British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1994

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Volume 27, No. 2
Spring 1994
ISSN 0045-2963
■rtlldi CtotaMiia
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Vancouver's Marine Building MEMBER SOCIETIES
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Please send any change to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses inside the back cover.
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Published winter, spring, summer and fall by the       British Columbia Historical Federation
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Back Issues of the British Columbia Historical News are available in microform from
Micromedia Limited, 20 Victoria Street, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2N8,
phone (416) 362-5211, fax (416) 362-6161, toll free 1 -800-387-2689.
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Financially assisted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, Recreation and Culture through
the British Columbia Heritage Trust Fund and British Columbia Lotteries. BRITISH COLUMBIA HISTORICAL NEWS
Volume 27, No. 2    Journal of B.C. Historical Federation     Spring -1994
Readers will find great variety in the
topics presented by well-known contributors. Peggy Nicholls thoughtfully submitted the story of St. Anne's Church at
French Creek because this is a building we
will be viewing at Conference '94. Leonard
Meyers presented us with another anniversary story, this time of a Canadian
warship on D-Day. Tomas Bartroli has
long been the authority on Spanish explorers on the B.C. coast. Jim Glanville,
long-time editor of Boundary Historical
Reports, finally reponded to my pleas for
the story on seed growing. Henry
Stevenson of Nelson has entertained
readers twice before in this magazine. Barry
Cotton tells of "the most flamboyant example of promotion encountered by the
Ministry of Mines." There is a reference to
an Okanagan citizen, a Cariboo pioneer
and others.
Our book review editor has had unexpected success in collecting reports from
reviewers, hence the extra space allotted
for Book Shelf. We thank Anne Yandle for
receiving new publications and handling
the mechanics of these reviews before and
after they appear in the News.
Naomi Miller
"The Marine Building: Vancouver's Crown Jewel" is
illustrated with magnificent clarity in this Leonard
Frank photo taken shortly after the building was
completed. We thank Cyril Leonoff, author of the
prize-winning biography of Leonard Frank, An Enterprising Life, for securing a copy of this classic
picture for our cover. Photo courtesy of the Jewish
Historical Society.
FEATURES                                                                                                          Page
Honouring the Woman Who Wrote the Book on B.C. History    2
by John Lutz
The Marine Building: Vancouver's Crown Jewel  3
by Helen Borrell
Mr. Good Evening, Earle Kelly 5
by Helen Borrei!
The Eldorado of B.C.: Lajoie and His Short-lived Company 7
by H. Barry Cotton
Noon Breakfast Point    12
by Tomas Bartroli
Seed Growing in Grand Forks 15
by Jim Glanville
Early Anglicans at French Creek    19
by Margaret NichoUs
The Island Hall Hotel History   21
by Marj Le#Ier
HMCS Haida, Yesterday's Hero 23
by Leonard W. Meyers
Lord of Williams Lake  26
by Randy Poulis and John Roberts
Aviation in the West Kootenay 28
by Henry E. Stevenson
Flowers from Martha's Diary    30
by Jennifer lredale
Chinatown Exhibit of the Royal British Columbia Museum   32
by David Chuenyan Lai
Working in the Woods: A History of Logging on the West Coast  35
The Logger's Digest: From Horses to Helicopters
Reviews by George Newell
French Presence in Victoria    36
Review by Jacqueline Gresko
Silk Trains: The Romance of Canadian Silk Trains 36
Review by Ron Meyer
Cork Lines and Canning Lines  37
Homer Stevens: A Life in Fishing
Reviews by WiUiam McKee
Vancouver: A Visual History 38
Review by Werner Kaschel
Grey Fox: The True Story of Bill Miner 38
Review by Brian Champion
Hourglass    40
The Milk Lady
Not Without Hope: Dr. H.A. McLean and Esperanza Hospital
Reviews by PhylUs Reeve
The Sculpture of Elek Imredy 40
Review by Me!va Dwyer
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions is to be directed to the subscription secretary (see inside back cover).
Printed in Canada by Kootenay Kwik Print Ltd.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 The Woman Who Wrote The Book
on B. C. History
by John Lutz
The tables have turned on Margaret
Ormsby. The woman who wrote British
Columbia: A History, for three decades
the standard history of the province, is
now becoming recognized as an important part of the history that she has so
effectively promoted.
In 1990 the Province of British Columbia bestowed its highest honour on
Dr. Ormsby. Now, her contribution to
British Columbians' understanding of
themselves is being honoured with a
series of scholarships which will ensure
that the work she fostered for over five
decades continues into the future.
Early reviewers of Margaret Ormsby's
provincial history recognized it immediately as a landmark. She put countless
pieces of the puzzle of our history together in a way that made new sense of
them. Explorers, fur traders, charlatans,
entrepreneurs, railway promoters, politicians, and their dreams and schemes,
sound and hare-brained, came together
in a comprehensible and readable way.
Subsequent historians have used her
framework, and meticulous research, as a
springboard for their own work.
Yet, her general history of the province, for all its importance and impact,
may not be her most important contribution to British Columbians. Margaret
Ormsby encouraged the study of our
history in ways too many to mention.
Long-time members will remember her
as active in the B.C. Historical Federation,
and its president in 1949-50. She edited
the Okanagan Historical Society Report
from 1948-52 and wrote tirelessly for this
publication; she also helped found BC
Studies'm 1968-69 and served on the B.C.
Heritage Advisory Board from 1971-83. *
As professor of history at the University of B.C. from 1943 to 1974, she introduced several generations of British
Columbians to history and presided, as
chairperson, over the development ofthe
largest history department in the province. Many of her university students
went on to become teachers so her en-
Margaret Ormsby at ber
Investiture of tbe Order of
British Columbia -June 1990
thusiasm for British Columbia's heritage
continues to be passed on, invisibly,
through them to thousands more.
One of the most remarkable features
of Dr. Ormsby's work is its ability to
transcend the border that, unfortunately,
lias increasingly separated 'academic' from
'popular' history. Her book and the articles widely distributed through the BC
historical journals, Saturday Night, Agricultural History, Canadian Historical
Review, The Beaver, Dalhousie Review,
Encyclopedia ofCanadian Biographyand
numerous other encyclopedias, are the
factual products of detailed research, and
yet are meant to be read and enjoyed.2
Since her "retirement" from UBC she
has continued to research, write and
publish, including two books, A Pioneer
Gentlewoman in British Columbia: the
Recollections of Susan Allison and a history of Coldstream District*, which continue to satisfy the scholar and the history-buff, alike.
Fund-raising is now underway for
two types of scholarships designed to
encourage what Margaret Ormsby did so
well. Essay prizes in her honour are
designated for the university-colleges in
Chilliwack/Abbotsford, Kamloops,
Kelowna, Nanaimo, and the new University of Northern B.C. in Prince George, to
encourage students to research and write
about British Columbia history. To encourage the study of the province in
depth, a scholarship has also been established to annually allow one student to go
on to doctoral research on any aspect of
provincial history. This major scholarship
will be awarded to a student whose
proposal promises to meet the high
standard of scholarship set by Dr. Ormsby,
and follows her lead in making British
Columbia history accessible to all British
Friends of British Columbia Mstory who
would like to see the establishment of
these awards may make contributions
payable to the RC Heritage Trust and
send them to the MARGARET ORMSBY
Street, Victoria, RC V8R 1K7. The RC
Heritage Trust, which will administer
tbe scholarship, will issue a tax-deductible receipt.
1. She has also made a major contribution to history
at the national level, in 1965-66 she was elected
president ofthe Canadian Historical Federation
and from 1966-6H served on the Historical Sites
and Monuments Board of Canada. 1 lei' achievements have been recognized in her election as a
fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in
honourary degrees from five Canadian universities
2. A list of her publications lo 1976 can be found in
"Margaret Anchoretla Ormsby: Publications,"
compiled by Frances Woodward and published
with John Norris's biography, "Margaret Ormsby."
in BC. Studies. 32 (Winter 1976-77) pp. 11-27.
3. A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia: tbe
Recollections of Susan Allison. (Vancouver:
University of British Columbia. 1976) and
Coldstream: Nnlli Secondns. (Vernon: District of
Coldstream. 1990).
John Lutz of Victoria is one of four doctoral students who conceived and organized this drive for a scholarship to honour Dr. Ormsby.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 The Marine Building:
Vancouver's Crown Jewel
"The Marine Building - Unique
Treasure" was Vancouver's original high-
rise office complex.1 When completed in
October 1930, it was not only the tallest
building in western Canada but, for over
a decade, in the British Commonwealth.2
Below the level of its site at Burrard and
Hastings Streets, four of its twenty-five
storeys are built in the sheer cliff above
the waterfront railway tracks.
Today the Marine Building has
neighbours as tall and taller; but these
starkly bare, functional glass-and-steel
office towers emphasize that the first
skyscraper was "envisioned as a work of
art that would mark Vancouver's emergence as an international trading port and
financial centre." In 1976 the City of
Vancouver designated the Marine Build--
ing as a heritage property, citing it as "one
of the most accomplished and complete
examples of Art Deco style in the world.
In addition, the literal interpretation of
the Vancouver environment in its form
and details gives it a special architectural
In  1928,  Lieut.-Commander J.W.
by Helen Borrell
Hobbs, president of Hobbs Bros. Ltd.,
ship owners, decided that Vancouver's
shipping firms, Merchants' Exchange,
Board of Trade, Grain Exchange, and
other leading businesses should have a
home worthy of them. He was vice-
president of G.A. Stimson and Co. Limited of Toronto, Canada's oldest bond
house. Joe Hobbs was right, agreed the
president, Lieut.-Col. F.G. Johnson; his
firm would finance the building. Vancouver's Merchants' Exchange contracted for
office space in the Marine Building for ten
years from its date of completion.4 Canadian materials were used whenever
possible; all the wood came from British
Columbia forests.5
And so, in mid-March 1929, E.J. Ryan
Contracting Co. began construction, using for the first time reinforced structural
steel and modern engineering principles
to achieve a high office tower. Sixty years
later, in seismic tests required by City
Council, the Marine Building met present-
day standards.6 Another "first" in our west
was that the architects, McCarter and
Nairne, designed the building in the Art
Deco style. Named from the 1925 Paris
Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, this art,
popular in the 1920s and '30s, uses geometric ornament, zig-zags and curves. In
the Marine Building, it celebrates the
The Marine Building's roofs are in
layers, with a pyramid at the summit.
McCarter and Nairne's architects, J.
Watson, J.D. Hunter and C. Young, draped
the series of rooftops with cream terra
cotta copings, suggestive of B.C.'s snowcapped mountains. On these, the company's artists carved low reliefs of
seahorses and marine life; from one corner Neptune looks down at the graceful
brick walls. On the terra cotta surrounding the lower storeys, the progress of
transportation appears in low reliefs of
steamships, trains, airplanes and, yes,
A half-circle of coloured carvings of
sea plants crowns the Burrard Street
entrance. Over its double revolving doors,
the massive arch encloses a design of six
stylized geese flying through the long
rays of the setting sun. Along the inner
wall ofthe archway are murals of famous
sailing ships: Drake's Golden Hind, 1577;
and then those whose captains first
reached the B.C. coast on the dates
written: Quadra's Sonora, 1775; Cook's
Resolution, 1778; Vancouver's Discovery,
1792; the Beaver, 1835; the Egeria, whose
crew surveyed the coast in 1898; and the
Canadian Pacific Empress of Japan.
The Ornamental Bronze Co. installed
the bronze entrances to each revolving
door. It has been said that some of the
Marine Building's first visitors were too
awestruck to go into the ninety-foot long
entrance hall, well named the Grand
Concourse. The floor was covered with
corkoid, a kind of thick, resilient linoleum; it was inlaid with the signs of the
zodiac. On the bronze door of each of the
five elevators, the Star of the Sea shines
above a minutely engraved cluster of
many sea plants. The elevator cab walls
are inlaid with twelve varieties of hardwood. At a time when the normal speed
was 150 feet per minute, the Marine
Building's elevators moved at 700 feet
per minute, not slow going even today,
when the fastest elevators' speeds are 800
to 1,000 feet per minute.7
Very original are the sculpted ships'
prows concealing the Grand Concourse's
lamps; the ships are carved in low relief
along the balustrade ofthe second-storey
gallery. From there one can view the
details of the vaulted ceiling's carved
plaster decoration and the north wall's
frieze of "lobsters, crabs, prawns and
starfish crawling through a waving forest
of seaweed."8
At a cost of $2,500,000, the Marine
Building was completed in October 1930
— when many businesses had collapsed
in the Great Depression. Alas, a later
casualty was G.A. Stimson and Co.; Joe
Hobbs couldn't pay the architects; only
the lowest four floors of the Marine
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Bronze elevator doors of Marine Building.
Photographed by L. frank on September 29, 1930. Photo courtesy of Vancouver Public Library.
Building were rented. In 1933, British
Pacific Building Co. came to the rescue
and purchased the Marine Building for
$900,000 — no sacrifice for Pacific's millionaire owners, Great Britain's Guinness
clan. They had purchased the British
Properties land on West Vancouver's
heights; later, they built Canada's longest
suspension bridge, the Lion's Gate.9 Besides the Marine Building, they erected
the Guinness Tower. A.J.T. .Taylor, managing director of British Pacific, converted the Marine Building's highest tower
into a luxurious two-storey penthouse
residence; but Mrs. Mona Taylor became
nervous about living away up in the air
and they moved out. Eventually the millionaire's eyrie became office space.
The Marine Building's elevators are
now automated; but previously they were
operated by five young women in white
sailor uniforms. They were chosen for
their poise and beauty, to match their
It seemed right that the Marine Building's architects, McCarter and Naime,
held its longest tenancy. They moved in
when their building was officially opened,
in August 1930, and stayed there until
February 1980 — five months less than
fifty years. The Vancouver Grain Exchange still has its office in the building;
another oldtimer is Marine Printers. Other
tenants, whose directors had applied for
offices when the Marine Building was
planned, were the Bank of Montreal,
Vancouver Board of Trade, Price
Waterhouse, Canadian Pacific and Cana
dian National Telegraphs, Vancouver
Chamber of Shipping, Canadian
Westinghouse and, of course, the Merchants' Exchange, which "Chalked up a
Long Record of Port Service," to quote
The Vancouver Sun, December 7,1963. It
comprised "218 firms in all: ship owners,
importers, exporters, wheat pools, banks,
towboat operators, flour mills, ship chandlers, marine insurance, even two marine
In 1985 British Pacific Building Ltd.
sold the Marine Building to Confederation Life and the Montreal-based Campeau
Corporation. The latter's finances obliged
it, in October 1989, to sell the three side-
by-side office towers—the Marine Building, Guinness Tower and Oceanic Plaza
— to Princeton Developments Ltd. The
co-owners, Confederation Life and Omers
Realty Corp., now hold most ofthe shares;
Princeton's managers care for the Marine
Building like knights defending a revered
mistress. None of its distinctive beauty
has been or will be lost; but it has been
modernized and extensively renovated
during the last eleven years. In 1983
British Pacific announced: "Recessed
lighting, shadowless and non-glare, is
being installed. A new pump system and
other new features will provide the most
comfort-oriented and energy-efficient
heating and air conditioning system possible."10 "Brass, bronze and stained glass
surfaces are being polished and refinished.
The colors of the fabulous lobby ceiling
are being enriched by modern lighting
techniques."11 These updated features
have now been completed. And at lunch
hour on a fine day, the office workers in
the Marine Building can enjoy the sunshine and the view ofthe mountains from
the rooftop balconies — unlike their
neighbours in the surrounding closed,
glass, blocklike towers.
Paul Merrick Architects, employed
by the development manager of Campeau
Corp., replaced the lobby's corkoid floor
with marble; built a bright new retail
corridor with an entrance to Hastings
Street, for which Joel Berman made sandblasted glass deco motifs; and converted
some disused ground-floor offices into a
galleria and the Imperial Sea Food Restaurant. Next to this is the $25,000 stained-
glass window designed by Joel Berman
— a stylized flaming torch that changes
colours when viewed from different angles. Below the street level, carpenters
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 are remodelling the lower floors. They
will be occupied by a school for students
of English as a second language, who can
also study for a Master's Degree in Business Administration,
Eighteen million dollars has been
well spent on these improvements. Durably constructed, the Marine Building is
presently over ninety per cent occupied.
With its classically straight lines, its rich
but not vulgarly gaudy ornamentation, it
leaves an imperishable image in the
memories of all Vancouverites.
Helen Borrell is a long-time resident of
Vancouver who delights in researching
and writing historical tidbits.
The Vancouver Sun: Marine Building Supplement, October 7,
1930; "Exchange Chalks up Long Record of Port Service,"
December 7,1963; "Ghosts of a Long-Gone Era" by Don
Stanley, May 19,1978; "Deco de Luxe" by Richard Williams,
June 20, 1980; "At 60. Marine Building is Looking more like its
old self by Elizabeth Godley, October 21, 1989.
Tbe Vancouver Province. "Marine Building Section," Sunday,
October 5, 1930; Visitors' week at Marine Building. "Free
Admission to the Lookout Tower all This Week,* March 16,
1931; No. 38 in series of litde-known stories on Vancouver by
Chuck Davis, July 13, 1980.
"The Return of Elegance" by Lois Atkinson, Royal Centre Mall
News, December 1978. Publisher: Royal Centre Merchants
Association, 1055 West Georgia Street, Vancouver.
"Million Dollar Folly, the Marine Building" by Grant Bell. B.C.
Motorist, March-April 1974. Publisher: B.C. Automobile
Association, 999 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C,
"Marine Building - Unique Treasure" by Cherie Thiessen,
Sunday News, April 30, 1978.
Tbe Marine Building, 1929-1989. Celebrating 60 Years of
Enduring Architecture and Design. Commemorative program
published by Campeau Corp. and Confederation Life
"Site Analysis of the Marine Building" by Marina Vianzon. An
assignment for Education 498, Simon Fraser University,
Summer Session 1993.
"The Marine Building." Brochure published by British Pacific
Building Ltd. in 1983. Describes the renovations by Paine and
Associates, Architects.
Draft III, Marine Building Brochure.
My warm thanks to Mr. Fred Gacica of Princeton Developments
Ltd. for an interview with him and brochures given on August 20,
1993- Also, my thanks to Douglas Gaidica, Princeton Developments
project analyst, for supplying information about the renovations to
the Marine Building.
1. "Marine Building - Unique Treasure" by Cherie
Thiessen. Sunday News, April 30, 1978.
2. The Million Dollar Folly, the Marine Building" by
Grant Bell. B.C. Motorist, March-April 1974.
Publisher: B.C. Automobile Association. 999 West
Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.
3. Marine Building Brochure, pp. 3 and 4.
4. The Marine Building, Vancouver Province, October
'    5, 1930.
5. 'The Return of Elegance" by Lois Atkinson. Royal
Centre Mall News. December 1978. Publisher: Royal
Centre Merchants Association.
6. Tbe Marine Building 1929-1989: Celebrating 60
Years of Enduring Architecture and Design.
Commemorative program. Publisher Campeau
Corp. and Confederation Life Insurance Co.
7. "Site Analysis of the Marine Building" by Marina
Vianzon. Assignment presented for Education
Summer Session, Simon Fraser University. 1993.
8. "No. 38, Little-known stories of Vancouver" by
Chuck Davis. Vancouver Province. Sunday. July 13.
9. "Site Analysis of the Marine Building" by Marina
10. Brochure: Tbe Marine Building; Renovations
by Paine and Associates, Architects. Publisher:
'Mr. Good Evening," Earle KeUy
by Helen Borrell
Earle Kelly, sketched by Jack Bootbe
"Good evening!" For almost seventeen years — 1929 to the start of 1946 —
the nine o'clock greeting resounded from
every radio in British Columbia, and
many in Washington and Oregon. Earle
Kelly, known as "Mr. Good Evening,"
was the news announcer ofthe Vancouver
Daily Province. Not much chance for
originality in that, a stranger might think.
Kelly, an experienced reporter, prepared
his broadcast carefully from the newspaper's latest edition and the teletype
bulletins. But after reading world and
national news, he told his listeners items
of local interest; he offered congratulations
on the golden and diamond anniversaries
of long-married couples, with brief accounts of each one. He also sent birthday
greetings to several grand old ladies or
gentlemen who had reached their nineties, Kelly, evidently, did extensive research to learn the names and histories of
B.C.'s pioneers.
Kelly's measured, carefully enunciated, slightly aristocratic British accent
made one listener picture him as a benevolent old colonel with a Vandyke
beard. A near-accurate guess. An Australian of Irish origin, he had been a major in
the Intelligence Corps of the Australian
Army and had been wounded in the
disastrous Gallipoli campaign of World
War I. Until his final illness, when he was
sixty-seven, he was unmistakably an old
soldier — tall and erect, hair smoothly
brushed back, white moustache in a
ruddy face, never a crease nor speck nor
an unpolished button on his suits.
As a public service, he announced all
the requests for help, and news of emergencies, that his large audience sent. In
fact, the latter provoked some listeners.
"We have been requested," he once said
in his clear diction, "to say less about
deaths and disasters." But anxious relatives had to be notified. Kelly concluded
each fifteen-minute broadcast by wishing
all his listeners "on land, in the air, on the
water, in the mines, in the woods, and in
lighthouses [whose keepers were soli-
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1994 tary] and especially [some particular group]
a restful evening. Good night." He greeted
a different group each night. Among
them were "those who are trying to figure
out the rationing system" of World War II,
"young mothers of lively children." Nearly
every group hoped he would speak to
them, and so he did during his seventeen
years on the radio. One Christmas Day,
Kelly completely dropped the tone of a
news announcer and talked informally,
as to old friends.
After his nightly broadcast, Earle Kelly
and his secretary spent one or two hours
answering the letters that came from
thousands of "fans" everywhere in B.C.,
and from American listeners within radio
range of "Mr. Good Evening." He insisted
on anonymity, but in time most
Vancouverites identified the debonair
bachelor who lived in a select businessmen's club and, every morning, played a
fast game of tennis on the Stanley Park
courts. On Saturday evenings he dressed
in tuxedo and white tie and danced
elegantly in the Commodore Ballroom.
Though he chose not to marry, his courtly
manners delighted his secretaries and
other young ladies.
He had worked as a newspaper man
in most nations of the British Commonwealth; he reported the World War II
news without bias, but his patriotism was
ardent. One secretary, who was English,
gave notice because she wished to join
the Women's Army Corps. Later she told
his friend, Norman Cribbens, that Earle
Kelly had said: "We won't say your decision is welcome to us; but as it is for yer
King and yer country that you wish to
leave, we won't dissuade you. Sit down,
my dear, and take this reference for
yourself." (Kelly always spoke of himself
as "we" and "us.")
Occasionally, Earle Kelly's distinctive voice and style were good-naturedly
mimicked by some public speaker. As
Kelly always spelled the names of long-
married couples, one speaker imitated
him thus: "We offer congratulations on
the golden wedding anniversary of Mr.
and Mrs. Jones, J-O-N-E-S." But when a
heretic complained, in a letter to the
Province editor, that Kelly's accent was
affected, there was righteous wrath. For
days afterwards the Province's letter
section was full of tributes to "Mr. Good
Evening." One admirer wrote him a
charming little ode.
Earle Kelly died on April 14, 1946.
But mention his famous pseudonym to
anyone who lived in B.C. before 1946
and that person's face will glow with
Helen Borrell is a long-time resident of
Vancouver who delights in researching
and writing historical tidbits.
1. "Such Interesting People." Chapter -i. Uxtra! Wben tbc
Papers bad tbc Only Mens. l)y Pelcr Slurslierg. P. <tf. Sound
Heritage Series No. 35. Printed by Ministry of Provincial
Secretary' and Government Services. Provincial Archives.
Victoria. B.C.. 1982.
2. Vancouver Province, March 25. l^itf. "Most of H.C. Listened
lo 'Mr. Good Evening."
3. Vancouver Province. B.C. Magazine. March 17. 195u. "Do
You ltemcml)cr 'Mr. Good livening?" by Nonnan Criblicns.
Exhibits from the Vancouver Museum
Tbe Barkerville Boneshaker
- acquired in 1909
During the Cariboo Gold Rush,
Mr. Ritchie of Barkerville built
himself a velocipede. He got the
plans from his local newspaper.
On May 12, 1869, the Cariboo
Sentinel informed the world that
Mr. Ritchie had completed his
task. Unfortunately, the story was
a great source of amusement to
the local residents, who thought
that Mr. Ritchie had lost his mind!
Determined to prove his creation was not a joke, but a serious method
of transportation, Mr. Ritchie hatched a
plan. He would get aboard his new
bicycle and ride it to Quesnel ... a distance of 100 kilometres!
Hats off to Mr. Ritchie, tlie bicycle pioneer. He made the trip in one piece, but
considering the condition of the roads at
the time and the solid rubber tires on his
velocipede, the journey was like sliding
seat-first down 100 kilometres of stairs!
You can still see the aptly named
"Barkerville Boneshaker" at the Vancouver Museum — "A Hundred Years, A
Million Stories."
Canada's First Gas Pump
- acquired in 1968
Way back in 1907, it wasn't very easy to
gas up your car. You see, most folks
didn't have cars, and getting gasoline to
put in them was a real chore. During that
year, Vancouver resident John Hendry
took delivery of his pride and joy: a shiny,
new Oldsmobile runabout.
Mr. Hendry placed a telephone call to
the Imperial Oil Bulk Sales Depot located
at Cambie and Smythe Streets, and inquired: "Do you sell gas that can be used
in automobiles?" "We can send you a
four-gallon pail of our Number 74," re
plied James Skitt Matthews, the young
depot attendant. That was the first gasoline that Imperial Oil sold directly to an
automobile owner!
At the time, the only way to put gas in
autos was to pour it into the tank with a
bucket. Talk about messy ... and dangerous! The staff at the
Vancouver Bulk
Sales Depot came
up with a great idea,
and they rigged up
a tank which used
good old-fashioned
gravity to safely deliver the gas to the
car. The result?
Canada's first gas
You can still see
John Hendry's
horseless carriage,
and Canada's very
first gas pump at the
Vancouver Museum
— "A Hundred
Years, a Million
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 The Eldorado ofR C.
Lajoie and His Short-lived Company
by H Barry Cotton
Joseph Zotique Lajoie is remembered
today in the Bridge River valley by a lake,
a dam and two creeks. He was also
remembered some years ago with a good
deal of rancour; while in MaillardviUe, his
name was considered by some to be
synonymous with scoundrel.
The settlement of MaillardviUe was
bom in 1909, when the first migration of
French-Canadian lumbermen arrived on
the CPR, having been recruited largely
from the St. Francois Valley, P.Q., as
workers at the Fraser Mills Lumber
Company. Other contingents followed
and by 1912 there were some sixty French-
Canadian families living there. It was to
prove fertile ground for Lajoie's enterprise.
Over eighty of the shareholders in
the Lajoie Company, as well as three of
the directors, were recruited from
MaillardviUe. Their investments ranged
from one share by minors and domestics,
two by housewives, to fifty by millhands.
In 1914, fifty shares at two dollars a share
represented a lot of wages. Alphonse
Beaubien's family, as an example, held
260 shares, while others of the same
name in Saskatchewan held over 600. But
the largest amounts of shares (and con-
sequendy losses) were held by the directors. Alphonse Beaubien himself held
2,150. In the prospectus he was named as
third vice-president, in spite of the fact
that he had difficulty reading and writing
While a great many residents of
MaillardviUe lost their savings, so did a lot
of other people; but it is noteworthy that
the list of shareholders as of June 18,
1915, shows a majority with French-
Canadian names. The directors included
Petre W. Allaire (named second vice-
president and branch manager), Wilfred
Duplin (secretary), Antoine Pelletier and
George Corriveau (named foreman). It is
difficult to say just how much the actual
losses ofthe directors were as, during the
course of construction and tunnelling at
Lajoie Falls, they received shares in lieu of
wages; although there is reason to believe
Picture ofJ.Z. Lajoie from tbe New York
Herald of March 18, 1900.
that Pelletier, at any rate, had paid hard
cash for his holdings.
In later years Pelletier had made his
home at Tyaughton Lake. He died in
1969. Since the days of Lajoie, he had
been active as a miner, prospector and
trapper. At eighty-eight years of age, he
still had an ultimate prospect in mind
which, as he confided to my wife in 1968,
he would be able to access by helicopter.
He was a very literal person and disliked
any form of deception, even in jest.
According to Julie Frickberg {nee Le
Compte), who knew him well, when
asked why he seldom smiled, he replied
that this was due to the memory of the
blackguard who swindled him out of
forty years of savings. The word that Julie
quoted, however, was not "blackguard"
but a French-Canadian expression, which
she advised me not to put in print.
It is hard to pin down Lajoie's early
life. He is believed to be a brother of
Napoleon Lajoie, who was in 1937 inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in
which case his family must have lived for
a while at Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
But while his brother was making his
first headlines in Philadelphia in 1898,
Joseph Zotique was making a different
kind of headline. On March 18, 1900,
there appeared a remarkable article in the
New York Herald. It described Lajoie as a
son of the frontier, brought up in the
province of Quebec to a life of trapping
and hunting; a man capable of telling a
simple straightforward story; who had
spent the last fourteen years in travelling
the Northwest Territories, in which vast
area he had had almost unbelievable
adventures (certainly by today's standards). The most surprising of these was
his discovery ofthe North Pole. But there
were other incidentals, such as consorting with a tribe of copper-coloured natives, whose language and social customs
he recorded in detail. The North Pole
itself was portrayed as a small luminous
mountain about 300 feet high, having a
bluish vapour issuing from the top and
perforated at the sides from which exuded
a liquid resembling syrup!
It must have been a relief to the
scientific world when, nine years later,
Admiral Peary discovered the real North
Pole. But in 1900, Lajoie's adventures
may well have had the ring of truth
because Lajoie himself as a witness was
completely believable. Perhaps plausible
would be a better word. Eminent scientists (whose statements were appended
to the newspaper article) had subjected
him to the most scrupulous examination,
yet he came through all their investigations with flying colours.
Even if the scientists did take the
story with a pinch of salt (as I am sure
they did), there must have been thousands
who swallowed it whole. Jospeh Zotique
Lajoie's name was in die papers for the
first time. Some fourteen years later, he
would put another promotion to the test,
and on this last occasion it was fortunate
for him that the advent of World War I
would effectively repress the headlines
which would otherwise have arisen. When
he moved unobtrusively on, there was no
hue and cry.
Lajoie claimed to have come to the
Bridge River valley several years before
the 1890s. Although a remote area at that
time, it was not unknown: Edgar Dewdney
had made an exploration from the river's
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 confluence with the Fraser up as far as
Tyaughton Creek in 1865, noting several
Chinese miners en route, and both
Cadwallader Creek and the South Fork
are shown on J.W. Trutch's map of British
Columbia in 1871. Lajoie was known as
an experienced traveller in that country,
and his traplines extended from Gun
Lake and Mount Penrose to Slim Creek
and to the headwaters of the Bridge
River. He is reputed to have been the first
man to travel to the height of land at the
head of the Bridge River valley and see
"the blue" (the Pacific Ocean). His influence in the area must have been great, as
both Lajoie Falls and Zotique Falls were
being called after him in those early days.
Lajoie Falls was a powerful spectacle
indeed, 150 feet wide at the brink, with a
fall of over 100 feet. Half a mile further
upstream was Zotique Falls, much wider
though dropping fifty feet in three or four
giant steps, and equally spectacular. Both
these falls are now submerged in Downton
Lake, but contemporary photographs well
illustrate how powerful was the water
Since the early 1900s, mining activity
in the Bridge River valley had been
growing: Haylmore staked the Why-Not
mineral claim in 1897, Pioneer was staked
in 1898, Wayside in 1901. According to
Allaire's family record, Lajoie claimed
that he had made a rich "strike" in the
Gun Lake area in the 1890s. Since,
however, the times were not yet favorable
for raising money in such a remote area,
he had carefully removed a section of
bark from a big pine tree on the banks of
Gun Creek, dug a hole in the wood, and
inserted a detailed map of his findings.
Later on, when the Lome and Pioneer
CrUN Lake and THE
South  Forks   1914.
■ Lames
r*t*l£K.aL  CLAtMtS.
"2ot!ifve Fn.llt
B*JI*  Jb/'e
Lajoie. FaJls
Gut- RtwoL\j>
Ray SmiTA
Son -O"*o.r.
<Z erma.'ne
A nfo in eTfC
£.drr,or\ ii/1
"Prop n.Hs'.te (it
3>lTaiU   fro~   *r**>.l  vtcvJs    ,f
Compiled plan of Lajoie's "holdings." Map by tbe author.
prospects were becoming better known,
Allaire and others were shown the map
withdrawn from its hiding place. Then,
between 1912 and 1913, the promotion
began in earnest.
The first step was the staking of the
mineral claims. On May 29-31, 1913,
Lajoie staked eight claims in his own
name at the north end of Gun Lake, in
two groups of four. Between the limits of
these, he proposed to put the Lajoie
Townsite, for which he published a Notice of Application to purchase Crown
land in The Lillooet Prospector on August
8,1913- He started taking out Free Miner's
Certificates in his own name and in that
of the company in May 1912 (in which
respect his activities were well sanctioned
until 1916). Then on June 3-5 of 1913,
Lajoie staked seven more claims in his
own name in the area of the falls, which
included both sides of the
Bridge River. On April 25,1913,
the power potential of the falls
was staked under the Water
While all this was going
on, Lajoie had lined up twelve
prospective clients who signed
a Memorandum of Association,
received ten shares each, and
were nominated as directors of
the J.Z. Lajoie Company Ltd.
One of the first transactions of
the company was to buy Lajoie's
"holdings," giving Lajoie himself 575,010 shares as payment
for the deal. The other directors
would soon acquire more
shares for cash and, at a later
date, shares in lieu of wages.
In Irene Edwards' excellent
publication Short Portage to
Lillooet, there appears on page
237 a map ofthe Lajoie area. It
was found in an abandoned
cabin near the present dam site
and is dated June 1913, about
the same time that the mineral
claims were staked. It is a good
freehand drawing, possibly
done by Lajoie himself. But it is
a crude document compared
with the Lajoie Company's
prospectus, published May 13,
1914. This was a masterpiece
of persuasive prose, well ahead
of its time. In later years it was
to be kept on file at the B.C.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Ministry of Mines library as being the
most flamboyant example of promotion
which they had yet encountered.
Near the beginning of this sales-
syllabus, strangely enough, is a statement
warning the investor against the "unfair
and reckless handling of joint stock
company business by unscrupulous officials, directors and promoters of the so-
called wild cat schemes." Page five shows
a picture of the man who makes this
announcement, President J.Z. Lajoie
himself, described elsewhere as "explorer
and mineralogist," and on page nine are
pictures of the twelve directors. No less
than eight pages are then devoted to a
comprehensive description of the untapped natural wealth of British Columbia with its mines and timber resources.
Population trends, climatic conditions
and agriculture are all discussed with
quotations from wholly reliable sources.
Into this texture are skilfully interwoven
the prospects of the J.Z. Lajoie Company;
the logical inference being that the best
way to invest in the former is to buy
shares in the latter. At page twenty,
however, the writer sets out to divulge
the holdings of the company, and from
here on fiction takes over.
The Lajoie Townsite would not be
boomed, said the brochure, it would
grow by natural expansion, and in five
years would have a population of 5,000;
samples of ore had been assayed at $50
and $100 of gold per ton; at Lajoie Falls a
true vein twelve feet wide had been
located; pitchblende had been discovered
(by Lajoie himself); timber holdings
amounting to a cut of twenty million feet,
and a sawmill are mentioned; a mineralized zone or gold belt half a mile wide
had been discovered running through
Burnaby and Burquidam; and the power
potential at Lajoie Falls would develop
250,000 horsepower.
Today a 287-foot high dam occupies
the site of Lajoie Falls, holding back a
storage lake fifteen miles long, and certainly in respect of water power Lajoie's
vision was prophetic. However, a brief
look at the real value of the company's
holdings when the stock was listed shows
how non-existent were the assets.
The Townsite
The justification for the "townsite" at
tlie end of Gun Lake was a staking notice
on the ground and the insertion of one
Notice of Application to purchase 400
acres in The Lillooet Prospector. Procedure under the Land Act for acquiring
Crown land in 1911 was almost identical
to that in force forty years later, and
involved also publication ofthe notice in
two issues of the B.C. Gazette, the filing
of sundry affidavits, and a formal application to the Land Commissioner (none of
which took place). So there was no land.
The Mine
The Mineral Act in 1913 allowed two
Tbe Lajoie Dam 1992
post claims of 1500 by 1500 feet, but only
one claim by location on any one vein.
Just how legal that made Lajoie's claims,
in two groups of four and one of seven,
is debatable; but it was normal practice
when staking a discovery to protect it
with adjacent claims. However, a mineral
claim was never more than a chattel
interest, renewable year by year on the
recording of the work done; and no
certificates of work were filed against any
of his claims, which would all lapse on
June 11,1914. That work was done on at
least one group is true, but since it was
never recorded, the company's mineral
rights were from that date as nebulous as
the twelve-foot vein mentioned in the
The Timber
Timber licences in the immediate
area were granted to one Patrick Donnelly
in 1913-1914. The only timber rights
Lajoie owned would be on his claims for
mining purposes, which would, of course,
lapse on June 11, 1914.
The Water Power
Much has been made of Lajoie's
foresight in the matter of water power.
The Water Act of B.C. had been rewritten
twice, in 1912and 1913. In previous years
its looseness had led to a great deal of
confusion and abuse. In 1914 it was again
rewritten, and in the Report of the Water
Rights Branch of December 31, 1914,
appears the following statement:
under the present Act, it is no
longer possible for a power
company, with the minimum
of capital permissible under
the Companies Act, to stake a
valuable water-power requiring a large amount of money
for development. The effect of
this has been to discourage the
staking of power-sites for
speculativepu rposes. The same
sentiments were stated in an
article by the Comptroller of
Water Rights in the B.C.
Magazine for December 19,
1914. So it seemed that, in
matters of water power, the
B.C. government was not about
to give anything away.
Now, although priority of
staking under the Water Act
would always give an applicant
the first right to a hearing, it
was still only the preliminary
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 step in a procedure involving presentation of complete engineering data, proof
of adequate financing and other matters,
before even a provisional licence would
be issued.
It is possible that, notwithstanding
the toughness of the new act, the Lajoie
Company's power application had been
processed under the 1913 act, in which
case it would have had to wait for the
Board of Investigation, which had a huge
backlog of concerns to deal with. This
would explain why the application was
still pending several years later, by which
time the company had gone bankrupt. So
what "rights" did the company have in
1914? Merely priority of staking — or the
right to have their application heard first.
But even that was a bit obscure —
ownership of the land in question was
always a prerequisite for applications
under the Water Act, and by June 11,
1914, any right to use ofthe surface ofthe
company's mineral claims was also defunct. So it seems that Lajoie held only the
vaguest rights to any power that would
later be generated by the falls bearing his
Meanwhile, in the summer of 1914,
some twenty men were sent to the
campsite at Lajoie Falls. Included were
several of the directors — Allaire,
Beaubien, Pelletier, Corriveau and Duplin
— with several of their family and others
from MaillardviUe. The foreman was
Corriveau. Duplin took on the job of
postmaster at the newly established post
office of Lajoie Falls. This was located on
the Corriveau mineral claim, by arrangement with the federal government. The
crew were to build bunkhouses, then
proceed with a tunnel starting through
the rock slide that had covered the alleged
paylode in the intervening years. The
campsite was on a flat close to Lajoie
Falls, now covered with water. Roly Allaire
remembers visiting the site with his brother
Bill in 1932, when the frames of several
buildings were still standing. The tunnel
was started on a slight slope as a trench
150 feet long, becoming deeper as it
approached the rock face, the first set of
timbers being in the open, then roofed
over for the last seventy-five feet. Bill,
who had worked on the tunnel in 1914 as
part of the crew, explained the construction to his brother, who was most
impressed. Work continued at the site for
the rest of 1914 and first few months of
1915. There were several issues of shares
to the workers in lieu of wages — in July
and December 1914, January 1915, and
again in April 1915. Reminiscences of the
Allaire family, and of Pelletier, are mindful
that the crew were told by Lajoie at the
time not to believe any criticism of the
prospect by other miners working in the
valley. Nevertheless, in the spring of
1915, when pay was still not forthcoming,
the crew had started to ask questions.
Lajoie left for Vancouver, ostensibly
to raise money for payroll and attend a
meeting. There should, of course, have
been a considerable amount of money in
the bank, as over 55,000 shares had been
issued (exclusive of Lajoie's own holdings). Fanciful though many ofthe assets
ofthe company might be, there had to be
at this time one real asset — cash. These
were matters of which officials of the
company in Vancouver must have been
cognizant, but of which the working
crew at Lajoie Falls knew very little.
But although Lajoie stayed in Vancouver long enough to set up the meeting, he unaccountably disappeared before
attending it, leaving a lot of unhappy
directors. Petre Allaire was one who was
interviewed by police.
In the Bridge River, it was alleged
that the company's bank account had
accompanied Lajoie on his journey. Certainly the annual balance sheet, dated
May 15, 1915, is unique in that it shows
various assets and liabilities in the normal
way, but absolutely no cash.
The manager of the Vancouver office
of the Lajoie Company was Ray Oliphant
Smith. Although his address is given as
Lajoie Falls, B.C., he had power of attorney
from Lajoie himself and was the signer of
all official documents in 1914 and 1915,
as managing director. He also had the
misfortune of owning more shares in the
company (next to Lajoie) than any other
On December 14,1914, a well-written
article appeared in the B.C. Magazine
extolling the virtues of the Bridge River.
The article was called "The Eldorado of
B.C." and contained whole paragraphs
taken word for word from the 1914 Lajoie
prospectus. It also contained photos of
other mines in the area, Pioneer, Coronation and Wayside, a full-page picture
of Lajoie Falls and three snapshots of
Lajoie himself— "a pioneer of the Bridge
River country." It is the same issue of this
magazine which contains the article by
the Comptroller of Water Rights, and it
hardly seems a coincidence that both
articles contain photographs ofthe Bridge
River falls. The "Eldorado of B.C." was
written by Ray O Smith, and one could
well conclude that he was the author of
the company's prospectus also. One could
go further and infer that he had much to
do with the setting up of the company in
the first place. Certainly, after June 1915,
he continued to do what was necessary to
manage the company's affairs, and was
even attempting to keep the company
afloat as there was a small news item in
The Lillooet Prospector of July 23, 1915,
stating that: "Tlie Lajoie Company intend
to do extensive development on their
property at Lajoie Falls. At present they
are driving a tunnel." It was now two
months since the company's president
had departed.
But obviously the company's days
were numbered. Activity at Lajoie Falls
had almost ceased, and on May 16,1916,
the post office closed. In Vancouver, two
years after incorporation, the Lajoie
Company Ltd. went into voluntary liquidation. In 1927 it would be struck off the
Register of Companies.
In the Bridge River valley, Lajoie's
disappearance left the mining project
derelict. Most of the victims, with little
money, made their way south to Vancouver. The Beaubiens, father and son,
moved further down the valley to the
mouth of Tommy Creek. Here they preempted District Lot 3213, where the family
lived until 1927. Those who stayed in the
valley earned their living as prospectors
or trappers. Wilfred (Bill) Allaire, his
brother Anthim (Pat) and Pelletier took
over the trapline from the South Fork to
the headwaters ofthe Bridge River, living
in one of Lajoie's cabins the while. The
brothers joined up for war service in 1914
and 1917, respectively. It is said that in the
'20s Pelletier and the Allaire brothers
would vie with each other in carrying
eighty-pound packs from Goldbridge over
Warner Pass to supply the Taylor Windfall Mine. Certainly the Allaire family
continued to be associated with the valley for many years, the younger brother,
Roly, becoming Pelletier's partner in 1935.
After World War I came the Pacific
Great Eastern Railway and diere was
again mining in the valley. But none of
the activity was centred around Lajoie
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Falls, which by 1922 was no longer listed
in the B.C. Directory. The Pioneer, Coronation, Lome and Wayside mines were
the employers of labour. Those miners
who walked the long road in, over Mission Mountain and alongside the Bridge
River, learned about Lajoie as the man
who "struck it rich" by promoting a
townsite at the end of Gun Lake. The
legend persists — a capricious one.
I have a mental picture of Lajoie, with
bulging briefcase, furtively wending his
way through Vancouver's back streets.
Was there a steam launch waiting for him
at the docks, or did he board the train for
Seattle? We may never know. Nor do we
have an authentic record of his later
activities. It is said that he was murdered
on the prairies by a disgruntled investor,
also that he was heard from in Mexico
City, when his will was probated, leaving
half a million dollars to the church and his
then wife. Again — we may never know.
J.Z. Lajoie was without doubt a promoter par extraordinaire, and ulterior
though his principal motive may have
been, as a booster of the Bridge River
valley his cause was prophetic. By 1928
the gold promised in his prospectus was
being mined (though not from the location he had designated!), and eventually
in larger quantities than even he had
conjectured; the Lajoie Dam, built right
on top ofthe falls now impounds 534,300
acre-feet of water to help keep Vancouver's street lights burning; and though
Bralorne-Pioneer Mines have in their turn
become past history, the eye ofthe traveller
is still gladdened by the snow-clad summits and sparkling lakes rimmed with
lava-ash, just as it was eighty years ago.
Ray Smith put the matter concisely in
his 1914 eulogy:"... this district, properly
associated with piles of shaggy mountains,
where gold, silver, millions of acres of
timber, and roaring waterfalls are all
Tbe author is a retired surveyor now
living on SaU Spring Island. He spends
many hours in tbe archives in Victoria
piecing together histories of pioneers.
1. B.C. Archives
2. Tbe Wilderness Dream. Jeanette Beaubien
McNainara. Braemar Books Ltd.. Victoria, B.C.
}.    Bridge Bluer Gold, Emma de Hullu. Bridge River
Valley Centennial Committee.
4. TbeNeu' York Herald. March 18. 1900.
5. Allaire family records.
6. Miscellaneous interviews.
hnwraurto imm> m u«vor i»i Nnvwiri w »mmx r.«.u«»a
»» tw vawmmn or mouiuk resources-
uimonan c*m*i
iajoc iuaat powers
«W «4 JU^Ittmi Vu til
■if hi ■» <J—»»—*
Frontpage of Lajoie Co.'s prospectus. May 13, 1914.
Courtesy of B.C. Archives
South Forks area in 1934 (Map 546A) 1:50,000
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Noon Breakfast Point
by Tomas Bartroli
Between 1774 and 1792 much of the
coast now belonging to British Columbia
was reconnoitered and charted (mapped)
by navigators of different nationalities,
who usually assigned names to topographic features. In many cases a particular
feature was designated by more than one
name; such was the case of Point Grey,
situated on the western tip of Vancouver
The earliest cartographic representation of this feature appears in a map that
reflects the very cursory exploration of
this area effected in 1791 by an expedition of the Spanish Royal Navy. In this
map the territory of the point and its
vicinity is erroneously shown as constituting a cluster of small islands which are
labelled Langara, after the Spanish admiral
Juan de Langara.
In June of the following year that
promontory was charted by two expeditions: one of the British Royal Navy,
commanded by Captain George Vancouver, with the ships Discovery and
Chatham, and one of the Spanish Royal
Navy, with the ships Sutil and Mexicana.
Both expeditions were equipped with
instruments for hydrographic surveying,
with boats, and, of course, with victuals.
The data sources for this article are
old maps, a book by Vancouver, journals
of his fellow explorers Peter Puget and
Archibald Menzies, and the records of
that Spanish expedition.1 For reasons that
need not be explained here, the records
of the two expeditions differ in that the
British expedition kept dates one day
after those of the Spanish one. So, a
historic encounter is dated 22 June by the
Britishers, but 21 June by the Spaniards,
whose dates were in keeping with what
may be called the American continental
standards. In this article the dates of
events are given as in the records of the
Vancouver Expedition, because it is the
main protagonist of the subject matter.
On 11 June 1792 Discovery and
Chatham arrived at Birch Bay (now part
of Washington State, U.S.A.). Both ships
and part of their personnel remained
there for about twelve days, in the course
of which the rest of the personnel ef-
Gabriola Island
Valdes Island       <S>,
Galiano Island
Pt. Roberts
Birch Bay
fected exploration cruises. The norm for
such endeavours was a group of men,
using two boats which could navigate
either by rowing or by sailing (and carrying tents for pitching on shore), who
spent several days, starting very early in
the morning, reconnoitering parts of the
coast; wherever it was feasible, they
pitched the tents ashore and slept inside
One such group was under the overall command of Vancouver; he and some
companions (perhaps thirteen or fourteen) navigated in a yawl or pinnace;
travelling with a longboat were about ten
or eleven others, including Thomas Manby
and Peter Puget, who was in command.
The group set out from Birch Bay in the
early hours of 11 June 1792, steered
northwards, reconnoitered parts of the
continental coast, including Boundary
Bay, and thence rounded Point Roberts.
From its vicinity Vancouver scanned the
coast to the north, wherein he noticed "a
bluff point that seemed to form the southern entrance to an extensive sound." It
was the feature now known as Point
Grey. Then the two craft proceeded towards it but their progress was hindered
by the shoals now called Roberts Bank
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 and Sturgeon Bank.
Changing course, the explorers
steered westward, across Georgia Strait,
aiming to make a stopover on land. This
move required much rowing and it was
very late at night when they were able to
land on the shore of one of the islands,
now named Valdes and Gabriola, at a
spot that was steep and rocky. There,
with much difficulty, they kindled a fire
and perhaps had some dinner. They
obviously would have liked to pitch their
tents and sleep in them but, since the
terrain was unsuitable for the purpose,
they slept in the boats (perhaps uncomfortably).
About five o'clock the following
morning, 12 June, the group, with the
yawl and the longboat, departed from
that place, steered eastward and re-crossed
Georgia Strait. Vancouver's book mentions: " ... we landed about noon on the
abovementioned low bluff point which
in compliment to my friend Captain
George Grey of the Navy, was called
Puget's journal states: "We again
visited the shoals whose Edge we traced
to a Bluff which for Distinction sake we
shall call Noon Breakfast Point."
In subsequent references to this
promontory, Puget's journal reiterates the
"Breakfast" denomination, but it seems
that neither the journal nor any other of
the expedition's records explains the
reason for it. However, in the light of the
aforementioned and of subsequent events,
I guess:
• Largely because of the circumstances of the preceding
night, the party set out from that
island shore without having
• Around noon, being very tired
and hungry, they landed on the
shores of that bluff point.
• There they had a meal that was
both breakfast and lunch, what
is now called a brunch meal.
• At least provisionally, and in
commemoration ofthe meal, they
called the promontory Noon
Breakfast Point.
• It was not at that time, but later,
that Vancouver decided to call
that point after George Grey.
To reiterate, this is guesswork. In any
case, during the rest of that day the party
examined the shores of Burrard Inlet, and
spent the night near its head. Departing
early the following morning, 13 June,
they moved to the entrance of the inlet
and stopped on the shore of Point Atkinson
— situated to the north of Point Grey —
for a purpose thus mentioned in Puget's
journal: "... stopped for Breakfast opposite Noon Breakfast Point, which bore
3 Miles from this place."
Afterwards the party, with the two
boats, pushed northwards and examined
the coast, including Jervis Inlet. When on
the yawl, early on 21 June, they left this
place, the longboat carried its crew, with
Manby in charge (but not Puget because
he was with Vancouver). The plans were
for both craft to return together to Birch
Bay, but because of a mishap they went
separate ways. This separation is mentioned in the journals of Puget and Manby
and also in other records, but Vancouver's
book gives not even a hint of it.
The yawl, carrying Vancouver, Puget
and some companions, steered from Jervis
Inlet southwards, and eventually came in
view of Bowen Island and its neighbouring
islets, situated at a short distance from
Point Grey. Puget's journal reports: "That
night we reached the Cluster of Islands in
Mid Channel, off Breakfast Point."
In the course of that day Sutil and
Mexicana had been anchored at a short
distance to the west of Point Grey, and
their commanders realized that the
aforementioned Spanish map was wrong
in depicting this promontory of the
mainland as a cluster of small islands;
consequently, in their records they named
it Langara Point.
This Spanish expedition spent the
night off that promontory, while the group
led by Vancouver spent it at some part of
the Bowen Island group, not far away.
Puget's journal, in its entry for the
next day Qune 22), says: "We left our
Quarters at 4 o'clock and soon after got
sight of two Vessels at Anchor under
Noon Breakfast Point."
Vancouver's book has this statement:
"As we were rowing ... for Point Grey,
purposing there to land and breakfast,
we discovered two vessels at anchor
under the land."
Of course, these vessels were Sutil,
commanded by Dionisio Alcala Galiano,
and Mexicana, commanded by Cayetano
Valdes. Their personnel totalled about
forty-eight men, all Spanish speaking and
subjects of the Spanish empire, but in all
probability including some that were
Mexican bom and bred.
Then a historic encounter took place
between members of the British and
Spanish royal navies. As Vancouver's
book does not mention the fact that the
longboat went a separate way, readers
not otherwise informed would naturally
assume that both the yawl and the
longboat, with a total of about twenty-
five men, were present at the encounter,
and this misconception is reflected in
several publications of the twentieth
century. Actually, there was only the
yawl, with perhaps fifteen or sixteen
men, including Vancouver and Puget, all
English speaking. Altogether, over seventy
strangers but, apparently, no native
people, were in the area. All indications
are that none of the Britishers knew
Spanish, and that only one of the
Hispanics, Alcala Galiano, knew some
The yawl came alongside Sutil. The
time must have been early morning,
probably when the ship's personnel were
about to have breakfast. Vancouver, Puget
and a midshipman climbed aboard, where
they met that personnel and, helped by
Galiano's knowledge of English, the two
sides were able to communicate. Vancouver was very pleased with the way he
was treated by the Hispanics, and his
book mentions that he subsequendy left
the vessel "having partaken with them a
very hearty breakfast" (obviously, aboard
the ship). The book does not specify
whether or not Puget and the midshipman
also partook ofthe breakfast, but Menzies'
journal, referring to the three men, says:
"They went on board the Brig [Sutil\ and
were politely detained to breakfast." From
this I assume that these three Britishers
breakfasted aboard that Spanish vessel.
(The records of the Spanish expedition
mention this encounter, but not the
breakfast detail.)
In this respect it is fitting to ask: what
about the rest of the British group that
had been voyaging in the yawl with
Vancouver, Puget and the midshipman?
Did they breakfast? None of the extant
documents says anything about them.
However, a statement in Vancouver's
book, quoted above, clearly implies that
it had been planned for the whole party
to breakfast on the shores of Point Grey.
Therefore I assume that while Vancouver,
Puget and the midshipman were aboard
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Sutil, these other Britishers, either manning the yawl or else carried by the
Spanish boats, moved as close as possible to these shores, then landed at some
spot and had breakfast on it. Furthermore, I guess that they were joined by
some ofthe Hispanics, and that all enjoyed
the encounter. Indeed, I envisage a lively
scene on shore between Britishers and
Hispanics, all young, all mariners, all far
away from their respective home countries, with smiling faces, handshaking
and embracing in the friendliest mood,
eating and drinking something by way of
breakfast. Each side knew that its language
would not be understood by the other
side, and yet, there may have been verbal
utterances such as: How are you? iComo
estds? What is your name? iComo te llamas? Got a sweetheart? flienes novia?
Here, take this cigar. Toma este cigarro.
And I imagine Britishers and Spaniards-
cum-Mexicans affectionately bidding each
other farewell, saying: Bye bye, buddy;
we'll meet again. Hasta la vista,
According to Puget's journal that
stopover of the Britishers lasted about
one hour. Then they made for Birch Bay,
and subsequently the two expeditions
met again.
To sum up, I submit the following
combination of recorded facts and of
Facts: Around midday of 12 June
1792, Vancouver, Puget and some
other Britishers—perhaps about
twenty-five altogether—landed
on the shores of Point Grey,
where they had a late breakfast,
or a brunch meal.
Puget called the place Noon
Breakfast Point.
Guess: Ten days later, about ten
or eleven of these men breakfasted on the same spot, perhaps
accompanied by crewmen of
Sutil and Mexicana.
Fact: At the same time Vancouver, Puget and a midshipman
were breakfasting on board Sutil.
Guess: It was at some later time
that Vancouver decided to name
the point after George Grey.
Fact: The records of the voyage
of Sutiland Mexicana reveal that
at that time there was potable
water somewhere on the western shores of Point Grey and this
is confimied by records from
subsequent times. Surely, much
of the shore was suitable for
picnicking purposes.
Guess: It was at a spot where
there was potable water that those
two breakfasts took place; the
participants lit a fire, cooked
food, and used water for brewing tea (perhaps coffee for the
Hispanics), for washing themselves, etc.'
The Vancouver Expedition produced
a map which includes the area mentioned
in this article, the toponyms assigned by
Vancouver. In the course of time the area
was incorporated into the British Empire
and subsequently became part of Canada.
Naturally enough, those toponyms are
now official, and that promontory on the
western tip of Vancouver city is named
Grey, after a British naval officer. But, as
a sort of consolation prize for Spain, a
golf course in the city's area is named
after the Spanish naval officer Langara. I
wonder whether Vancouver's journal still
exists — perhaps somewhere in England
— and whether, on the subject of that
exploration cruise, it has details not
mentioned in his book; details that may
shed light on the questions and the
guesses I mention here.
The author retired recently from the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is a
popular member ofthe Vancouver Historical Society.
1. Puget kept a rough journal from which he subsequently
wrote a neat one. with a somewhat different text. However,
the rough journal and the neat one have virtually the same
wording in the pans that have a bearing on this article.
Actually these parts constitute the core of it. Vancouver's
book makes only a few contributions to it. Manby kept a
journal that has much detail on some subjects and/or
events, but very little on others. It does not mention the
"noon breakfast" of 12 June, but 1 guess that if he had been
with Vancouver and Puget when these met the Spaniards
he would have recorded the event, and perhaps provided
details that are not known now. Archibald Menzies did not
panicipale in this cruise, but mentioned it in his journal,
which includes the expression quoted here.
2. Curiously enough, none of the records of the voyage of
Sutil and Mexicana. including Alcala Galiano's writings,
mentions this important linguistic fact, but it is mentioned
in Vancouver's book and in Puget's journal.
3. Last year was the bicentennial of these events, and 1
thought it would be appropriate that, in commemoration of
that "noon breakfast." a group of British citizens sponsor a
brunch to lake place on the beach of Point Grey on a
Sunday of the month of June. I attempted to publicize this
suggestion, but failed.
is available in
Back volumes
of this publication
are available in
(film or fiche).
For further
Canada's Information
20 Victoria Street,
Toronto, Ontario M5C2N8
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Seed Growing in Grand Forks
by Jim Glanville
While the 1914-1918 War engaged
our men in conflict overseas, the battle
was carried on in the factories and on the
farms at home. The availability of one
vital commodity from the lowlands of
Europe was terminated by the war. This
product, necessary to provide food for
both those fighting at the front and for the
civilians at home, was vegetable seed.
When the request came to fill this gap, the
seed-growing concept was not entirely
new in the Grand Forks valley, thanks to
a few forward-looking, tenacious and
experimental farmers.
During the later years ofthe 1914-18
War, these farmers had already been
experimenting with the production of
vegetable seed. When supplies from Europe were restricted, they were prepared
to answer the request to step up production. Thus began the seed-growing era in
the Grand Forks valley which was to last
for almost forty years.
One of the elements necessary for a
successful venture such as this is good
management skills. The original growers
—CAS. Atwood, CC. Heaven, B.J. Ralph,
W.J. Lawrence and Tom Powers — were
few, but dedicated and determined to
succeed in this specialized branch of
agriculture. They maintained strict standards during production by such means as
roguing, weeding and frequent inspections.
Initially a great deal of hand labour
was employed in the harvesting, threshing and cleaning of the seed. The large
number of Doukhobors who had settled
in the Grand Forks area during the early
part of the century provided a reliable
supply of labour for the early seed growers. In the later years of seed growing
some of them also became seed growers.
In 1917 C.A.S. Atwood grew beets,
beans and squash to be marketed through
the B.C. Seed Growers Association with
headquarters in Penticton, a central location for a warehouse and selling station of
the provincial association. Onions were
also grown to be replanted for seed in the
following year. Lettuce and radish were
added in 1919. The excellent germination
of onion seed, from ninety-two per cent
to ninety-eight per cent, resulted in a
demand by Canadian seed houses.
Professor Boving of the University of
B.C. and Mr. McMeen of Dominion Seed
came to Grand Forks in 1918 to promote
the growing of vegetable seed. The result
was the contracting of twenty acres in
onions, mangels and carrots for delivery
in 1919- A major irrigation system installed in the valley in 1921 guaranteed an
adequate water supply and proved in
valuable, especially in the dry season. In
1923 Mr. Atwood had secured a contract
from Steele Briggs Seed Co. to supply
2,000 pounds of onion seed. The Riverside Nursery (C.A.S. Atwood) and CC
Heaven received further contracts in 1926
from Steele Briggs, W.E. Rennie and
McKenzie seed companies.
Seed growing continued through the
Depression years. A.R. Mudie, in 1934,
received first prize at the Vancouver
Exhibition for his onion seed. CC Heaven,
Oscar Pennoyer and A.R. Mudie were
named as a committee at a meeting in
February 1935 to draw up details for the
Grand Forks Seed Growers Association
as an affiliate of the B.C Seed Growers
Under the heading "Grand Forks
Grows Most Outstanding Strains of Vegetable Seed On Continent," the Grand
Forks Gazette of September 14, 1939,
stated in conclusion: "The success of
Grand Forks seed growers represents
years of special training to understand
how to select roots and onion bulbs that
are true to type; how to rogue; how to
overcome varying conditions of weather
and growing that influence the harvest of
seed crops. It represents many failures
before success was attained and, more
important, it involves the continuous
gamble with disease, weather and soil
reactions, which, while not affecting the
production of ordinary crops, often have
a very hazardous result on seed crops. In
other words, vegetable seed growing is a
specialist's job and one must have years
of experience to support even chances of
fair success. It is an industry which the
people of Grand Forks can well help the
seed growers guard jealously."
By the early 1940s, at the onset of
World War Two, seed supplies from the
lowlands of Europe were again cut off
and many more farmers started to raise
vegetable and flower seeds in the Grand
Forks valley. This was the "gold rush" era
of seed growing at Grand Forks, with
over one million dollars worth of seed
being produced each year.
A meeting in 1942 found seed growers formulating a decision to disassociate
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1994 Farm land in bloom. Grand Forks, RC c. 1940.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Government Travel Bureau
themselves from the B.C. Seed Growers
Association as they felt that it would be to
their advantage to deal with any agency
they wished. In 1942 B.C. Seeds Ltd., with
F.O. Blake as manager, handled most of
the locally grown seed. This was a nonprofit company owned and operated by
seed growers. The directors of B.C. Seeds
Ltd. were always bona-fide seed growers.
The war-time displacement of the
Japanese to the Boundary country in
1942 helped to provide a very necessary
labour force for local seed growers. Temporary living quarters were provided for
them on various farms and they proved to
be hard working and dependable. That
year 60,000 pounds of carrot and even
more of onion seed were produced.
Radish and lettuce seed were also grown
Tom Mudie took charge of his father's seed farm in 1942 and Eric Atwood,
long associated with the Riverside Nurseries, continued to manage the large
holdings assembled by C.A.S. Atwood,
who passed away in 1952. Yasushi
Sugimoto, mayor of Grand Forks, was to
become probably the largest producer of
vegetable seed in Canada at one time.
Grand Forks Gazette, July 22, 1943:
"Executives of two of the largest seed
houses in Canada visited the Grand Forks
Valley, J.W. Steele, president of Steele
Briggs Co., Toronto, F.J. Harrison, vice-
president of Rennie Seed Co., Toronto,
and R.R. Horrocks, Manager ofthe Rennie
Seed Co. They complimented farmers by
saying of all the seed districts they inspected, the crops in the Grand Forks
Valley were the best looked after, with
regards to weeds, segregation, etc."
At least one half mile of isolation was
required between different varieties of
carrot and onion seed to prevent cross-
pollination. Close neighbours, of necessity, had to agree on a variety to plant and
the land was zoned accordingly.
Produced under strict supervision,
generally at experimental farms, "elite
seed" was made available to growers
from which "foundation seed" could be
produced. Foundation seed made possible the growing of "registered seed" from
which "certified seed" could be grown.
Elite seed, also grown in seed plots at the
University of B.C., must be directly descended from a single plant and be pure,
clean and vigorous. To aid in fertilization,
package bees were imported in quantity
in May to be purchased by the growers.
J. Travis, District Agriculturist, quotes
statistics for 1944 which show 144 growers of registered, certified and commercial grades of seed, planting 909 acres.
Included in these crops of vegetables
, were onion, carrot, radish, lettuce, beans,
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Anne Starcbuck
picking onion seed.
beets, parsnip, marrow, squash and tomato. "Ebenezer" was probably the most
popular variety of onion as were "Nantes"
and "Red-Cored Chantenay" in carrots.
In July 1945, Hon. E.T. Kenney, Minister of Lands and Forests, expressed
himself as "thoroughly sold on the prodigality of the soil with these demonstrations of irrigation and cultivation so intelligently applied." The Hon. Mr. Kenney
had just been inspecting the vegetable
seed areas and garden plots of flowers for
seed, which had a retail value of up to
$160 per ounce.
Thirty different varieties of flowers
were grown on thirty-seven acres in 1946,
with a total production of 9,540 pounds
of seed. One can only imagine the number
of seeds in an ounce of some of these
flower seeds, when one ounce of carrot
seed contains 24,000 seeds and an ounce
of onion, 9,000 seeds. One of the most
attractive sights in the valley in August
1947 was the farm of Pat Heaven who had
80,000 gladioli bulbs planted on two
acres of land, the majority of them in full
bloom. It was at this time that N. Van der
Giessen arrived from Holland with his
family and assistants to open in Grand
Forks a branch of Van der Giessen
Brothers Seed Company.
By 1947, on contract to the growers,
Tommy Scheer was flying low-level flights,
dusting and spraying the crops in a Tiger
Moth aeroplane, while the workers remained in the fields, unaware of any
potential health risks. The plane was
owned by a company headed by Wes
The Grand Forks Gazette of January
1947 states: "The Grand Forks seed industry received a severe blow when a
large storage house on the Ray Orser
ranch was destroyed by fire. Stored in the
shed had been a large quantity of onion
bulbs belonging to A. Pennoyer, who
planned to use them for the coming
season's seed crop."
The National Film Board spent some
time in Grand Forks during the summer
of 1948. Their film Eye Witness featured
much of the seed industry in Grand
Forks. Fraser Carmichael, District Agriculturist for almost twenty years, gave a
great deal of encouragement and help to
local seed growers. From his memories
we quote: "No one who ever attended the
Annual Seed Blossom Carnival at Grand
Forks will ever forget the beauty of the
area during the last of the war years and
through to 1955. The Carnival involved
many volunteers in the organizing and
planning of the event. Competition was
keen in the home gardens and in1 the
farms which were classified according to
size of operation.
"Good advertising attracted many
outsiders to view these winning farms
and the general farming area and participate in a big picnic in late July. After
the field day and cavalcade of visitors the
awards were given out. Henry Wiebe,
manager of the Grower's Co-op, must be
mentioned for his strong support of the
Field Day and his hosting of many visitors."
The returns and yield from the seed
were good but, in addition to the regular
farming expenses, it was necessary for
the farmers to invest in frost-proof storage facilities for the onions, carrots and
beets which would be planted again the
following spring. Further expenses included large drying sheds and racks for
the onion seed and the need to employ
much hand labour.
On the suggestion of W.E. Stuart of
the Dominion Seed Branch, wooden trays
were constructed six feet long and two
feet wide with six-inch sides and lath one
inch apart on the bottom. The corner
posts were high enough so that when
stacked one on top of the other there was
a six-inch air space between the trays.
The trays were piled six or seven feet
high in a well-ventilated shed.
The onion seed heads had to be
handcut and carefully put into bags when
the pods were about ten to twenty per
cent open. The heads were then spread
out in drying trays under cover. This
would take place at the end of August
and into September.
For carrot seed the whole plant was
cut or pulled and left in bundles in a row
to dry. They would then go into a slightly
converted combine where the heads were
cut off. They then went up the conveyor
and were threshed, separating the seed
from the seed stem. The seed was then
sacked and stored. Carrot seed is a burr
and the spines were removed in a machine
that stirred up the seed, rubbing it against
the paddles and against each other. It was
necessary to remove the spines without
damaging the shell of the seed because
the seed would not germinate if cracked.
Large expensive machines were available
for this type of work, but local growers
did their own experimenting.
According to Eric Atwood, one of the
"must-sees" for visitors to the valley were
the many acres of flowers: "The nasturtiums with their varied colours making
the field appear on fire, the perfume and
colours of tlie petunia and, if in the
morning, the profusion of colour of the
Unfortunately, the life and industry
of those years was not to be preserved in
living colour. There were no video
cameras nor coloured slides. That unique
era, however, still exists in the memories
of those fortunate enough to have seen
the beauty of those fields of flowers and
the vast acreages of onion and carrot seed
in full bloom.
The seeds produced in that era were
open pollinated. Today the concern is
that the taste and hardiness of heirloom
and other open-pollinated varieties are
becoming increasingly more difficult to
As European post-war competition
began to increase and prices started a
downward trend, the halcyon days ofthe
forties were on the wane and by 1955 the
lowly potato once again became the
favorite crop of many of the former seed
growers. Diversification became the norm
and the famous Grand Forks Blue Ribbon
netted gem potatoes were replaced by
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 many newer varieties, while onions captured a prominent place as a vegetable
crop. An era in agricultural history was
Lois Haggen 1899-1994
The author produced over 500 pounds of
"Ebenezer" seed from one acre of land in
1942, his most lucrative crop ever grown
from one acre.
Grand forks Citizen?
GovemriK'nt Sessional Papers
7be tuvtitHg Sun (Grand Turks)
interviews vvuji Y Siigimolo and 1'OSCT Canuichjel  In 1947
Trascr Cirmk'hael followed J. Travis as District Agriculturist.
'IK' utemoirs of Eric Alwood Air. Atwood passed away in
I98S at the age of ninety-one
Mrs. Lois Haggen of Grand Forks was
President of tlie British Columbia Historical Association from 1957 through 1959;
this was at the same time she sat as the
only woman MLA in Victoria.
Lois was born in Alabama and came to
Quesnel with her family in 1911. She
married Rupert Haggen, PLS, moving within
British Columbia several times. They were
living in Rossland when Rupert Haggen
was elected MLA for the Grand Forks/
Greenwood riding in 1949- The couple
moved to Grand Forks later that year.
Rupert Haggen held the seat until his
death in 1956. Lois I laggen was elected to
replace him in 1956 and sat for ten years.
Mrs. Haggen was a founder and
Honorary Life Member of the Boundary
Historical Society. She passed away in
Grand Forks on Febniary 28, 1994.
SK?**^.- " tft&z-
Carl Neumetzter stands among bis carrot seeds.
Photo courtesy of B.C. Government Travel Bureau.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Early Anglicans at French Creek
by Margaret Nicholls
In July 1938, fifty-five years
ago, the soft-toned cathedral
bells of St. Anne's church in
French Creek rang as my husband and I walked under a
floral arch of roses and
sweetpeas held by our students. We had just repeated
our marriage vows before our
old family friend, Reverend
George Arthur Bagshaw. Since
the consecration of these bells
in 1936, they have been rung
for many local wedding couples, for baptisms, and tolled
in memory of the deceased.
The first marriage on the
records of the church came
before the church was built.
Robert John Craig of French
Creek and Elizabeth Ann Tippet were married at the bride's
home in September 1893 by Reverend
Charles Edwin Cooper, newly appointed
vicar to the district of Nanoose. This
district included Englishman River, later
known as Parksville, French Creek,
Errington, Litde Qualicum, Nanoose and
the yet to be named areas of Hilliers,
Coombs and Qualicum Beach. The first
marriage solemnized in the church was
that of Qualicum pioneer Thomas Kinkade
and Sarah Coqulamat, wed on the 24th of
October, 1894.
The most triumphant ringing of the
bells will be on the 26th of July, 1994,
when on St. Anne's Day, the oldest church
in the area will celebrate its one hundredth
Anglican worship in the area dates
back some years before the erection of St.
Anne's. Reverend Canon Good of
Nanaimo, Archdeacon Scriven and Bishop
Hill of Victoria all conducted services and
baptized children in homes, hotels and
schoolhouses. This was a time when
parishioners left their guns at the school-
house door. Guns were carried to church
in the hopes of shooting the evening
meal on the way home.
In the spring of 1893 a new bishop,
Right Reverend William Wilcox Perrin,
arrived in Victoria. As there was no Angli-
St Anne's Cburcb, French Creek,
near Parksville and Qualicum Beacb, RC
Photo courtesy of Craig Heritage Park Archives
can church betwen Comox and Wellington, he sent to England for his friend, Rev.
Cooper, M.A., to act as a missionary to
this mid-island area. That same year Rev.
Cooper travelled to Nanaimo by train and
from there to Alberni by
stagecoach searching for a
place to establish a church.
In April 1894, after much
consultation with the pioneers, he decided upon
French Creek (between
Parksville and Qualicum) as
a central spot. He purchased
three and a half acres of land
which had proven to be too
poor for farming from the
Parks family, for whom
Parksville had been named.
He financed the purchase of
the land himself and subse-
quendy gave the deeds to
the Anglican Synod. Through
Cooper's foresight it was
possible to have a churchyard
cemetery similar to those
adjoining Old Country
churches. This delighted the people of
the district, who were largely from Britain. Adding to their delight was the fact
that Cooper promised free burial plots to
all those helping in the construction.
A work bee to build St. Anne's, June 24,1894. Note tbe "corner" men standing atop tbe
logs. Tbey are R.P. WaUis, J. Lowery, James Dunn, Otto Renz, W. Cheney, W. McKenzie, R
Harris and J. McKinnon, carpenter in charge. Others shown are W. Mills, I.G. Davis, A.
Crump, DA. McMillan, W.H. Lee, A.N. Hirst, A. Cotton, H.R. Lee, W. Groffln and J. Craig.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 The location of the church on the
property was chosen on the 13th of April,
and four days later a "bee" was held to
begin the clearing of the land. Oxen and
horses were used to haul the felled, hand-
hewn logs from the lot and the nearby
woods to the church site. Lumber for the
interior was brought from Andrew
Haslam's mill in Nanaimo on a scow
towed by a tug. With no wharf for unloading, tides were studied and the lumber was unloaded in a great rush before
the high tide turned. Every available
horse and ox were brought into use,
hauling the lumber from the beach.
John McKinnon received the contract for the erection of the building, but
most of the other men were volunteers.
The eight comer men were Richard WaUis,
who later became member of Parliament;
James Lowery, blacksmith; Otto Alphonse
Renz, farmer and musician; J. McCarter,
hotel keeper and mail and stage contractor;
Donald McMillan, telegraph operator and
road foreman; Guy Ponsford, farmer; and
Robert Craig, the recent bridegroom.
In a 1973 interview with ninety-six-
year-old Otto Renz at St. Mary's Priory,
Victoria, he claimed that his neighbour
McKinnon, the contractor, was a self-
appointed carpenter and that two of the
volunteers were more skilled in carpentry. Unfortunately, Otto couldn't remember their names. However, he did mention other names that are not always
given credit in the stories of St. Anne's.
David Sullivan framed the rafters, fastening the logs with bolts bored into position
with a hand auger. Otto remembers the
dovetailing of the corners still admired
today. Robert Hickey and Otto worked
on the roof, and on one middle board he
carved his own name and that of Rev.
Cooper. After the building was consecrated, Sutherland, not satisfied with the
construction, put in an extra rafter for
safety. David Hicks worked on the chapel
and T.W. Buckley did much ofthe inside
finishing, oiling and polishing of the logs
after the consecration.
Most men in the area, regardless of
their church affiliation, spent time on the
building. Rev. Cooper, Arthur Bagshaw,
William and Henry Lee (postmaster),
Benjamin Crump, Otto's father Renz Sr. (a
Catholic), Ian Davis, W. McKenzie, Richard
Despard, James Dunn, William Cheney,
W. Harris and A. Birkinstock were all men
whom Otto reminisced about. He claimed
one man's contribution was two loads of
hay to feed the horses and oxen.
Raising the walls began June 25 and
just over a month from this date the
consecration took place on St. Anne's
Day, July 26, 1894. It was a beautiful
summer day when carriages filled with
celebrants travelling from Nanaimo, Wellington and other outlying areas arrived
at the church yard. With the group was
the choir from St. Matthew's church in
Wellington coming to accompany the
newly formed choir of St. Anne's.
A petition for the consecration and
the keys of the locked church were
presented to the Right Reverend the Lord
Bishop of Columbia, W.W. Perrin, by
Rev. Cooper and church wardens William
Lee and Richard Hickey. The bishop
unlocked the door and the clergy entered
the church in procession, singing Psalm
24. The church was then dedicated to St.
Anne - Aldermere, in memory of Jesus'
grandmother. After a lengthy service, the
procession beat the bounds, tracing out
the grounds, stopping at each corner and
singing as they traced the perimeter.
Following the religious services, a picnic
lunch was served from the amply supplied baskets of the parishioners. The
choirboys of St. Matthew's church stayed,
camping for a week under Rev. Cooper's
Rev. Cooper continued as vicar,
coming every second Sunday from his
Wellington charge. In 1895 he instituted
a Sunday School at the Russel home in
Nanoose. Here he was known to have
christened children using Mrs. Russel's
pudding bowl as his font. He became
known up and down the island for his
genial manner, his speedy horses, and for
his prize-winning vegetables.
Services were so well attended at
French Creek that it became necessary to
extend the building by replacing the
vestry where Reverend Cooper slept when
he came on Saturday evenings. At about
the same time, a vestibule was added to
the church entrance.
Rev. Cooper improved his two incumbencies at Wellington and Nortlifield.
At Wellington he cleared the grounds and
made the rectory into a very stylish home.
At Nortlifield he added to the church
property and had a gymnasium built for
the church boys. Interested in the youth,
he founded Boys' Brigades at all his
churches. My father was a member of this
brigade attached to the Nanaimo churches.
In 1896 Rev. Cooper returned to
England to holiday and to visit his family.
While "home" he married Octavia, the
daughter of Archdeacon and Mrs. John
Allen. When the couple returned to Wellington in August 1896, the whole town
turned out to greet them, including several carriages loaded with friends from St.
Anne's. There were choirs, bands, a guard
of honour, and an address read by C.N.
Young, an early Nanaimo school teacher.
By 1899 Wellington miners and
buildings were transferred to Ladysmith
as the major seams of coal had run out.
On tlie 22nd of November, 1899, the
Coopers were given the churches of St.
Alban's and St. Paul's to continue their
work in Nanaimo. Among his parishion-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 ers at his new assignment were members
of the families that had travelled aboard
the Princess Royal and who had sailed on
the 3rd of June, 1854, nine days before
Charles Cooper was born. In Nanaimo he
built a new rectory which he donated to
St. Paul's. This rectory was later the home
of District 69 member, Grace Ryall D'Arcy,
whose father was at one time the vicar at
St. Paul's.
In 1904 the Coopers were again
transferred, this time to the army garrison
church of St. Savin's near Victoria. Its
congregation each Sunday was composed
of 150 red-coated Imperial soldiers who
marched to church accompanied by their
own band. Here the Coopers had their
own home named "Cherrimanse." In 1908
they travelled to London where Rev.
Cooper was sent to attend the Pan Anglican Congress as representative of the
Diocese of British Columbia. In 1910 he
became Canon Cooper, and in 1911 he
retired to England where he was a rector
until confined to a nursing home in
Lincoln. He died there in 1916, aged
sixty-two. At a silver anniversary of St.
Anne's in 1919, a brass lectern was placed
in the church in remembrance of his
work, and in 1921 a stone font was given
to the church by Mrs. Cooper in memory
of her husband.
One of the outstanding effects of
Cooper's co-operative character was found
in his training of Arthur Bagshaw for the
ministry. There was no theological college in British Columbia when Bagshaw
had felt the calling to become a minister.
He walked to Cooper's Wellington and
Nanaimo homes each weekend to receive instruction, and he was ordained in
1902. Bagshaw became the
beloved vicar at St. Anne's for
two different periods, the last
from 1933 to 1944. Our family
friendship began when he
stopped at my great-grandparents' hotel at Nanoose on his
way to his instruction each
Only once was the congregation afraid of losing their
church. In August 1895, bush
fires raged on the central part
of the island. On Sunday the
25th, it crept within a few yards
of St. Anne's, and only a valiant
effort plying wet sacks to the
church saved it. A service of
thanksgiving for the preservation was held that evening by
the exhausted parishioners.
Over the years St. Anne's
has seen some minor additions and restorations, often supervised by the late
John Hickey, whose mother Charlotte
Emily played the church organ for over
forty years. His sister Emily Janet was the
first child christened in the church, on the
12th day of August, 1894. Guy Ponsford
was in charge of planting a beautiful
cedar hedge around the perimeter. He
took it upon himself to keep the hedge
neatly trimmed. In 1934 Parksville's Boy
Scout Troop took a large part in the
erection of the lich gate which provides
a shelter for the first part of a burial
service. A beautiful stained-glass window, depicting St. Anne and her daughter
Mary, was donated by parishioner E.B.
May in memory of his wife, Dorothy, who
died on her way to England for a holiday.
Rev. GJL Bagshaw, taken in bis Parksville borne
on October 13,1961.
St. Anne's became the mother church
for St. Mark's at Qualicum, St. John's at
Hilliers, and St. Mary's at Errington, as
well as a second church at Parksville
named St. Edmund's.
Services are still held at St. Anne's on
special occasions. Always unlocked until
recent vandalism, pemiission to visit the
church must be requested. Sitting in the
quiet peace of this lovely building, one
can feel the spirit of the pioneers and its
founder, Canon Charles Edward Cooper.
Margaret (Peggy) Nicholls now lives in
Nanaimo where she is a valued member
ofNanaimo Historical Society.
The Island Hall Hotel History
by Marjorie Leffler
The history of the Island Hall Hotel
goes back more than seventy-five years
to when the land was cleared and the first
sod turned on August 28, 1916.
So began the Island Hall, in both
history and tradition one of the most
colourful and romantic of all the Island's
hostelries. A year later Miss Joan Foster
and Miss Winifred Philpott officially
opened the Island Hall with a dinner on
Good Friday, 1917, a bridge drive the
following Saturday, and on Monday the
first of the scores of balls that the Hall has
Misses Foster and Philpott were out
from England on a world tour when,
upon arriving in Victoria, Miss Foster was
advised by her solicitors that her estate
was dwindling at an alarming rate and
she would have to conserve what was
left. With this in mind, the two ladies set
up a poultry business at Cameron Lake,
which proved to be unsuccessful. Following this venture Winifred Philpott
started a confectionery business, making
and selling "Cameron Candies," also not
a commercial success. Undaunted, they
decided to build an old English inn at
Cameron Lake to emulate the charm and
elegance of the inns of old England.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Building was well under way when, on
the advice of counsel, they were persuaded to build in Parksville on the bay
and the Island's main highway. It was a
wise decision for, with Winifred as the
main driving force and Joan as the patron
and partner who supplied the money, the
Island Hall, as they named their country
inn, became a centre of culture and
hospitality which has remained to this
For many years the hotel advertising
included the slogan "The Hotel with a
Beach for a Doorstep" and to make the
most of the view, the dining room and
lounge were built facing the beach. But
the heart of the Island Hall was the
massive stone fireplace with a sixteen-
foot mantle of Douglas fir, which is still to
be seen in the lobby. For many years it
was the background for photos of the
numerous weddings held there. The first
reception held in the Island Hall was that
of Dorothy Price and H.F. Butler of
Errington. They were married at St. Anne's
church in 1923, but although the hotel
was technically closed for the winter, it
was opened for this reception.
The partnership between Miss
Philpott and Miss Foster broke up in 1927
when Winifred married a Dr. Woodman
who came to the hotel while on leave
from China. Miss Foster remained in
Parksville for the rest of her life and is
buried in St. Anne's cemetery.
Following the break-up of their partnership, the hotel was purchased by the
Newmans, who ran it for ten years. They
agreed to hold a dance at the Island Hall
in 1933 to help raise money for the
community park, thus starting a legacy of
community hospitality that continues to
this day. Some time later Ernie Crayton
and his father bought the hotel, changing
its name to the Crayhaven Inn and running it for a few years under that name.
Enter two more ladies in the persons
of Mrs. Mary Sutherland and Eileen
Allwood. In 1946, fresh from running a
mountain lodge in Revelstoke Park, they
saw an advertisement for the sale of the
Crayhaven Inn, a year-round vacation
resort located on the beach at Parksville.
The following year they took over the
Inn. Many renovations were needed immediately but, undaunted, the two partners set about facing the challenge. More
bathrooms, bedroom redecorating and a
complete rewiring job were all com
pleted in the first few months. They
discovered during their first year of ownership that people were used to calling
their inn "The Island Hall Hotel," so they
changed it back to its original name.
When Eileen and Mary first came to
the hotel, Bob Weld, the local magistrate,
held court there in a bedroom on the top
floor and Mary's husband, Dr. Sutherland, had his office in the hotel for a time.
Over the years the Island Hall hosted
seminars and conventions of the CLC,
IWA, the Liberal Party, McMillan Bloedel,
the United Church and countless special
events. The visits of then-Premier Byron
Johnson and Prime Minister Louis St.
Laurent (Mary was an ardent Liberal all
her life and served in the Department of
Consumer Affairs for a time) were great
social occasions, but the visit of Princess
Elizabeth and Prince Philip remains the
highest point on the social calendar ofthe
Through the years the Island Hall
grew and expanded from twenty-eight
rooms to a modern hotel complex. Three
additional properties were purchased,
twelve modem rooms added to the north
wing of the main building, and the
Allwood Annex was completed. The dining room was enlarged and the kitchens
made more efficient.
By 1963 the hotel was ready for more
expansion but Eileen Allwood was ready
to retire. She sold her shares to Mary who
plunged ahead with her plans. An indoor
swimming pool with a turbojet hot pool
and saunas was installed next to the
convention area. Further expansion required the acquisition of adjoining property and Edgewater, a six-acre resort east
of the Island Hall, was purchased. Three
new annexes named Philpott, Newman
and Foster were added, a nostalgic touch
from bygone days. A coffee shop was
built onto the main hotel, opening off the
Island Highway, at the same time as
Gemma Galleries, an antique shop, was
constructed on the bench at street level.
Gemma Galleries has since been remodelled and is known as the Sand Bar Pub.
By 1981 the hotel was groaning under the strain of trying to compete. Mary
thought it was time for younger blood to
take over so her son Tom, who had
coached the Island Hall through its ups
and downs, was ready to take over. After
all, his mother was now ninety years old.
Tom managed the hotel for a few
years before selling to a consortium
headed by Bruce McLay. At the time of
writing, new plans are on the drawing
board for modernization and expansion
of the "Grande Dame" of Island hotels,
with an eye to bringing it back to its
former glory as a world-famous resort.
MarJ Leffler is a long-time resident of tbe
Parksville-Qualicum area and is tbe volunteer museum manager forCraig Heritage Park in Parksville. She regularly
contributes historical articles to local
newspapers and is a founding member of
District 69 Historical Society.
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Island Hall Hotel, c 1945, Parksville, RC Photo courtesy of Craig Heritage Park Archives
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 HMCS Haida, Yesterday's Hero
by Leonard W. Meyers
Canada's most celebrated warship,
the tribal class destroyer HMCS Haida,
commissioned in 1943, was a busy fighting ship indeed in the months prior to D-
Day, playing a vital role in the softening
up of the German navy, along with a
flotilla of British tribal destroyers such as
the Ashanti, Tartar, Eskimo, Nubian,
In the first six months of 1944, in the
English Channel, Haida trained its 4.7-
inch guns towards the French coast time
and again and hammered away towards
enemy targets with remarkable success.
During and prior to the invasion, HMCS
Haida sank five enemy destroyers, two
minesweepers, two trawlers and one
German submarine. During these naval
encounters the only damage Haida sustained was when one of her guns exploded due to overheating from the constant firing.
HMCS Haida weighed 2,745 tons with
a full load of fuel and was designed for a
top speed of thirty-six knots.1
Haida, along with other Canadian
warships, would prowl the waters of the
English Channel at night, picking up
radar blips of German destroyers skulking along the French coast under darkness, pouncing on them with all guns
One officer serving aboard the wartime Haida recently remarked on the
fiftieth anniversary ofthe tribal's commissioning: "We'd get a signal saying 'Pro
ceed with all dispatch' which means 'flat
out and we'll tell you more in a little
while.' Then the admiral in Plymouth
would say 'Force of four to six Germans
believed to be destroyers moving along
the French coast; deal with them.'."
Regularly engaged in naval duels
with German naval units afforded Haida
with more victories than any other Canadian warship.
June 6,1944, the day of deliverance,
finally dawned. After months of tedious
waiting, armies of men champing at the
bit to get going and getting it over in
Hitler's "festung" Europe was at hand.
For the big show, units of the Royal
Canadian Navy were in the thick of it.
And to paraphrase Lord Nelson, "Canada
expects every man to do his duty." And
every man to the best of his ability, with
efficiency and courage, did. Some died
dedicated to their duty.
Only a limited contingent of the
Canadian navy (the third largest navy in
the world at war's end in number of
vessels) ships were deployed to take part
in the massive invasion armada, as the
bulk of the Royal Canadian Navy was still
serving in the Atlantic, escorting vital
convoys from Canada and the U.S. to
Britain to maintain the war effort which
had now entered the final, and certainly
vital, phase.
The Canadian warships taking part in
the D-Day invasion were some of the
finest and most modem, the elite of the
Canadian navy. These included the sleek
and deadly tribal class destroyers, the
Haida, Huron, Algonquin and Sioux,
together with the armed merchant cruisers Prince Henry and Prince David converted into combined operations cruisers. These carried capacity loads of troops
through the treacherous waters combing
the fortified assault beaches. From the
operations troop carriers, masses of
heavily armed troops stormed ashore in
flotillas of landing craft manned by officers
and ratings of the Royal Canadian Navy.
Sister ship Prince Robert, equipped as an
anti-aircraft cruiser, saw active service in
that vital role and rendered outstanding
service in the greatest invasion operation
in history.
Flotillas of Canadian navy minesweepers, including the Malpeque, Mina,
Wasaga, Milltown and Blairmore, were
busy sweeping the Channel to the invasion beaches. RCN torpedo boats skimmed
around among the armada of ships. At
least twenty Canadian corvettes, veterans
of Atlantic convoy escort duty fending off
German U-boats preying on the large
convoys carrying vital food and war material, participated in anti-submarine operations among multitudes of ships
comprising the invasion armada.
Also on the scene were Canadian
naval vessels Calgary, Alberni, Prescott
and Mimico, RCN ships named after Canadian towns and cities, the "little ships"
which brought honour to the same com-
HMCS Haida infighting trim during World War Two.      Drawing by Leonard Meyers.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 ' y
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HMCS Prince Robert saw action as an anti-aircraft cruiser on D-Day. Before tbe war tbe
Prince Robert was a CNR passenger liner plying tbe waters of tbe
West Coast for many years. RCN photo
munities and made heroes ofthe officers
and seamen who manned them on that
historic, auspicious day in 1944.
Even before D-Day, the Canadian
tribal class destroyers gave an heroic
account of themselves while on patrol in
the English Channel, in preparation for
the pending invasion near the coast of
France. But the RCN flotilla sustained
casualties too.
The Canadian destroyers, part of a
naval contingent led by the Royal Navy
cruiser Black Prince, while on patrol intercepted a German destroyer attempting
to escape after being damaged in an
earlier engagement. The enemy destroyer
was sunk after taking repeated hits from
the Canadian navy warships and a British
The Canadian naval vessels taking
part in tlie sea battle were HMCS Haida,
skippered by Commander H.G. DeWolfe,
the Athabaskan, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander J.H. Stubbs, and
Huron, commanded by Lieutenant-
Commander H.S. Rayner. Another naval
operation ensued when the flotilla,
commanded by Captain D.M. Less, DSO,
RN, in the cruiser Black Prince, encountered an enemy force of three or four
destroyers of the Elbing class. The German warships altered course and tried to
escape under a heavy smoke screen. The
enemy ships were illuminated with star
shells and the Canadian and British ships
opened fire, scoring several hits.
HMS Black Prince sighted torpedoes
approaching and took immediate evasive
action, while the accompanying RCN
destroyers pressed on with continuing
naval bombardment. One German destroyer was intercepted and engaged by
HMCS Haida and Athabaskan, to be
joined later by HMS Ashanti and HMCS
One German destroyer was hit repeatedly and sank. The rest of the enemy
ships managed to escape. The Canadian
and British vessels returned safely to
harbour, suffering only minor casualties
and superficial damage. When the destroyer force again entered the Channel
patrol area, the captain and crew did not
anticipate anything unusual, having grown
accustomed to routine patrol station service.
In the brooding darkness of the English Channel, however, more danger
lurked before the mighty invasion armada of D-Day was to arrive.
Sailing through the dark night, the
Canadian and British ships observed two
navigation lights on the French coast,
some twenty-five miles away.
About 2 a.m. a senior officer reported
fairly large enemy ships. On being discovered, the German warships changed
course and sped away. Immediately HMS
Black Princefired star shells to illuminate
the enemy ships. Within minutes, the
Canadian and British ships found their
targets and opened fire. Salvo after salvo
shattered the night sky. Busy gunners on
the Canadian destroyers were perspiring
profusely. The German ships fighting for
survival threw everything they had at the
British and Canadian warships.
The running battle kept up, with the
range gradually closing. Suddenly a large
star shell flared high above and, instantly,
heavy enemy fire was directed against
the Allied destroyers from the enemy
ships and from a number of shore batteries. A narrow miss as a shell from one of
the German destroyers passed through
the Haidds rigging. Tracer shells were
arching dangerously from ahead, off the
bow and midships.
Concentrating on the enemy targets,
all four Canadian tribal destroyers were
maintaining ongoing, accurate shelling.
Less than a mile separated the RCN destroyers from the rocky shoreline when a
star shell lit up an enemy destroyer
crossing the Canadians' bows a mere
two-and-a-half miles away.
The tribals pounded the German
destroyer mercilessly, and clearly visible
to the bridge officers of the Canadian
ships through night glasses. One accurate
salvo struck the enemy vessel amidships.
The next one smashed her forward guns
and sent flames leaping high above the
bridge. Another struck her stern. As the
Haida and the Athabaskan delivered the
final coup de grace, escaping steam could
be seen. Torpedoes and shells smashed
into the stricken destroyer as she slowly
heeled over. A number of survivors
jumped from the sinking ship and swam
towards life rafts, while the other German
ships fled.
Unfortunately a tragic disaster was to
befall a Canadian destroyer with the tribal
flotilla on the next sweep of the pre-
invasion French coast when the Royal
Canadian Navy's destroyer Athabaskan
was split in two by an enemy torpedo
while in action against German naval
units. The stricken Athabaskan went
down, still firing at two German destroyers that attacked her on a calm, clear but
ominous night. The enemy vessel, however, did not escape unscathed. One of
the attacking German destroyers was
driven ashore in flames. No casualties
were sustained by Haida.
HMCS Haida immediately proceeded to where the Athabaskan went
down, picking up survivors from the
chilly waters. Ignoring possible German
U-boats lurking in the vicinity waiting for
a chance to attack, the destroyer Haida
nosed its way among the nearby survivors,
some injured, and the captain had his
men throw overboard all available
lifejackets, rafts and boats. The skipper of
the sunken Athabaskan, Lieutenant-
Commander J.H. Stubbs, who was float-
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 3E=ar
**aa&g&-*i^iZ-0.    ^
Invasion armada landing at Berniires-Sur-Mer.June 6,1944.      RCN photo
ing on one of the rafts, shouted: "Get
away! Get clear!"
Despite the clanger of enemy craft,
Haida spent fifteen minutes in the vicinity picking up survivors until Lieutenant-
Commander Stubbs'2 warning forced her
to take reluctant leave rather than risk
another attack, another destroyer, and
more lives.
The engagement with the two German destroyers took place near He de
Vierge, near the westerly tip of France, in
the early hours of April 29, when the
patrolling tribals discovered the two German destroyers sailing along the French
coast. When the action began, RCN
Athabaskan was hit by a direct shot
forward of her bridge and flames immediately engulfed her superstructure. She
steamed on, bravely firing her after-guns.
Among her complement were a number
of West Coast sailors.
Another salvo smashed her after-
deck and Athabaskan slowed but continued to fire widi her remaining guns
until a torpedo struck her stern, which
broke off, and sank immediately, to be
followed by the fore part. One surviving
sailor later recounted his experience of
that horrifying night: "The second torpedo struck us about the second funnel
on the leeward side. It was lucky for us
the whaler hadn't been lowered. Debris
and great blobs of burning oil came
showering down. We ducked under the
whaler for cover. I put up my hands to
cover my face ... The ship heeled over
and I rolled under the cutter. A lot more
debris came down on top of it ... I fell
over the side and struck out to swim
clear. Tlie stern went under first and then
the bow reared up and stood on end,
clear back to the bridge, and tiien slipped
back. I was drifting about when Haida's
boats came along, picked us up, and all
our troubles were over."
One hundred and thirty-one men
survived the Athabaskan sinking. Forty-
six were picked up by HMCS Haida. The
Germans took eighty-five prisoners picked
up from life rafts which drifted ashore. D-
Day had taken its first major toll of a
Canadian warship and many of its gallant
crew days before the actual invasion got
underway. But the tribal destroyers remained on duty after the D-Day landing,
and lived to fight the enemy successfully
by night and day until German surface
fighting ships and U-boats were finally
swept away. And the mighty invasion
armada was on the shores of France to
stay until that great day of liberation of
Europe on VE-Day.
A mere shell of its wartime fighting
prowess, HMCS Haida is on permanent
display beside Toronto's Ontario Place
and operates as a Canadian naval war
For HMCS Haida and her gallant sister fighting ships, World War Two was a
time of greatness, as well as for their
brave and heroic crews.
HMCS Haida was named after that
proud and distinguished Indian nation of
the same name inhabiting the Queen
Charlotte Islands of British Columbia.
The author served as petty officer in tbe
RCNVRfrom 1941 to 1946.
1.    Figures from Jane's ftghtlng Shifts.
Z.   John Stubbs. a native of Kaslo, U.C.. joined the
Royal Canadian Navy in 1930. Me was lost when
the Atbithasiutn sank and was posthumously
awarded the Distinguished Service Cnjss. John
Stubbs [elementary School on Zealous Crescent in
Victoria was named in his memory
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Lord of Williams Lake
by Randy Poulis and John Roberts
Trying to put together a portrait of a
man born 163 years ago is not an easy
task. Records and remembrances are few
and far between. What you try to do is get
a feel for the man by what he was able to
achieve; by that measuring stick William
Pinchbeck was a very great man. He must
have been an honourable man because
he held positions of constable and justice
of the peace. Also, in the few records
written by others, there is never a bad
word said about Pinchbeck.
William Pinchbeck was- born in
Yorkshire, England, in 1831. In 1849 he
and his two brothers, Michael and
Anderson, emigrated to California and
the lure of the gold rush. There is little
doubt that the three had a thirst for
adventure but it's quite possible they
were reacting to social changes in England. At that time the landed gentry were
kicking many of their less fortunate
brethren off the land as they built massive
estates. Under such conditions the
young William Pinchbeck may have
left England with one valuable lesson tucked under his cap — ownership of land meant power.
In California the three brothers
kept busy with mining and operating a hotel. In the late 1850s the
three brothers parted company;
William heading north to the gold-
fields of the B.C. interior while his
brothers went to Australia and
Patagonia (the southern third of what
is now Argentina).
Three brothers, three different
continents. One can only guess that
the three, still infused with the sense
of adventure, made a wager over
who would become the most wealthy
in their new homelands. If such was
the case, Michael and Anderson
would have to have found great
riches to eclipse what William was
on the verge of discovering. It is not
known what the future did hold for
Michael and Anderson.
In 1859, William and a friend
from California, William Lyne, left
Victoria for the Cariboo goldfields.
The adrenaline rush of adventure
was to be, found in many of the young
men arriving in the Cariboo during that
period, but what set the likes of Pinchbeck, Lyne, Robert Borland, Sam Yorston,
Sam Simrock, Tom Paxton and Charles
Eagle apart was that the wealth they saw
glistening was the availability of farm and
ranch land. After taking pre-emptions on
land in the Williams Lake valley, Pinchbeck and Lyne formed a partnership to
farm and ranch the properties. The produce, wheat and meat was sold to feed
hungry gold miners in their usually vain
pursuit of striking it rich.
Between I860 and 1863 it appears
that Pinchbeck and Lyne purchased
buildings and property from the oldest
setder in the valley, Thomas Davidson.
The property located in the Glendale area
included a stopping house which became known as Upper House. An advertisement in the Victoria Colonist in 1863
beat the drum of Pinchbeck's Hotel and
William Pinchbeck, in an undated photograph
Photo courtesy of Museum of Cariboo Chilcotin.
Store as "Accommodation for travellers
unsurpassed by any hotel in the country.
The table is constantly supplied with
every delicacy that money can purchase.
A large stock of miner's supplies of every
description constantly on hand. The
choicest brands of wines, liquors and
cigars to be held at the bar."
Upper House held a rudimentary
gaol. During these early years Pinchbeck
had been named a constable by gold
commissioner Phillip Nind. It was Pinchbeck's job to capture the accused and
hold him/them for trial until Judge Begbie,
making his circuit through the interior,
dispensed with the cases. Later Pinchbeck
was named a justice of the peace, a
position which enabled him to sentence
most of the offenders promptly.
Pinchbeck took Chulminick, daughter of the second Chief Willy'um of the
Shuswaps, as his wife about 1866. It is
doubtful whether this marriage was ever
registered.  Chulminick bore two
sons, William Jr. in 1867 and James.
It is believed that Williams Lake was
named for Chulminick's grandfather, the first chief Willy'um.
The Pinchbeck and Lyne partnership prospered throughout the
'60s and 70s. They corralled most of
the property in the valley. Lower
House was developed where Williams Lake Stampede Grounds are
today. Vegetables, grain, hogs and
cattle were grown on their property.
A grist mill, powered by water diverted from Williams Lake Creek,
ground local grain. The stopping
house prospered in part because a
brewery and distillery were built
adjacent. The distillery produced a
renowned spirit called White Wheat
In the fall of 1883 Pinchbeck
journeyed to England. He returned
in the spring of 1884 with fami and
sawmill equipment, his sister Helen,
and a young wife, Alice Elizabeth.
With Alice Elizabeth he had three
more sons, Cyril, Robert and
Frederick, and a daughter, Emma.
What happened to Chulminick is
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 unclear. Perhaps she succumbed to one
of the white man's diseases or perhaps
she was sent back to her band. Nevertheless, William Sr. appears to have remained devoted to his sons William Jr.
and James. William Jr. ran a pack train for
his father, supplying goods to the
Omineca. On one trip he was deputized
by his father to bring in a suspected
murderer who lived in a cabin on the
pack trail. He found the man in a cellar
under the cabin floor. A shot rang out,
narrowly missing him. William Jr. leapt
into the cellar and overpowered the villain, bringing the man to justice.
In 1887, with all of Williams Lake in
the partnership's command, the friendship
which dated back to the days of the
California gold rush, began to unravel.
The reason remains a mystery. In its
January 15, 1888, edition, the Victoria
Colonist recorded the dissolution: "The
visit of Messrs. Pinchbeck and Lyne, joint
owners of the Williams Lake farm in the
Cariboo district, was for the purpose of
dissolving the partnership. Mr. Pinchbeck
purchased his partner's interest. It is not
known how much money changed hands
in the transaction, but it must have been
considerable, for the property is one of
the finest ranches in B.C., five hundred
acres being in wheat alone some years.
Tlie farm is supplied with the latest improved agricultural machinery including
a steam thresher, and has on its broad
acres a large flouring mill and sawmill. It
is one of the most important suppliers of
Barkerville and other points in the Cariboo,
and is managed on a scale which is
generally a surprise to strangers.
"Mr. Pinchbeck has recently completed a handsome residence facing the
lake and commanding a magnificent
prospect. It is his intention to continue
the extensive cultivation of the ranch.
"Mr. Lyne will probably embark in
trading on Quesnelle-mouth.
"Both gentlemen are pioneers of the
country, Mr. Pinchbeck having been in
the Imperial Service (policeman) in the
early days of the Cariboo gold mining.
They returned by this morning's steamer
to the mainland."
Lyne moved thirteen miles north to
Deep Creek where he started a stopping
house, became a blacksmith and built a
lumber mill. He later moved to Ashcroft
where he managed a hotel until his death
in 1906.
William Pinchbeck's tombstone.
William Pinchbeck now commanded
everything he had seen in I860 when he
arrived in the valley seeking fame and
fortune. His power and influence extended
throughout the Cariboo wherever pack
trains moved his supplies. He sought a
seat in the provincial legislature in 1890
but his bid failed.' That may well have
been the first time he failed to succeed at
something he seriously put his head
toward achieving. In 1892 his health
began to fail. He went to Victoria and
underwent surgery in early 1893. On July
30,1893, he died in 150 Mile House at the
age of sixty-two.
His wife Alice sold off the assets,
much of these to Robert Borland. She
moved to Victoria with the four children
and later remarried. Alice and Joseph
Ratchford moved the family to Kamloops
where they ran an old folks' home.
William Pinchbeck's tombstone
stands on a knoll above the Williams Lake
Stampede Grounds. Time has not washed
away the indelible mark he left on the
Randy Poulis is editor ofthe Williams Lake
Advocate./oAw Roberts is a veterinarian
and volunteer archivist for the Cariboo-
Chilcotin Archives. This article is adapted
from one which appeared in the July 28,
1993, Advocate to draw attention to the
100th anniversary of pioneer Pinchbeck's
B.C. Historical Federation
Annual Conference
April 28-May 1,1994
The Island Hall Beach Resort
Parksville, B.C.
Whether you enjoy listening to captivating
speakers address an array of historical topics or getting out and exploring a variety of
historic attractions, the 1994 B.C. Historical
Federation Conference promises to have
something for you.
The BCHF has selected our Vancouver
Island communities of Parksville and
Qualicum Beach as the venue for the 1994
Parksville welcomes you to explore Craig
Heritage Park, a collection of restored heritage buildings that will take you back to the
times of our earliest settlers. Qualicum Beach
is proud to show you around their expanding
Power House museum project. You can help
celebrate the centennial of one of Vancouver
Island's first log churches, St. Anne's at
French Creek. You'll also have time to discover some of our other treasures like the
restored Old School House Gallery and
Graham Beard's natural history museum.
A varied conference agenda has been
planned for you. We have invited Hugh Taylor,
renowned archivist, to give us some professional tips to take home. Kim Recalma Clutesi,
a member ofthe Qualicum Indian Band, will
share her insight into some aspects of the
history of our First Nations peoples. In addition, representatives from both historical societies will speak on the history of the two
communities. You'll have plenty of opportunity to explore our sights and attractions both
on guided tours and on your own and then
expect to relax with some light entertainment
at a dinner and vintage fashion show.
We look forward to hearing you'll attend
the 1994 conference and we will be happy to
answer any questions you may have about
any aspect of your arrangements. A reminder
here — the conference is open to non-
members as well as delegates from member
societies. See you there!
For more information, contact:
Mrs. Paddy Cardwell, President
District 69 Historical Society
1033 Forgotten Drive
Parksville, B.C. V9P 1T3
Phone 248-9541
Jim Storey, President
Qualicum Beach Historical Society
615 Chester Road
Qualicum Beach, B.C. V9K 1 A3
Phone 752-1247
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Aviation in the West Kootenay
by Henry E. Stevenson
William Archibald, mines manager
for Consolidated Mining and Smelting
Company (now Cominco), envisioned
the opening of northern Canada using
airplanes to explore for minerals. He
promoted the idea of teaching their geologists and mining engineers to fly. It all
began in 1929 when Archibald's Creston
farm was used as a flying school. Two
DeHavilland Gypsy Moth biplanes and a
Curtiss Robin monoplane were purchased
and the school started. The first summer
the airplanes were on wheels. When
snow fell, skis were installed and the
students were checked out. Page MacPhee
and Bill Jewett were instructors; Ben
Harrop was chief pilot. Flying with skis
differs from wheels due to the fact that
you are without brakes and the airplanes
are more difficult to turn on the snow-
covered runway.
In the spring of 1930 the three aircraft
were back on wheels and were flown to
Kaslo where they landed on the beach
near the area where the S.S. Moyie now
stands. Here the wheels were removed
and floats were installed. After a reasonable check-out time, each pilot was sent
north to the Northwest Territories and
northern Ontario. More pilots were hired
and more airplanes purchased to cover
the region thoroughly.
Cominco also manufactured chemical fertilizer dispensing machinery at Trail.
Each unit that was made would be
freighted to farmer customers on the
Canadian Prairies. Pilots would fly to the
customer to install the machinery on his
tractor. The company also had planes
flying supplies to their mining projects in
northern Ontario and Quebec.
William Archibald had his own personal aircraft that he flew between his
Creston ranch and his office at Trail.
Often we would see his DeHavilland
Puss Moth flying past Nelson when he
was commuting. Between 1929 and 1937
the CM. and S. Company (Cominco) had
more than thirty airplanes (not all at one
time). When the Kaslo Float School was
in operation, the student pilots often flew
down Kootenay Lake to Nelson for
practice. They would land on the lake
Northwest Lockheed Electra crashed at Rosemont, October 30, 1935.
Photo courtesy of Henry Stevenson collection
near Lakeside Park, then fly back to
On October 30, 1935, the citizens of
Nelson were surprised to see a twin-
engine airplane flying southwest down
Kootenay valley. It was the first plane we
had seen flying at night. It was a Lockheed
Electra 10 passenger plane that had lost
its way on a flight from Billings, Montana,
to Spokane, Washington. After circling
over Nelson, it made a forced landing at
Rosemont, near the present site of the
vocational school, at 10:15 p.m.
Storm conditions en route had caused
static, making radio signals impossible,
and the beam control had failed. When
Nelson came into view, the pilot thought
he was over Wallace, Idaho. By this time
the fuel supply was so low a landing was
imperative. The searchlight in the nose of
the plane picked out the only clear area
suitable for landing. The pilot used good
judgement in landing with the wheels
retracted. Had he not done this the machine would undoubtedly have crashed
into a rock wall fence.
Considerable damage was done to
the undercarriage, engines and propellers and the right wing was scraped and
dented when it came to rest against the
rock fence.
A radio report was immediately sent
to Spokane advising that the seven occupants were not injured. A Canadian customs officer was alerted to take charge of
clearing the plane and all persons aboard.
A repair crew was sent up from
Spokane. Tlie engines and wings were
removed so that the fuselage could be
towed through town to the CPR flats
where repairs were carried out and new
engines mounted, wings and other parts
assembled. On November 14 the pilot,
co-pilot and flight engineer took off with
only twenty-five gallons of fuel, enough
to get as far as Trail airport where they
refuelled with full tanks of gas for the
flight to Spokane.
On April 6, 1929, Flight Lieut. A.L.
Morphee flew into Nelson from Vancouver with a Fairchild monoplane that had
the Air Force registration number "XN."
He was accompanied by Sgt. Warner, an
engineer, and Cpl. Caraway, camerman.
They were on a photographic and aerial
survey mission. The floor-mounted camera in the airplane took pictures of rivers,
lakes and streams, including the areas of
Kootenay Flats, Howser and Duncan Rivers, Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes, the
valley from Revelstoke to the head of
Arrow Lake, West Shore and lower portion of Kootenay Lake.
Clear weather was essential for the
work, so all flying was done on sunny
days. Flying was done at a given elevation over courses that were clearly marked
on the ground with white pyramids. The
camera was operated with a continuous
film, each frame covered a given distance, so both altitude and airspeed had
to be constant. The whole project was
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 completed in twenty-eight days. Lieut.
Morphee and his crew returned to Vancouver on May 5, flying by way of
Penticton and Lillooet, then following the
PGE Railway to Squamish and arriving at
Vancouver after flying four hours, fifty-
five minutes non-stop.
During World War II, Stranraer flying
boats landed on Kootenay Lake at Nelson.
As many as seven of these large airplanes
landed here at one time. Other times they
would arrive two at a time or singly, using
Nelson as a stopover on their way to
RCAF bases on the West Coast.
Stranraers were built by the Ottawa
Car Mfg. Co., a division of Canadian
Vickers in Quebec. They were used for
submarine surveillance on Coastal Command. After the war these airplanes were
sold to private operators as transport
aircraft carrying passengers and freight.
Queen Charlotte Airlines used several of
these machines for passenger service
between Vancouver and Prince Rupert,
as well as other communities on the
islands and inlets on the B.C. coast.
Stranraers were nicknamed by Air
Force personnel "The Flying Forest" or
"The Whistling Birdcage" owing to the
numerous struts between their biplane
wings and the whistling noise caused by
their wire-strut braces.
From 1943 to 1945 the Nelson Civic
Centre badminton hall became a satellite
manufacturing plant operated by Boeing
Aircraft of Vancouver. Aluminum hull
frames were produced for Canso flying
boats. The assembled frames were
shipped to Vancouver, where they became
bulkhead parts for the Canso fuselage. A
large number of local people were employed by Boeing, including a number of
Early in 1947, an enthusiastic group
of air-minded Salmo and Nelsonites
formed a flying club. Up to that time a
local airport was non-existent, so they
based their airplane at Salmo. It was a
DeHavilland Tiger Moth and Jimmy
Lougheed was their instructor. Lougheed
was employed by Central B.C. Airways
flying the forestry patrol with a war
surplus Cessna Crane aircraft. Jim
Lougheed taught several Salmo and Nelson people to fly. He also instructed
refresher courses for pilots who had been
flying with the RCAF during the war
Later in 1947 our Nelson members
"XN,"Falrcbild photographic plane flown by Lieut. A.L. Morpbee, 1928.
Photo courtesy of Henry Stevenson collection
approached city council to study the
possibility of laying out the foreshore
from the foot of Josephine Street toward
the southwest for an airstrip. At that time
the shoreline included a seldom-used
incinerator and a truck road ending at the
city dump. We pointed out the fact that
the refuse pile, properly structured, could
eventually become a usable airstrip. Up
to that point it was a rather shameful mess
of garbage, rocks and refuse of all types.
The mayor and council were cooperative. They directed a bulldozer to
grade the lumps and bumps and in two
days we had a reasonably usable runway
totalling about 600 feet in length. Our
club members, along with our wives and
kids, spent several evenings and weekends clearing rocks and other obstacles
from the surface. Our biggest problem
from there on was our attempt to keep
cars and trucks off the runway. We were
very fortunate that no accidents resulted
from the mix of traffic. There were a few
near misses. I can recall once when a car
pulled out in front of me when I was on
final approach to land on
the airport and had to
quickly open my throttle and
go around the circuit to land.
Others also experienced
similar thrills. Sometime later
the city built a fence to
separate the road from the
The Nelson Pilots' Association was formed on
September 29, I960. The
object of the organization
was to promote aviation in
general and to appoint committees within
the group to dispense fuel to visiting
aircraft and provide manpower to take
care of the airport. These people cut the
grass around the ainway and parking
apron, as well as doing many other
In 1983 the club purchased its own
truck and snowplow from Crown Assets
Corporation so that our members could
keep the airport runway clear in winter.
The airport has proven to be an asset.
Sometimes when the Castlegar airport is
unserviceable due to fog, the scheduled
airplanes are able to use Nelson as an
Upgrading of Nelson airport through
the years has been a matter of directing
the dumping of refuse in such a pattern as
to lengthen the runway. Grants from
government sources have brought our
airstrip from its original 600 feet to the
present paved runway which is 3,000 feet
in length by seventy-five feet in width.
Hangars have been built to protect the
airplanes of local pilots and the City of
RCAF Stranraer flying boat on Kootenay Lake,
Nelson, c 1942. Photo courtesy of Henry Stevenson collection
B,C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Nelson collects both rent and taxes from
the owners. The city also collects revenue
from every litre of fuel dispensed from
our fuelling facility.
Nelson has a seaplane dock adjacent
to the airport for the exclusive use of float
planes. The dock was provided by the
federal Department of Transport for itinerant seaplanes, but it is seldom usable
for that purpose on account of power
boats illegally tied up there. It is a regulation that is seldom enforced.
We are proud of turning our fomier
city dump into an airport that attracts a
large number of flying visitors as well as
its constant use by the Air Ambulance for
The ever-increasing number of landings and take-offs has prompted the
Department of Transport to provide grants
that built our paved runway, and grants
also built the fine terminal building that
Nelson is so proud of.
Okanagan Helicopters have had their
machines based here since 1959. They
have always been excellent corporate
citizens, taking part in all civic events. It
is a great asset to have helicopters based
here for rescue and ambulance work
throughout the district.
Henry Stevenson of Nelson was fascinated by airplanes when be was very
young. He held a pilot's licence from 194 7
till 1978, and now delights in assisting
with research of Kootenay history, especially aviation history.
Flowers from Martha's Diary
by Jennifer Lredale
In the B.C. Archives and Records
Service Reference Service is a diary of
Martha Douglas, youngest daughter of Sir
James and Lady Douglas. This diary spans
the period 1866 to 1869. It is a fascinating
account of daily life in early Victoria;
entirely a social history from a child's eye
view. She begins the diary with the entry:
This being the first day of the New
Year 1866, I propose to begin a
journal recording the little events
that I wish to remember, the state of
the weather, the progress of vegetation and anything that may interest
me. This exercise will be useful in
teaching me to express my ideas and
to write with ease and facility. I hope
I shall not be so busy or so indolent
as to neglect this means of improvement.
Besides the weather and vegetation,
Martha makes notes about visitors to the
house; luncheons and dinners; letters
and visits from her sisters and brother,
nieces and nephews; notes on births and
deaths; and even comments on world
events such as the telegraph line connecting Vancouver Island to the world in 1866
or the major earthquake in Havana in
Her diary is oddly similar to ones
kept by her father. It is likely Martha's
diary was suggested by her "dear papa"
as part of her education. One can imagine
them sitting close to each other in the
evenings, both writing their daily entries.
It seems likely James Douglas reviewed,
assisted and corrected Martha's entries as
the words and often the tone seem advanced for a girl of eleven or twelve years
of age. In some cases the handwriting is
actually that of James rather than of
young Martha.
Further evidence that Martha wrote
her journal for her parent's eyes and ears,
not merely as a personal confidante, is
seen in her entry for November 30,1867:
Miss Douglas has for several months
past, been remiss with her journal,
for which she is now very sorry and
will I hope be more attentive to this
duty hereafter and strive to entertain
her readers with useful as well as
entertaining remarks ...
James Douglas seems to have been
keenly interested and observant of the
natural world he lived in. It was probably
his training that taught Martha to record
the daily weather in such detail and to
record her first observances of windflower
blooms and the last harvest of apples.
Martha's record of these things shows us
the landscape of Victoria for 1866 — one
in which there are many recognizable
The following excerpts are those
portions of entries related to plants only.
My interest in these particular entries
stemmed from research on the flowers,
fruits and vegetables that would have
grown in the Helmcken garden and at
Craigflower Farm where we are attempting
to recreate or at least interpret the historic
landscape and gardens.
Thursday, March 7 - Crocus and
periwinkle are coming into flower.
Sunday, March  11 - Willow and
hazel in flower.
Saturday, March 31 - Papa took
James Helmcken out for a ride this
afternoon. They found a number of
wild flowers on the west side of the
Point beyond Capt. MacNeills and
brought home a bouquet of yellow
'Daisies' and 'Forget me nots'.
April 18 - A few tulips are coming
into flower and one of the cherry
trees is coming into blossom.
April 26 - The peach, pear and plum
trees are coming into blossom.
May 10 - Apple trees coming into
Saturday, May 12 - Rode out to
Cadboro Bay with sister Agnes and
Papa drove out with Mamma. The
country is perfectly beautiful being
thickly covered with flowers. The
buttercup and Camas being the most
conspicuous though perhaps not the
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 prettiest flowers.
May 15-1 wrote to Arthur and sent
him some Dahlias.
Friday, May 18-The Rose Peony and '
Lilac are in blossom.
June 14 - Different roses coming into
June 24 -The Sweet Brier and Honey
suckle coming into blossom.
June 25-1 drove out into the country
with papa and Mamma and picked a
quantity of wild strawberries. They
were small, but very good and had a
finer flavour than the  cultivated
Sept. 29 - The early apples have all
been picked, the late keepers are
getting ripe.
Oct. 15 - Began taking in tlie Apples
for winter use.
Nov. 5 - The Roses, Nasturtiums,
Heartsease, Stocks, Fuchsias still in
bloom. The Gardener (Collins) took
up and potted the Geraniums. He set
out the tulips, crocus, narcissus and
other flowering bulbs.
Nov. 6 - Gardener taking in the late
Nov. 19 - The servants taking in the
few apples (Rainbos-) which were
not gathered before the late rains.
Nov. 20 - Gathered the remainder of
the apples, and put them away for
winter use.
Nov. 22 - The Gardener dressing the
Nov. 27 - The Rose bushes are still in
bloom and fresh buds coming out.
There are also a good many late
flowers in bloom.
Dec.   25 - Christmas  Day.  Fine
pleasant weather. The Rose trees still
partially in blossom and other Rose
buds coming. The grass is growing
and the country looks fresh and
green. Had a family dinner party and
spent a pleasant evening.
Martha Douglas, daughter of Sir James and Lady Douglas, later became Mrs. Dennis
Reginald Harris.      Photo by S.A. Spenar. Victoria, and courtesy of BCARS #5826 G-9199
Jennifer Iredale is currently curator for
tbe South Coast Region Historic Sites,
including Helmcken House, Carr House,
TodandPoint EUice Houses, Craigflower
(all in Victoria) and tbe Haig-Brown
House in Campbell River.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 The Chinatown Exhibit
ofthe Royal British Columbia Museum
by David Chuenyan Lai
The multi-ethnic culture of
Canada is enriched by both the
pioneer and recent immigrants of
numerous national groups who
have brought their cultural traits to
Canada. The Chinese, for example,
are one of the earliest settlers in
British Columbia where traces of
their imprints are particularly apparent in Chinatown. They range
from the visible features such as
Chinese artifacts, decorative motifs
and tong buildings to invisible impressions such as aromas from a
herb shop and audible chats in
Chinese dialects from a tenement
house. Today all the old Chinatowns
in the province have been either
demolished or drastically changed
in their streetscape. They may be
seen only in old photographs and
manuscripts. In 1992 the curators,
designers and interpreters of the
Royal British Columbia Museum
utilized all the available Chinese
tangible, invisible and relic imprints
to organize a permanent pre-1910s
Chinatown Exhibit, focusing on the
recreation of Man Yuck Tong, one
of the earliest Chinese herbalist
shops in Canada.1 The exhibit was
officially opened on 3 November
1992 by the Honourable David C
Lam, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
The history of the exhibit may
be dated as early as 1981 when Quan
Yong Foo considered closing Man Yuck
Tong. Very soon a few antique merchants
and some museum curators showed interest in purchasing all the herbs and equipment ofthe store. The Friends ofthe Royal
British Columbia Museum also lost no time
in raising funds to complete the purchase.
In spite of a higher offer by an outsider,
Quan decided in January 1982 to sell Man
Yuck Tong to the Royal British Columbia
Museum for $5,000, mainly because he
hoped that the shop would be re-built in
the future as a model in the provincial
2. Ka Lee
Shoe Repairing
Stairs to
upper floor
3. Man Yuck
1. Kwong Hing
Lung Grocery
Visitor route
Stairs to
upper floor
of Tung
Heung Hui
Figure 1. A Sketch of Chinatown Exibit.
museum in Victoria rather than in other
Eight years later, the Royal British
Columbia Museum began to plan a permanent Chinatown Exhibit. In addition to
funding the exhibit, the Fannin Foundation, chaired by Greg Evans, and Bill
Barkley, Executive Director of the museum, also sought donations from other
service organizations. The Victoria
. Chinatown Lions Club responded to tlie
appeal and made a contribution of $45,000
to the exhibit as its thirty-fifth anniversary
celebration in 1992; Ed Chow was named
the project chairman to act as a liaison
between the club and the museum.
The Chinatown Exhibit consists of
four structures and an alley. Entering the
exhibit a visitor will see on his or her
right-hand side a showcase in which a
description of Chinese and Western
medicine is on display (Fig. 1). The first
structure is Kwong Hing Lung Grocery
Store. It is modelled after the exterior
facade of the Loo Tai Cho Building (at 55
Fisgard Street), basically an Edwardian
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 Fig. 2 Man Yuck Tong
building of the 1890s.3 A "cheater floor,"
a typical feature of Chinatown buildings,
is visible behind the arched store front.
The second floor is the tenement. A great
variety of Chinese diy goods, such as
salted fish and preserved eggs or ginger,
is on display. The second structure is Ka
Lee Show Repairing cum Employment
Agent Building. It is modelled after the
Lum Sam Building (at 534 Pandora Avenue), a typical Italianate building of the
1880s.'* The decorative brickwork and
symmetric Italianate windows on the
second floor of the building were reproduced. A projected cast-iron balcony reminds visitors that originally the building
had a wooden balcony which was later
replaced by an iron balcony to accommodate the fire regulations of the City of
Victoria in the 1890s. In the early days,
small merchants or workers usually had
to eke out their income by getting a
second job. In this case the shoe-repairer
was also a labourer contractor. The third
structure, Man Yuck Tong, is the focal
point of the exhibit. It is modelled after
the On Hing Building (at 544 Fisgard
Street) where the herbalist shop was
previously housed. 5 The shop was reproduced as close as possible to its original layout (Fig. 2). The "cheater floor,"
used for storing herbs, was recreated; the
kitchen for preparing Chinese medicine
was reproduced; and segmental windows and a projected wooden balcony
were duplicated on the second floor. Like
Ka Lee, Man Yuck Tong could not run
with profit if it depended solely on the
sale of herbs. In the 1910s Quan Yuen
Yen, owner of the herbalist shop, was
himself a tailor; hence he sold herbs as
well as made, altered or mended clothes,
mainly for labourers. On the left-side
brick column of the store front, a visitor
will notice four vertical Chinese characters, meaning "Lung Kong Association."
Owners of Man Yuck Tong were prominent members of the Lung Kong Tin Yee
Association; hence Man Yuck Tong was
not only a well-known herbalist store in
Chinatown but also a popular rendezvous for the association members. When
a Chinese organization was first formed,
usually it did not have funds to rent or
build a tong house; hence the members
initially made use of a member's shop for
meetings. Next to Man Yuck Tong is an
alley closed by a wooden gate. Peeping
through it, a visitor will see signboards of
gambling clubs, restaurants and a shoe-
repairing store. On the brick wall outside
the gate is a peephole which was used by
the serveillant of a f antan club to give the
alert of a police raid. A visitor has to look
up to see the last structure in the exhibit,
the Sze Yup Tung Heung Hui (Four
Counties Association) Building. It is modelled after the third floor of the CERA
Building (at 1717 Government Street),
built in 1905. This is a typical tong
building, featuring a recessed balcony, a
pair of arched windows and delicate
wrought-iron balusters. Next to the alley
is a western pharmacist's store; it is a
significant component of the exhibit because it is used as a comparison with the
Chinese herbalist shop and functions as a
transition link between Chinatown and
the western business district of an Old
Town. Going through the exhibit, a visitor will hear very faint Chinese music and
conversation in the background.
The exhibit covers an area of only
500 square feet where all forms of Chinese imprints are crammed. However,
they are vividly and appropriately on
display. This reflects the genius of the
curators and designers of the project,
headed by John Robertson. Virginia Careless, Alan Graves and Kevin Neary prepared the interpretive objectives. Alan
Graves also drew and revised many times
the working plan, and supervised the
building of the exhibit. The actual con
struction was carried out by the Exhibits
and Trades staff. Virginia Careless did
background research on Chinese-Canadian history, concentrating on Chinese
medicine and herbalism. The Conservation and History Collections staff prepared
the artifacts. Bob Griffin assembled the
materials for the showcase, Gerald Luxton
looked after the signs, and Norman
Charbonneau and Mark Dickson recorded
the background sound and music. Before
the official opening, Margot Briggs and
Chris Higgins arranged the media coverage; in addition, Tom Palfrey will write a
companion book about the exhibit. It is
nearly impossible to list the role of every
person since over forty members of the
museum staff were involved. From the
Chinese community, Quan Yong Foo
helped to identify the Chinese herbs and
equipment, and place them in their original
location inside Man Yuck Tong. John
Nipp did the calligraphy and translation.
David Lai contributed the conceptual
drawing and worked closely with the
team in recreating the early twentieth-
century Chinatown. Paul Chan and John
Joe were involved in the sound and
conversation recording. The exhibit is
unusual in the history of the museum
exhibitions because the local community
in Victoria has not only financially supported it but also actively participated in
it. The joint efforts of the museum staff
and the community have made the exhibit a success.
David Chuenyan Lai is a professor of
geography at the University of Victoria.
He has participated in many projects
involving the Chinese presence in Western
Canada in the pioneer years.
1. Man Yuck Tong was established in c. 1905. Por details of Us
history, see Lai. David Chuenyan. "Man Yuck Tony in
Victoria." B.C. Historical Xcws. Fall 1992. pp. 34-35.
2. Quan Y'ong Foo. owner of Man Yuck Tong. private
interview. March 1992.
3. Lai. David Chuenyan. The Forbidden City Wlibln Victoria:
Myth, Symbol ami Slreelscape of Canada s Harilcsl
Chinatown. Orca Book Publishers. Victoria, 1991. p. IM
and p. l'i8.
4. Ibid., pp. 102-105.
5. Ibid., pp. 119-121
6. Ibid., p. 131.
B.C. Historical News ■ Spring 1994 NEWS & NOTES
The collection of several hundred volumes
plus a dozen boxes of clippings and
documents has now been catalogued for
the Canadian Studies and Kootenaiana
Collection at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
Doug and Elsie Turnbull lived for many
years in Trail where Elsie became city
historian and Doug, a senior engineer for
Cominco, served as MLA from 1949-52.
Turnbull's daughter-in-law, Jean, was
instrumental in arranging the return of the
collection to the Kootenays. Selkirk
librarian John Mansbridge says: "We
couldn't have purchased a lot of this
material for any money" and added on his
return from Victoria to supervise the
transfer, "Elsie is very pleased that her
collection is coming back to benefit
scholars in the Kootenays." The B.C.
Historical Federation adds its thanks to
Elsie Turnbull for this generous donation.
The Canadian Historical Association
recently decided to pay closer attention to
"What's Going on in the Classroom?".
Following the annual general meeting in
Ottawa, an Advisory Committee on History
in Schools was struck. Plans were made to
have a session (at next year's meeting in
Calgary) on a "pan-Canadian curriculum in
schools." History in western Canada is
taught as part of "Social Studies," frequently cut off from historical discipline. In
Quebec, history is taught as a distinct
subject with two obligatory and one
optional high school courses. In Ontario,
history is taught as a separate subject, but
is increasingly marginalised with additional,
often extraneous, material imposed.
Anyone wishing further details on this
committee could contact the British
Columbia member, Peter Seixas, at the
Education Department at UBC.
Five members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) were
honoured on January 14,1994, in New
Orleans for their promotion of safer diving
and specific projects undertaken. Vern
Johnston of Kelowna, B.C. spearheaded an
underwater clean-up of Okanagan Lake;
Ross Newton, owner of a Winnipeg dive
shop, has organised fund-raising clean-up
dives of Lake Winnipeg, donating proceeds
to muscular dystrophy; and an Ontario
director of the Ontario Underwater Council
has promoted many clean-ups in swimming
areas in Ontario and initiated a summer
program to introduce young people to the
sport of snorkelling. For further details,
contact Gene Hemsworth at #3 -10114
McDonald Park Road, R.R. #3, Sidney,
B.C. V8L 3X9, phone (604) 656-PADI.
This annual scholarship of $500 is being
offered to a student completing the second
year at a British Columbia university or
college. Candidates must submit a letter of
application with an essay of 1500-2000
words on some facet of British Columbia
history and letters of recommendation from
two professors to the Scholarship Chairman, Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th
Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4. The
application date has been advanced to
April 30 each year. If you know an eligible
student, encourage him/her to fulfil these
requirements as soon as possible.
A small group of dedicated historians, and
tea sippers, has produced a one-hour-and-
forty-five-minute documentary detailing the
history of North Saanich. This is a sequel
to the two-hour documentary previously
produced, One Hundred Years of Sidney:
The Sidney Story. Tapes of both of these
epic works are available to the public at
$24.95 each. The members would be glad
to assist other groups with similar projects.
Contact President Don Robb, The Sidney
and North Saanich Historical Society, Box
2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3.
Vancouver author Irene Howard received
the Medal for Canadian Biography at a
ceremony last summer. The medal has
been awarded by the University of British
Columbia since 1951, and is cast from a
carving by Bill Reid. Howard's winning
book The Struggle for Social Justice in
B.C.: Helena Gutteridge — The Unknown
Reformer was reviewed in the Fall 1993
issue of this magazine.
John Houston, first mayor of Nelson,
colourful member of the Legislature and
prolific newspaperman whose editorials
attacked the railways and postal service,
moved north to Prince Rupert around
1908. Obviously the Grand Trunk Pacific
was not pleased with this move and they
instructed their agent, James H. Bacon,
not to sell or lease any land to Houston.
The company also seized his printing
press at the dock, but Houston had
anticipated this eventuality by having the
first four copies of The Prince Rupert
Empire printed in Vancouver and mailed to
him. Houston further outmaneuvered the
GTP by filing five-year mining claims in the
middle of the future townsite. Later on,
after some difficulty, he erected a shack to
house his office and plant. Although life
was not easy, Houston did manage to
publish fifty-two issues in the first year of
operation but, with little or no advertising
revenue, he sold The Empire by mid-1909
and moved on to Fort George. He passed
away in 1910.
Submitted by Ron Welwood
The Open Learning course package is
described as "a treasure trove of information." This course, designed by Jean
Barman, is designed for credit or for
pleasurable learning. Pick up a brochure or
phone 1-800-663-9711.
David Grubbe, with his wife Elizabeth, was
for years the omnipresence of the North
Shore Historical Society at BCHF gatherings. David passed away January 7,1994,
in Lion's Gate Hospital.
Three trails, or extensions of provincial
trails, in the Merritt Forest District are now
Heritage Sites. These are the Whatcom
Trail between Holding Creek and Wells
Lake; the Dewdney Trail in the headwaters
of Granite Creek; and the Hope Pass Trail
between Whipsaw Forest Service Road
and Hope Pass. Also designated by order-
in-council in 1993 was the Northwest/
Hudson's Bay Company Trail between
Little Fort and Lac des Roches.
Submitted by John Spittle
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
Books for review and book reviews should be sent directly to the book review editor:
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4
Working in the Woods: A History of
Logging on the West Coast
Ken Drushka. Madeira Park, B.C., Harbour
Publishing, 1992. 304 p., illus., $39.95
The Logger's Digest: From Horses to
Barry Coulson. Victoria, Orca Book Publishers, 1992. 163 p., illus., $18.95
Early on in his Working in the Woods,
Drushka writes that "the essence of logging
involves two basic tasks: knocking 'em
down, and dragging 'em out." His intention is "to describe the evolution of logging
methods used in the coastal forests of
British Columbia, along with the people
who created the industry."
The emphasis in the book is on the
methods, and in particular on the machinery developed for and introduced into
the industry. Drushka's chapter divisions
reflect this emphasis. He uses a limited
number of chapters — nine in total — one
of which, for example, deals with "The
Railway Era," the following one with "The
Birth of Truck Logging." The book, as a
consequence, has an easy-flowing natural
tempo paced by the evolution of the industry's machinery.
The industry, however, was not a scientific business. Outfits — logging shows
— large and small were obliged to work
with the equipment on hand under the
conditions of a particular place and, equally
significant, that place's weather. Making
do, often with beaten-up equipment, was
the order of the day. The measuring stick
was the volume of wood brought out.
Moreover, as Drushka points out, the
transition from stage to stage was not
strictly sequential: in the early 1920s, for
example, oxen and horses, ground-lead
steam donkeys, and high-lead and skyline
yarding systems were all in use. Generally,
however, the economies of the more efficient brought about the replacement of
the less efficient. Here he is on the introduction of power saws:
They shattered the quiet rhythm
of axes chopping and saws cutting wood, broken only by the
occasional crash of a falling tree.
They were noisy, smelly, cantankerous machines, demanding
entirely different skills and personalities. They shook and vibrated, turning old fallers' fingers
into gangrenous stumps. They
were a horrible intrusion on the
last remnant of the good old days.
But they could cut; God, they
could cut. As they improved and
the skills required to master them
were painfully acquired, a new
elite emerged with its own rituals
and protocols. By the 1960s, the
one-man falling and bucking saw
was a refined instrument, an artist's tool, almost.
There is a lot of history in Drushka's
book. He has synthesized a mountain of
information and any person interested in
the development of this province would
do well to study it. Too often we have been
inundated with matters of, presumably,
more national import — for example, the
history of the Canadian Pacific Railway —
at the expense of the history of our own
region. "The history of coastal logging,"
Drushka comments, "is, in the end, the
story of how a regional culture came to
Working in the Woods is accomplished
with the competence we have come to
expect from Harbour Publishing. The text
has been edited well, the photographs
reproduced clearly, and all brought together in handsome format. An annotated
recapitulation ofthe major sources, divided
chapter by chapter, is most useful, as is a
listing of "Oral History Sources" which
includes, despite the title, items other than
oral history sources. The index is good,
though it is printed in annoyingly small
type. Throughout, Drushka keeps to his
essential plan. "There is nothing here," he
notes, "about the sawmills, pulp mills and
other conversion plants ... nor is this a
book about the social life of loggers."
The Logger's Digest is about the social
life of loggers. It is primarily a collection of
loggers' stories which Coulson believes
are worth recording in the permanency of
print. As he explains it:
Over the last twenty years, I've
been gathering these stories,
keeping them alive in bars, or
retelling them at parties, and it
finally hit me — this is my culture,
my heritage, my goddam roots!
As is so often the case in collections, the
writing is uneven. Moreover, the reader is
presented with some poetry, some explanations of logger language, and some examples of Workers' Compensation Board
accident reports. Unfortunately Coulson
does not identify the sources for much of
the material used, and he points out that
"various names and places have been
disguised to let me keep what remaining
friends I have." He hopes to publish more
of the same and invites contributions for
future issues of the Digest.
In this Volume One, there is a lively
spontaneity. There is a sense that these are
the loggers telling their own stories in their
own words. Clearly, in spite of a vocabulary a bit raunchy and rough at times,
Coulson is an articulate man. He quotes
the likes of Bob Dylan and Kurt Vonnegut
with effect. I like his adjectives ("the snarly
end of a one-inch choker"). The result is a
very human and, on occasion, emotional
view of the business of "knocking 'em
down and dragging 'em out."
The differences between Working in the
Woods and The Logger's Digest are extensive. Where Drushka has the cool matter-of-fact narrative and analysis of a laboriously researched and carefully written
history of an industry, Coulson has the
everyday details of the workers in the
bunkhouse, the crummy, in the woods
and, above all, details about how they feel
about their work. The very means of presentation reflect these differences —
Drushka systematic and precise, Coulson
somewhat hit and miss. Their use of photographs is instructive. In each book the
photographs are essential. They are numerous and clearly reproduced. Drushka
provides a caption for each of his photos;
Coulson does not (with a few, unfortunate
exceptions). Each approach is effective in
its own setting.
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
And it may be the differences in approach and content which make each
book complement the other; read together
they provide something more than the
sum of the two.
George Newell
George Newell is a member of the
Victoria Historical Society.
French Presence in Victoria B.C.I 943-
1991. English version of Presence
Francophone A Victoria
John Greene, et al. L'Association Historique
Francophone de Victoria, C.B., 1991.
This is a remarkable book. It will enlighten future authors of histories of British
Columbia communities. The authors, a
group of French professional and cultural
men in Victoria, tell the story of their
community as part of the general regional
community, and do not neglect the important role of women nor links with other
In 1991 John Greene, Marc Lapprand,
Gerald Moreau and Gerald Richard did
British Columbia historians a valuable
service by translating and adding to an
earlier French-language publication on the
French presence in Victoria 1843 to 1987.
They tell the history of Victoria's French-
speaking peoples in chapters on the fur
trade and gold rush era, religion and culture, education, arts and health. Greene
and his colleagues give general British
Columbia background to the story of
French-speaking people in Victoria, from
Canadiens and Metis to Quebecois and
Francais. They detail the origins of French
health-care societies of the late nineteenth
century and French immersion classes of
the late twentieth century.
As francophone men, Greene and his
fellows write ethnic history that surprises
and delights readers by emphasizing the
work of women such as the Sisters of Saint
Ann, parish wardens, university instructors
and secretaries. They note too the efforts
French-Canadian sisters of Notre Dame
des Anges made at Loretto Hall in mission
to Chinese Canadians. Yet they do not
neglect male leaders and clerics of the
pioneer years of French and French-Ca
nadian groups in Victoria, and of the recent generation's grouping as
The authors of French Presence in Victoria B.C. raise questions and hopes for
the writing of multicultural history of this
province. Was Victoria historically as much
a centre for its French-speaking peoples as
it was for the English and the Chinese? Did
not the "More English than the English" of
Victoria develop their character because
of the French and Chinese presences? Or,
as the academic historians might say, were
not the French, like the Chinese and the
First Nations, part of the "Others" against
which the Victorian English identity was
constructed? Did Emily Carr's parents
cherish their British cultural heritage more
because of the presence of the others, of
defence as much as of desire? If the Victoria French community members of today
are collecting and writing history in cooperation with the provincial archives, including the relations of French-Canadians, French and other ethnic groups, then
may we expect ongoing search for records
and interviews?
Such ongoing heritage activity, not just
writing and donating of "the book" to the
library shelves, is needed by all the communities of British Columbia. This is especially so for those peoples whose younger
generations may no longer speak or write
the ancestral languages, and for whom
federal language programs have not been
widely available.
My wish for the future of British Columbia
history is that Greene, Lapprand, Moreau
and Richard, blessed with skills and experience in multilingual research and writing, in
accessing grants and getting published, will
continue in these directions. One project
they might initiate would be a biographical
dictionary of Victorians using the Dictionary
of Canadian Biography volumes and the
research of the University of Victoria Public
History Group as well as that of other ethnic
and religious communities.
Jacqueline Gresko
Jacqueline Gresko, a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society, is a member
of the History Department
at Douglas College.
Silk Trains: The Romance of Canadian
Silk Trains or "The Silks"
Bernard Webber. Kelowna, The Word Works
Publications, 1993. 123 p., illus., $18.95
Canada's fabulous silk trains raced across
the country from the Pacific coast towards
New York and other eastern points for
nearly fifty years. Cargoes could value the
then unimaginable value of $1,000,000 a
trainload! Today the silk trains are unknown
or forgotten by almost all but those who
tell the story of these freights, so important
that every other train, from crack express
to Prince of Wales' special, was sidetracked
until they had passed. A book-length treatment on the "silks" is more than welcome,
and with that in mind I looked forward to
reading Bernard Webber's book, Silk
Webber focuses mainly on two main
aspects of the silk traffic. The first, the early
trans-Pacific silk trade by the Canadian
Pacific Railway's shipping line, has already
been well documented by W. Kaye Lamb
and others. The post-1920 silk train service provided by Canadian National Railways is the author's second area of interest, and is much more welcome, even if
somewhat less than comprehensive. Also
of interest are the various original documents (correspondence, telegrams, tables,
etc.) reproduced alongside the text. But
many of the illustrations, such as the several pages of early passenger timetables,
do not pertain directly to the topic. And,
apart from the cover, there is only one
photograph of a silk train.
Unfortunately, the overall outcome of
reading was disappointment. Much of the
silk train story remains to be told, especially that of the CPR, which had the lion's
share of the traffic for many years. At times
it even took silk business away from the
Great Northern and other American
railroads. Owning its own shipping line
permitted the CPR to transport silk from
Yokohama to New York by ship and train
in just thirteen days—a speed the competition could rarely match! Other omissions
are apparent: for instance, no mention is
made of the disastrous CPR silk train wreck
near Yale, B.C. in September 1927, from
which a few remnants of the lost silk (much
was recovered) now reside in the little
B.C. Historical News • Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
museum at Hope, B.C. Very little is said
about, and no photographs or plans are
shown of, the special rolling stock that was
developed to haul the delicate cargo.
Already a slim book, the publisher's
choice of a larger-than-usual font makes
one realize it would be even shorter in
normal-size print, although those with
weaker vision will no doubt appreciate the
greater ease of reading. Despite its promise, this is only an introductory look at the
subject. The "definitive" book on Canadian silk trains has still to be written.
Ron Meyer
Ron Meyer is a member of both the
Vancouver Historical Society and the
Pacific Coast Division ofthe Canadian
Railroad Historical Association.
He is an instructor at Vancouver
Community College.
CorkLlnes and CanningLines: The Glory
Years of Fishing on the West Coast
Geoff Meggs and Duncan Stacey. Vancouver,
Douglas & Mclntyre, 1992. 166 p., illus., $35
Homer Stevens: A Life in Fishing
Homer Stevens and Rolf Knight. Madeira Park,
Harbour Publishing, 1992.260 p., illus., $29.95
For anyone interested in the history of
the west coast fishing industry, I would
highly recommend both Cork Lines and
CanningLines and Homer Stevens. Using
different approaches, both volumes provide
informative insights, particularly into the
lives of the people who have toiled in it.
Meggs and Stacey have produced a very
readable and amply illustrated volume,
clearly intended to provide an overview of
the history of commercial fishing and
processing on the British Columbia coast.
The well-crafted informative text, dealing
with key periods and issues in the history of
the industry, is complemented by sections
of related archival photographs, many
never previously seen by such a wide
Yet to state that this is an overview is not
to suggest that it is superficial. Despite the
boosterish title, "The Glory Years of Fishing on the West Coast," this book addresses serious issues, including the almost
mindless rush to exploit the rich fisheries of
the Fraser River and the high cost aboriginals and others paid in that process. Both
authors have brought many years of practical, related experience and knowledge to
their task: Stacey, a blend of experience as
a fisherman, tenderman, seaman, student
of the history of the industry, writer, and
museum researcher and curator in related
projects, and Meggs, with years of experience as editor of The Fisherman, the
publication of the United Fishermen and
Allied Workers Union. He, of course, recently produced the award-winning book
Salmon: The Decline of the British Columbia Fishery.
Meggs and Stacey offer detailed pictures
of the rush by early owners to exploit the
fisheries, the turbulent history of the early
canneries, the normally appalling working
conditions encountered by both fishermen and shoreworkers, and the almost
mindless despoliation of a priceless resource. There are also useful summaries of
the evolving technology, something that
will no doubt be appreciated by many
readers. The book also gives valuable impressions of the lives and work of native
fishermen and shoreworkers, and Japanese fishermen.
I was particularly interested in chapter
six, which offered an outline ofthe horrific
story of the 1913 Hell's Gate rock slide
and its impact, an event described by the
authors as "the greatest single environmental catastrophe in the history of the
Other sections of the book look at other.
equally significant issues. The sections of
photographs are more than interesting
visual interludes; they are a means for
conveying to readers additional information about many topics and complement
what the authors have said in the text.
I have only one criticism of this book. A
publication such as CorkLines and Canning
Lines, intended to convey the rich story of
this industry to many uninitiated readers,
should have footnotes or endnotes and a
short bibliography where the reader can
locate the sources onwhichmuchofthe text
is based. The absence of such basic information diminishes the value of the book. A
wide range of individuals will read this volume and those who may want to pursue an
interest in a specific topic will not have an
easily accessible reference to check. From
high school teachers and their students to
the general reader, the task of gaining a
further understanding of the history of the
industry will not be easy. That criticism
aside, Cork Lines and Canning Lines is an
eminently readable volume.
Homer Stevens: A Life in Fishing is an
excellent companion volume to Meggs'
and Stacey's since it focuses on the career
of an important labour leader during recent decades.
While the book includes some useful
sections of snapshot photographs of
Homer, his family and colleagues, as well
as some of the individuals who have been
involved in the industry and UFAWU over
four recent decades, it is primarily a textual
presentation. It is, in fact, really the autobiography or a rich personal oral history of
Stevens, as related to writer Rolf Knight.
Stevens was, of course, known on the
west coast for many years as the outspoken and very committed leader of one of
British Columbia's most important and
militant unions, the UFAWU. He has also
been known for his strong political beliefs
and affiliation with the Communist Party
of Canada throughout the many difficult
years of the Cold War. While these firm
beliefs often brought widespread antagonism to him, they were a measure of the
serious dedication he felt to his cause. This
political commitment underpinned his
profound commitment to serving the union, and working people in general. Clearly,
the members of his union retained a long-
term confidence in his work for their cause,
since he remained the union's secretary-
treasurer, representing them in negotiations, for many years. For someone used
to reading reports in the popular press that
were invariably antagonistic to Stevens,
this book brought new insights into an
important part of the history of the fishing
industry and organized labour in British
Columbia in recent decades.
It is a very personal book, intended to
summarize Homer Stevens' impressions
of his long career and of the history of his
union, but is not the official history of the
union. There is, of course, little need for
footnotes in this case since most ofthe text
is obviously based on the personal memory
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
of the subject
Homer Stevens: A Life in Fishing is a
good read for anyone interested in the
history of the coast and of the people who
have worked in one of its main industries.
It also provides a good fresh perspective ,
on the life and work of one of British
Columbia's most important labour leaders
in the last forty years.
William McKee
William McKee is a curator at the
Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Vancouver: A Visual History
Bruce Macdonald. Talon Books, 1992.
84 p., $45
Though quite young in comparison to
Asian and European cities, Vancouver,
British Columbia, offers the public an intriguing and entertaining history, which is
evident in Bruce Macdonald's book Vancouver: A Visual History. The idea for the
book started in 1984, with the completion
in 1992. The purpose of the atlas is to
provide the reader with a "bird's eye view
to the ground" using maps to display the
development and growth of Vancouver
describing the "economy, the regional
context, the politics, and the people." The
atlas is divided into three sections.
The first section consists of reference
maps and information that refers to: 1)
how glaciation affected Vancouver's and
the surrounding area's landscape some
11,000 years ago; 2) Vancouver's present-
day mean temperature and rainfall; 3)
names of the different neighbourhoods
found in Vancouver and; 4) a street reference map.
The second section describes the history
of the city, which is divided up into decades starting with the 1850s and ending in
the 1980s. This segment (comprising almost seventy per cent of the book) has
four pages per decade, which includes one
very comprehensive map presented in a
two-page layout describing some of the
most significant events of that period. Intriguing pictures and anecdotes of important Vancouverites from each decade, as
well as charts describing population, politics and economics, and a small map of
Greater Vancouver create the remaining
two pages. The author has eloquently
used city skylines from each decade, starting in the 1880s with a picture of Granville,
to highlight some of the transformation of
Vancouver that has taken place up to the
present. Each decade provides an overview ofthe population growth of Vancouver and Greater Vancouver region, the
development of B.C.'s economy and the
political representatives from each level of
government from the province. The format ofthe book allows the reader to easily
examine the changes that occurred in the
industrial, commercial, residential, institutional, recreational and undeveloped areas of the city through the well-detailed
and intricate maps and descriptions. One
of the many interesting features of the
maps is the wildlife symbols which Bruce
Macdonald uses to show some of the first
and last sightings of bears, cougars, deer,
beaver and whales in the Vancouver area.
The third section considers the changes
of social facets of the city using maps and
charts to describe elections, gender, ethnic
heritage, religion and consumer culture.
In my opinion there are a number of
minor flaws with the book. I would have
liked to see more information in either
graph/chart form and/or in written form
provided on the working class using such
variables as years, number of workers,
gender, ethnic background and type of
work (industry, service and government
sectors). As well, more information on the
education system and the educated people of Vancouver could have been incorporated. Although this task would have
been time consuming, the end results would
have been both interesting and valuable
for cross-referencing information. Additional charts and more information depicting some of the imported and exported
commodities or resources could have been
summarized and appended to the economical section ofthe book. Perhaps a few
picture inserts of old Vancouver's bird's-
eye views or city plans could have been
incorporated, to add more nostalgia to the
book. Two typing errors were found. One
was on page seventeen where "Altantic"
should read Atlantic and the second error
was found on page twenty-nine. "Siver
made Greenwood" should read silver
made Greenwood. Finally, according to a
few sources, the date for Vancouver Island
becoming a colony was January 1849 and
not the date of 1850 mentioned in the
book on page thirteen.
The author should be commended for
the book's remarkable cartography. The
information found on the maps is easy to
read as a result of the effective use of
colours and because the facts on the maps
are not overcrowded. Readers can spend
hours studying the maps looking at the
infra-structure and building changes that
have occurred between the decades since
Vancouver's inception as a city.
Vancouver: A Visual History provides a
concise overview of Vancouver's history
up until the 1980s. This atlas can be used
as a supplement to those books already
published on Vancouver or it can be an
independent resource for teachers, researchers or the general public. Bruce
Macdonald has done a marvellous job
completing his objective of allowing the
reader to visualize the social, political, economical and huilding changes that have
taken place within Vancouver's relatively
young history.
Werner Kaschel
Werner Kaschel, a member ofthe
Vancouver Historical Society, is a school
teacher for the Surrey School District.
Grey Fox: The True Story of Bill Miner,
Last of the Old-Time Bandits
Mark Dugan and John Boessenecker.
Norman, OK, University of Oklahoma Press,
1992. 260 p., illus., $24.95
Bill Miner was a tough old cuss, addicted
to robbing trains when robbing trains was
no longer a "safe" crime in the Wild West.
Time was when the likes of Jesse James,
the Dalton Gang or Black Bart could plunder a stagecoach or solitary eastbound
and live comfortably for weeks on the
proceeds of their ill-gotten booty. Back
then, lawmen were as rare as clean sheets
in the bunkhouse, and train robbers could
(and did) get away with it. But long after
the Wild West was less wild, Bill Miner, a
contemporary of the aforementioned
thieves, was still sticking up hapless train
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
conductors and filching as much loot as a
train then could carry. He became a social
and criminal anachronism, the last of a
lionized breed of mythological crooks that
stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
Ezra Allen Miner was called, at times,
Allen by his family and Bill by his friends,
associates and pursuers (though, in fact,
he had a younger brother named William).
Born on the fourth last day of 1843 in
Michigan of farming parents, Miner suffered the ravages of juvenile emotional
trauma when his father died of a brain
disease when Bill was a month short of his
tenth birthday. Miner senior left no will nor
an estate, and Miner's mother Harriet was
forced to sell the family farm; she and
thousands of others were caught up in
western fever and the fatherless clan moved
to California. Bill joined the Union Army
during the Civil War in 1860 at Sacramento
but lasted only four months — he deserted, claiming military life was not for
him. When he was eighteen (around 1862)
a woman of bawdy reputation seems to
have corrupted young Bill and initiated
him into a life of crime. He must have
relished aspects of this lifestyle as he stayed
with it for the rest of his life. By the time he
was thirty-seven he'd spent thirteen years
in prison, including three trips to San
Quentin. By the time he was fifty-five he'd
spent thirty-three years in prison or awaiting jail. After stints in and out of prison in
Colorado, Michigan and California, he
headed to the Pacific Northwest and continued his illicit profession, stealing from
stores, trains and stages.
Early in the new century Miner and a few
professional associates wandered into
Canada, probably to avoid arrest in Washington State. Miner and his pals came
north to the Okanagan Valley, where they
hired themselves out as ranch help. They
drove cattle between Princeton and
Kelowna and noticed that the Canadian
Pacific Railway's eastbound Transcontinental chugged through the Okanagan
hills on a regular schedule. The old urges
returned, the lessons of prison either totally forgotten or completely remembered,
and on the night of 10 September 1904
three masked and armed men forced the
train to stop just outside fog-shrouded
Mission Junction (now Mission City),
ninety-five kilometres east of Vancouver.
The desperadoes cracked two safes,
cleaned out bags of gold dust plus $50,000
in U.S. bonds and nearly a quarter of a
million dollars in Australian securities. Thus
was accomplished Canada's first armed
train robbery. This heist so angered the
railroad and the securities' owners that
they posted a large reward for Miner's
capture. Bounty hunters from the western
U.S. and Canada converged on the lower
mainland in a feverish but futile search for
Miner. The wily Miner eluded arrest and
robbed another train eighteen months later
near Kamloops. So outraged were the
good burghers of the southern Interior that
they called in Mounties from as far away as
Banff and Morley, Alberta, to track down
the thieving villains. In a perverse coincidence, the Mounties happened to be
camped near where Miner and company
also were camped, and in a brief shoot-out
with the red-coats Miner sustained a slight
wound. Unable to flee he was arrested and
the two Mounties responsible for the
capture of Canadian Public Enemy
Number One split an $11,500 reward.
Sentenced to New Westminster Prison,
Miner subsequently escaped. Dugan and
Bossenecker claim the CPR helped Miner
slip the surly bonds of enforced confinement in exchange for information on the
whereabouts of the missing Australian securities. He left Canada and made his way
to Georgia where he was arrested yet
again for robbery. He died in the Midgeville
State Prison in 1913 at the age of seventy.
The authors wish to portray Miner as a
do-good bandit, stealing only from large
corporations and sharing his loot with the
socially and economically disadvantaged;
his charity to the indigent was seemingly
limitless. This also may be one of the
motivations for his crimes. But Miner was
an incorrigible habitual criminal, satisfied
with honest work only for short periods of
time. As a young man, the dark side of his
life took over and never let go. Somewhere he became addicted to opium
(perhaps in San Francisco, where he was
known to frequent its many opium dens
and its derivative, heroin, not yet being
illegal) and his hunt for opium pills was
constant. But what perhaps infuriated
lawmen more than his thieving was his
confused sexual orientation. Indeed, posters with large "Wanted" headlines and
illustrated with his photo dotted the Northwest and warned readers to beware of
Miner, wanted as much for sodomy as for
bank robbery. Though modern social tax-
onomists might classify him as bisexual (he
lived with a woman in Washington State
for eight years), his homosexuality would
be as much a grounds for arrest and
prosecution as would his larceny.
Dugan and Bossenecker have researched Miner's life as thoroughly as can
be done and have documented the sorry
life of a repeat offender. That he was the
last of the big bank and train robbers,
stealing only from large corporations or
businesses, never wounding a soul in all
the stick-ups (though expert with a pistol)
is to gilt a shabby life of social and economic parasitism. Though the fellow paupers with whom he shared his booty hailed
him a folk hero on the scale of Robin
Hood, there is nothing in this biography to
warrant that much sympathy. He trusted
no one, had few minutes of peace of mind,
and suffered miserably from the effects of
his opium dependence. In the end it is a
truly sad story, not a thriller on the glamourous life of the big-time crook. Miner is
a hollow and depressing subject, and
though the authors have toiled expertly,
one feels slightly dingy for having read this
book. It is suitable for academic and large
public library collections on the old west or
the history of crime, and for the locales
where Miner's robberies occurred.
Brian Champion
Brian Champion is American History
Librarian, University of Alberta Library.
Send your
change of address
Subscription Secretary
#7 - 5400 Patterson Avenue
Burnaby, B.C.
V5H 2M5
B.C. Historical News - Spring 1994 BOOKSHELF
Written and published by Diane (Deforest)
Dobson, 4380 Victoria Drive, Port Alberni,
B.C. V9Y 7L1, 1992. 125 p., illus., $20
The Milk Lady: Memories of a Farmer's
Patricia Lines, typesetting and graphics by Rae
L Whitesell. Island Desktop Solutions, Box
418, Shawnigan Lake, B.C. VOR 2W0,1992.
66 p., illus., $9.95
Nor Without Hope: The Story of Dr.
H.A. McLean and The Esperanza
General Hospital
Louise Johnson. Matsqui, B.C., Maple Lane
Publishing, 1992. 173 p., illus., $11.95
I am grateful to Diane Dobson, Patricia
Lines and Louise Johnson for recognizing
that their stories are part of our story, and
for making them available to us and to
future historians.
Diane Dobson traces the route of two
branches of her own family over three
centuries. Both starting from France, the
Roman Catholic Carpentiers immigrated
to New France and the Hugeunot deForests
to New England, meeting in Saskatchewan
this century, and during the 1940s moving
westward again to Vancouver Island. The
narrative rings with the names of tiny communities: Zenon Park, Bumtout Creek,
Tisdale, in Saskatchewan; Kildonan, Oyster
Bay, Fort Rupert, in British Columbia.
Esperanza is situated on Nootka Sound,
approximately seventy-five miles northwest
of Tofino, and accessible only by boat or
float plane. Louise Johnson tells the story of
the missionary doctor Herman Alexander
McLean, who built his hospital in 1937 and,
with his family and staff, spent the rest of his
life ministering to the bodies and souls of the
people of Nootka Sound. The author's own
missionary vocation is evident, and she
makes it clear not only how people lived and
coped at Esperanza, but why they went and
Patricia Lines tells us what it was like to
farm at Genoa Bay on the southwest coast
of Vancouver Island in the years after
World War II. Her anecdotes are a lively
and loving evocation of time and place.
These are intensely personal narratives,
the raw material of history rather than
history itself, but with contributions to make
to our understanding of current issues and
future needs. Dobson tells us about small
sawmills on the Prairies and the Coast.
Johnson comments on the interaction of
missionaries and native peoples. Lines
gives us an insight into the economics of
All three books would have benefited
from the services of an objective editor.
They are attractively printed and illustrated, but demonstrate that desktop publishing has not eliminated the need for a
red pencil.
Phyllis Reeve
Gabriola Island
The Sculpture of Elek Imredy
Terry Noble. Vancouver, The Author, 1993.
80 p., illus., $20. Available from Terry Noble,
802 - 1875 Robson Street, Vancouver, B.C.
V6G 1E5
A book on Canadian sculpture is a rarity; therefore this biography of one of
Canada's leading sculptors is welcome.
Elek Imredy was born in Budapest, Hungary, and left in 1956 to come to Canada
shortly afterwards. He has made Vancou
ver his home ever since his arrival in the
Terry Noble, a personal friend of the
artist, has produced a work of merit. He
was determined that the quality of paper
and reproduction would do justice to the
works being illustrated. In consequence,
the black and white reproductions are
sharp, with the sculptural details showing
to advantage. Each work is identified by
title, size, material and owner.
There is an introductory section in which
the artist talks of his life, and some of the
works are given more detailed description
than appears with the reproductions. This
section occupies sixty-one pages of the
total of eighty. The works are arranged
chronologically, ending with a listing of the
commissions undertaken by the artist.
The coloured, stiff card cover reproduces Imredy's best known work, The Girl
in a Wet Suit, which sits on a rock on the
beach in Stanley Park overlooking the
entrance to Vancouver's harbour.
This is an excellent addition to the literature on and about an important aspect of
British Columbia life.
Melva J. Dwyer
Melva Dwyer, former head of the Fine Arts
Library at UBC, is a member of the
Vancouver Historical Society.
HMCS Mackenzie added its imposing presence to tbe final hours of tbe reenactment of
Alexander Mackenzie's trek to tbe Pacific This picture, taken near BeUa Coola on July 22,
1993, shows tbe voyageur canoes, manned by students from lakehead University, passing
In front of tbe Canadian destroyer. Photo courtesy of Alberta Woodworth.
His Honour, the Honourable David C. Lam, CM, LLD.
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
Arthur Lower
First Vice President
Second Vice President
Recording Secretary
Members at Large
Past President
Myrtle Haslam, P.O. Box 10, Cowichan Bay, B.C. VOR 1 NO
Alice Glanville, P.O. Box 746, Grand Forks, B.C. VOH 1H0
Ron Welwood, RR #1, S22, C1, Nelson, B.C. V1L 5P4
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper Street, Nanaimo, B.C. V9S 1X4
Arnold Ranneris, 1898 Quamichan Street, Victoria, B.C. V8S 2B9
Doris J. May, 2943 Shelbourne Street, Victoria, B.C. V8R 4M7
Mary Rawson, 1406 Woodland Drive, Vancouver, B.C. V5L 3S6
Wayne Desrochers, 8811 - 152nd Street, Surrey, B.C. V3R 4E5
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9   988-4565
B.C. Historical News
Publishing Committee
Book Review Editor
Subscription Secretary
Historical Trails & Markers
Publications Assistance
(not involved with
B.C. Historical News)
Scholarship Committee
Writing Competition
(Lieutenant Governor's
Margaret Stoneberg, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0 295-3362
Tony Farr, RR #3, Sharp Road, Comp. 21, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0 537-5398
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4 733-6484
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0 422-3594
Nancy Peter, #7 - 5400 Patterson Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. V5H 2M5 437-6115
John Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Road, North Vancouver, B.C. V7R 1R9 988-4565
Jill Rowland
#5 -1450 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 2N4 984-0602
Contact Jill for advice and details to apply for a loan toward the cost of publishing.
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C. V6S 1E4 733-6484
Pamela Mar, P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
758-2828 The British Columbia Historical News
P. O. Box 5254, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C.
V8R 6N4
Publications Mail
Registration No. 4447
BC Historical
The British Columbia Historical Federation invites submissions of books for the twelfth
annual Competition for Writers of B.C. History.
Any book presenting any facet of B.C. history, published in 1994, is eligible. This may be a
community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections
giving a glimpse ofthe past. Names, dates, and places with relevant maps or pictures turn a story
into "history."
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is included,
with appropriate illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate index, table of contents and
bibliography, from first-time writers as well as established authors.
Note: Reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an individual
writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other
awards will be made as recommended by the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or
All entries receive considerable publicity. Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a
monetary award and an invitation to the B.CH.F. annual conference to be held in Chilliwack in
May 1995.
Submission Requirements: All books must have been published in 1994, and should be
submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book should be submitted.
Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of all editions ofthe
book, and the address from which it may be purchased if the reader has to shop by mail.
Send to: B.C. Historical Writing Competition
P.O. Box 933, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Please phong (604) 758-2828 to clarify shipping arrangements for late entries.
There is also an award for the Best Article published each year in the B.C. Historical News
magazine. This is directed to amateur historians or students. Articles should be no more than
2,500 words, typed double spaced, accompanied by photographs if available, and substantiated
with footnotes where applicable. (Photos will be returned.)
Please send articles directly to:
The Editor, B.C. Historical News - P.O. Box 105, Wasa, B.C. VOB 2K0


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