices,
the Palm Room, dining room,
lounge, lobby and ladies' parlor.
The ground floor would have the
kitchen, barber shop, bar room,
biUiard room and grill room. The
basement would have storage and
baggage rooms and a pool.
The basement was to have marble
or Unoleum floors, according to the
use of the room. The service areas
on the ground floor, such as the kitchen, would have cement floors.
The rest of the floor would have tiled, oak, raecoUth, Unoleum or marble floors with oak wainscoting, ornamental plaster, and in some
cases, suspended ceiUngs. The same
luxurious feeUng was kept for the
first floor. It would have red quarry
tiles for the loggia and paneUed oak
floors and scagUola columns for the
lounge. Art glass paneUed skyUghts
were intended for the Palm Room
with a false dome and a fountain
complete with bronze figures. In
every room, rich materials were to
be used in the finish: marble,
mahogony, oak and ornamental
plaster. Each bedroom was to have
a bathroom and a closet and the
wings were to be ten storeys and the
central block twelve.
The hotel was also to have a slate
roof with copper dormers and gutters and cast iron eaves. The exterior was to be done in brick with
terra-cotta sills and detail work.
Above the city entrance, which
would have bronze columns, a copper figure of Prince Rupert would
stand. Prince Rupert was the founder of the Hudson's Bay Company
and Hays named the city after him
because of the Company's historical
16 and economic significance. Along
the cornice of the square central
turret on both elevations, there
would be two reinforced cast cement figures of Uons rampant, the
heraldric symbols of EngUsh royalty. By incorporating these into the
exterior composition, Rattenbury
was trying to make an association
between the hotel and royal luxury.
The Chateau Prince Rupert and
the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway
and its affiUated schemes were
enormously ambitious. The idea for
the construction of Prince Rupert
was to create a port overnight, that
was not only the most beautiful city in North America and therefore
a gUttering introduction to the continent, but also a rival to aU the port
faciUties on the Pacific coast. The
GTP claimed to have the shortest
round-the-world route between its
railway and Atlantic and Pacific
ocean Uners. They also wanted to
cash in on the development of
British Columbia's north and
therefore intended to build a hotel
chain that would put the famous
CPR hotels to shame. At the center
of this chain, overlooking the
MetropoUs of the North and its
bustUng harbour, would be the
Chateau Prince Rupert.
The relationship between the
drawings and the conceptual development of the project would indicate that Rattenbury himself did
the preliminary drawings on paper
and tracing paper and then had
others at his office do the finished
drawings on linen. Although most
Unen drawings bear his name as official architect, only the tracing
paper drawings or blueprints of
tracing drawings bear his signature.
The drawings start out as being
almost wildly ambitious and then
are trimmed down according to
economic reaUty or the tastes of the
The ideas for this hotel and the
grand ambition of Prince Rupert
were doomed to remain on paper.
The GTP suffered its first major
drawback in 1912 when Hays, the
man  whose  energy  and  drive
directed the company, went down
with the Titanic. Although the GTP
completed the raUway Une in April,
1914, the outbreak of World War
One brought on the collapse of the
real estate boom and the company
was left with three-quarters of its
land unsold. It could no longer afford the interest on its debt and was
forced to declare bankruptcy. It
was then absorbed by the Canadian
National Railway, who designated
Vancouver, instead of Prince
Rupert, as the western teminus. s
1 Anthony A. Barrett and Rhodri Windsor
Liscombe, Francis Rattenbury and British
Columbia, University of British Columbia
Press: Vancouver 1983, p. 28.
2 Terry Reksten, Rattenbury, Sono Nis
Press: Victoria, 1978, p. 11.
! Phylis Bowman, Whistling Through the
Wind, P. Bowman: Prince Rupert 1980, p.
4 Anthony A. Barrett and Rhodri Windsor
Liscombe, Francis Rattenbury and British
Columbia, University of British Columbia
Press: Vancouver 1983, p. 226.
! Phylis Bowman, Whistling Through the
Wind, P. Bowman: Prince Rupert 1980, p.
Ron Hawker is currently enrolled in
the Masters of Arts program in the
History of Art at the University of
Victoria where he also works as a
tutorial assistant.
Scholarship Fund
Help us establish a scholarhsip for a
4th year student taking a major or
honors course in Canadian history at
a B.C. University. All donations are
tax deductible. Please send your cheque today to:
The British Columbia Historical
Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 35326
Station E
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
Deadline for the next issue of the
B.C. Historical News is June 1, 1987.
Please submit articles and reports to:
The Editor
P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C. V8R 6S4
B.C. Historical News
17 The 'Live Yank's' Hotel
Branwen C. Patenaude
A mining cabin on upper Antler Creek
and extensive placer tailings. Photo by
WiUiam Luce, better known as
the 'Live Yank', a prospector and
miner from Maine, U.S.A. lived
for many years in the vicinity of
Little Snowshoe Creek, a tributary
of Keithley Creek, in the Cariboo
region of British Columbia. It is not
known exactly when Luce arrived
in the Cariboo, only that he was
one of thousands who left CaUfornia for British Columbia in the early years of the Cariboo gold rush.
To say that Luce kept a hotel on
Little Snowshoe Creek is true in
that he had a cabin on his mining
claim where travellers could buy a
drink, rest and eat a meal. Amos
Bowman, mining engineer for the
Geological Survey of Canada
Report of the Cariboo district,
1885 - 86 shows clearly on his map
of Little Snowshoe and Keithley
Creeks, the Luce claim and
"Yank's old cabin" at the head of
the eastern arm of Little Snowshoe
By far the richest gold deposits
of the Cariboo 'rush' had been
discovered late in 1860 at Antler
Creek by John Rose, Benjamin
McDonald and their companions.
The thousand and more prospectors who followed in 1861 and '62
went by way of Keithley Creek,
Snowshoe, Little Snowshoe and up
over the plateau to Antler Creek. '
Many passed by way of Luce's
claim, and his cabin became a well
known stopping place.
During the first frantic rush of
placer staking on Keithley and
Snowshoe Creeks in 1860 and '61,
some quartz gold deposits were also
discovered. 2 The early placer
miners were famiUar with lode mining, but while placer gold was so
abundant and so easily recovered,
the quartz gold was ignored.
In 1862 Thomas Haywood, an
English-Australian sailor, with
twelve other associates known as
the Douglas Co. recorded claims on
a quartz vein on what is now Luce
Creek. The discovery of the
Douglas vein led to a rush of quartz
claims staking on Little Snowshoe
Creek early in 1863. WUliam Luce's
name first appeared when he
recorded a claim in May of that
year. 3
By 1864 William Luce and
Thomas Haywood had become
partners with others in quartz
claims on Little Snowshoe
Mountain. 4 Unfortunately none of
these ventures proved too profitable, and by 1866 the partners
were back at placer mining. To
quote the Cariboo Sentinel of
August   9,   1866, 5   "On   Little
Snowshoe Creek there are three
men working, each has a separate
claim — one is a Fenian [Irish]
another a 'Live Yankee' [WiUiam
Luce] and the other a 'John Bull'
[Thomas Haywood]." "The 'Live
Yankee'," said the report, "Has
every faith in his old quartz lead on
Snowshoe and intends to resume
work on it as soon as he makes a
Uttle money." While mining did not
pay that well Luce may have made
'a little money' catering to the
many traveUers at his cabin on the
Before the building of any permanent roads in the area the
transportation of goods to the gold
camps was made with packtrains of
forty or more mules. 6 It was possible to make two or even three trips
to the Cariboo from Lillooet each
season. Luce's cabin situated close
to the main traU assured him of the
deUvery of suppUes to his 'hotel'
and saloon whenever the packers
came by.
In 1862 when the largest population of the gold rush entered the
Cariboo, the smaU stocks of provisions on hand in stores and supply
places were soon bought up, and
there was virtually no food to be
purchased anywhere in the Cariboo
that season. 7 The regular importa-
18 tion of catttle into the Cariboo did
not begin until 1863. 8 Wild game
and fish were shot and caught, but
did not begin to feed the numbers
of people in the country that year.
That fall a packtrain of forty-two
mules started out from Antler town
heading south for Keithley Creek.
It was late in September, but still
warm and dry as the packers began
their journey. A few hours later the
sun clouded over, the wind grew
cold and the temperature fell
dramatically. Over the high plateau
snow began to fall, so thick and
heavy that progress became impossible. As the storm increased
further the packers, concerned for
their own survival shot the fear —
crazed mules who floundered about
in the deep drifts. Fashioning
makeshift snowshoes from pieces
of wood the packers descended the
plateau and managed to get to
Luce's cabin at Little Snowshoe
Creek. Luce, upon reaUsing the
quantities of eatable meat under the
snow on the mountain, decided it
was too precious to waste. With the
help of several men at Luce's camp,
and many trips with hand sleighs
much meat was saved.
WiUiam Luce and Thomas Haywood were mining partners for
many years, and accounts of their
progress on Little Snowshoe Creek
appeared from time to time in the
Cariboo Sentinel. Like many partners however, the two miners finally had a falUng out and separated
when they failed to agree on where
to work.
During the heyday of Luce's
stopping house one of the Chinese
miners from the creek did the cooking, while Luce, when he wasn't
mining, would load up his trusty
Kentucky rifle and go hunting for
grouse, grizzly bears, or anything
that turned up. One day in the faU
of 1870 when shooting into a flock
of FrankUn grouse the favourite rifle burst into seven pieces, leaving
just the stock in the 'Live Yank's'
hands. Strange to say several birds
were shot, with no harm to Luce! '
Most of all though, WiUiam Luce
loved to hunt grizzly bears, and in
■ «OUT«» or MINERS 'M 1*5*!
the evening beside the fireplace in
his 'hotel' he would spin many an
exciting tale of his escapades. I0
On the northern slopes of Yank's
Peak is a circular basin gouged out
by nature and known as "Jew
HoUows". Thereby hangs a tale
closely connected to the 'Live
During the Cariboo gold rush the
kaleidoscope of human tide that
flocked to the scene included a Uttle old Jew. He had arrived at
WUUams Creek that spring with his
pack of 'all sorts' to sell as best he
could. Success, however had evaded him and now with winter approaching he had packed his bag,
stiU almost intact, and was making
his way south over the Snowshoe
plateau towards Keithley. As he
plodded along, the old man hadn't
noticed how the weather was
changing, and as he left the shelter
of the taU timber he was faced with
a sudden bUnding snowstorm. Losing sight of the trail he wandered
down across the floor of the basin
at the foot of Yank's Peak, or, as
it was then called, Little Snowshoe
Mountain. A friendly Spruce tree,
its lower branches extending down
to the ground in a tight circle provided a shelter for the unfortunate
peddler as he waited aU night for
the storm to subside. Morning
found him floundering through
deep snow, his precious pack stiU
upon his back, lost, cold and
hungry. It so happened that the
'Live Yank', also out that morning
on snowshoes, came across the old
man and helped him back to his
cabin. After a few day the peddler,
sufficiently recovered from his
ordeal, was ready to take his leave.
Wishing to show his appreciation
for Luce's hospitaUty, but pleading
dire poverty, the old Jew reached
into his pack and presented Luce
with nearly a hundred little round
mirrors, about the size of an
American silver dollar. What Luce
did with those is anybody's guess!
In the late 1860's and '70's new
gold fields in the Omineca and
Cassiar districts of British Columbia drew most of the original
miners away from the Cariboo, but
at Snowshoe, the argonauts of the
1860's Thomas Haywood and
WiUiam Luce remained. Luce was
stiU staking claims in 1873. "
With the estabUshment of alternate and more accessible routes to
the goldfields in the late 1860's
Luce's stopping house became less
frequented. The packers too,
changed their route of travel, and
suppUes for the roadhouse became
less available. WiUiam Luce, the
'Live Yankee' passed away in his
B.C. Historical News
19 cabin on a spring day in May of
1881, and was buried close to his
home by his mining friends. Later
a headboard was ordered, to be
made by Johnny Knott, carpenter
at BarkerviUe. Upon completion,
the wooden marker was to be
deUvered to Little Snowshoe Creek
by mail carrier Fred Littler. 12 The
dimensions of the carefuUy carved
board were five feet in length and
fourteen inches in width — a most
cumbersome package at any time
— but for Fred Littler to have lashed into place on his packhorse all
the way from Barkerville over to
Antler Creek and the Snowshoe
plateau was nigh impossible. Fred
wasn't feeling well that day
anyway. He had just returned to
work after four days and nights of
partying at Stanley! After adjusting
the pack several times he finaUy
pulled the headboard right off and
cached it in the bushes somewhere
in the neighbourhood of Whiskey
Flat, south of old Antler Town.
Over the years the board was found
and used as a table by successive
prospectors camped at Whiskey
Flat, but miraculously it was never
destroyed. In 1939 Luce's headboard was found by Sam Allison,
a Snowshoe prospector, who came
across it while cutting a trail
through to Yank's Peak. Though
still decipherable, the inscription
carved in the 1880's by Johnny
Knott had faded, but with the help
of Mrs. Peterson of the Cariboo
Hudson Mine, the lettering was
restored to its original clarity. Not
long after, the headboard was loaded onto one of Fred WeUs 'cat'
freight outfits and transported to
the slopes of Luce Creek. On
locating the grave Sam AUison and
fellow miner Peter Gorrie dug the
board into place. Finally, after an
interlude of fifty-seven years the
'Live Yank's' headboard had
found its rightful place at the head
of his grave. On it is written the
Sacred to the memory
of WilUam Luce
Native of Maine, U.S.A.
Died May 28, 1881
Aged 60 yrs.
The site of the 'Live Yank's'
Hotel, still visible today is located
on an 'island of ground fifty feet
higher than the surrounding area.
Luce had built his cabin on a piece
of ground totaUy devoid of gold,
and obviously, for that reason it remains undisturbed. The 'island',
approximately 500 yds. long and
150 ft. wide now sits above the
hydrauUc workings of Smith and
Anderson, successors to the Luce
claim, and later stiU, Graham and
V. Miniski.
The cabin site, which over the
last twenty-five years has been dug
extensively by artifact hunters appears to have faced the south to
catch the sun.
It had been a large structure
measuring approximately 20 ft. x 40
ft. At least half of that length was
add ons and lean to's. A pile of
rocks of a uniform size in the north
eastern corner of the cabin indicate
a fireplace or stone chimney.
Amongst the rubble left by the artifact hunters are great quantities of
metal "BeU and Black" match
boxes in varying degrees of disintegration. The sherds of Champagne,
'Case' Gin and other varieties of U-
quor bottles give evidence of a weU
stocked saloon for the enjoyment
of stoppers at the 'hotel'! Further
evidence of this are the great
numbers of whiskey 'shot' glass
sherds that Ue half hidden in the
deep moss covering the ground.
The numerous remains of 'Davis's
Painkiller' bottles indicate the suffering that took place as a result of
the merrymaking. Mule shoes,
smaller and more pointed than
horseshoes are also found at the
The name of William Luce, the
'Live Yankee' is perpetuated for aU
time in the naming of Yank's Peak,
the 6200 ft. mountain on the flanks
of which Luce mined, and in Luce
Creek, an eastern arm of Little
Snowshoe Creek.
End Notes
1 H.H. Bancroft, History of B.C., page
2 B.C. Dept. of Mines, Bulletin No. 34.
"Geology of Yanks Peak," etc. by
Stuart S. Holland. (1954) Early History
of Lode Mining.
J B.C. Dept. of Mines, Bulletin No. 34,
by S.S. Holland, p. 39.
4 Ibid.
B.C. Mines Bulletin No. 34, p. 47,
Footnote **, Haywood worked an ar-
rastre on quartz from this deposit, but
the work was unprofitable.
5 The Cariboo Sentinel was a newspaper
printed in Barkerville from 1865 to 1875.
' Howay & Scholefield, History of B.C.
Vol. 2, page 96.
Ibid, page 97.
7 a. Bancroft, History of B.C., p. 481,
famine in Cariboo,
b. (W. Champness) To Cariboo and
Back, p. 11
■ F.W. Laing, Pioneers of the Cattle Industry, p. 269. Howay & Scholefield,
History of B.C., Vol. 3, Biographies, p.
1108 Michael C. Brown. B.C. Dept. of
Mines, Bulletin No. 34.
' Cariboo Sentinel, October 1, 1870, p.3.
10 Cariboo Sentinel, September 1,1869, p.
3. Yanks Peak, at first called Little
Snowshoe Mtn. Lieutnt. H.S. Palmer
Map of part of B.C. to accompany
report of Feb. 21st. 1863 (P.A.B.C.)
11 Cariboo Sentinel, August 23,1873, p.2.
I.E. The wagon road via Quesnel to
Barkerville, completed in 1865. Many of
the original headboards in the Barkerville
cemetary are attributed to Johnny Knott,
who went first to mine for gold, but
made better pay as a carpenter at
12 "William Luce" by Louise LeBourdais,
Vancouver Daily Province, Feb. 10,
1940. Stanley, a mining camp on Lightning Creek. The Cariboo Hudson Mine —
the brainchild of Fred Wells, was located
18 miles southeast of Barkerville. It was
never too successful. Fred Wells — One
of a group of developers of the Cariboo
Gold Quartz Mine in the 1920's and
'30's. Wells, B.C. a Company town built
in 1933 was named in his honour. B.C.
Dept. of Mines, Bulletin 34, by Stuart
S. Holland, p. 49.
Branwen C. Patenaude lives in
Quesnel. "The 'Live Yank's' Hotel"
is one of a collection of stories of over
200 roadhouses that she hopes to have
published under the tide Paths of
20 Quadra
the town that almost came to be
Darryl Muralt
The Uttle coal mining community of Quadra was born, prospered
briefly, and perished nearly 20
years before the opening of the
famous Union CoUieries at nearby
Quadra's existence and fortunes
were based on the Baynes Sound
Coal Mines which were located
several miles inland from Fanny
Bay in the narrow gorge of a tributary of the Tsable River. Today,
the Uttle community has passed
from the memory of aU but a few
and even its exact location is
The presence of coal in the area
first became known in the early
1870s when two seams of fine hard
coal were located in a deep canyon
about 2'/2 miles inland from the
quiet waters of Baynes Sound. The
seams were six and seven feet in
width and were conveniently located so that they could be worked
level-free, meaning that a horizontal tunnel could be used to remove
the coal rather than a deep shaft
and hoisting apparatus.
The mine site was about 200 feet
above sea level which would also
favor easy downhiU transportation
to tidewater for transfer aboard
ships or barges. The shipping point
was ideaUy located along the west
ern shore of the Sound, somewhere
between Vancouver and Denmen
Development work began in 1874
with the driving of two short tunnels and a shaUow shaft was excavated to locate the upper seam
where it had lateraUy shifted by a
fault or movement along a crack
between two large bodies of rock.
The results justified further
development and, in 1875, the
Baynes Sound Coal Mines Company was incorporated to bring the
5,000 acre property into
By the end of that year, a sawmUl
was under construction to cut timbers for the erection of mine buildings, wharves and tramway to carry
the coal down to tidewater. One of
the two original tunnels was enlarged and driven into a point about
250 feet from the surface at the
riverbank. It intersected the first
two coal seams plus a third which
was about three feet in width. The
tunnel was six feet wide and six feet
eight inches high, allowing room
for an underground tramway to
bring the coal out to the surface.
To carry the coal down to Baynes
Sound the company constructed a
36-inch narrow gauge tramway
which was about  3/2  miles in
length. At the shore of the sound,
a wharf 410 feet in length was constructed from the high water mark
out to a point where six fathoms of
water provided adequate depth for
the berthing of even the largest
ocean-going vessels of the day. Two
vessels could be loaded simultaneously. The deck of the wharf stood
25 feet above high water mark and
it must have been a very imposing
The main coal bunkers were
located inland at the mines and
could hold up to 1,200 tons of coal.
There was also a storehouse and
other surface buildings there.
By October of 1876 the mine was
ready to begin production of its fine
steaming coal and, on Nov. 1, the
first loads went down to the wharf
over the tramway. In two months
of operation the company produc- .
ed 600 tons of coal with 98 tons being sold locaUy. Unfortunately, difficulties in the San Francisco coal
market, the company's main source
of sales, left the firm with 500 tons
in the bunkers for sale at the year-
Soon, a townsite was surveyed
and named Quadra in honor of the
Spanish explorer who first visited
the area in the late 1700s. There was
a hotel, saloon, post office and
store — aU the trappings of a pioneer community. Quadra became the
main centre for the populations of
Denman and Hornby Islands as
weU as the adjacent mainland and
was a port of call for the weekly
coastal steamer.
In spite of a surplus of coal in the
bunkers at year-end, production at
the mines continued into 1877 and
averaged about 50 tons a day. Unfortunately, the San Francisco market, principal outlet for all of the
Vancouver Island coal mines, remained depressed due to competition from other sources. Production at the Baynes Sound mines
slowed to a halt and the company
was left with 1,500 tons on hand at
the end of the year.
In spite of the slump in the coal
market, other developments were
B.C. Historical News
21 taking place on the property. The
steam sawmill, which had been
built to supply timbers for mine and
railway construction, continued to
produce up to 10,000 board feet of
lumber per day which found a
ready local market. More buUdings
for the company and cottages for
the miners were constructed and
some of the cut was sold elsewhere
in the neighborhood.
One of the most interesting
features of the operation was the
mine tramway which wound its way
down to Baynes Sound over a circuitous route. The rolUng stock
consisted of a tiny 8 Vi -ton Baldwin
locomotive and 21 four-ton coal
cars. The tramway could deUver up
to 300 tons of coal to wharfside in
a 10-hour day.
During this period, the company
employed 42 white and 13 Chinese
workers. The whites were paid $2
a day and the Chinese received only half that amount for the same
work. The coal was extracted from
what had become known as the
Gaston Seam and was of excep
tional quality for steaming
Sadly, the slump in the coal
market continued, but development
work in the mines continued for
awhile and the main tunnel reached
a point 400 feet in from the surface.
Production finally ceased at the
mine in 1878 but exploratory work
was carried on for a time. Soon,
even that work ceased and the
Baynes Sound Coal Mines Company ceased to exist except as a
memory in the minds of a few
oldtimers along the sound.
The Baynes Sound Coal Mines
was the first mine operated in the
Comox-Cumberland coal field and
had been a memory for 10 years
before the Union Colliery opened
in the area in 1888. It's significant
that the Tsable River Mine, which
was the last operational mine in the
Cumberland coal field, operated in
the same area as the old Baynes
Sound Coal Mine.
Today it is history, but in my
mind's eye I can see a smaU steam
locomotive easing a cut of loaded
coal cars down to Fanny Bay from
the mine. As she rounds the corner
into view, a light haze pulses from
her tiny stack. The engineer,
resplendent in coveralls and black
bowler hat, waves a cheerful hello
in the manner familiar to all who
have stood by the tracks to mark
the passing of the iron horse. The
fireman stoops to open the firebox
door and throws in a few lumps of
coal. The highly poUshed bell and
brasswork of the locomotive
sparkle in the morning sunUght. It
is the first train of the day and the
Uttle four-ton cars with their loads
of black diamonds bang against the
rail joints with a "chunk, chunk,
chunk." As the train recedes into
the distance, a high-throated whistle rises through the trees. So did
the Baynes Sound Coal Mines leave
their mark in passing on this
beautiful island.
Darryl Muralt is president of the B.C.
Railway Historical Association.
I wish to subscribe to S.C. Historical News. I enclose a cheque or money order payable to the
B.C. Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5.
Individual   Four issues for $8.00 ( )
Institutional   Four issues for $16.00 ( )
Postal Code
22 Trains!
Cameron Lake Station.
First Passenger Train. E&N Railway.
Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway,
Victoria Terminal.
(photos from the collection of Darryl Muralt)
B.C. Historical News
23 News and Notes
Fraser Lake Historical Society
This recently formed group have
written and pubUshed Deeper Roots
and Greener Valleys, a 316 page
history of Fraser Lake & District.
The preparation for this book started in 1983. To raise funds for pubU-
shing the group initiated some novel projects. A Historical Quilt was
prepared by the ladies of the Society and raffled in the summer and
fall of 1984.
The quilt squares each had a picture graphed on, then outUned in
black TriChem paint. Various
homesteads, churches, schools, and
stores were depicted plus some unique items such as Bluenose Pad-
dlewheeler, Lejac Water Tower,
Sherriff Peter's Buggy, AngUcan
Sunday School Van, Track Layer
1914, First Car 1911, Railway
Bridge 1914, and Fort Fraser Forestry Lookout. Each pale green quilt
square was bordered with dark
green strips; the whole was backed
with a sheet patterned with provincial flowers. The quilting was done
at the home of Grace Foote. Winner was Mrs. Franks, formerly of
Fraser Lake but now resident in
Nelson, B.C.
Members of this new Historical
Society have set themselves a fresh
goal now that their book is pubUshed and seUing briskly. Endako
Cemetery is a resting place for
pioneers, no longer used, so the
Fraser Lake Historical Society has
work parties planned to clean and
restore it.
Hazel L. Foote, Secretary.
The Cowichan Historical Society
first opened their Museum Display
in the Duncan I.O.O.F. Hall in
1978. This display was a portrayal
of a settler's home in the Cowichan
Valley, circa 1885-1914.
In 1986, the City of Duncan
entered into negotiations with VIA
RaU Corp. and signed a letter of intent. This would see the Esquimalt
and Nanaimo RaU Station transferred from the C.P.R. to VIA — then
leased to the City of Duncan. The
Mayor, then Mr. Doug Barker, and
Council unanimously agreed to
sub-lease the building to the
Cowichan Historical Society.
The Historical Society has plans
to use the upper floor for archives,
offices, Ubrary and school program
room. The lower floor would house
the main display area, meeting
room, gift shop and storage.
VIA Rail maintains a daily passenger service from Victoria to
Courtenay and return. The opening
and maintenance of the waiting
room would be the responsibUity of
the Museum.
The Vancouver Island Coach
Lines has been offered the north
end of the station for a Bus Depot.
This would also be used by the Via
Rail passengers.
The Cowichan Historical Society
and the Citizens of the Cowichan
VaUey are eagerly awaiting the signing of the lease to make all these
plans come true.
Archaeological Society
The Archaeological Society of
B.C. urges that citizens with private
coUections of prehistoric artifacts
to have their treasures photographed for a provincial catalogue. Members of the Archaeological Society
wiU make appointments to visit the
collection, assuring utmost con-
fidentiaUty, and anonymity if requested. The photographic catalogue of artifacts will be made
available to researchers using the
archives of the Museum of Anthropology at U.B.C.
For further details contact
Pamela Adory at 430-8327 or write
to: The Archaeological Society of
B.C., P.O. Box 520, Station A,
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2N3.
Certificate of Merit
Nominations Invited
The Regional History Committee of the Canadian Historical
Association invites nominations for
its Certificate of Merit Awards.
These annual awards are given to
individuals, groups and organizations who make an outstanding
contribution to regional history. In
1987, for the first time, the emphasis will be on the work of the
non-professional historian. Please
send your nominations with as
much supporting documentation as
possible to:
Clarence G. Karr,
Department of History,
Malaspina College,
900 5th St.,
Nanaimo, B.C.
V9R 5S5
Helen Tremaine
Since its inception in 1957, the
BCMA has grown apace with the
ever-increasing number of museums
and galleries in the province. The
formative years of the Association
involved the development of a newsletter and magazine which provided
our membership with an opportunity to work together, to share problems, and to discuss and develop
solutions to those problems at our
annual conference.
Today, British Columbia has one
of the most active museum communities in Canada. Ranging in size
from the large institutions to many
smaU, volunteer-staffed, community faciUties, our membership is an
important cultural, educational,
economic and tourist resource. The
aims of the Association continue to
focus on the preservation of our
cultural, artistic and natural heritage and the institutions which
carry out these objectives. Its
critical role today continues to be
the vital Unk it provides between an
incredibly diverse membership of
individual professionals, paid and
volunteer, who dedicate their talents
to the preservation of our past.
Over the past five years, the
BCMA, with the aid of the
Museums Assistance Programmes,
National Museums of Canada, has
assumed a major responsibiUty for
basic and intermediate training
throughout the province. The content of aU seminars/workshops is
developed to systematicaUy broaden
the knowledge and skills of museum
and gaUery personnel over a period
of years.
Three-day basic museum studies
seminars are offered in at least ten
different locations each year. Other
subjects covered include museum
and gallery administration, education programming, research and interpretation, development of cultural centres, as well as specific,
speciaUzed workshops. Resource
personnel and instructors are persons who are actively involved with
recognized museums, galleries and
related institutions, as weU as professional staff from colleges and
universities who have a demonstrated interest and abiUty to give
these seminars.
In upcoming issues of B.C. Historical News, we hope to inform
you of some of our activities which
affect our heritage organizations
and which may be of interest to
The Association maintains a Victoria office with three fuU-time
staff members: an Executive Director, Administrative Secretary and
a Training Co-ordinator. For more
information on our seminars/
workshop, please call Helen Tremaine at 387-3971 or write the
BCMA at 514 Government Street,
Victoria, B.C. V8V 4X4.
B.C. Historical Federation
1986 Writing Awards
First prize and Lieutenant-Governor's Medal
Seven Shillings a Year by Charles Lillard, Horsdal and Schubert,
Ganges, B.C., 248 pages, softcover, $12.95.
Best Anthology
Forest to Fields by the Wynndel Heritage Group, Wynndel, B.C.,
615 pages, hardcover, $50.00. (Available from Wynndel Heritage
Group, Box 1, Site 23, R.R. 1, Wynndel, B.C. VOB 2N0, add $3.00
Special Award
Okanagan History — 50th Report of O.H.S., Jean Webber, ed.,
208 pages, softcover, $10.00 (order from O.H.S. Treasurer, Box
313, Vernon, V1T 6M3, add $1.55 postage).
B.C. Historical News
25 Bookshelf
Book editor is Anne Yandle. Books and review
articles should be sent directly to her c/o:
P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
On the Shady Side, Vancouver
1886 -1914, by Betty Keller,
Ganges, B.C., Horsdal & Schu-
bart Publishers Ltd., 1986.
This book dispels any notions
that aU Vancouver pioneers were
moral, industrious, upright, and
true. The Victorian frontier moraU-
ty always had an undertow of alcohol and sex, even on the Sabbath.
In any frontier dominated by single
males, alcohol, gambUng, and
ladies of easy virtue provided popular leisure time activity. The
number of seamstresses Usted in
early city directories could have
clothed the entire continent; no
doubt many of these young "ladies" supported themselves with
another trade. Sporting houses employed lawyers to help themselves
stay within the Umits of the law —
"He says it is alright for you to go
ahead and rent one cabin for one
single woman in each row of the
building but be careful not to seU
any Uquor though the girls could
give away bottles if men asked for
them." Vancouver pioneer society
considered alcohol a much more
serious threat than prostitution to
the public weU-being. Early poUce
records show that more arrests were
made for alcohol related crimes,
especiaUy bootlegging or "bUnd-
Betty Keller has succeeded in
deaUng with the shady side of early Vancouver society in an inr
teresting and humorous way. The
reader will not be bored with a dry
statistical account of the period's
vices. She also shows that transients
and Indians were not the only segment of the city's population to
patronize the brothels: "Even the
most dignified of them needed
entertainment from time to time
. . . they attended church services
on Sunday but they also appreciated the services of Dupont Street
. . . without their continuing support and quietly persistent patronage, none of Vancouver's vices
could have flourished."
Another insight of this work is
that the shady side of Ufe provided
much needed municipal revenue
and it dispels the glamorous HoUy-
wood image of sporting houses —
in Vancouver "even a sturdy built
somewhat mature lady . . . had a
hypnotic aUure."
I found this work weU written
and easily read and will surely interest anyone who enjoys studying
the early social history of Vancouver. If it has a flaw it is the lack
of footnoting and a bibUography,
but this should not deter the reader
from a few hours of pleasureable
Duncan Stacey
Historian, Parks Canada
COTTAGE: Memories of Lord
Selkirk Elementary School and
Cedar Cottage Neighborhood,
1911-1963; edited by Seymour
Levitan and Carol Miller. Obtainable from the school at
1750 East 22nd Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V5N 2P7.
I can remember in 1906 or 1907
being taken by my mother to visit
a friend by way of the "Westminster Tram", which took us south
along Commercial Drive into the
bush at the edge of the city and
stopped at the first station, "Cedar
Cottage". The name caught my
childish fancy. In 1962 our elderly
kilted guide at Dounray, on learning where we were from, asked,
"What is Cedar Cottage like
now?" and answered our surprise
by saying he Uved there in 1907.
Three years later I told that story
to a lady from Thurso who repUed,
"Och, that'd be Jamie McKay!
He's been everywhere in the wur-
ruld if you'd listen to him", but I
assured her he must have been in
Vancouver where I doubted if one
in ten persons knew anything about
Cedar Cottage.
The materials of this Uttle book
were gathered and collated by ten
grade 7 students of Lord Selkirk
Elementary School in Vancouver,
not one of whom has an Anglo-
Saxon, Celtic or French surname
and for many of whom EngUsh is
probably a second language. The
work owes as much to ten other
children, nearly all of oriental
origin who drew some twenty-eight
illustrations ranging from a simple
hand-bell to the school building
itself and including a couple of imaginative action pictures. It is also
enhanced by some forty photographs, only two of which were obviously taken for this purpose.
There are also three area maps and
a number of facsimile documents.
The main body of this 72-page
book consists of excerpts from
recorded interviews by the pupils
with sixteen former pupils of the
school whose attendance forms a
complete continuum from 1911 to
26 1963 together with a "Walking
Tour: Cedar Cottage in its Heyday,
1900-1930". The interview materials are arranged in three sections:
Neighborhood, Home and School.
Each consists of brief acknowledged
quotations rarely exceeding one
short paragraph, grouped under
appropriate titles and each with its
own heading. The "Walking Tour"
consists of pictures with explanatory notes drawn from various
sources, mainly in the PubUc Library or the City Archives.
Cedar Cottage still has most of
the characteristics of a village, just
as Pinner or Wanstead have in
London. The population has changed drastically over the years, and
it is surrounded by city instead of
bush and farm lands. You can see
and feel it for yourself if you walk
along Commercial Street from 18th
Avenue to Stainsbury or even 22nd,
and this children's scrap-book wiU
help you to understand and appreciate it.
(Note: This book received a City of
Vancouver Heritage Award in 1987)
John Gibbard
Professor Emeritus, U.B.C.
Vancouver Historical Society
Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-
Naturalist by Richard Mackie.
Victoria: Sono Nis Press, 1985.
Pp. 234; Illus. $19.95.
Hamilton Mack Laing was born
in Ontario in 1883 and died in
Comox, Vancouver Island, in 1982.
His parents, settlers in Manitoba,
were visiting his mother's family
when Mack was born and he always
felt cheated in not having entered
this world on the Prairies. He was
first of all a Prairie farm boy, and
throughout his Ufe Uked to think of
himself as living on a frontier. He
grew up in Manitoba, and after
schooUng taught in rural communities in the province for several
years. After attending art coUege in
New York and serving as an in
structor in the Air Force during the
Great War, he worked from a base
at his parents' home in Portland,
Oregon, in part as a collector of
birds and mammals on natural history expeditions on the Prairies,
Northern Canada and Alaska, and
in British Columbia. In 1922 he
moved to Comox, built a house,
and remained in the community for
the rest of his Ufe.
Laing was primarily a naturaUst
and writer. As a naturaUst he was
indefatigable in the field and a
thorough student of the outdoors;
as a writer he was proUfic, producing hundreds of articles and several
books. By the 1920s he was famous
throughout North America for his
articles about hunting with a gun
and the ways of wild animals; he
was celebrated for his vivid descriptions and accurate style and his fine
Laing's position in the world of
nature writers, his acceptance of the
role of the hunting gun, and his
designation of animals and birds as
either "good"' or "bad" ensured
him a prominent place in the debate
in the inter-war years about the
relationships of society and wUdUfe,
the conservation of birds and animals and their habitats, and more
specifically, the role of the individual hunter, conservationist, or
scientist. He came, as a consequence, into direct conflict with
many of his acquaintances, primarily Percy Taverner, the leading
figure in Canadian ornithology at
the time, with neighbours in Comox, and with such naturalists as
H.J. Parham whose book, A
Nature Lover in British Columbia,
pubUshed in 1927, demonstrates a
view of the role of man in nature
much less blood-thirsty than does
Liang's work.
Richard Mackie's biography,
Hamilton Mack Laing: Hunter-
Naturalist, is a well organised and
clearly written account of Laing's
life. Special emphasis is given to
Laing's relationship with the pre-
vaiUng philosophies of nature and
the outdoors. The details are good,
the stories vivid and to the point.
The picture of the man is comprehensive. In large part the biography,
as might be expected, is an apology
for Laing's hunting and shooting
activities — apology in the sense of
being explanation. "Mack's philosophy of natural history," Mackie
writes, "must be placed within the
context of a farming community on
the new Canadian frontier"; and,
"The vaUdity of Mack's world-view
was that it stemmed from the very
practical and utiUtarian truth of
frontier Ufe . . . ." At an early age
Mack was given responsibiUty for
the control of destructive animals
on the family farm. He quickly
came to regard himself as a game
warden. First he trapped the sinners
then, when permitted to use a gun,
shot them. He took great pride in
bringing wild meat to the family
table. He grew close to his guns;
hunting became a primary passion.
Later Taverner felt that Laing was
too taken with the gun. Others, Uke
AUan Brooks, the great bird painter
of the time and friend of both
Taverner and Laing, were closer to
Laing in sentiment. Brooks and Laing controUed the predatory birds
on their properties. And both earned a large part of their income from
shooting birds and preparing the
skins for private collectors. Such
activities were anathema to the Ukes
of Parham. "Butchers" he called
them. In the end, Mackie writes,
"What Brooks and Mack were unable to recognize was that the frontier conditions of their youth had
passed and consequently that their
anti-predator and pro-collecting
philosophy made them easy targets
[for the conservationists]."
In the final decades of his life
Laing prepared a biography of
Brooks, a work to which he gave
considerable effort. After rejection
by several commercial firms, the
book was pubUshed by the British
Columbia Provincial Museum in
1979. It provides an interesting
comparison with Mackie's biography of Laing, for the two subjects had much in common in their
B.C Historical News
27 Uves and careers, and were close
friends and associates. Where this
biography of Laing is discipUned
and controlled, the biography of
Brooks is rambUng and disconnected. In the latter there is a certain spontaneity in the frequent use
of selections from Brooks' field
note books; yet it is these very notes
which disrupt the flow of the
On the whole, Hamilton Mack
Laing is weU produced; the usual
Sono Nis Press competence; very
few typographical or editorial errors. There is a useful bibUography
and a good index. The seventy-eight
plates, mostly photographs, add
much to the overaU effect; the
.samples of Laing's own paintings
are most interesting.
There are two disturbing slips.
On page 48 Mackie writes that,
"After the pubUcation [1907] of
'The End of the Trail' Mack wrote
no more fiction — at least none
that was ever pubUshed"; and then
later [p. 120 - 1], "Less successful
were the twenty pieces of fiction he
wrote between 1931 and 1936 . . .
Perhaps, fortunately, few of these
stories were ever pubUshed." And
on page 86 he notes that in June
1922, Laing "selected a twenty-five
acre lot at Okanagan Landing adjacent to the Brooks residence,"
whUe a few pages further on [p. 97],
"In June 1922 Mack had selected
twenty-eight acres of lakefront property at Okanagan Landing adjacent to the estate of J.A. Munro."
Were there two separate properties
Nonetheless a valuable picture of
a man and his times.
George NeweU
Mr. Newell is a member of the BC
Historical Federation, Victoria
WILDERNESS DREAM: Glimpses of Pioneer Life in British
Columbia, by Jeanette Beau-
bien McNamara. Victoria,
Braemar Books, 1986. $10.95.
90 pp.
Early in this century, a group of
French-speaking famiUes moved
out from Quebec province, the men
to find work as miU hands in
MaiUardviUe, now a suburb of New
The author quotes the recollections of her uncle, Jean Beaubien,
regarding the summer of 1916,
when the family shifted to an area
north of Seton Lake, then indeed
a "wilderness". Father and three
sons prepared homestead space for
the later arrival of mother and
younger children.
Recollections of various family
members paint the years of hardship: a cookstove, upset from a
canoe, and hauled out of the river;
snowfaUs and floods; groceries
from Vancouver twice a year; plank
soles for worn-out shoes; trapUnes,
packtrains; the priests's annual visit
to the Beaubien and Simard famiUes; grouse, bear, venison, mountain berries. Ah!
In 1927 the author's grandparents left the Bridge River country to return to New Westminster.
This volume's format deserves
praise: a 10 inch by 7 inch horizontal rectangle has a sturdy plasticiz-
ed cover, with white and black,
blue-shadowed mountain peak, and
super-imposed head of a pioneer.
The numerous illustrations of
shacks and sheds and bears; of
family at work, or on festive occasions, are of the snapshop type,
portraying the so recent past, scarcely faded.
Clare McAlUster
Clare McAllister is a mem ber of the
Victoria Branch, formerly the Gulf
Islands Branch.
We appeal...
for donations to build up endowment funds for two projects undertaken by the British Columbia
Historical Federation. It has been
moved/seconded and carried that the
British Columbia Historical Federation
1.) A monetary prize to the winners) of the annual competition for
Writers of B.C. History. May 10,
1986, Annual General Meeting.
2.) A scholarship for a student
entering fourth year in a British Columbia university taking a major in
British Columbia/Canadian history.
Annual General Meeting May 4,1985.
The writing Competition Prize Fund
has seen endowment which will
guarantee a $100 prize can be paid to
the 1986 winter. This is a beginning.
You can make it possible for the B.C.
Historical Federation to offer more
than one prize, and attract more entrants to this competition.
The Scholarship Fund at present is
not sufficient to endow a scholarship
for 1986. Please make it possible for
us to award this scholarship in 1987.
We thank all those who have made
donations to these projects, and urge
other readers to send a cheque today
The Treasurer — B.C. Historical
P.O. Box 35326
Station E
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
State which project you are supporting. AU donations will be acknowledged with a receipt for tax exemption
Honorary Patron:
Honorary President:
His Honour, the Honourable Robert G. Rogers,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Dr. W. Kaye Lamb
1st Vice President
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa VOB 2K0
422-3594 (res.)
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Rd., North Vancouver V7R 1R9
988-4565 (res.)
2nd Vice President:       Myrtle Haslam, 1975 Wessex Rd. Cowichan Bay, VOR 1N0, 748-1897 (res.)
Secretary: T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper St., Nanaimo V9S 1X4
753-2067 (res.)
Recording Secretary:     Margaret Stoneberg, P.O. Box 687, Princeton VOX 1W0
295-3362 (res.)
J. Rhys Richardson, 2875 W. 29th, Vancouver V6L 1Y2
733-1897 (res.)
Jacqueline Gresko, 5931 Sandpiper Ct., Richmond, V7E 3P8
274-4383 (res.)
Mary G. Orr, R.R. #1, Butler St., Summerland VOH 1Z0
Leonard G. McCann, #2-1430 Maple St., Vancouver V6I 3R9
736-4431 (bus.)
R.J.C. Tyrrell, Editor, B.C. Historical News, P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B.,
Victoria, V8R 6S4.
Chairmen of Committees:
Historic Trails John D s jtt|e
& Markers:
B.C. Historical News    Ann W. Johnston, R.R. 1, Mayne Island, B.C. VON 2J0
Publishing Committee:
Award Committee:        Naomi Miller
Publications Assistance Helen Akrigg, 8 - 2575 Tolmie St., Vancouver, B.C., V6R 4M1
Committee (not 288-8606.
with B.C. Historical
News): Loans are available for publication.
Please submit manuscripts to Helen Akrigg. The British Columbia Historical News
P.O. Box 35326, Stn. E.
Second Class Mail
Registration No. 4447
Why not join the British Columbia Historical
Federation and receive the British Columbia
Historical News regularly?
The BCHF is composed of member societies
in all parts of the province. By joining your local
society you receive not only a subscription to
British Columbia Historical News, but the
opportunity to participate in a program of talks
and field trips, and to meet others interested in
British Columbia's history and the BCHF's
annual convention.
For information, contact your local society
(address on the inside front cover) No local
society in your area? Perhaps you might think
of forming one. For information contact the
secretary of the BCHF (address inside back


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