British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 1987

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Volume 20, No. 1.
Winter, 1967
ISSN 0045-2963
British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
The Russians on the West Coast.
The Man Who Made the Vivian Works.
The B.C. Historical Federation Conference Registration Forms. MEMBER SOCIETIES
Member Societies and their secretaries are responsible for seeing that the correct address for their
society is up-to-date. Please send any cheque to both the Treasurer and the Editor at the addresses
give at the bottom of the next page. The Annual Return as at October 31st should include telephone
numbers for contact.
Members' dues for the year 1985/86 (Volume 19) were paid by the following Member Societies:
Alberni District Historical Society, Box 284, Port Alberni, B.C. V9Y 7M7
Atlin Historical Society, P.O. Box 111, Atlin, B.C. VOW 1A0
BCHF - Gulf Island Branch, c/o Marian Worrall, Mayne Island, VON 2J0
BCHF - Victoria Section, c/o Marie Elliott, 1745 Taylor St., Victoria, B.C. V8R 3E8
Burnaby Historical Society, c/o 8027 - 17th Ave., Burnaby, V3N 1M5
Chemainus Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 172, Chemainus, B.C. VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society, P.O. Box 1014, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society, P.O. Box 3014, Parksville, B.C. VOR 2S0
East Kootenay Historical Association, P.O. Box 74, Cranbrook, B.C. V1C 4H6
Galiano Historical and Cultural Society, P.O. Box 10, Galiano, B.C. VON IPO
Golden & District Historical Society, Box 992, Golden, B.C. VOA 1H0
Lantzville Historical Society, c/o Susan Crayston, Box 76, Lantzville, B.C. VOR 2H0
Nanaimo Historical Society, P.O. Box 933, Station 'A', Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 5N2
Nanoose. Historical & Museum Society, RR 1, Box 5, Kinghom Rd., Nanoose Bay, B.C. VOR 2R0
North Shore Historical Society, c/o Ms. Helen Spragg, 103-225 E. 16th St., North Vancouver,
B.C. V7L 2S8
Princeton & District Pioneer Museum and Archives, Box 687, Princeton, B.C. VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical & Museum Society, c/o Mrs. Cora Skipsey, P.O. Box 352, Qualicum Beach,
B.C. VOR 2T0
Saltspring Island Historical Society, P.O. Box 704, Ganges, B.C. VOS 1E0
Sidney and North Saanich Historical Society, P.O. Box 2404, Sidney, B.C. V8L 3Y3
Silvery Slocal Historical Society, P.O. Box 301, New Denver, B.C. VOG 1S0
Trail Historical Society, P.O. Box 405, Trail, B.C. V1R 4L7
Valemont Historic Society,      P.O. Box 850, Valemount, B.C. VOE 2A0
Vancouver Historical Society, P.O. Box 3071, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X6
West Vancouver Museum & Historical Society, P.O. Box 91785, West Vancouver, B.C. V7V 4S1
Affiliated Groups
B.C. Museum of Mining, P.O. Box 155, Britannia Beach, B.C. VON 1J0
City of White Rock Museum Archives Society, 1030 Martin St., White Rock, B.C. V4B 5E3
Fort Steele Heritage Park, Fort Steele, B.C. VOB 1N0
The Hallmark Society, 207 Government Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 2K8
Nanaimo Centennial Museum Society, 100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo, B.C. V9R 2X1
Second-class registration number 4447.
Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the British Columbia Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5. Our Charitable Donations number is 0404681-52-27.
Manuscripts and correspondence for the editor are to be sent to P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B, Victoria, B.C., V8R 6S4.
Correspondence regarding subscriptions and all other matters should be directed to the Vancouver address above.
Subscriptions: Institutional, $16.00 per year; Individual (non-members), $8.00.
The B.C. Historical Federation gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the British Columbia Heritage Trust. British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the B.C. Historical Federation
Volume 20, No. 1
Winter, 1987
The Russian Prelude
Alix O'Grady
Will Vivian and the Vivian Works
Ehud Yaniv
A Letter Home — 1891
Burnaby Historical Society Records Metrotown
Evelyn Salisbury
Matheson Lookout
Peggy Capek
The Nelson Ferry
Jean Webber
Shutty Bench: A Social Portrait
Naomi Miller
Boundary Survey Commemorated
John D. Spittle
Baptismal Window, St. Stephen's Church
Marjorie Croil
News and Notes 23
Vancouver Centennial Bibliography 25
review by David Mattison
The Alaska Highway 26
review by Lewis Green
Gordon Shrum: An Autobiography 26
review by G.M. Volkoff
Heritage Cemeteries in B.C. 28
review by Valerie Melanson
Asahel Curtis: Photographs of the Great Northwest     28
review by David Mattison
British Columbia Place Names 29
review by David Mattison
The B.C. Historical News welcomes submissions of interesting and informative
articles or photo essays on any subject relating to British Columbia history.
Manuscripts should be typed (double-spaced) with footnotes and/or bibliography
provided, if possible. Length to 2500 words. Photos or illustrations appreciated
and returned. Sent to: The Editor, P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B, Victoria, B.C., V8R 6S4
From the editor
To begin on a positive note, let me
say that I am confident that this issue
of the News will be an improvement on
the last. I apologize for the sloppy
proof-reading which allowed so many
typographical errors to taste the
printer's ink in Volume 19, No. 5. The
fault was mine alone and due largely
to the fact that the fall is an extremely
busy time for me and I allowed the
News to get seriously behind schedule.
I hope that the format changes evident with this issue meet with general
approval. As well as following the
general trends in magazine/journal
layout and design, the three-column
format allows for greater flexibility
with illustrations and seems to create
less wasted 'white space'. I look forward to hearing reader's reactions.
Volume 20, No. 2 will be our first
theme issue —S.C. Railways. Dar-
ryl Muralt, president of the B.C.
Railways Historical Association, has
kindly agreed to co-edit the issue. Now
is the time for all you railway buffs to
head to the archives to research that article that has been in the back of your
mind all these years! Although the majority of articles in the Spring issue will
focus on railway history, general interest submissions are also invited. The
Summer issue (Volume 20, No. 3) will
have Native People as its theme.
The creation in November 1986 of
the new Ministry of Tourism, Recreation and Culture promises to be a step
in the right direction. The overlap of
culture, heritage conservation and
tourism has been evident for years. As
Minister Bill Reid said "The blending
of the tourism, cultural, heritage and
recreation communities under the
auspices of one government ministry
provides a wonderful opportunity to
maximize the potential of all of them.''
The economic future of British Columbia is inextricably linked to tourism.
The heritage and cultural communities
in the province stand to benefit greatly from the marketing and development expertise demanded of the
tourism industry.
Finally, it would be appreciated if
contributors would include a very brief
"note on the author" along with their
submissions. Thank you.
Bob Tyrrell From   the  News   Publishing
The committee congratulates
Bob Tyrrell on his first issue.
Although our new publishing team
has some problems to sort out, the
reaction to Volume 19, No. 5, for
the most part, has been 'very
The most encouraging news is
that production costs have been cut
from an average of $ 1730 per issue
in the last financial year to $1200.
We plan to improve the quality
of the photographs and will make
a serious effort to cut down on
typographical errors.
This issue is the first in the new
format. We are particularly anxious
to hear your reactions. The editor
welcomes opinions both pro and
Volume 20, No. 2 will be our
first 'theme issue': B.C.
Railways. If you have a
reminisence about their early days
or access to archival information
which could be turned into an interesting article, please contact the
editor right away as the deadline for
submissions is March 1. (See the
editorial page 1 for future themes.)
Theme issues will also include a
variety of other articles submitted
to the News as well as reports on
branch activities etc. So please keep
those articles coming in.
Ann Johnston
Deadline for the next issue of the
B.C. Historical News is March 1,1987.
Please submit articles and reports to:
The Editor
P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B
Victoria, B.C. V8R 6S4
I want to thank the Treasurers of
the 12 Member Societies who have
sent in the Annual Return as at October 31st. In each case we are in
Within hours of the receipt of
issue 19 - 5 of the B.C. Historical
News I received an offer to help
with the mailing of the magazine
from Mrs. Pat Scobie of the Vancouver Historical Society. Thank
you Pat. She will assist Mrs. Joan
Selby of the Publishing Committee
with this tedious chore.
The former Treasurer of the
Ladysmith New Horizons
Historical Society has written to say
that the group has ceased formal
organization. It is sad to hear that
individuals have had to surrender
to advancing years. There is a hope
that a new Historical Society might
be formed in the future.
On December 3rd my wife and
I took the opportunity to visit the
Paper Treasures Exhibit in the
Alberni Valley Museum. The exhibit was very well presented in the
'temporary display' section of the
Museum, and showed and explained many of the processes needed
for archival preservation.
Treasurer's Comments
The Alberni Valley has experienced a very interesting progression of organizations: when I
became Treasurer in 1981, the local
society was named the "Alberni
and District Historical & Museum
Society"; then, about 1984, a
separate organization was handed
the responsibility for the museum,
and the name was changed to
"Alberni District Historical Society". Now, the name remains the
same but the Society's members are
developing an extensive Archives
section within the Museum
•premises. It was a pleasure to
receive such a warm welcome from
Dorrit MacLeod, Mark Mosher,
and Anne Holt.
Yesterday morning the Subscription List card file for the B.C.
Historical News was taken to the
word-processing centre so that the
information may be entered into a
computer data-base. It is unfortunate that quite a number of
Member Societies have sent in no
subscription information for
several months so there will be quite
a number of corrections needed (at
a charge to the magazine account).
Each address label will show: (1)
on the top Une — month subscription was received, and the expiry
issue; (2) on the second line —
name of the subscriber; (3) and on
lines three and/or four — the postal
address. Experience may show
otherwise, but at present it would
seem that it would be simpler for
the Subscription Secretary if
subscriptions were sent in at regular
intervals rather than waiting for
once a year (especially from large
membership Member Societies). Individuals and Institutions will be
sent reminder invoices.
The list taken to the W/P centre
consisted of: 15 Complimentary or
required; 1,030 members from 24
Member Societies; 5 Affiliated
Groups; 74 Individuals; and 71 Institutions; Total 1195. For the last
issue (19 - 5); 5 copies went
overseas — Great Britain, West
Germany, AustraUa; and 19 copies
went to U.S. addresses.
If any problems arise with the
new process, please sent the information to the Historical Federation's P.O. Box.
The next A.G.M. will see the
completion of the sixth year that I
have been the Treasurer of the B.C.
(cont. on page 32)
British Columbia Historical News The Russian Prelude
Alix O'Grady
"The very ice which seemed
so threatening and so
Will lead us from
misfortune to new safety.
Russian Columbuses,
scorning sinister fate
Will forge a new path over
the ice-flows to the east —
And our dominion will
extend into America."
Lomonosov (1760)
Somewhere along the coastline of
British Columbia there Ues buried
at least one cast-iron plate with an
inscription in Cyrillic copper letters
"Zemlia Rossiiskago Vladeniia" —
Russian Territory. At a designated
distance from it there should also
be a plaque of the double-headed
Russian Imperial Eagle, either nailed to a tree or fastened to a rock.
Unfortunately, many of the early Russian charts on which the locations of such metal plates were
recorded have gone astray with the
passage of time. However, a few
photocopies exist in the Library of
the University of Washington and
in the Library of Congress.
Correspondence of the Russian
American Company confirms that
from 1787 onward, Russia planted
her numbered markers secretly and
methodically at various locations
from Kodiak Island down along the
Northwest American littoral well
past the Columbia River to Trinidad, California and beyond. In
fact, a crest was unearthed during
an archaeological excavation in
1958 at Coronado Beach south of
San Diego.
Given the expanse and indentations   of  British   Columbia's
coastline and taking into consideration its myriads of islands, sheltered
bays and coves, the potential
presence of such Russian relics is
more than just a likelihood. Professor R.A. Pierce, Canada's prominent specialist on Russian
America mentions in his search for
"Alaskan Treasure"2 a plate
numbered 18, which had been placed in 1808 on an island near Dundas off Prince Rupert.
The history of early Russian
navigation and fur trading operations in the Pacific Northwest has
been somewhat neglected in this
province. It is thanks to the
research by Canadian, U.S. and
U.S.S.R. historians during the last
few decades that more information
has been made available to the
public. This paper will give an
outline of some of the historical
achievements and human endeavours of Russian seafarers during the
18th century, when Russia played
a decisive role in shaping events in
the history of our Pacific Northwest.
What brought the Russians to
these waters within such close proximity of what we now call British
Columbia? What were their ac-
Russian crest placed along the northwest coast.
(Alaska State Museum)
tivities, their claims and their long-
range plans?
It is hardly a secret that before
the pubUcation of Captain Cook's
Journals in 1784, Russia enjoyed
virtual monopoly of Northwestern
Pacific waters.
Ever since Russian penetration of
Eastern Siberia in the 16th century,
individual fur hunters and traders,
"promyshlenniks" had ventured
out to sea in small "baidarkas"
(kayaks), in order to capitalize on
the tantalizing resources of fur
bearing animals which were said to
be at the rookeries around the
Aleutian Islands. As the numbers
of "promyshlenniks" increased, so
did the rumours about the
"Bolshaya Zemlya," the 'Big
Land', which promised even greater
rewards of luxurious sea otter pelts
— which were to become a favourite trim on Chinese garments —
and highly treasured sea Uon tusks.
Intrigued by the glowing reports
about "Soft Gold" and, possibly
motivated by ambitions to extend
Russian boundaries further afield,
Peter the Great issued orders in
1725 for an exploratory expedition
to be undertaken under the command of Vitus J. Bering. The Cap-
British Columbia Historical News tain was to ascertain whether the
northeastern limits of Siberia were
physicaUy joined to the North
American continent. (This expedition, incidentaUy, was preceded in
1648 by one led by Dezhnev.)
A few years later another voyage
of discovery for 1741-1742 was
planned under the command of
Captains Bering and Chirikov.
Preparations for the ambitious
enterprise were gargantuan, since
men, provisions and materials for
shipbuilding — from nails to sails
— had to be transported by horse,
river boat, reindeer and dogs some
12,000 miles across Siberia to the
shores of the Pacific.
It took a period of ten years until the St. Peter and the St. Paul,
(each measuring 80 x 20 x 9 feet and
carrying a crew of 76-77 men and
equipped with fourteen guns) finally hoisted their sails for the
American shore — for the Glory of
On July 21, 1741 Bering made
landfall on Kayak Island at latitude
59°31', naming the Cape and the
mountains on the mainland "St.
Chirikov sighted land before this
at latitude 55°36' on July 15,1741,
and worked his vessel in to the
shores under Mt. Addington. (Lulu
Island west of Prince of Wales
This intrepid and fateful undertaking was not accompUshed without cost; the payments were those
typical of early voyages of exploration: scurvy, starvation and shipwreck. The crew of the St. Peter
was marooned through winter on
a treeless island where Bering
himself perished. But, with
characteristic Russian tenacity, the
survivors managed to rebuild a
hooker from the remains of the
shipwreck and made it back to
Kamchatka under sails and oars.
The expedition yielded two important results: it placed vital
poUtical and territorial claims into
Russian hands, and it gave the
decisive impetus to Russian
maritine fur trade. Some thirty-
seven years later Captain Cook's
visit to Nootka Sound reaped
similar benefits for the British.
From 1743 to 1797 some forty
Russian fur trading companies
engaged in open rivalry, and no less
than 100 fur gathering expeditions
were undertaken.
Using the Aleutian Islands as
stepping stones, the Russians swept
the natives in their path into their
hunting operations, thereby
shrewdly exploiting Aleut skills in
handUng "baidarkas" and harpoons. Thus hunting with native
participation became the exclusive
trademark of Russian maritime fur
trade and during the 19th century
joint hunting parties with the
Americans were to be carried out
off the coast of CaUfornia.
The year 1784 brought the "Russian Columbus," Gregorii I.
SheUkhov, his wife NataUa and 192
men in three vessels to Kodiak
Island, which became the fur
trading centre in the Russian Colonies until it was moved to Sitka in
From Kodiak Shelikhov bridged
the gap via Afognak to the
mainland and, wherever he went,
fort and settlements were estabUshed. In situations where the Russians
felt outnumbered by hostile natives,
hostages were taken in order to ensure the safety of the traders and
the few settlers.
With the help of his wife, Shelikhov set up the first school in the
Pacific Northwest. Contrary to the
philosophy of the Hudson's Bay
Company, mixed marriages were
vigorously encouraged by the Russians who considered a lasting
Uaison as an effective means for
assimilating native society and as a
stabilizing influence on the more
wayward elements of the "promyshlenniks." That this poUcy met
with a certain degree of success was
confirmed by Captain Vancouver's
remarks upon the cultural and
Unguistic assimilation in the Russian colonies, which had made it
hard to distinguish between the
Russians and the Indians.
For their return voyage to Russia
in 1786 the Shelikhovs had chosen
to take with them a contingent of
forty Indians, some of whom had
come of their own free will and
others who had been coerced. Two
years later SheUkhov was able to
write to his manager:
We are going to send a fine
band to America .... Do
your best to teach more
boys reading, writing, singing and arithmetic. Train
them to be good navigators
and seamen, and teach
them crafts, especiaUy
carpentry. The boys who
were brought here to
Irkutsk are studying music.
Just now I am planning
missionary work. I am going to send you lots of
books on mining, navigation, etc., and presents for
the best pupils.
Possibly, Madame NataUa A.
Shelikhova was the first educated
white woman to have come to live
for two years in the Pacific Northwest. She must have been an in-
teUigent and energetic woman,
capable of conducting business as
she was forced to demonstrate
when stepping into her husband's
position as a director after his death
in 1795.
Above all, she must have possessed remarkable courage and
physical stamina in order to withstand the dangers and rigours of the
long trek across Eastern Siberia and
the perilous voyage in a 'nutshell'
through the uncharted and treacherous Pacific waters.
As a rule Russian merchant
vessels saiUng from Ochotsk were
constructed without the know-how
of shipwrights, and often consisted
of planks of green wood sewn
together with reindeer gut or leather
straps. Such vessels would have offered considerably less comfort
than their well-equipped British
counterparts most of which were
Likewise, Russian crews may
British Columbia Historical News have presented a serious problem.
Not only did they lack the thorough
training of British sailors but they
were notorious for their undis-
cipUned behaviour. This was due to
the fact that a good number of their
recruits had been drawn from the
rabble of convicts, drunkards and
fortune hunters who roamed in
Eastern Siberia, some of whom had
their clanking chains removed in
Ochotsk in exchange for service at
sea — without ever having seen the
The tedium of the voyage, the
cramped quarters, the vermin and
unbearable stench from the bilge
mentioned in Mrs. Frances Barkley's diary4, aU of these trials would
have been experienced by Madame
Shelikhova, possibly to a worse
degree, while the quaUty of provisions would have been greatly inferior to that on British vessels.
Shelikhov's   instructions   left
behind with the manager of the
Russian colonies specified:
. . . estabUsh Russian artels
in sundry places and pacify
the Americans (Indians)
and spread the Glory of
Russia into the unknown
lands of America and
CaUfornia as far as the 40°
As the first bach of cast-iron
plates. and plaques arrived at
Kodiak, an accompanying note
from the Governor of Siberia
. . . particular attention
should be paid to 50°40'
latitude where the EngUsh
in 1784 (pubUcation of
Cook's Journals) had obtained a great quantity of
In the meantime, Russian transgressions into what were considered
to be Spanish waters were causing
New Spain a great deal of alarm.
Orders were given for protective
measures to be taken at once by
estabUshing the new positions and
missions of San Diego, Monterey
and San Francisco.
From 1774 onward a number of
''   "-'^""IMT
XZ32S&BMEJ -■. J---1-"..n-iiiiii! i ....iiuuiiiw
Unalaska: Captain's Harbour, 1790. The vessel's name Slava Rossjii appears on its stem.
On shore observatory tents have been set up. Yurts serve as barracks for stores. At the foot
of the hills a cross has been erected. Barrels strewn along the beach are possibly watercasks.
(Drawing by Luka Voronin in FA. Golder's portfoUo "Alaska Scenes" from the
Hydrographic Ministry of Marine, Petrograd. Pacific Northwest CoUection, U.W. Library)
Spanish naval expeditions were
dispatched to the Northwest coast
with the objective of reconnoiter-
ing the area and making a show of
the flag in the hope of discouraging further Russian incursions to
the south.
The Russians for their part did
not interpret the arrival of Spanish
naval vessels as a serious threat to
Russia's sovereignty of Northwest
Pacific waters and any doubt they
may have had in that direction
evaporated with the reaUzation that
fur trading did not Ue within the
sphere of Spanish interests.
The opposite, however, was the
case in respect to their attitude
toward the British. For a number
of years the Russians had been watching the British with a jaundiced
eye poaching for peltries under the
guise of a foreign flag against their
very own national enterprises: The
South Sea and East India
Consequently, the arrival of the
first official British fur traders in
waters where the Russians had been
hunting and trading for years
brought accusations that the intruders were infringing on Russian
soveriegnty and "marauding" up
and down the coast from Alaska to
the Aleutians and even to Kamchatka, "taking treasure which did
not belong to them, charting and
renaming territories which had long
been discovered."7
Toward the end of the 18th century fierce Yankee competition was
crowding the "King George's
Men" out, and a new era began.
IronicaUy, American trading goods
were not only of superior quaUty,
but included items which the Russians were constantly in desperate
need of. The discovery of precious
foodstuffs, tobacco and tools exchanged into Indian hands struck
a sour note with the "promyshlenniks," especially since shipments of
provisions from Siberia lagged. In
fact, chronic aUmentary shortages
were forcing the Russians into
dependence upon Indian suppUes of
fish, mussels, berries, roots and
"Iukola," the coastal counterpart
of pemmican, made of fish, blubber and berries. It was inevitable
then that direct exchanges between
the Russians and Americans would
become a regular, if paradoxical,
feature of the maritime fur trade.
(cont. on page 32)
British Columbia Historical News Will Vivian
and the Vivian Works
Ehud Yaniv
On January 24, 1949, Will Vivian celebrated his fortieth year as
an engine maker.1 From his first
engine, a single-cylinder, six-
horsepower plant in 1909, his firm
grew in quality and stature with a
line of diesel and gas engines for
marine and stationary use as well
as military items made during the
Second World War and Korean
War. It was not until the late 1920's
and early 1930's that WiU Vivian
started to work with the diesel
engine which would make his name
and fortune. He was caUed the
Henry Ford of the Canadian diesel
engine and the diesel industry2, being one of the first to work with the
diesel principle domesticaUy. His
greatest period was the Second
World War when his plant made
engines, parts, and fuse-setting
devises for the Navy. This work
totalled over $13 million.3 This, in
short, was the company that Will
Will Vivian was born the son of
a poor Vancouver carriage painter
in 1890. For reasons unknown, WUl
left school at the age of nine to
foUow the sea. His first job was
that of a cabin-boy aboard the Empress of China. It was here that he
learned to tinker with marine
engines. His second job was as a
Westcoast fisherman. This gave
him an insight into the needs of the
local fishing fleet. Vivian took to
mechanical things and enjoyed
tinkering so it was only natural for
the boy to gravitate towards the
machine shops. His first job in a
shop was at the Easthope Engine
Works at Coal Harbour. Later, he
moved to San Francisco where he
found work as a helper in the Hall-
Scott Motor Company, and later at
the Imperial Engine Works. At
night, Vivian would work his own
plans and finaUy built his first
engine. It was a single-cylinder
engine with which he returned to
Vancouver and at the age of nineteen founded his shop, the Vivian
Gas Engine Works.4 The year was
In this way Will Vivian learned
the skills that would later help him
become the "power behind the
fishing fleet."5 He knew both the
sea and the needs of the people who
lived by it and so could build a product that they could use. With all
this Vivian did not lose sight of the
need for some 'book' learning, so
he took the International Correspondence School math course
and taught himself to draw.6 With
this, his education was almost concluded. All he needed to do was experiment for the right designs.
There is very Uttle known about
the early years of the Vivian Gas
Engine works. Expansion was slow
and piece-meal as the years went
by.     The     most     consistent
characteristic of the plant in these
early years was WiU Vivian and his
dedication to quaUty. This is illustrated by the fact that in 1949,
his first engine, the single-cyUnder
made in 1909, was stiU in use.7 WiU
Vivian worked hard along side of
his men and it was claimed that he
. . . could walk around the
shop . . . and if somebody
had made a screw-up on a
machining job, he could
spot it. It could be in a
boxful of stuff, and if one
Will Vivian
wasn't right, he could pick
it out . . . ."
Vivian even supervised the testing
room himself.9 This attention to
quaUty and the help of a good staff
is why the Vivian name became
known around the world.
The plant managed to stay
private and in Vivian's hands. This
tended to cause some difficulty in
cash flow and funding. To Vivian,
the plant was "his baby and he
wanted to keep it."10 Money was
so tight that for many years, he Uved above the shop. Former
employees recall that he would ask
the workers not to cash their pay
at one place or he wouldn't be able
to make the payroll. Also, there
were some forced vacations when
B.C. Electric would cut the power
because of overdue bills."
In some circles, it is felt that if
the company had gone pubUc, it
would have lasted much longer and
might stiU be here today.12
The early years were difficult,
because many of the fishermen
feared that the noise from the
engines would frighten the fish
from the boats;13 there being few
gas powered ships as examples.
Here, Vivian's fishing experience
paid off. He knew how to talk to
the fishermen.
In 1930, the Vivian Works made
and instaUed their first diesel engine
on the Mv. Totem owned by the
British Columbia Historical News Stone Brothers of Port Alberni.14
The engine was a three-cyUnder,
90-horsepower job that remained in
service for many years. This industry was to increase very quickly and by 1933, Vivian was able to
send out a flier stating that they
now had three different types of
diesel engines available.15 In fact,
over 1934, the Vivian Works is
noted as having produced about fifty diesel engines.16
In the same year, the Vancouver
Sun newspaper started a survey of
local industry and chose the Vivian
Works as their first subject. In it,
WiU Vivian decUnes to talk about
himself though much is revealed by
a tour of the plant. For one thing
most of the innovations made on
Vivian engines come from WiU Vivian himself. It was these innovations which aUowed the editor to
comment that according to experts,
there are no better diesels being
made anywhere else.17 Both Will
Vivian and the plant are summed
up by the placard . . .
The d fool didn't
know it couldn't be done so
he went ahead and did it.18
Though the quaUty of the slow
turning engines was well known,
Vivian worked very hard for this
reputation. In active campaigns he
went to both Australia and New
Zealand where he eventuaUy set up
dealerships and service stations for
his engines. A connection has, in
fact, been drawn between this an
the fact that one of the first Sydney
Harbour tugs was called the
Vivian.19 Vivian also used many
other forms of advertising including magazines, newspapers,
and fairs like the Pacific National
In the Vancouver region, the best
advertisement for the Vivian diesel
came in 1939 with the Pier "D"
fire. On July 27, Captain C. Cates
saw from the C.H. Cates dock that
the Canadian Pacific Railway Pier
was on fire. Willing to help, he caUed his crew and they set out towards
the fire. The reports that foUowed
the rescue of four men from the
water were quick to praise the men
and the engine.
He had confidence in his Vivian
There was no delay in starting.
At the puUing of a lever the 160 h.p.
engine cylinder Vivian started immediately . . .
Quick to start and quick to respond,     the     Vivian     engine
demonstrated its value ....
The Charles H. Cates
backed and filled, responding to the sUghtest change
of the helm and engine
revolutions. It was a great
demonstration of the
reUabiUty of the Vivian
Both men and machine were
tested in heat that bUstered paint
and shattered windows. After the
rescue, the ship even returned to do
patrol work. With this report, it
was no wonder the Vivian diesel
was weU-suited for the war that was
to come.
One of Will Vivian's most spectacular achievements was the way
the company passed through the
depression years. It was no small
feat that the Works were able to expand twice21 while other, more
established companies failed. WiU
Vivian "never cut wages, taking the
losses as they came without a
complaint."22 In 1934, he even increased wages for the first time in
years. The expansions attest to the
fact that Vivian had a good name
and that quality and service still
helped make success.
Vivian plant, C. 1920's.
Because Vivian managed to pass
through the depression relatively
untouched, it was one of the few
Vancouver firms that was able to
take on war time contracts in a big
way. Before going into the Vivian
war effort, one should note WUl Vivian's involvement in West Coast
Industries (a lobby group which
aimed at getting war contracts out
to the western provinces). Vivian
was well-suited for the position of
director of this group because he
had always foUowed the aggressive
attitude that one should create a demand for one's products or
In his position in West Coast industries, Vivian worked hard to
combat the industrial might of the
east. To do this, he was often required to travel to Ottawa. One
such mission was reported in the
Vancouver newspapers which
showed that contracts could be
brought out west. Upon his return,
Will Vivian announced contracts
for jigs and tools which would be
distributed between fifteen to twenty smaU shops as well as heavy
work to be given to some larger
concerns. In the above mentioned
case, Vivian did not take on any
contracts for his works since they
were already working at fuU capacity on British Admiralty contracts.23
It should be noted that at first this
mission was thought to be about
contracts for cargo ships to be buUt
in this area.24
For himself, Vivian had taken on
some very large and important con-
British Columbia Historical News tracts under the Canadian war effort. In the Vivian shops, the most
specialized work was done in the
Admiralty shop where gunsights
and fuse-setting devices were made.
The fuse-setting devices were used
in ships on which the big guns were
located to load the ammunition for
combat.25 The Vivian reputation
for quaUty undoubtedly helped in
getting these special contracts for
the Vivian Diesel and Munition
Works. The Admiralty shop alone
made over $8 miHion in contracts.26
Of the Vivian diesels made during the war, there was only praise.
This is shown by a letter from a
Rear Admiral, head of the British
Admiralty  Technical  Mission,
which states that he asked his deputy (an Engineer Officer) to examine
the Vivian engines and give comment. In reply, he stated that
A number of diesel
engines made by Messrs.
Vivian of Vancouver, B.C.
have been built and sup-
pUed to the British Admiralty for installation in
ships built for the Royal
Navy in Canada during the
(This includes an order of eighty-
four 150 K. W. generators not
made due to the end of the war as
well  as  thirty-four  60  K.   W.
generators which were made. There
were of course many other orders
filled for the mission.)
The Vivian diesel engine
is a robust, reUable and
strongly designed engine
which has given every
satisfaction to the Mission.
They are designed to, and
do operate with, a
minimum of supervision
and upkeep and can well be
recommended for service
where simpUcity and
reUability are essential.27
The naval work in engines alone
helped power tugs, minesweepers,
landing ships, escort ships and at
least fifty of-the ships used in the
Normandy invasion including a
lead ship, the CT-72.28 There was
also work done for special ships used for maintenance, or floating
workshops, which were powered by
Another facet of the Vivian war
work was the buUding of stationary
power plants which were used in
camps and bases of both Canada
and Britain. If other orders can be
taken as examples, these may have
been capable of giving power to a
smaU town of about 1200 people.29
At the peak of the war time production, the Vivian Works had a
labour force of about 1000 people
and required two shifts.30 The plant
was in operation almost aU of the
time. Aside from the work done in
the plant, there were some forty
sub-contractors ranging from small
to medium companies. Though
generaUy located in Vancouver,
there were some on Vancouver
Island. The Works, at peak production, make a diesel a day. In April
of 1945, it was felt that the Vivian
Works would be kept at fuU capacity until 1946.31
It must have been a source of
pride for aU concerned when, after
peace was signed, Vivian managed
to hold on to all his staf and was
not required to lay anyone off due
to the loss of war contracts. Unfortunately, this was soon to change.
Somewhere during the war, WiU
Vivian felt that he had reached the
point where his engines were the
right size and quaUty. Even in 1941
when he announced a new engine
break,32 he had already settled into what he felt was his ultimate
engine. While others were testing
and researching new engines as weU
as doing war work, WUl Vivian was
only involved in sales and production. "Within himself, he felt he'd
reached the point where he should
be. The rest of the world would circle around the slow-speed
engine."33 His attitude seemed to
be, "if you don't Uke my engine,
to hell with you."34 Vivian left the
war with the same product he had
In all fairness, it should be
remembered that the heavy slow-
turning engines that Vivian built
always had an appUcation, even in
the post-war period with its newer,
faster, and Ughter engines.35
Immediately after the war, Vivian took work for the shattered
governments of Europe (especially
France) and the United Nations
Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (U.N.R.R.A.) which
was charged with the rebuilding of
the post-war world. The orders included generator sets36 and engines.
Other work was done for the
EngUsh including the production of
ships' engines. France also purchased engines at this time. AU told, the
reUef work earned the Vivian companies about $2 miUion.37
Probably one of WiU Vivian's
most significant undertakings in the
early post-war years was in the
form of an aggressive export plan.
Using the same attitude which
helped open both AustraUa and
New Zealand, he would create a
market in South America. In 1946,
Star Shipyard and the Vivian companies joined together in making
and outfitting a ship with the latest
in fishing equipment. The engine,
of course, would be a Vivian. The
'100,000 project was a floating
technical mission. The ship, the
Arauco II38, was to go south and
generate interest in British Columbia and its know-how. The ship was
a risk which paid off when the
Chilean government purchased the
vessel. Orders were received for five
more ships of this kind and on
January 27,1947, Mr. J.H. Budd,
the Vivian export manager, stated
that sales resulting from the Arauco
would cover the costs of the mission many times over. He concluded by saying that the world wanted
to trade with B.C. and Canada.3'
The goal of the Arauco mission
was to show South American
fishermen, many of whom still used sail power, the benefits of diesel
power. Will Vivian wanted to
become the power behind the South
American fishing fleet as well as
that of British Columbia. The spinoff benefits for the province were
British Columbia Historical News immense.
Despite the 1946 claim made by
Vivian and Dominion Engineering
(of Montreal) that they made
seventy-two percent of the diesels
used in Canada,40 the future for Vivian was to trap them into the export market more and more. The
most significant domestic work that
Vivian would get was from the
miUtary and in making parts for the
old Vivians. To this end, there were
many service stations across
With few successes after the
Arauco mission, the Vivian group
started to faU. In 1949, the devaluation of SterUng and the available
war surplus had caused the Vivian
companies to lay-off 200 people.
WiU Vivian and his remaining staff
felt the final blow when the British
diesel makers cut prices by about
twenty percent.42 By August of
1950, only eleven months after the
lay-offs, the A.B.O.E. Brush group
of Britain purchased Vivian,
though WiU Vivian would stay on
as an adviser.43
In some ways, the sale of the Vivian companies was unexpected.
Will Vivian was, after all, known
as a man who did not just quit at
the first sign of real trouble. It was
Uttle known, however, that WUl Vivian was quite ill at the time. This
was an easy way to retire.44
With Will Vivian retired and in
a minor consultant position, the
Brush group decided that the Vivian engine was past its prime.
It was a typical corporate
move, where they . . .
decided in a board meeting
in England that the best
engine to be built here was
their National brand.45
The re-tooUng was begun and the
newspapers announced with some
joy that "Vivian Plans Production
This Year." According to Mr. Norris, the Vivian general manager,
they were in the process of spending
$250,000 and hoped to have full
production before the end of 1951.
The engines to be made were to be
the new Vivian-National and rang
ed from two to eight cyUnders. In
fact, they already had a $50,000
order in hand.46
In a public announcement to
Mayor Hume, Mr. Norris
(misspeUed as Morris) stated that
the new engine could switch from
natural gas to oil and would provide work for several hundred men.
In fact, the plant would be set up
in such a way that on a day's
notice, it could asume any part of
the engine production of any of the
six British plants.47
It was quite poetic that the new
Vivian-National engine would be
tested aboard the Mv. Totem of the
Stone Brothers which also had the
first Vivian diesel.48
After a short time, it became apparent to the Brush group that
"they could export three engines to
Canada for what it was going to
cost ... to build one [here].49
There were, however, some important orders, mostly for the miUtary,
including a 1951 job worth
$600,000 in diesels and a 1952 contract worth $214,506 for mortars
and parts.50 In this way, the company that Will built crawled to its
final owner, Hawker-Siddeley.
When the Brush group ran into
financial difficulty, it became profitable to seU the whole group to
Hawker-Siddeley. The Vivian takeover was only a bookkeeping exercise. Vivian was made part of
Avroe which now runs Canadian
Car (Pacific), a forestry equipment
manufacturer. The old Vivian patterns are located there, where they
still make spare parts for the few
old engines still in use.51
To the pubUc, the Vivian name
is all but forgotten. Many of the
former workers stayed in the
business and some Vancouver companies today were founded by
former Vivian men. People who
owned Vivian engines say that they
were some of the best they ever used. Will Vivian died in 1965 but,
even today, he is thought of as a
great man.
'R.J. Moore, "Builders of B.C.: A Single
Cylinder Gas Engine Started Vivian's Vast Industry," The Vancouver Province, 24 January
1949. p. 22. Many of the Vancouver Newspaper
references to clippings are located in the City of
Vancouver Public Archives (V.P.A.) and are only identified by their date.
"David Conn, "Will Vivian: Pioneer Engine
Builder," The Raincoast Chronicles, No. 9
(1981), p. 19.
'V.P.A. "War Orders For City Firm Hit
$5,000,000," 16 April 1945.; Personal interview
with WiUiam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985. WiUiam
P. Vivian is the son of WiU Vivian, the founder
of the Vivian Works.
•David Conn, p. 19; "Diesel Engine Plant
Founder Dead at 74," The Vancouver Sun, 24
February 1965, p. 2.; "WUl Vivian Rites To Be
Held Friday," The Vancouver Province, 25
February 1965, p. 12.; R.J. Moore, p. 22.
"'The Power Behind The Fishing Fleet," The
Vancouver News-Herald, 23 June 1939.
'WUliam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
'Lloyd Turner, "Local Diesel Maker Marks
Fortieth Year," The Vancouver Sun, 22 January
1949.; WiUiam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
WiUiam P. Vivian states that the average Ufe of
a Vivian engine, in good upkeep, was between
20 to 30 years. The last Vivians made would,
therefore, still be in use.
■David Conn, p. 22.
'The Magazine Editor, "What Vancouver
Makes: A Great Diesel Engine," The Vancouver
Sun, 1 September 1934, p. 3.
'"WUUam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
"David Conn, p. 22.
''WiUiam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
""WiU Vivian Rites To Be Held Friday," p.
"V.P.A. "Vivian Develops New Engine
Break," 8'October 1941.
"V.P.A. C.H. Cates Papers, Mss. 212, WiU
Vivian to Messrs. C.H. Cates and Sons, n.d.
l6PubUc Archives of Canada, R.G. Bennett
Papers, MG-26-K, Rhodes to Perley, 2 April
"The Magazine Editor, p. 3.
"David Conn, p. 22.
""'Chariie Cates To The Rescue." This is an
undated clipping supplied to Susan Dodson, the
daughter of Charles Cates.
"V.P.A. "Building B.C. PayroUs," 24 AprU
1939. This is a paid advertisement by the Vivian
"The Magazine Editor, p. 3.
"V.P.A. "Vivian Back From Ottawa," 7
November 1941.
"V.P.A. "Vivian In Ottawa On Shipyard Mission," 21 October 1941.
"William P. Vivian, 2 August 1985. The
newspaper accounts only mention gunsights and
engines. This is possibly due to the sensitive
nature of the work.
"WUUam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
"This letter was in the hands of Mr. C. Christian, a former Vivian employee. Head of British
Admiralty Technical Mission, Rear Admiral
Raulings [the name is almost illegible] to Mr.
Will Vivian, 23 October 1945.
"David Conn, p. 22.; V.P.A. "Vivian's BuUd
Power Plants For Europe," 24 March 1945.;
"Vivian  Works  Sold:   Britons  Buy  Engine
(cont. on page 21)
British Columbia Historical News A Letter Home — 1891
The following letter, while of
arguably little importance
historically, is included for its
charm and the sense it gives of the
freshness and vitality of both the
country and the people of the
period. The letter was submitted by
Mrs. Evelyn Goddard, daughter of
Joseph Sheasgreen. (The editor).
Vancouver, B.C.
September 13, 1891
My Dear Parents & Sisters:
My arrival here on Tuesday last
completed my journey from ocean
to ocean on wheels — I was
somewhat longer than the regular
time owing to a number of stoppages along the way. Since my
coming, I have been kept very busy
getting things in shape for the expedition of business.
I have looked around the city
very Uttle as yet and consequently
cannot give you any idea scarcely
of the general appearance etc. except that there is every evidence of
newness. It has about 16,000 of
population. Upon the main streets
there are plenty of lots studded with
charred stumps and alder bushes
that are being daily disposed of at
$20,000 and $30,000 per lot. This
self same property less that 6 years
ago could be bought at the rate of
$100 per acre. This wiU convey
some idea of the rapidity in which
this place sprung into existence. I
dropped you a line here and there
on my path to the West but my time
and mind being almost entirely controUed by new and interesting
scenery I could not very conveniently do more than pass the compU-
ment by giving you my whereabouts occasionally.
My time at Montreal was so
short that I could not do justice to
my legs and optics and see a very
large portion of the city, but Minnie and I made an early start in the
morning and visited Mt. Royal
where I had a good view of the St.
Lawrence, went to the Jesuits
Church, ascended the tower of
Notre Dame and took in a few
more points of interest.
Leaving Montreal there is very
little to be seen along the rail until
Ottawa is reached where a good
view of the ParUament Buildings
can be had as the train crosses the
Ottawa River. After leaving Ottawa
my memory does not bear a very
distinct recollection of the country
passed through. It was then quite
late in the P.M. and the time came
for sleeping. In the morning I
found myself within about 3 doz.
miles of St. Paul and the thoughts
of seeing Frank and more especiaUy
Ed made me get into my rags in a
hurry and prepare to have both my
hands shaken off before I could get
to the Depot Platform. But when
I got out at St. Paul depot and promenaded-the planks for 15 min.
gawking among a sea of strange
faces in quest of a famiUar one, my
impulses turned more to the Une of
shaking my fists. While passing
through the depot I caught some
strong fumes which indicated that
beefsteak and onions were frying
not over 2 or 3 miles away and that
suddenly reminded me that supper
was the last meal I had so I followed the scents which led me to a
lunch counter. There I got what I
wanted and paid for it making exit
without ceremony and started in
search of Frank. After asking a
good many questions and going
thro' the general offices of two Ry'
Companies without success, I gave
up my hunt and paid a cabby 50c
to take me to Summit Avenue
where I was entertained by Mrs.
Tozer until Frank turned up for
In the evening we went to Min-
neapoUs to visit Ed and he surprised us by getting on the train at an
intermediate station.
Tis unnecessary to say that I was
terrible glad to see him and we
started in at once to have a good
talk about old times. Rehearsing
the incidents of our habit swapping experience and the day mother
caught him going around the corner of the woodshed with a bag of
carrots and potatoes that he had
smuggled thro' the cellar window
to supply the little log camp in the
woods. I spent 4 days in the twin
cities and was sorry to leave, Ed
and Frank used me fine. On Sunday we had a carriage ride thro' the
city of MinneapoUs and out into
some of the suburban parts, around
Lake Harrison and Lakewood
Cemetery etc.
My calculations aUowed me only 3 days here but I missed the train
on Monday evening trying to make
too much of my time. Notwithstanding that it was a matter of
compulsion to remain I enjoyed the
additional day very much and in the
end was quite as well if not better
pleased, that I made the miss.
When the time arrived I parted
with the folks there and moved over
the Great Northern Ry' in the direction of Winnipeg. I boarded the
train about dusk and 'twas not long
before the bunk had for me more
charms than the cigar or newspaper. The morning found me rac-
British Columbia Historical News ing through the extensive wheat
fields of Dakota. For miles and
miles on both sides of the rails as
far as the eye can reach nothing can
be seen but golden grain. As Winnipeg is approached the road runs
thro' forests of heavy pines and
here along the way an occasional
lumber crew is to be seen loading
ox teams with "forest giants'."
My next stopping was Winnipeg
where I made a delay of one day.
Tis a town of 30,000 built up of
Yellow Brick but apart from the
business portion has a scattered appearance. My stay at St. Paul and
MinneapoUs spoiled any keen appreciation I might have had for the
Western Canadian Townships,
nevertheless I found attraction in
the novelty even if splendor was
deficient. In the morning before the
train left I went by the street car out
to a place called St. John's and
about a mUe out of the city and saw
the graves and Monument erected
to honour of a number of soldiers
and officers who fell in the N.W.
RebeUion of 85.
After leaving Winnipeg the train
rolls over almost endless prairies.
This tiresome scenery is occasionally reUeved by a dozen log hovels
huddled together which the Ry'
map indicates as a town in reaUty
is only an existing place for a few
miserable creatures who from appearances must subsist principally
upon prairie weeds and wind. Here
and there the isolated shack of a
poor rancher is to be seen. The
smoky bark wigwam of the Sioux
Indian which occasionaUy looms up
seems the most appropriate "ornament" for that corner of creation.
The only prairie town of any importance is Regina, the chief post
the N.W. Mounted Police and at
every station west of that place
three or four Red Coats wiU be seen
guarding the train to see that no
whiskey is smuggled to the Indians.
After many hours weary riding
the prairies are spanned, and as
Calgary is reached the locomotive
begins to dodge in among the
foothills  of the Rockies  which
seemed to me very large until the
snow mantled peaks of the mighty
Rockies themselves began to put in
an appearance when they looked
only as specks alongside their majestic "brethern." Upon approaching the first range the road
appears thoroughly barred upon all
sides and one eagerly watches to see
how the obstacle is to be overcome,
but the trail "squirms" and twists
and without knowing how you got
there — you are there — and equally as puzzled to determine how the
next giant is to be conquered.
Within this region there is for a
long distance a series of Ught up
and down grades until Mount
Steven is reached when the ordinary
engine is exchanged for a "Mogul"
and the train is pulled to the summits of Mt. Steven, 5,300 feet in
height. From here the Une descends
rapidly over a grade of 135 feet to
the mile, and as we run over Kick-
inghorse Pass the road in the course
of about 10 miles turns to nearly
every point of the compass. At this
part the scenery is grand and almost
terrible, and passengers were running from one side of the car to the
other trying to obtain a satisfactory
view of the surroundings.
About 20 miles west of this the
excitement begins again as we enter
a Canyon 13 miles long. I wish I
were possessed of the qualities to
give you a description of it but it
beggars all descriptive powers of
mine. We are "hustled" down a
vast chasm where, close to the rail
on either side, tower vertical cUffs
of soUd rock thousands of feet high
almost shutting out the sunUght,
and here and there we dash
"under" a mountain that stands in
the way.
I made a stoppage of one day
(Sunday) at Banff Springs the
fashionable Canadian Summer
Resort. Tis really a beautiful spot
surrounded on all sides by mighty
mountain peaks. Directly in front
of the hotel towers Mt. Sulphur,
10,000 feet, and from its sides gush
the famous hot sulphur springs.
The largest has its source within a
cave. I had a dip in it and when I
made the first plunge I thought I
had struck the lower regions, 'twas
so hot, but after a second or two
I found that I could bear it. The
water has a strong sulphurous odor
not unlike the fumes of a burning
match only without that suffocating effect. This is where the
Canadian "Blokes" come to
recoup their energies. The guests
while I was there numbered 160
which included a number of
signatures, Lady McDonald of Ottawa, W.D. Van Horne & family,
Leaving Banff there is nothing
but grandeur in the scenery until
Vancouver is reached. In the
Selkirk Range the engine cUmbs to
the summit, 4,300 feet, and from
there can be seen the grand Selkirk
Glacier. Directly after passing the
Glacier we run over what is caUed
the Loop. Tis a pecuUar piece of
engineering and too difficult to
I got here in time to see the
C.P.R. steamer "Empress of
China" leave the wharf, she had
130 first class passengers on board
and about 150 Chinamen. Before
the latter were aUowed to leave the
boat they had to undergo an examination and this revealed the fact
that three of their numbers were in
the first stages of Leprosy.
Lumbering appears to be quite
an industry here. I notice several
large sawmiUs about the harbour.
After I remain here a week or two
I intend visiting the places near
Suppose you have considerable
news for me about your intended
trip Westward.
I forgot to mention that I had
dinner with Uncle Jim at MinneapoUs. He has a very snug home
and a nice family. His daughter is
quite a piano artist. He told me he
expected to make $5,000 in next
winter's operations.
Hope you are aU enjoying good
health. Write to me soon and give
me all the Eastern news.
With fondest love to all,
Your aff. son and Bro.
British Columbia Historical News
11 Burnaby Historical Society
Records Metrotown
Evelyn Salisbury
What is Metrotown and how did
it come about? What role did early transportation routes play in its
Burnaby is situated on the Burrard peninsula and has a central
area that Ues along a prominent
ridge 400 feet above sea level. This
area drains northward into a vaUey
that has two lakes, namely Burnaby
Lake and Deer Lake, and southward into the Fraser River. The
central height of land affords commanding views of the Burnaby
Mountain, the North Shore mountains and the snow-capped Mount
Baker of Washington, U.S.A. To
the west is Vancouver's skyUne and
beyond it is Lion's Gate Bridge and
the flashing Ught of Point Atkinson Ughthouse. Burnaby occupies
the 36.9 square miles between Vancouver and New Westminster.
In 1859 when Robert Burnaby
surveyed lots for settlement, Burnaby was a haven for wildUfe amid
forest, lakes and streams. Gradually the Royal Engineers carved roads
through the forest, an important
one being the False Creek Trail
from New Westminster to False
Creek, known as the Vancouver
Road and now called Kingsway.
Many Royal Engineers completed
their contract and remained in Burnaby to join other settlers in constructing sawmiUs and building
Transportation played an important role in the Uves of the pioneers,
particularly when the Canadian
Pacific transcontinental railroad
reached the west coast in 1866
bringing many settlers. About the
same time local improvements were
made to the False Creek road.
However, the transportation
highUght was in 1890 when the B.C.
Electric RaUway Company buUt the
first Interurban Tram Line in
Canada, running tracks through the
forest from Vancouver to New
Westminster. The Une ran parallel
to the False Creek road although
somewhat south of it. It was along
this corridor that tram stations were
built with subsequent community
The area on the highest point of
Burnaby's central ridge was
surveyed and laid out as a 200 acre
government reserve known as Central Park. It was on the high plateau
that settlers first cleared land and
planted orchards and gardens. Being adjacent to Vancouver on the
Interurban Une, the community
became a thriving suburb of South
Vancouver. The B.C. Directory of
1897 records such amenities as a
post office and daily mail from
Vancouver and New Westminster,
a telephone office and service, a
tram station, a Presbyterian
church, a grocery store and two
nearby schools. Other tram stations
along the Une became the nucleus
of closely-knit famiUes around
which various facilities grew to
make them self-sufficient. They included Patterson, McKay, West
Burnaby, Jubilee and Royal Oak.
As the population grew the
fragmented communities were tied
together by unplanned ribbon
development along the central
Kingsway corridor. It became apparent that the aging Central Park
region was in need of redevelopment and Burnaby's Planning
Department together with the
Director of the Greater Vancouver
Regional District recognized that a
new community should replace the
old one. High priority has been
given to the area as a regional Town
Center within the Greater Vancouver MetropoUtan region. Thus,
the oldest and largest commercial
center in Burnaby is to be
transformed into a new community caUed Metrotown.
Transportation facilities tend to
promote rapid development and in
the Central Park area history is being repeated. Just as the early Interurban tram Une spurred development along its route, so is the 1986
SkyTrain a catalyst in the growth
of Metrotown. The concept envisaged by planners includes commercial, residential and social components. Indeed, Burnaby's Mayor
has reflected that a person could
spend an entire Ufetime in the
Metrotown complex utiUzing the
various facUities. It is expected that
27,000, mostly young, professional
people will live in the condominiums and townhouses of
Metrotown in a 'high-rise Ufestyle.'
To ensure a high quaUty environment, planners have estabUshed
criteria and guideUnes. For instance, the Metrotown perimeter of
Boundary Road, Grange Street,
Royal Oak Avenue and Imperial St.
roughly foUows the zoning patterns
that separates single family homes
from multiple family dwelUngs.
This plan allows high density
population to support high profile
commercial enterprises while protecting family-oriented areas
beyond the boundaries. Metrotown
wiU comprise 735 acres of Burnaby's 23,616 acres and wiU serve approximately 150,000 people within
a three mile radius of centre.
The old communities rose from
the forest by dint of hard work by
individuals for their UveUhood and
enjoyment. The new community
wiU rise from the ashes and debris
of that historic settlement adding
10,000 more souls to mingle in a
Metrotown built by a huge
A friend and I walked along
British Columbia Historical News Burnaby Metrotown
( ommcruiil Cure
Mixed L m:
DliKV. t I>K .(lid IllMiUilKill.ll
^^=o ii in m n\ in ai «|
l".irkv Si'luiolMind Itihlii: I'm' Q      Al.kT Slulion
Mnjui Ro;kN Q     1-uliuv I'lupoMil AI.KI Sl;tli.
Mi'lmltmii \l K'l/
Hns luk'^t'
familiar streets and recalled
memories of famiUes that grew up,
and attended schools here. We were
helped in sports and young people's
activities by the South Burnaby
Men's Club, and were bandaged
and consoled by Dr. G. McKee
whose office was across Kingsway
from the Central Park sports
ground, no questions asked. It was
from the McKee's forested property
that lumber was used in building
the South Burnaby Lawn BowUng
Clubhouse. Along the street is
where old Sid and young Sid lived
and were telephoned every morning at 6:00 a.m. to get them to work
on time. It was a party line and
everyone on it was wakened at 6:00
a.m. Here is where the Toms lived.
They gave pencils instead of candy
every Halloween, but the children
called anyhow.
The Kens Uved in this large house
and each year there was a new Ken
in grade one. They were good in
school, sports and everything. Mr.
Jack retired from the CNR and
when he was Ul neighbors took him
soup and custard. I wonder if they
do that now. Mary enjoyed her orchard and her lovely magnolia tree
in this yard. It brought beauty every
spring. Her house and trees were
demoUshed after the leaves fell.
How would a buUdozer know?
Here is where EUa and George
were eventually married. Family
and friends gathered for much
preparation, the bride was
beautiful, the groom had arrived
but the pianist and her father, the
minister, were missing. A telephone
caU revealed that the minister had
forgotten, the daughter was
washing her hair, but they both arrived on bicycles and it is assumed
they all lived happily ever after.
We pass a house being demoUshed. The porch has gone where so
many greetings were exchanged.
The front waU exposes the fireplace
around which stories were told and
songs were sung. BiUy's bedroom
is stiU a mess but now it is with
splintered wood, pink fibreglass
and shattered glass. A new roof was
added last year. Did Art really
think that he could keep his home?
Did anyone salvage the oak spindles
and newel posts, beams, leaded
glass windows, hardwood floors?
Many pioneer homes and
businesses  had gone and more
would go. The Burnaby Historical
Society decided that a record
should be made of the Metrotown
area. Therefore an appUcation was
made to the B.C. Heritage Trust
Student Employment Program for
a grant to pay the salary of an SFU
student who would be employed by
the BHS to record the Heritage
Resources of Metrotown. Ann
Watson, and SFU student, assisted
by Jim Wolf, BHS archivist, worked through the 63 working days
allotted for the project and gave
much more of their own time to
produce a 144 page book. The
book is titled "Burnaby Heritage
Resource Inventory Metrotown,"
and the cover page is designed by
Society member Robert Powys. It
has attracted favourable attention
and brought nostalgic memories to
many who knew the communities.
The book includes history, maps,
photographs, and street addresses
of inventoried buildings, street
names and derivations, architectural styles, landmarks, trees,
parks, views, conclusions and
One important recommendation,
urges the BHS to persuade Burnaby
Council to estabUsh a Municipal
Heritage Advisory Committee. A
presentation to CouncU by a delegation wUl be made in mid-December,
1986. Our Society hopes that at this
fourth time of asking, with support
from Burnaby's Planning Department, SFU professionals, and
members of the community, Council will estabUsh a MHAS. A comprehensive inventory should be
made of Burnaby's heritage
resources, natural and man-made.
Criteria must be estabUshed and ap-
pUed to the inventory to determine
what should be saved for re-use,
restoration or possible designation.
Evelyn Salisbury is chairman of
the Burnaby Historical Society
Heritage Committee.
British Columbia Historical News
13 Matheson Lookout
Peggy Capek
Matheson lookout is gone now.
FeUed by vandals in the spring of
1985, the shattered boards of the
old building Ue scattered down the
steepest side of the mountain. For
the first time in fifty years the
skyline is unbroken by the wooden
Through a depression and a war,
the fire lookout, perched on its
rocky fortress in the Sooke hUls on
southern Vancouver Island, provided needed employment. It was
abandoned in 1950, and in the years
that foUowed, the elements exacted
their toll. The door and wooden
shutters disintegrated, and the
whiskered shingles blew down the
path, but the town remained standing due to the efforts of the present owner. The mountain is and
always has been private property.
In 1936 fire lookouts were a new
venture on Vancouver Island, a step
forward in provincial fire control.
The Matheson lookout was the
latest in a string of towers situated
on the highest peaks on the Island.
They were connected by telephone,
and later by radio to the nearest
Ranger Station which, for the
southern area, was at Langford, a
small community about fifteen
miles from Victoria.
The sparsely populated district of
East Sooke watched with interest as
truckloads of men and suppUes arrived to begin construction. They
struggled up a rough road to the
summit of Mount Matheson to
erect an eight by eight foot tower.
Just below, sheltered by the great
rock, a smaU cabin was built to
house the man who was to work
there. Telephone lines were
laboriously strung from tree to tree
up the side of the mountain. In
those bitter years, the sight of men
working was heartening, although
the job was difficult.
The first lookout was a local man
as were most of those who followed. The pay was good for those
days at eighty doUars a month but
the work was seasonal. If the
weather was dry, the job lasted
from the end of April until the end
of September. Wet springs and early autumns meant loss of working
time for men weary from the
depression and glad of a pay
The lookout man stayed at this
post from sunup to sundown, seven
days a week; forest fires do not
keep the Sabbath. He learned to use
the firefinder, and instrument
which was designed by the Forest
Service in Vancouver. It was
mounted on a map of the area, and
could turn, horizontaUy, a full 360
degrees. Location of the fire could
be detected by pointing the
firefinder at the smoke and sighting
along the top as is done with a rifle. Readings on the side of the instrument provided the elevation of
the fire as compared to the lookout.
This information was relayed im
mediately to the Ranger Station
who compared it to sightings from
other towers to pinpoint the exact
location of the blaze. Four to five
fires a day in the dry months were
spotted by this simple method. Obviously good eyesight was a prerequisite although binoculars were
Hazard sticks were used to
measure the moisture content close
to the ground. Kiln dried sticks
weighing exactly 100 grams were
placed on a special scale which
would only measure weight over
that amount. The moisture in the
air added the additional grams. If
the reading was seven or less, the
forest was dangerously dry. These
tests were run several times a day.
There were other lookouts in the
area: MiU HUl, Empress Mountain,
Prevost and Shepherd. The jobs
were the same, and the greatest
enemies of the lookout men were
monotony and loneUness. Some
men were meant for the outdoor
Ufe while others were miserable.
Often the wind would blow for
days, whining around the guy wires
that supported the towers, and
keening an endless tuneless dirge
that could twist men's minds.
When the isolation became unendurable, a man could break. One
British Columbia Historical News such incident happened on a nearby mountain during a particularly
busy fire season in the forties. A
replacement was recruited in the
middle of the night from a nearby
fire site; he was bundled into a
truck and delivered to the job by
sunup, the beginning of the working day. There was no sleep for him
that day.
Earthquakes lent a certain zest to
the job, especially if the tower was
high. During an unusually severe
quake in 1946, the lookout man at
MiUs Hill made an unprecedented
dash down the ladder when he
realized that his swaying tower was
not the result of workmen rocking
it. He looked down to see, not
prangsters, but bolted plates securing the supports leaping out of the
rock. When all was quiet, he cUmb-
ed back up to report to his worried
superiors that all was weU. A
lookout on the north end of the
island did not fare as well; a ninety foot tower was demoUshed
although the occupant escaped
There were touches of home in
these far away places. The men
created tables and benches from
logs and the wood left from construction. Some had plants growing in tin cans from sUps they had
brought from home. The shortage
of water discouraged any major
gardening effort for water was
transported in canvas back packs.
Those who rode horses to their jobs
built leantos to shelter the animals
from summer storms.
At Mt. Matheson, there was the
regular type of rough table and
benches beside the little potbellied
stove with its tin chimney reaching
high enough to sift out the sparks.
AU meals were prepared in the fresh
air. A metal box with open ends to
catch stray breezes was nailed on
the shady side of a tree to serve as
a cooler. An exercise bar fastened
between two pines provided fun for
the more agile.
The inside of the cabin contained a sleeping and working area plus
another telephone.  The bedroll,
mattress and personal possessions
consisted of whatever the occupant
felt Uke carrying up the mountain
on his back. Some brought felt
pads to sleep on, and others stuffed ferns or straw into ticks. Since
the cabin had a canvas roof in the
early years, clothing and bedding
became damp during the rainy
One enterprising young man
learned to bake a tasty spice cake
in his Uttle outdoor stove. It was
popular with visiting Rangers, and
one guest ate half a cake with his
afternoon tea.
The average day of the lookout
man on Mount Matheson began at
6:30 a.m. when the rising sun increased the chances of fire from
careless campers, hunters, and heat
magnified through broken glass.
Having checked the blue hills for
smoke, he would go back to his Uving quarters for his breakfast.
With his dishes washed or soaking in a minuscule amount of
water, he returned to check his instruments and begin his daily vigil.
The freshness of the summer morning and the song of the birds
disappeared as the sun rose higher
to bake his rocky prison.
If the weather was wet, there was
paper work to catch up on, and the
telephone Une to check and repair
if necessary. It was mostly a one
man operation, and the wise man
stayed healthy and accident free,
although help could be summoned
from the Ranger Station if needed.
Often in the evening, when dusk
was settUng in, the lookout man
would trudge down the trail, looking for a little human companionship from a homesteader nearby,
and fresh water to see him through
the next day. It happened to be the
custom of an old bear to visit the
watering hole about the same time.
On the evenings when the bear got
there first, the water bag was filled
from the neighbour's well.
The lookout was maintained during the war years by those who
could not serve in the military. In
1944,   the   radio   replaced   the
telephone. Still there was a need to
estabUsh a better surveilance of the
area because Matheson had a bUnd
spot; fires could not be detected in
East Sooke. By 1950, Matheson
lookout was abandoned in favour
of Shepherd (two mUes north of Sa-
seenos) which in turn was closed in
1970 as better methods of fire
detection were developed.
Aerial surveilance and modern
technology have replaced the old
ways. Lookouts are few now; the
cost of maintaining them is prohibitive. The Protection Branch
depends on public awareness a
great deal because areas are not as
isolated as they once were. Hikers,
fishermen and campers report the
first sign of smoke, and outnumber
the few who are careless.
Now, broken boards are all that
remain of this old landmark. It is
a sad reflection of our times when
historical objects are destroyed
through thoughtless, mindless acts
of others, but the indomitable spirit
of the men who worked there will
be remembered, and Mount
Matheson itself remains invincible,
a rocky giant maintaining an
aloofness and dignity in a relatively untouched wilderness.
British Columbia Historical News
15 The Nelson Ferry
Jean Webber
Children Uve in the present,
they say. And that is probably
true. Certainly in the spring of
1925 when I accompanied my
family across the ferry from
Nelson's Fairview to our new
home on the North Shore it
never occurred to me that a
mere twelve years earUer there
had been no ferry.1 Nor in the
twelve years to foUow when
ferry schedules regulated our
comings and goings did I ever
consider what Ufe on the North
Shore might have been Uke
without the ferry. Perhaps our
parents saw in the piles which
stood before most lakeshore
properties with the occasional
weathered boathouse stiU
tethered to them evidence of a
period in which each settler had
to be responsible for his own
For us children the piUng
offered convenient markers in
our swimming games. As for the
future, "when they build the
bridge," that was not very real
either in spite of the men with
their transit instruments who
arrived at pre-election intervals
to pound stakes into the "rise"
in our orchard. My father
explained that they were
surveying the northern footings
of a bridge that would make our
land more valuable, but this
concept of development was
wholly adult. We measured the
value of those acres according to
the number of Indian
Paintbrushes, Tiger LiUes and
Blue Lubins they produced.
When finaUy the bridge was
built in 19572 our family was
long gone. Somebody else made
"all that money." Nor did the
bridge, in the end, finally come
to rest on our property in spite
of all those stakes.
The ferry was our reaUty and
an important influence in the
Ufe of any child growing up
"across the lake." A.R.C.
Duncan, speaking of man's need
to realize himself as part of a
community, says: "We become
persons only through our
relations with other persons."3
Waiting for the ferry in aU
seasons and in every kind of
weather, huddUng about the coal
stove aboard in the ferry
waitingroom, or leaning
companionably against the ferry
rail on some golden afternoon
such relationships were almost
forced upon us. Adults and
children conversed.
I recall Mr. Cuthbert, one
meUow evening, telUng of Irish
peasants drying up a neighbour's
cow by putting the evil eye upon
it. He spoke with a gentle
urbanity which didn't quite
express belief in such practices
but still left the impression that
such things might happen. And
there was Jack Mulholland, the
prospector-poet, with his wisdom
of the hills. "Don't know how
anybody can get lost in the
mountains. Only two ways to
go. One's up and the other's
down. When you finish doing
the one you got to do the
other," he would say. One day
our return from school coincided
with Jack's return from a few
convivial hours spent in town.
When he heard that we had had
a track meet at school, Jack
immediately arranged an
impromptu continuation on a
deck mercifuUy clear of cars.
The ferrymen went about their
business with bemused smiles as
if they understood something
that we did not. For our part we
were amazed at the way in
which old Jack could out-hop-
step-and-jump us all.
We soon learned to categorize
adults. The most important
classification had to do with the
prospect of cadging automobile
rides. There were those who
probably would give us a ride,
The Nelson ferry. The picture was taken sometime before 1925. The creek from
which the diverson was made can be seen top centre. The author's family lived
just west (left) of orchard shown in centre. (Kootenay Museum Assoc.)
British Columbia Historical News British Columbia Historical Federation Conference
May 14, 15, 16, 1987
Royal Canadian Legion, 32965 1st Ave., Mission, B.C.
Thurs. May 14th
Noon - 5 p.m.       Registration and Open house at Museum 33201 - 2nd Ave.
6 p.m. B.C. Historical Federation CouncU Meeting.
7:30 Welcome by Mayor and president of Historical Society.
7:45 - Scottish Dancing by the Stave FaUs Scottish Dancers.
8:30 Wine and Cheese Party — Book display — Photo display.
Friday May 15th
8 a.m. Registration Royal Canadian Legion.
9 -10:30 John Gibbard plus old slides of Mission.
Book display by Cold Stream Books.
10:30 Coffee
11-12 Norma Kenney, president — Mission Heritage Association.
12 - 1:30 Lunch — On your own, or at the Indian Friendship Centre.
1:30 Bus tour to the Fraser River Heritage Park and Kilby's General Store
5-7 p.m. Dinner on own
7 p.m. Speaker — Clarence Woods on the "General Store in B.C."
Saturday May 16th
9 a.m. -12 A.G.M.
12 -1:30 Lunch — Captain's Cabin. Bus tour Stave Falls, Westminster Abbey.
6:30 No host bar.
7 p.m. Banquet — speaker Jacqueline Gresko.
Sunday, May 17th
8 a.m. Council meeting — Smitty's Restaurant.
British Columbia Historical Federation Annual Conference
May 14 - 17 1987 — Birch Room
Royal Canadian Legion, 32965 1st Ave., Mission, B.C.
I/we wish to register for the following events at the annual conference of the B.C. Historical Federation.
Registration: Price/person     Amount
$25 if postmarked on or before Apr. 20th $25.00 	
$35 if postmarked after April 20th 35.00 	
Thurs. May 14 Wine/Cheese — entertainment 5.00 —
Fri. May 15          Lunch (Indian Friendship Centre* or
on your own
Bus Tour — Heritage Pk/KUby's 4.00 —
Sat. May 16          Lunch Captain's Cabin 2.50                	
Bus Tour — Dams & Abbey 3.00.               	
Banquet — Legion 20.00                 	
* arrangements not finalized.
Please send registrations to: Mission Museum, 33201 2nd Ave., Mission, B.C. V2V 1J9. Speakers for the 1987 B.C. Historical Federation Conference
May 14, 15, & 16 — Mission, B.C.
John Gibbard — Grandson of Pioneer George Gibbard, who brought his family to a smaU
cabin in Cedar VaUey in 1887. Roads had yet to be carved through the woods and neighbours
were far apart. John grew up among the early settlers and Ustened attentively to their stories.
His keen interest in history won him a scholarship in Canadian History and a sUver medal
in European History. He was the Head of the Social Studies Dept. at Magee High School
and a member of the Faculty of Education at U.B.C. as Associate Professor and assistant
Director of the Secondary Division. He co-authored Living Together in Canada and contributed articles to the B.C. Teacher and B.C. Historical News. For his masters he wrote
the Early History of the Fraser VaUey from 1808 to 1885.
Norma Kenney — Many know her as Norm Lock, singer and wife of Mark Kenny, Canada's
famous band leader. Norma is weU known for her community activity and the formation
of the Fraser River Heritage Park, located on the original site of St. Mary's residential school.
Through her tireless efforts and determination, Mission now has a 50 acre park and a log-
constructed reception centre, appropriately named the Norma Kenney House.
Norma wUl be telling us a Uttle of the history of the park but more importantly of its future.
Laura Buker — was born in Mission and attended school here. She took her teaching degree
from U.B.C. and taught high school in North Vancouver. She received a fuU presidential
scholarship to complete her Phd. She is presently taking her Masters in Los Angeles and
working for the Centre for Indian Arts and Culture in Los Angeles. Her topic wiU be the
"Rainbow Women of the Fraser VaUey".
Mildred Vollick — Her grandparents were the Abbots who homesteaded in Mission in 1895,
MUdred is a Home Economist and the president of the Mission Historical Society. She has
many stories to share with us on growing up in "Mission City".
Jacqueline Gresko — a teacher of history at Douglas CoUege, she wrote an honours essay
on the Roman CathoUc Missions in the Fraser Valley from 1860 to 1910. Her master thesis
was a comparison of what happened in the Roman CathoUc Missions in Saskatchewan and
British Columbia. JacqueUne's address wiU be on St. Mary's Mission in Mission, B.C.
Clarence Wood — worked in various museums across Canada as a volunteer for a number
of years. In WeUs he operated a print shop and later worked in BarkerviUe Historic site.
He is now the curator of the Kilby's General Store Museum, in "KUby's Provincial Historical
Park". The General Store played an important part in the development of the community.
It was a place to meet friends and exchange news, pick up your maU as weU as a place to
buy groceries, hardware, etc. Clarence wiU be giving us a talk and sUde presentation on "The
General Store in B.C." B.C. Historical Federation Conference
Mission, B.C. — May 14, 15, 16, 1987
Everyone loves to show off their community to
visitors and this is what the District of Mission
Historical Society is planning to do on May 14,15,
and 16, 1987.
There were a few settlers in the area in the early
1850 - 60's. However in 1861 Father Fouquet chose
Mission as a site for his residential school for Indian Children. This reaUy marked our beginning.
The coming of the CP. Railway in 1885 and the
buUding of the first bridge across the Fraser River
connecting us to the American markets were the next
stones in our development. AU freight and
passengers from the east, the west, and the south
came through "Mission Junction". GraduaUy more
settlers were taking up homesteads and the virgin
soil was producing a bumper crop of fruits and
vegetables, especiaUy strawberries. We were to be
known as the "Home of the Big Red Strawberry".
The propect of a large metropoUs was in the eyes
of the real estate promoters.
Our speakers at this years conference are aU intimately connected with the history of Mission. Some
were born here, others developed keen interest in this
community. John Gibbard's fanuly homesteaded in
Cedar VaUey in 1887. Jacqueline Gresko became involved through her studies of the Roman CathoUc
Mission. Norma Kenney was successful in preserving 50 acres of the original St. Mary's school site
for the creation of the Fraser River Heritage Park.
Laura Buker's grandmother married a Royal
Engineer, joining two cultures and producing the
"Rainbow Women of the Fraser VaUey". Clarence
Wood, through his work at BarkervUe and KUby's
General Store Museum, found the value of the
General Store more than just a place to pick up suppUes. And MUdred VoUick, was born and raised in
Mission. Her fanuly came in the spring of 1895 to
take up a homestead. She wUl be telling us about
her experiences and the development of Mission and
its surrounding districts.
Throughout the Conference there wUl be a display
of books for sale from our local book store Cold
Stream Books. The Museum wUl be opened from
12-4 p.m. daily for you to visit.
Our Bus Tour on Friday wiU take us to the site
of the old St. Mary's Resident school. We wiU see
the foundations of the old buUdings, the orchard and
the cemetery where Father Fouquet is buried.
Weather permitting we wUl walk up to the foundations of the Grotto where a magnificent view of the
vaUey can be enjoyed. AU this area is now known
as the Fraser River Heritage Park. From there we
wUl visit the KUby General Store Museum. Acton
KUby a prominent dairy farmer, took over his
father's general store/hotel in 1928 and operated the
store till 1976.
[We are awaiting confirmation a salmon luncheon
at the Indian Friendship Centre for this day]
Saturday after the AGM we can have lunch at the
Captain's Cabin, a pub by the Fraser River or you
may choose one of the many smaU cafes or
restaurants in town. Our bus wUl leave from the Pub,
picking up anyone else at the Museum and proceed
out towards Ruskin Dam, Storyland TraUs, Stave
Falls Dam, through Cedar VaUey, Ferndale past the
Municipal HaU to Westminster Abbey, returning
through Hatzic. The Abbey, buUt in 1953 by priests
of the Benedictine Order, contains the Seminary of
Christ the King, which is both a high school and a
degree granting arts and theological college where
students prepare for the priesthood.
The Mission Historical Society is looking forwards
to meeting aU the members of the B.C. Historical
Eric & Edwin Hearn
33746 Dlugosh
V2V6S2   826-2279
Tents & R.V.
Danielle King
32525 Beaver
V2V5R3   826-2386
Fr. speaking, T.V.
privileges, no drinking, natural foods.
Helmut & Heidi Lohr
31695 Laslo
V2V4H9   826-1026
2 R.V. Spaces
German spoken
Jack & Mable McRae
32157 Holiday
V2V2N3   826-8802
Central location
Beaton & Kay Patience
32180 Holiday
V2V1L2   826-7714
Central location
Air condition
R.V. Parking
Jean Stevens
32752 7th Ave.
V2V2C1   826-7719
or 8260408
Portuguese spoken
Double & Single
each room
MUdred Vollick
32862 3rd Ave.
V2V1N1   826-7255
Central location
1 R.V. space, crib
avail., no drinking
Alex & Phyllis Wood
34678 Dewdney Tr.
R.R. 6
V2V6B2   826-
Extra meals arranged
No drinking
Extra person (in room) $10; Children under 10 half price; Telephone Area Code for Mission, B.C. is 604
Sin — Single
Dou — Double
Tw — Twin
C — Children
P.B. — Private Bath
N.S. — No Smoking
L.R. — Living Room Privileges
F.B. — Full Breakfast
CB. Continental Breakfast
P.I.H. — Pets in House those who probably would not,
and those who definitely would
not. Alia Johnstone was in the
first category. One terribly wet
morning Alia loaded aU she
could get into her Uttle roadster
with its rumble seat, rushed up
Nelson Avenue to the Hume
School and then doubled back
to rescue the remainder of our
bedraggled lot.
Even adults who seldom spoke
to children made indelible
impressions on our young
minds. One of these was the
Sheriff, a gentleman always
addressed by his official title.
Very old country — highly
poUshed shoes and leather
leggings, breeks, a tweed jacket,
impeccable shirt and tie, and
fedora. As I remember he could
laugh but in rather a mirthless
fashion. In my childish mind I
could never quite dissociate him
from Nottingham. One morning
the rhythm of our twenty-minute
service was interrupted for the
laying of a new ferry cable. In
order to accommodate the
regulars going to work and to
school a tug had been engaged
to push the ferry barge. On our
trip there was some difficulty in
getting the two vessels suitably
attached to one another. The
Sheriff came bustling over to the
ferry rail and began giving
orders to the men below in the
tug. There was not a flicker of
acknowledgement on the part of
the boatmen. Obviously they
preferred their problem to the
Sheriffs solution. Finally the
Sheriff moved off, very
dignified, back ramrod straight,
but we aU knew that the great
man had suffered a defeat, a
defeat at the hands of those
whose boots were not poUshed.
There was a tweedy couple
who had very little to say to
anyone. When they did talk to
an adult it was usually to refer
to something which they had
read in one of the numerous
library books which they carried
to and from town. I believe that
they were the people responsible
for the introduction of the word
"diversion" into my vocabulary.
Not much was said at home
within our hearing, but one
spring morning my brother and
I set off with our father, who
had the righteous air of one
vindicated and supported by
official action, to cUmb three-
quarters of the way up Elephant
Mountain. There, with the
shovel we had carried with us,
Dad dammed a channel which
had been carefuUy and
laboriously dug about a shoulder
of the mountain in order to
divert water from the creek on
which we and two neighbours
held the water rights into a
somewhat smaller guUy to the
Of course one of the chief
deUghts of the ferry trips was
the association with our school
fellows. When I first began
school in the faU of 1925 the
only other elementary pupils
crossing were JuUa Koftinoff
and her cousin Fanny. Out of
the ferry acquaintance developed
the habit of visiting each other's
home. Julia's home was bare of
furniture and decoration but
spotlessly clean. I was fascinated
to see her mother spinning on a
wheel that might easily have
come right out of the story of
Rumpelstiltskin. Mrs. Koftinoff,
responding to my interest,
offered, in Russian translated by
JuUa, to teach my mother how
to spin. I rushed home elated
with this marveUous invitation
only to meet with mother's
surprisingly vehement refusal to
participate. Mother was not an
arts-and crafty person,
preferring rather to read in what
time could be saved from
household tasks which had to be
accompUshed without a washing
machine or a vacuum cleaner.
She had worn druigidh4 as a
child and was only too happy to
be released from the cottage
industry provision of such
necessities as textiles.
At that time JuUa and Fanny
were the only Doukhobors in
our school. One day a gang,
fastening on this difference,
began caUing "Doukhobor,
Doukhobor, Two-by-four" and
other such crude and rude
rhymes after the two girls.
SheepUke, I joined in. To this
day I can see Fanny standing at
the edge of the playground, her
face dark with hurt and a sense
of betrayal.
One morning JuUa informed
me that her father had bought a
new white Unen tablecloth
because Peter Verigin was
coming to dinner. Very soon
after that both famiUes moved
away — "back to the
Community," my father said.
I cannot forget the part which
the ferrymen played in our
growing up. George Clerihew,
Nelson's first ferryman and the
person on day-shift throughout
my childhood, was one of those
people who respected the person
of even the youngest of his
passengers. One afternoon when
I was six years old, I was
bouncing a ball on deck when
suddenly the baU went
overboard. I cried out.
Immediately Mr. Clerihew's
head appeared out of the
wheelhouse above.
"What's wrong, Jean?" he
"I've lost my baU."
Mr. Clerihew stopped the
ferry right there in the middle of
the lake, lowered the apron,
came down on deck, took the
pike-pole from its rack and
retrieved my precious ball. There
was another passenger aboard, a
man in a car, and he had the
grace to make no complaint
about this interruption in his
journey. Indeed that was a more
patient age.
One February our old
Airedale, while attempting to
cross the lake, went through the
British Columbia Historical News
17 rotten ice and was unable to
extricate himself from the hole
he had made. The ferrymen
launched the ferry lifeboat and
made their way to him, breaking
the ice as they went. Paddy was
still aUve when they reached him
but as they lifted him into the
boat blood flowed from his nose
and mouth and he was gone.
The old dog had been struggling
almost an hour in the icy water.
As ferry traffic increased and
ferry schedules developed from
every hour in the morning and
every half-hour in the afternoon
to twenty-minute service all day
long and regular trips after
midnight, the ferry staff
increased from two to five.5 Mr.
Johnson, a short, sturdy man,
served on deck afternoons
through my high school years.
Once he annoyed me mightily. A
young man with Down's
Syndrome took to visiting me.
Special classes, sheltered
workshops and organized social
activities for the mentaUy
handicapped were unheard of in
those days. Eric had good and
caring parents but there was
absolutely no community backup
in support of them. Mr.
Johnson began to tease me
about my "boyfriend." I felt,
and justifiably, that his leer was
a deprecation of Eric. I snubbed
Mr. J. for several days.
However, in retrospect, that
incident pales before something
that happened one cold winter
afternoon. My friend
Wilhelmina and I had just
walked home from Junior High
over the ice and snow of the
Bluff, Wilhelmina wearing only
thin patent leather sUppers. How
happy my friend was to feel the
comfort of the waitingroom
stove! Mr. Johnson came in to
stoke the fire and as he left he
looked me in the eye and
muttered angrily, "No child
should be sent to school in shoes
like that." Now Mr. Johnson
knew how hard it was to clothe
his rather large family on a
ferryman's income and he knew
that the Professor, Wilhelmina's
father, did not have such money
at his disposal for his numerous
household. It is even possible
that the family did not meet the
stringent requirements for
getting on the reUef roll. Against
whom was the ferryman's ire
vented? We were in the depth of
the depression and Mr. Johnson
had a government job. At any
rate a new line of thought began
to open for me. My parents had
demonstrated compassion for the
Professor and his family in
tangible ways but it was Mr.
Johnson who taught me that
poverty was not to be accepted
passively. Poverty was to be
rebeUed against.
The ferry and its landings
figured in our sports. A chair
from the waitingroom steadied
our first attempts to skate. Later
we rode our soap-box cars down
the long slope of the wooden
landing sUp only to be caught up
short by the force of the water.
We canoed under the slip
through the supporting piles
forcing our way as close as
possible to the place where water
and wood met. By the almost
daily change in our course
through the piUng we measured
the recession of those great
spring freshets which we
experienced annually before
blasting at Grohman Creek and
the proliferation of dams on the
river narrowed the gap between
high water and low. The final
plunge of our pre-breakfast
swims was often taken from the
rail of the ferry as it pulled out
on its six-forty run, the
momentum of the ferry giving a
twist to our bodies and adding
to the shock of the icy Kootenay
Ever more powerful than these
physical delights was the
growing awareness of life which
I now associate with that North
Shore landing. One summer
morning when I was seven and
my brother almost five, we were
rowing about the ferry slip when
a car came down the approach
with its horn honking. There
was no response from the ferry
which was quite legitimately
moored on the town side
between its hourly runs. The
man got out of his car and,
coming down to the water's
edge, began to shout, his hands
cupped about his mouth, "Help!
S.O.S." He called again and
again. Perturbed as he was, he
ignored my brother and me. I
wanted to say, "We'U go for the
ferryman," but we were shy and
also we had had instructions to
keep near the shore. Curious, we
tied up the boat and wandered
up past the car. There in the car
was a woman obviously in
agony and very big — big with
child I later figured out (How
did I come to that conclusion in
those days before TV made
children knowledgeable beyond
their years and when adults did
not think it necessary or
desirable to inform young
children about the facts of life?
I think that I overheard some
talk about a baby being born on
the steps of the hospital and a
half-recognized name was
During the depression
caravans of famiUes, all their
possessions loaded on an old
truck, into a touring car, or on
a wagon drawn by a four-horse
team, took their places in line
waiting for the ferry to carry
them across the Kootenay on
their journey from drought-
ridden Saskatchewan to some
place in British Columbia where
they would at least have wood
and water.
Then there was that dreadful
winter night when I was on my
way home from our Girl Guide
meeting and I waited and waited
for the ferry to return to the
town side. Finally it arrived and
I learned that there had been an
British Columbia Historical News accident. A car holding five
people on their way from
Alberta to visit relatives living
along the Kootenay River had
come down the hill. In the dark
the driver had mistaken the ferry
approach for a road down into
and through a prairie coulee. As
the lake was at its winter low
the sUp was bare almost to its
extremity. Before the driver
realized his situation and before
the water could stop the car he
had driven off the end of the
ferry slip into deep water. The
three strong young men were
able to break a window and
force their way out of the
vehicle. Although they could not
swim they were bouyed up by
their heavy winter coats and the
wind drove them onto the
landing. An elderly couple in the
back seat were not able to
extricate themselves and
drowned. When I reached home
the atmosphere of our Uttle
house was heavy with the smeU
of thick winter clothes drying
and three stunned young men
sat drinking hot sweet tea. The
poor desolate feUows, one of
whom I think was a lawyer,
stayed that night with us. A few
days later a beautiful bouquet of
pink carnations arrived for my
Even fleeting friendships could
be meaningful. There were the
elderly Chinese who worked in
the gardens of some of our
neighbours and Uved their
soUtary lives in the shacks
provided. Also there were young
loggers and miners who Uved in
some cheap cabin between jobs.
These people often offered us
coins. We were delighted with
the prospect of an unexpected
ice-cream cone, chocolate bar or
bag of cent candy. Later I
understood the pathos of those
modest gifts from lonely men
hungry for family and an
associaiton with children. One
Chinese was different, CharUe
Bing. He was much younger
than the old gardeners, taller,
more robust, and exuded a
cheerful self-confidence. We
always thought of CharUe as one
of our friends although he never
offered us money. Charlie had a
Chinese wife and children on his
Willow Point farm. Much later
when I learned about such
things as head taxes7 my
observations cUcked into place in
a maturing world view.
Among the loggers and miners
was a young Swede who
intrigued me. He was taU, blond
and generously moustached, a
very Viking to my mind fresh
from reading Norse legends,
learning about Leif Ericsson in
school, and hearing mother read
aloud Thelma by Marie CoreUi.
One fortunate afternoon I found
myself alone with this hero,
waiting for the ferry in the rustic
summerhouse at the edge of
Lakeside Park.
"What is your favourite
subject at school?" the Viking
"I Uke arithmetic," I
"Oh," he said, "do you know
a very fast way of checking a
multipUcation question?"
"You could reverse the
multipUer and the multiplicand
and multiply it out again," I
"But that might take a very
long time," he objected.
"Suppose you had a question so
big that it covered this floor,"
and he made a gesture with his
arm which embraced the whole
of the summerhouse. "How
could you check it in a few
I had to admit ignorance.
Then the Viking taught me how
to check multipUcation by
casting out nines. The process
did not occur in our school
curriculum until three or four
years later when I was in Junior
High and then the teacher did
not look a bit like Leif standing
at the prow of his dragon ship,
nor did he have the imagination
to stimulate our interest by
hypothesizing a multiplication
question twelve feet by twelve
The 1957 bridge is a fine
structure, beautiful in design and
I am sure much needed. Even in
the late thirties ferry Unes could
be horrific. Forgive me though
when I say that I cannot drive
across that bridge without
suffering a dreadful feeUng of
loss. What will anyone learn as
he drives to the North Shore?
Whom will he meet? What wiU
he see of Ufe? And certainly no
one is going to learn how to cast
out nines from a Viking or
anyone else as he speeds above
the water of the West Arm of
Kootenay Lake.
•TheNelson Daily News of 29 September 1913
reported that the Board of Trade crossed by ferry
on 27 September and travelled by automobile to
Balfour. However, it would seem that regular
service really began 30 September. An item in
the paper of 1 October 1913 says in part: " The
ferry across the west arm was yesterday operated
throughout the day at half hour intervals and only twice was the service interrupted by some
minor incident.
"Today it is expected that considerable equipment will be added to the ferry and those in
charge are at present arranging a schedule for
each day, which will be in force as soon as the
engine of the ferry is tuned up and in perfect running order.
"A considerable amount of traffic made use
of the ferry yesterday."
An item in the paper of 28 November 1913
states: "In about a week the provincial government ferry at the shipyards will commence a
night service and will operate until 11 o'clock. At
present it runs until 6 o'clock in the evening."
The names of the ferrymen are given: George
Clarihew and Ernest Cole.
In January 1912 the Nelson City Council had
asked the provincial government to build a bridge
at Nelson. The Nelson DaUy News of 17 January
1912 carried an editorial of this subject.
However, the bridge was built at Tagum. The
paper of 3 April 1913 reported that a contract
to construct a ferry had been let to Hale and
Stepp. The ferry was to be 60' long and 20' wide.
"It will carry four teams." There was to be a
centre cabin for people and an engineroom to
house the gasoline-powered motor. The paper
of 5 September 1913 reported the laying of the
'Program for the bridge opening ceremonies,
Nelson Museum. Ground breaking ceremonies
(cont. on page 21)
British Columbia Historical News
19 Shutty Bench:
A Social Portrait
Naomi Miller
Shutty Bench is a rural community north of Kaslo on the west
side of Kootenay Lake. The first
settler was Andrew Shutty who, in
1897, claimed approximately 500
acres. He prepared hayfields, a
garden, a cabin, and the shell of a
large home. John Shutty Sr. arrived from Podbiel, Czechoslovakia in
1930 to join his son. John
Mikulasik, Joe Surina and John
Shutty Jr. came shortly after that.
The central section of the mountain
bench was cleared, homes built,
and jobs taken to earn the fare for
brides and/or famiUes to come out
from Podbiel or Kriva. Joe Surina
married Andrew's sister, Sophia
Shutty, in 1910. Later arrivals included Steve and Joe Bendis, Joe
GaUo and Louis Furiak.
All hospitable terrain on the
bench and the waterfront was
claimed or purchased prior to
W.W.I. This wave of immigrants
was mainly British except for the
Koehle brothers from Germany,
and a Dane. Colonel Kemball built
a mansion at the north end of the
community prior to being recaUed
for miUtary service. Stock broker
Rupert Guthrie built a huge home
half a mile along the shore from the
Kembals. Shirrifs, Pogson, A.P.
Allsebrook and the Harrison
brothers estabUshed small ranches.
After the war, Colonel Armstead
purchased the KembaU estate from
the widow of Colonel KembaU, and
Captain G.A. West acquired
Guthrie's holdings. Captain West
and his bride planted a cherry orchard that was one of the best in
B.C. tiU "Little Cherry" disease hit
in the late '40s. Other arrivals in
cluded veterans Mark Jesty, E.
Kurnock and Captain Richardson,
Barr colonist CharUe Nichols, and
a young farmer from Lancashire,
Tom Taylor. The community was
given the nickname "British
Bench" by certain observers.
Neighbours were neighbourly;
the Brits (with one exception) had
as much contact with the Czechs i
and Germans as they did with each
other. Community spirit was evident in good times and bad. Early
Czech weddings were celebrated for
several days following the
ceremony; guests would pause to
sleep in the hayloft or perhaps go
home to care for animals and
chickens, then return for more
eating, drinking and dancing.
W.A.S.P. weddings were held at
the bride's distant home, but the
newlyweds would be shivareed by
Shutty Bench residents. There were
knitting bees and quUting bees during both World Wars. Christmas
concerts at school were very special
community events; a volunteer Santa ho-hoed his way into the gathering after the concert to give out
marveUous parcels from Eatons
(paid for by donations) to every
child from cradle to Grade Eight.
Subscribers to magazines passed
them from one home to the next;
those magazines included Liberty,
Saturday Evening Post, National
Geographic, Punch, Colliers and
There were only five telephones
in the community prior to 1940.
Messages received on those phones
were speedily relayed by a
messenger on foot to homes at least
half a mUe distant. There were kind
deeds individually and coUectively
if there was illness or injury. When
my mother broke her wrist,
neighbours arrived with baked
goods, stayed to clean the house
and even did the laundry with
washboard and hand wringer. End-
of-year school picnics grew into a
community sports day with races
and scrub baseball for one and all.
A community club functioned
during the '30s and '40s for
organizing dances, whist and bridge
parties, and summer weiner roasts.
The CathoUc children would have
their summer catechism classes on
Surina's front porch or lovely lawn.
The AngUcan chUdren would be invited into Kaslo to join the year end
Sunday School picnic. One rarely
went into Kaslo without doing an
errand for at least one neighbour.
There were a lot of friendly people
on Shutty Bench.
Transportation to the "outside
world" was entirely dependent on
lake steamers or smaU boats in the
early years. A road was cleared
from Shutty Bench to Kaslo in
1910, but the road connection to
Nelson was not completed until
1927. Shutty Bench obtained a
public Wharf, built by the Dominion Government, in 1912. The
earUest apple and cherry crops were
shipped from that wharf, and supplies ranging from lumber to sacks
of grain and flour were dropped
there to be carried to their destination by horse and wagon or stone-
boat. Although the steamer now
had a wharf, it would occasionally
nose into a private beach with some
special cargo. The earUest, and for
many years, the only cars on the
Bench were Mark Jesty's Model-T,
Surina's always immaculate green
Model A, and Cowan's old black
Chev. Tom Taylor drove a horse
and buggy or horse and cutter till
his dying day (1953). Alsebrooks
went to town in a small boat with
an outboard engine. Everyone
walked the four, five or even seven
miles to town. Most of them walked home again; some would pay the
Kaslo taxi to drive them home with
British Columbia Historical News their mail, meat, groceries and
other purchases. With improved
roads came a regular truck freight
service from Nelson to Kaslo. Boat
service was first reduced to once a
week, then ceased when the S.S.
Moyie was retired in 1957.
Road work, ie. highway
maintenance, was done intermittently. The main thrust of
maintenance and improvement
came in the spring when the locals
worked off their property taxes.
The work crew sweated and
grunted with picks, shovels and
wheelbarrows. They owed two,
three or four weeks of work, depending on their property assessment.
Colonel Cowan of Crystal Creek
Ranch (at the north end of the
Bench) had the largest assessment
but he was able to retire his obUga-
tions as quickly as the rest by participating with a team of horses and
a scraper. (A team with driver rated
2Vi times the pay of a navy.) Steve
Bendis undertook the obhgation of
opening roads in wintertime. After
a snowfall he would hitch up a V-
shaped wooden plough, do the
main road from Taylor's to
Cowan's then side roads where the
famiUes had children attending
school. Many times my brother and
I would make our own trail through
fresh snow and meet Steve just starting down the road to our waterfront home. A mechanical grader
would eventuaUy clean the road
from Kaslo to the north end of the
Bench, but Steve's four foot wide
trails were aU that those on feeder
roads could expect before W.W.II.
Tom Taylor was road foreman for
the Shutty Bench road crew in the
early years. Joe Surina Sr. succeeded him as part-tune, then fuH-time,
foreman with responsibiUty of a
much larger area.
The community had its first
school near the waterfront at
Pogson's place. The second school
was on the Shirrif homestead next
door to Joe Surina's. A traditional
building was erected circa 1920 on
a block of land donated by Andy
Shutty. Teachers at that school in
cluded Kaslo residents Charlie Archer, Miss TapineUa, Miss Lingard,
and Kay Gillis. There was a Mrs.
Ormon who taught four years and
Uved in the tiny annex of the
school. Mary Barnett of Argenta
was teacher for one year, followed
by Ronald Seal of Balfour for four
years. Charlie Holland taught
1938-40, Betty Walton, Margaret
Huscroft and Amy Kershaw conducted the one-room school untU it
was closed in 1946 in favor of bussing students to Kaslo Elementary-
Secondary School. The school
building was buUdozed when the
road was widened in 1950 and cut
through to Lardo before the
building of the Duncan Dam. The
loss of the school house effectively
terminated the Community Club
and turned Shutty Bench into a
suburb of Kaslo. The old order
changeth !
Naomi Miller is currently president
of the B. C. Historical Federation.
Her father came to Shutty Bench
in 1911, brought his bride there in
1925, and Uved in the original home
until both his children had
graduated from U.B.C.
(cont. from page 19)
The Nelson Ferry
had been held 22 October 1955. The bridge was
opened 7 November 1957. Until 1963 a toll was
'A.R.C. Duncan, Moral Philosophy, Toronto, 1965. p.65
'druigidh: Gaelic for homespun
'The Nelson Daily News of 23 January 1925
carried the following report on ferry traffic for
the previous two years:
1923 1924
Single rigs 1060 878
Double rigs 145 111
Passengers 75 96
Freight in tons 137 65
Horses 65 41
Cattle 1
'The accident was reported in the The Nelson
Daily News of 14 January 1933 with stories
following on the 16th and 17th. The accident occurred just before 7 o'clock 13 January 1933.
Drowned were Mr. and Mrs. Wasyl Androsoff
of Mossleigh, Alberta.
Escaped: William Cherstibitoff, 27 years, car
owner, of Mossleigh, Alta. Joe Novak, 27 years,
of Arrowwood, Alta. Bill Foffonoff, 24 years,
driver, of Falcon, Alta.
'The head tax was a charge which immigrant
Chinese had to pay when they entered Canada.
In order to discourage immigration the tax was
increased a number of times during the early part
of this century until each immigrant was paying
$500.00. Regulations made it even more difficult
for Chinese women to enter Canada than it was
for Chinese men.
With respect to this subject the following
remarks are to be found on page 118 in
Okanagan History: the 48th Report of the
Okanagan Historical Society: "The immigrant
taxes rose from $25 to $50 to $100, and then,
in 1920, to $500! Then, since the Chinese immigrants still kept coming, an exclusion act was
passed in 1923. That lasted until 1947, the same
year that the Chinese achieved the ability to vote.
Also, before 1947, Chinese were excluded from
working as miners and in the fields of law and
teaching. Women were not allowed into Canada
— period." (from "Armstrong the Celery City" by Niels O. Kristensen).
(cont. from page 9)
Will Vivian and the Vivian Works
Plant," The Vancouver Province, 17 August
"These generators may have been of the same
type made for the Ministry of Trade and Industry
in 1941.
"William P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.; "Vivian
Works Sold: Britons Buy Engine Plant."
"WiUiam P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.; "War
Orders For City Firm Hit $5,000,000."
""Vivian Develops New Engine Break."
"David Conn, p. 22.
"William P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.
""Vivian's Build Power Plants For Europe."
""Vivian Works Sold: Britons Buy Engine
"Photographs of the ship show the proper
name to be the Arauco though the name has
varied between Aurauco, Arauco, and Argosy
in newspaper accounts.; David Conn, pp. 23-24.;
V.P.A. "B.C. Ship, Captain To Teach Chile
About Fishing In $100,000 Argosy," 20
September 1945.;' 'Vessel Built in Vancouver Impresses Latin Americans," 21 Janaury 1947.;
R.J. Moore, p. 22.
""Vessel Built In Vancouver Impresses Latin
""Vivian Works Sold: Britons Buy Engine
"R.J. Moore, p. 22.
"V.P.A. "Diesel Plant Layoff Total 200," 30
September 1949.
"V.P.A. "To Brush, Vivian Sale Confirmed,"
19 August 1950.; "Vivian Works Sold: Britons
Buy Engine Plant."
"William P. Vivian, 2 August 1985.; David
Conn, p. 24.; "To Brush, Vivian Sale
"David Conn, p. 24.
"V.P.A. "Vivian Plans Production This
Year," 5 March 1951.
"V.P.A. "New Diesel To Be Made At Vivian," 3 March 1951.
"Pat Terry, "City-Built Diesel Joy To Experts," The Vancouver Sun, 8 December 1951.
"David Conn, p. 24.
""City Firm Gets Arms Contract," The Vancouver Province, 17 November 1952, p. 15.
"David Conn, p. 24.
British Columbia Historical News
21 Boundary Survey Commemorated
John D. Spittle
125th Anniversary of the International
Boundary Survey. Peace Arch Park,
September 24, 1986. Dr. Alec McEwen,
Canadian Commissioner to I.B.C. unveUs
monument, (photo: J.D. Spittle)
To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the completion of the
first international boundary survey
from the Gulf of Georgia to the
summit of the Rocky Mountains,
land surveyors from both sides of
the border recently placed a repUca
of Monument 5 close to its original
site on the boundary west of the International Peace Arch. None of
the original cast iron monuments
have survived. On 24 September,
1986, at a ceremony attended by
dignitaries from both Canada and
the United States, the monument
was officially unveiled by Dr. Alec
McEwen, Commissioner of the
Canadian Section of the International Boundary Commission.
Rhys Richardson, our Treasurer,
brought greetings on behalf of the
British   Columbia   Historical
Federation and emphasized the
historical significance of the occasions to the large crowd attending
the ceremony. Later, Gerry Andrews, retired Surveyor General of
British Columbia and past President of the Federation, addressed
those who stayed on for a luncheon
in Blaine, Washington.
Both the inspiration for and
research on the project came from
Dennis M. DeMeyer of Lynden
who is Chairman of the Historical
Committee of the Northwest
Chapter of the Land Surveyors'
Association of Washington.
DeMeyer recently recovered from
the site of Monument 42 sufficient
remains to estabUsh the dimensions
of an lettering on the original
castings. The 600 lb replica was cast
in ArUngton and a brass plaque has
been set in granite at the base. The
project was funded jointly by the
LSAW and the Corporation of
Land Surveyors of British
Driving south through the Blaine
border crossing the monument is
visible from the highway some
twenty feet to the west and in Une
with the Peace Arch.
British Columbia Historical News News and Notes
27 April - May 2
Interface between the Native and
European cultures continues as the
basic theme of this conference to be
held on Galiano. The Russian-
America story will begin to be examined under the guidance of Professor Richard A. Pierce, Queens
University. Cheryl Samuel, weaver
and   historian  will  give  two
workshops: one on thigh spinning
and one on the Raven's Tail Knot
(integral to the Chilkat Dancing
Blanket)  and  present  a paper.
Hilary Stewart, author of several
important books, the latest one
Cedar, wUl give a paper/workshop
for adults and another for young
persons.    Her   presentations,
wandering over the whole spectrum
of cedar usage, are dramatic, informative and fun. Important contributions wiU be made by the
Canadian Museum of CiviUzation
and updates on the Spanish/Pacific
Northwest with a focus on SutU are
planned. The Society's plans include expansion of its integrated
approach to assure that educators
and young people benefit from the
remarkable resources brought to
these conferences. Expect to see archaeological programmes for all
age groups and interest levels along
with a dugout canoe in process. The
confluence of National Book Week
and Passport '87 promises a truly
eventful reception on Thursday,
April 30. For more information
and/or registration forms write to
the   Galiano   Historical   and
Cultural Society, Box 10, Galiano,
B.C., VON IPO or telephone Edrie
Holloway at 539-2581.
Vancouver Historical
Heritage Notes
For twelve years The Heritage
Canada Foundation and other
organizations have been urging the
Federal government to adopt
poUcies and programmes to encourage private sector investment in
the rehabilitation of early buUdings.
Concerned by the continuing lack
of action by the Federal government, delegates to the annual conference of The Heritage Canada
Foundation last October passed a
resolution asking the foundation's
Board of Governors to make
money available to spearhead a
renewed campaign for incentives.
The Board acted at once to give this
matter the highest priority among
aU the foundation's lobbying initiatives, and launched a renewed
campaign for preservation incentives. The Foundation decided that
the means for providing incentives
was of lesser importance than the
actual principle itself: that as a matter of public poUcy the Federal
government should be encouraging
the preservation of two categories
of buildings: duly designated
heritage structures and other older
buUdings. Such Federal encouragement could take the preferred form
of tax incentives, which were hugely
successful in the United States, or
a system of grants, mortgage
guarantees, venture capital programmes, and other means.
During July and August, The
Heritage Canada Foundation wiU
be preparing campaign kits for the
Buildings Revival Coalition. The
kit wiU contain information on
preservation incentives and copies
of an eye-catching advocacy paper.
Suggestions for lobbying will be
Heritage Canada Tours
— A Unique Opportunity
For years National Trust and
Historical Preservation Societies in
the United States and Europe have
offered exceptional travel opportunities. The Heritage Canada
Foundation feels that the time has
come to offer Canadians enriching
and in depth heritage travel experiences. For 1987 Heritage
Canada Tours wiU include spring
and faU day tours in selected Canadian cities; Washington and
WilUamsburg in the spring; the
Heritage Train, travelUng from
Toronto to Vancouver at the height
of the faU, wUl explore the diversity of Canada's built, natural and
cultural heritage; and finaUy a tour
in may focussing on southern
England's stately homes, mighty
castles and magnificent gardens.
For a free brochure write:
Heritage Canada Tours 1987
The Heritage Canada Foundation
P.O. Box 1358, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario
Tourism Minister BiU Reid has
announced that the province wUl invest $100,000 in the historic town
of Yale to improve the heritage area
containing the Yale Museum and
the Church of St. John the Divine.
The funds will be used to conserve
the heritage site and to increase
visitation to the historic area.
Don't let your
subscription expire.
Check your address label for
date of renewal.
British Columbia Historical News
23 News and Notes
Vancouver Monuments
Three boats were acquired by the
Vancouver Maritime Museum for
$5,500 at the November 8 Expo
auction. They included a Pakastani
dhow, a long-tail river boat from
Thailand, and a Chinese Fu-junk.
They are moored at the Museum's
Heritage Harbour.
The statue of Gassy Jack (John
Deighton) is to be moved to a more
prominent site on the brick mound
at the wests side of Maple Tree
Square. A new base, about two-
and-a-half feet high, wiU be built,
faced in bricks to match the existing
paving. Deighton's metal barrel
moves to the new location as weU.
In addition, a new plaque on the
base wiU explain the history of
Gassey Jack.
The Centennial Rocket, an exact
stainless steel repUca of the Jubilee
Rocket constructed 50 years ago,
has been moved from its Expo site
to the south foot of the Cambie
Street bridge.
The old B.C. penitentiary site in
New Westminster is about to
become a fashionable retirement
village. The peniteniary's
gatehouse, original 1878 jail
building and one guard tower will
be retained as part of the
Scholarship Fund
Help us establish a scholarhsip for a
4th year student taking a major or
honors course in Canadian history at
a B.C. University. All donations are
tax deductible. Please send your cheque today to:
The British Columbia Historical
Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 35326
Station E
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
East Kootenay
Historical Association
"The Silver Anniversary of Fort
Steele Historic Park" was the
theme when members and guests
assembled for the FaU Meeting of
East Kootenay Historical Association. Photographs showing Fort
Steele before and during the
restoration were on display. The
after dinner speaker was Dave
Morley, Operations Supervisor of
Fort Steele Historic Park, who
reviewed the twenty-five years of
restoration and development of the
park. The viUage of Fort Steele has
not only been restored/reconstructed but it also offers many
people-oriented programs. Summer
visitors spend an average of 4!/2
hours in the park when they
become caught up in the Living
History Program.
AUan Wood Hunter of Cranbrook was honored for his part in
estabUshing Fort Steele as a Provincial Heritage Park, and for working in its early years as Curator.
Hunter, a charter member of the
East Kootenay Historical Association, received a plaque from the
Association and an Award of Merit
from the British Columbia
Museums Association.
Verdun Casselman, Vice
President, reported on work done
at historic sites up Wildhorse
Creek. The WUdhorse cemetery had
its fence repaired and a clean up.
The traU to Thomas Walker's grave
was reconstructed. A Chinese
burial site was identified close to the
Dave Griffith home site. Several
sections of the Dewdney Trail have
been clearly defined for interested
Summer outings saw some of the
members walk on The Spirit Trail,
and visit the site of an early raUway
construction camp at Isadore
Certificate of Merit
Nominations Invited
The Regional History Committee of the Canadian Historical
Association invites nominations for
its Certificate of Merit Awards.
These annual awards are given to
individuals, groups and organizations who make an outstanding
contribution to regional history. In
1987, for the first time, the emphasis wiU be on the work of the
non-professional historian. Please
send your nominations with as
much supporting documentation as
possible to:
Clarence G. Karr,
Department of History,
Malaspina CoUege,
900 5th St.,
Nanaimo, B.C.
V9R 5S5
Collecting Dead Relatives —
An Irreverant Romp Through
the Field of Genealogy
By Laverne Galeener-Moore
(Illustrated by Randy Calhoun)
Now, for the first time, a book that
looks on the hilarious side of
genealogy. What type researcher
are youl The Briefcase Magnet?
The Local Blueblood? The Unconscious Mother Hen?
Includes     . . .     The     Latest
"Genealogist RepeUants" Used by
Your Friendly County Clerks. Dry
Behavior for Cemetery Browsing.
The D.A.R. Exposed! Research
Trip Survival Tactics.
PubUshed in September 1986 by
Gateway Press, Inc. of Baltimore.
113 pp., paperback, $8.00 per copy
(price includes shipping, for U.S.A.
orders only). $9.00 — Canada.
Please make checks payable and
send to:   m. Laverne Moore
15361 Skyview Drive
San Jose, CA 95132
British Columbia Historical News Bookshelf
Book editor is Anne Yandle. Books and review
articles should be sent directly to her c/o:
P.O. Box 35326, Station E,
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
Vancouver Centennial Bibliography: A Project of the Vancouver Historical Society. CompUed by Linda L. Hale with carto-
bibliography by Frances M.
Woodward. 4 vol. (1791 p.) Vancouver Historical Society, 1986.
by David Mattison
The best bibUographies are the
least appreciated. They do their job
in a seamless fashion. They are
timely, thorough and accurate and
do not raise questions in a researcher's mind about omissions. Such
bibliographies perform their function of access to descriptive information with effortless grace. Users
of bibUographies rarely consider the
often vast expenditure of time and
energy in compiUng the information, unless, as sometimes happens,
there are errors or convoluted
means of looking up information.
Then the questions begin. But first
the good news.
The Vancouver Centennial
Bibliography is timely. The last major bibUography on Vancouver was
Katherine Freer's "Vancouver: a
BibUography" (1962). Only three
typescript copies of this work exist. Elizabeth Walker, former
Ubrarian in the Vancouver PubUc
Library's Northwest History
Room, suggested the Society
pubUsh a definitive bibUography on
Vancouver as the Society's contribution to the city's centennial
legacy. The project was
wholeheartedly and enthusiasticaUy
supported by the executive and
membership of the Society.
Groundwork and research was conducted over a three-year period between 1982 and 1985. Major fun
ding was received from the Social
Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada over that time.
The resulting pubUcation is a handsome contribution to the
bibUography of not only Vancouver, but British Columbia as
well; many entries involved Vancouver within larger contextual
envelopes (geographic, economic,
social, poUtical, etc.).
The Vancouver Centennial
BibUography weighs in at four
volumes, a total of 15,900 items
described in 1002 pages. The first
3,393 items described are books.
Volumes one and two detail, in addition to books, pamphlets and
broadsides, theses, articles, serials,
manuscripts, maps, architectural
records, microforms, photograph
coUections, film and video productions, sound recordings, portfoUos
and kits, machine readable data
files, and some miscellaneous
materials. Volumes three and four
are the indexes, of which there are
four types: name, title, subject and
series. Since the indexing was based on the descriptive entries, the accuracy of the former is contingent
upon scrupulous proofreading of
the latter.
It's a massive task to proofread
over 15,000 bibUographic entries.
Some errors are bound to creep in,
so users are forewarned by this
reviewer to check alternate spellings
if they have reason to suspect a
work should be here but isn't Usted
under a particular name. Pierre
Berton, for example, also appears
in the name index as Pierre Burton,
because one of the book entries has
his name speUed that way (an error
on the bibUography's part).
The indexes are particularly easy
to use. You pick the type of index,
look up an entry, copy down or
remember the entry numbers, and
refer back to the first two volumes.
The subject index requires some
secondhand serendipity. A film on
automobile safety and traffic
regulations is found under the subject terms "Traffic Regulations"
and "Safety Regulations," but not
under terms such as "Automobiles," "Automobile Driving
Regulations" or "Accident Prevention." Presumably*, when the
bibliography becomes available in
a computerized on-Une format
some of these subject access problems wiU be handled through the
use of synonym Usts attached to
specific subjects. The subject index
incorporates over 6,400 terms,
among them are Uterary genres and
the 22 Vancouver local area
designations (i.e., neighbourhoods
and districts).
The descriptive entries, although
they cross media Unes as shown by
the contents mentioned above, are
presented in a uniform format, that
of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (2nd ed., 1979). This has
led to some curious and perhaps
questionable practices. Paperback
and hardcover versions of books
are separately Usted because they
are considered bibUographicaUy
distinctive. This was done even
when there were no textual changes
between the two works. A
preferable treatment would have
been to Ust the paperback edition
in a note if it differed only in binding and typesetting. To quaUfy for
inclusion books and all other
materials described had to exist in
a library or archives.
Herein lies the biggest difficulty
British Columbia Historical News
25 with this bibliography. In point of
fact, many more pieces of film,
video, photography, manuscripts,
books and so on about Vancouver
exist inside and outside archives
and Ubraries. Many such items inside archives and Ubraries were
somehow missed or passed over by
the bibliographic researchers, and
many more have come to Ught since
the research phase ended. AU
bibliographies are confronted
sooner or later with this dilemma,
an inherent condition of the
bibUographic enterprise.
David Mattison is a photographic
historian and librarian in the
Library and Maps Division, Provincial Archives of British Columbia, Victoria.
The Alaska Highway:
Papers of the
40th Anniversary Symposium,
edited by Kenneth Coated
University of British Columbia
Press, Vancouver, 1985
208pp. $22.95
by Lewis Green
The book contains 14 essays based on papers presented at the 40th
Anniversary Symposium held at
Northern Lights College of Fort St.
John, B.C. in June 1982. In the
Preface, the authors are referred to
as "leading authorities in their
fields" but only meagre information is provided on most, and two
appear to have been completely
overlooked. More on their
backgrounds, perhaps as a footnote
to respective essays, would have
been informative. The work is not
a complete history of the Alaska
Highway, rather papers are focused on specific aspects ranging from
lobbying for a highway in the 1930s
up to the state of the highway in the
Comparatively Uttle is included
on the exciting period when the
Alaska Highway was being pushed
through, rather most authors deal
with negotiations between governments or with resulting changes in
the Uves of northerners, both Indian and white. Much of the
poUtical history involves foot-
dragging by successive Canadian
governments that, for one reason
or another, usuaUy chose to do the
minimum, perhaps in the vain hope
that immediate problems would
simply go away. This makes
discouraging reading; one can sense
the frustrations of both the poUti-
cians lobbying for a highway in the
1930s and of the engineers who,
after World War 2, were expected
to perform miracles with grossly inadequate resources.
In a final section on the impact
of the Alaska Highway, two papers
deal with the Yukon's Indian
population. One author considers
that it was minimal and the other
that it was "a decisive factor bringing Yukon Indians to the marginal
position they have in the present
Yukon economy and society." Certainly there have been major
changes since the highway was
built, principally in government
poUcies towards the Indians, but
perhaps the road, a highly visible
symbol, has been saddled with too
much of the blame.
The book is a unique source of
information on negotiations
leading to the building of the
Alaska Highway and on its postwar
history. May it stimulate further
studies on the Alaska Highway, a
monumental piece of construction
that, despite its limited strategic
value, offered hope when defeat
was everywhere.
For another useful reference see:
Crooked Road: The Story of the
Alaska Highway by David A.
Remley, McGraw-Hill, New York,
Mr. Green is author o/The Boundary Hunters, 1982 and The Gold
Hunters, 1977.
Autobiography, with Peter
Stursberg, edited by Clive Cocking. Vancouver, University of
British Columbia Press, 1986. pp.
xvi, 158, illus., $19.95.
by G.M. Volkoff
This sUm volume, based on nineteen hours of taped Oral History interviews conducted in 1983 by
Stursberg, compresses the eventful
story of a man, who towards the
end of his Ufe was widely regarded
as "the greatest Uving British Columbian," into fourteen short
chapters. This hardly does justice
to the man who said: "Life is made
up of experiences, and the more experiences you have, the more you
Uve. I certainly have had more than
my share, and I have enjoyed aU the
Shrum's own reminiscences are
preceded by Stursberg's six-page introduction which draws on recoUec-
tions of some of Shrum's former
students and associates as well as
of his son and daughter.
Shrum's childhood, which he
describes in the first chapter, was
spent on a farm in southern Ontario where he had to walk a mile
and half to a one-room school. He
attributes his propensity for hard
work to his German ancestors, and
his ambition to an Irish grandmother who from the outset insisted that he should go to university. To give him easier access to
high school the family moved from
the farm to the village of
Chapter 2 describes his year at
Hamilton Collegiate followed by
three years at the University of
Toronto where he enroUed in the
course in physics and mathematics
with a view to becoming a school
teacher. There Shrum "came under
the speU of a tremendous professor
of physics (J.C. McLennan) and
the experience changed my life
completely." (Some years later
Shrum played a similar role in the
Ufe of the present reviewer, and
British Columbia Historical News doubtlessly of many others).
The next two chapters deal with
Shrum's World War I experiences.
Near the end of his third year at
university he enlisted in the 67th
University Field Battery with which
he went overseas. He took a part
in several major battles, was
wounded in the head and was
awarded a Military Medal. Shrum
concludes his graphic description of
life and death hi the front Unes with
the sentence: "I did not have an illustrious military career, but I
managed one thing that was very
valuable: I survived." He also came
to appreciate the value of discipline.
Chapter 5 deals with Shrum's
return to the University of Toronto where he completed his B.A. in
1920. In spite of having won a sUver
medal and a National Research
Council Scholarship, he turned
down the scholarship in favour of
going to work. However, after
three months as an office boy and
six weeks as a school teacher, he
received an offer he could not
refuse from Professor McKennan
— to build a liquid helium plant,
the first in North America and the
second in the world. He stayed to
earn a Ph.D. and following that
spent a year in fruitless pursuit of
the elusive auroral green Une. He
then tried an industrial job at Corning Glass but was not satisfied
with it and returned to work with
McLennan in Toronto. Shrum
finally succeeded in producing the
auroral green Une in the laboratory,
but had a row with McLennan over
co-authorship of this work. This
contributed to Shrum's decision to
accept an offer at UBC in 1925.
Chapters 6 and 7 outline Shrum's
several overlapping careers at UBC
between 1925 and 1961: as a successful showman-lecturer, a
Ueutenant-colonel commanding the
COTC, Director of Extension,
Head of the Physics Department,
Director of B.C. Research Council,
Dean of Graduate Studies, chairman of dozens of committees, and.
President N.A.M. MacKenzie's
"chief expediter" to handle the
post World War II influx of
Mandatory retirement from
UBC at age 65 was two years away
when Shrum was caught up in an
entirely new career outside the
University. In chapters 8 and 9 he
describes his appointment by
Premier W.A.C. Bennett as chairman of a royal commission to investigate the financing of the B.C.
Power Commission and its relationship with the B.C. Electric.
Shrum's outline of the major
political controversy about
hydroelectric power in British Columbia from the vantage point of a
man who had a close look at it
makes interesting reading. Shrum's
work on the royal commission
brought him to Bennett's attention.
Shrum writes: "Bennett was much
Uke McLennan: when he started
something, he wanted it done right
away — yesterday, if possible. That
is what I Uked, too." The two
strong men got to know, respect
and trust each other, and this pro-
peUed Shrum into his pubUc career
as chairman of the B.C. Energy
Board and subsequently as, at first,
a co-chairman with Hugh
Keenleyside and then as sole chairman of the B.C. Hydro and Power
Authority. Shrum's account of the
two-river poUcy in building power
dams on the Peace and Columbia
rivers is a fascinating one.
Chapters 10 and 11 trace out the
story of the building and staffing
of Simon Fraser University and the
tumultuous days of its emergence
as "Berkeley North" at the time of
student and faculty unrest, and
deserves to be read in detaU. Shrum
refers to SFU as "probably the
most interesting and important
achievement of my career."
The brief chapter 12 describes
Shrum's last days at B.C. Hydro,
which he had to leave when the
NDP came to power in 1972.
Chapter 13 mentions Shrum's
brief venture as president of two
mining companies and goes on to
an account of his appointment as
Director of Vancouver Museums
and Planetarium Association,
followed by a stint as the cost-
cutting expediter on the Robson
Square courthouse project and as
an overseer of the early stages of
the pier B.C. project which was
later taken over by the federal
government (and as Canada Place
became its contribution to Expo
The concluding chapter is
Shrum's introspective evaluation of
his own career and of what the
future holds in store for Canada
and B.C.
The theme of hard work recurs
throughout the book and in this
chapter he comes back to it: "I
developed an almost puritanical
love for work, both physical and
mental. I have seldom taken a hoU-
day." He also reaUzes the price he
paid for this total immersion in
work. In the two brief paragraphs
out of the whole book in which he
makes any mention of his family
life he says: "If there was an opportunity lost in my life it was in
my not doing more to make my two
marriages a success ... I was really too busy, however, to do justice
to any home Ufe during that
The image of Gordon Shrum
that is evoked by this
autobiographical book matches
quite closely my personal recoUec-
tions of this outstanding man
whom I have known for fifty-six of
his almost ninety years; first as my
professor and mentor, then as
Head of the Department into which
he recruited me, and in later years
as a friend.
G.M. Volkoff is Dean Emeritus,
University of British Columbia.
British Columbia Historical News
27 Heritage Cemeteries in British
Columbia. Collected papers, ed.
by John D. Adams (Victoria
Branch, British Columbia
Historical Federation, 1985).
by Valerie Melanson
This well-illustrated volume
presents a coUection of papers
prepared in conjunction with the
"Heritage Cemeteries in British
Columbia Symposium" held in
Victoria in April, 1985.
The book has value to the local
history world for several reasons.
Not least is its merit in representing
communication between diverse
historical societies, heritage groups,
museums, genealogical groups, colleges etc., communication that has
not always happened up till now,
as John Adams points out in his Introduction. The Symposium was a
successful first bridging of the com-
munications gap.
Heritage Cemeteries also has
value as it examines a particular
facet of history on a provincial
scale and from different points of
view. There is a Uttle of everything
for a local historian here from the
cemetery of a reUgious group to a
cemetery that arose due to a
smallpox scare; from native
cemeteries to a Usting of cemeteries
that have been transcribed, to
gravestone art and gravestone composition, as well as the histories of
particular cemeteries.
Also, very importantly, the book
draws attention to the transience of
cemeteries and the critical need for
their study, investigation, and
recording before the human history
documented by them is lost. In this
regard the Ust of cemeteries that
have been transcribed is very
valuable, especiaUy when one notes
that the very important Ross Bay
Cemetery in Victoria is not amongst
those Usted. Even more valuable
would have been a Ust of those
known to exist and that need to be
recorded before the passage of time
takes its toU. Such a list would aid
local  groups  immeasurably  in
allocating their volunteer time
without wasting it. Another
valuable Ust would have been a
roster of the Historical Societies of
B.C., particularly those who are
members of the Federation. Such
a list would aid the reader in contacting groups who may have further information on cemeteries and
their interests.
The Index is very valuable,
detailed and almost perfect (only a
few names on stones in the photos
have been missed), and is a joy to
see when so many historical books
are either inadequately indexed or
not at aU. The only other improvement that the reviewer feels could
be made would be giving the addresses of the contributors so that
readers could contact these local
experts directly (e.g. to access the
British Columbia Genealogical
Society's collections of
All in all this is a book that
marks a landmark for B.C.
historians and should be found on
the shelves of aU Ubraries in British
Columbia, both pubUc and private.
Available for $6 postpaid from:
Victoria Branch, B.C. Historical
c/o 628 Battery Street,
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1E5
Asahel Curtis: Photographs of
the Great Northwest. Frederick,
Richard and Jeanne Engerman.
Tacoma: Washington State
Historical Society, 1983. 72p.,
David Mattison
Asahel Curtis was the younger
and less renowned brother of the
North American Indian photographer Edward S. Curtis. Asahel
was in a way Edward's protege, but
the two quarreled over ownership
of AsahePs Klondike gold rush
photographs — an assignment
given him by Edward in 1897 —
and the rest, as they say, was
photographic history.
Asahel Curtis spent his entire
career, except for a few years in
Alaska and one year in San Francisco, photographing the Pacific
Northwest from his Seattle headquarters. He ranged across four
states and British Columbia,
assembUng over a period of nearly
twenty years a large coUection of
images whose contents form an invaluable legacy.
The Washington State Historical
Society acquired the collection in
1943, a scant two years after
AsahePs death at age 67. As the
authors of the Society's own tribute
to Asahel point out, "Historians,
researchers and especiaUy photo
catalogers are fortunate that Curtis left detailed records of his
work." Fully cataloguing over
30,000 negatives and 40,000 prints
is more than a Ufetime's work, and
over the more than four decades the
coUection has been preserved, only fifty per cent of the images are
individuahy catalogued.
Asahel Curtis is, like a
predecessor book by David Sucher
pubUshed in 1973, a sampler. The
selection of photographs is heavily
weighted towards Asahel's
Washington imagery. The book
covers, portions of his career, beginning with the Klondike years, then
photographs promoting Washington's agricultural potential, the
reshaping of Seattle's topography,
transportation history, mountain
cUmbing, whaUng as practiced by
the Makah Indians of Neah Bay,
and the industries of the Northwest.
Only one photograph from British
Columbia appears, a portrait of
Chief Joseph John taken in 1931 at
Tofino. A list of subject headings
in the Asahel Curtis Collection at
the Society includes at least a dozen
documenting B.C. scenery or people. The worst aspect of this otherwise excellent publication is the
atrocious binding.
British Columbia Historical News British Columbia Place Names
G.P.V. Akrigg and Helen B.
Akrigg. Victoria: Sono Nix Press,
1986. 346 p.p., maps.
David Mattison
Don't throw out the authors'
1001 British Columbia Place
Names just yet. The Akriggs' latest
contribution to the province's
toponymical history goes beyond its
predecessor's quantitative limit, but
their earUer work includes names
for places no longer in existence.
The previous book also contains a
valuable introductory essay, "Place
Names and the History of British
Columbia," which the authors
refer to in their new work.
The starting point for any study
of place names is the Gazetteer of
Canada: British Columbia (3rd ed.,
1985). Out of those 42,500 names
the Akriggs made their selection on
the basis of geographical importance and the "degree of interest inherent in the story of the naming."
In addition to a host of new names
based on European history and new
explanations about the origins of
other names, the Akriggs also
documented numerous place names
derived from Indian languages and
history. It is gratifying to see so
many famiUar names whose origins
were not previously documented by
the Akriggs.
Aside from including more
names, the Akriggs also improved
their reference system for locating
some of the names in two ways.
The book's map has more names
on it and each name in the book includes a brief location reference,
such as "POTATO RANGE,
N.W. of Chilko L." There is no
bibUography but, while the introductory essay discusses the
bibliographic history of toponymical books, it is not comprehensive. The Akriggs acknowledge in
suitable fashion the pioneer of B.C.
place names, Captain John T.
Walbran, whose book British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906
was repubUshed in 1971. There is
now some overlap between the
Akriggs and Walbran, with the latter usuaUy providing more anecdotal detaU (trivia reaUy) about personages in place names. Compare,
for example, the Akriggs and
Walbran on "CoUinson Point."*
British Columbia Place Names is
fun to browse through, for there is
a lot of history between its pages.
No library or book coUection about
British Columbia would be complete without this book and the
third edition of 1001 British Columbia Place Names (Discovery Press,
Scholarship Fund
Help us establish a scholarship for a 4th year
student taking a major or honors course in
Canadian history at a B.C. University. All donations are tax deductible. Please send your cheque
today to:
The British Columbia Historical Federation
Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 35326
Station E
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
We appeal...
for donations to build up endowment funds for two projects undertaken by the British Columbia
Historical Federation. It has been
moved/seconded and carried that the
British Columbia Historical Federation
1.) A monetary prize to the winner^) of the annual competition for
Writers of B.C. History. May 10,
1986, Annual General Meeting.
2.) A scholarship for a student
entering fourth year in a British Columbia university taking a major in
British Columbia/Canadian history.
Annual General Meeting May 4,1985.
The writing Competition Prize Fund
has seen endowment which will
guarantee a $100 prize can be paid to
the 1986 winter. This is a beginning.
You can make it possible for the B.C.
Historical Federation to offer more
than one prize, and attract more entrants to this competition.
The Scholarship Fund at present is
not sufficient to endow a scholarship
for 1986. Please make it possible for
us to award this scholarship in 1987.
We thank all those who have made
donations to these projects, and urge
other readers to send a cheque today
The Treasurer — B.C. Historical
P.O. Box 35326
Station E
Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5
State which project you are supporting. All donations will be acknowledged with a receipt for tax exemption
British Columbia Historical News
29 Baptismal Window in St. Stephen's Church, Summerland
Marjorie Croil
In 1985 St. Stephen's AngUcan
Church, Summerland fitted a unique baptismal window into a large
gothic arch in the south-west waU
of the church. The design was the
work of Lutz Haufschild, interna-
tionaUy known architect and stain
glass artist.
The window was instaUed to
mark the anniversary of St.
Stephen's seventy-five years of worship and service in the commurity
from 1910 -1985. The project was
made possible by a bequest received by the church in 1984.
History in glass, etched on it in
a dull crimson are the Christian
names and christening dates of the
839 souls baptized since the church
was dedicated. Around the perimeter are five inch circular pictures,
one face chosen for each of the
seventy-five years, from pictures
submitted by parents of the
chUdren. At the top are the etchings
of the seven rectors who served in
the parish, Rev. Archdeacon H. A.
SoUy, Rev. Humphrey Pearson,
Rev. L.J. Tatham, Rev. Canon
F.V. Harrison, Rev. A.A.T. North-
rup, Rev. Norman Tannar and, the
present incumbent, Rev. R.G.
Mathews as well as that of Rev.
Wilf Sparrow, honorary assistant
rector. WhimsicaUy included is the
bearded face of the architect, Lutz
All around the window a clear
yellow glass emphasizes the light
pouring in and represents the enfolding presence of the Holy Spirit,
so often there invoked. Ivy was
removed from the wall outside the
church prior to setting the window.
Part of the architect's vision was
that as the vine grew again it would
edge the glass adding further interest to the arresting effect.
Across the bottom of the window
a verse from the book of Daniel 4:3
promises: "His kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom and his domain is from generation to generation." Arnold Edinborough writing
about the window in the Canadian
Churchman, November 1985, said,
"It might just as well have been
from Hebrews 12:1 "We are surrounded by so great a cloud of
The baptismal window was
dedicated October 13, 1985 by the
Right Reverend Fraser Berry of
Kelowna, Bishop of Kootenay.
A part of the anniversary renova
tions was restaining all the wood
appointments at the east end of the
church to match the original interior. Outstanding among these is
a new dark wood frame for the
dossal made by Indian carver,
Simon Dick of Vancouver.
During 1985 St. Stephen's had
many special events. In May the
Most Reverend Edward Scott,
Primate of Canada, spoke at an anniversary dinner and attended an
open house tea. Artifacts and
enlarged pictures were shown tracing the development of the church,
rectory, parish hall and the
memorial garden and landscaping
British Columbia Historical News originated by Canon and Mrs. F.V.
St. Stephen's was designed after
St. Botolph's in Chevening, Kent,
England. For some time it was a
mission of that church, supported
in the amount of 450 pounds per
year, an encouragement to the
British people who pioneered in
building churches and in settUng
and developing the Okanagan.
Stone for the edifice was available
readily as land was cleared for
Giovanni Biagioni, at that time
recently from Italy, was the stone
mason. John Robertson, father of
Gordon Robertson of Summerland, was in charge of
The cornerstone was laid by the
Venerable Archdeacon Beer in 1909
and the first service was held in
Coming from England in 1913,
the oldest member of the congregation, both in years and long standing, is Mrs. Robert (GwendoUne)
Atkinson now in her 100th year.
Her great grandchildren are the
fifth generation on two sides of her
family to belong to the church,
"from generation to generation,"
as the text on the Baptismal Window proclaims.
The Scholarship Fund
and The Historical
Writing Prize Fund
Our thanks go out to: Evelyn
SaUsbury of the Burnaby Historical
Society, Pamela Wetmore of the
West Vancouver Museum &
Historical Society, and Helen B.
Akrigg of the Vancouver Historical
Society for a donation to one or
other of these two Funds. As at
December 10th the amount in the
Scholarship Fund was $435.00 and
in the Historical Writing Prize
Fund was $1,541.41 (most of this
sum has been transferred from the
former Seminar Fund).
I wish to subscribe to B.C. Historical News. I enclose a cheque or money order payable to the
B.C. Historical Federation, P.O. Box 35326, Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G5.
Individual   Four issues for $8.00 ( )
Institutional   Four issues for $16.00 ( )
Postal Code
British Columbia Historical News
31 (cont. from page 5)
The Russian Prelude
If, in spite of numerous setbacks,
Russian expansion and profits were
on the upswing, a large part of the
credit would have been due to the
energetic efforts of the legendary
Alexander A. Baranov, who served the Russian American Company
from 1790 for over 27 years, first
as manager and subsequently as
This visionary man, who crossed vast stretches of the Northwest
Pacific repeatedly by "baidarka,"
spared neither his men nor himself
in furthering the development of
the Russian settlements. Wherever
he went he ordered the planting of
kitchen gardens. At his command,
tenacious (but futile) efforts at
growing grain were undertaken,
and he was responsible for the importation of cattle to Kodiak Island
which he envisioned as a future
agricultural centre.
In 1793 at Chugatsk Bay
(Seward), Baranov selected a site
for shipbuilding and work was
begun almost immediately under
the expert guidance of EngUsh shipwright and navigator James Shields
who was in Russian service.
The first church was erected and
consecrated in Kodiak in 1796,
foUowed by a census taken of the
native population in which 3,221
men and 2,985 women were registered.
Simultaneously, at Yakutat
Baranov was working on yet
another project. His report to the
directors read:
Iron ores have been
discovered in quite large
quantities and as an experiment iron has been melted
and the prospect is open
for us to introduce iron
works for the benefit of the
FinaUy, in 1798 the Russian
American Company was granted
monopoly and was placed under
the Protection of Czar Paul who
was one of the shareholders. Like
the Hudson's Bay Company, the
enterprise had the Crown and
poUtical backing behind it, which
was to confer on it more power,
credibiUty and prestige.
Thus, as the sun set on the 18th
century, Russia had become firmly entrenched from the Aleutian
Islands to the coastal regions of
Southern Alaska. Significant for
the history of the Pacific Northwest
that Russia had played the role of
the catalyst and turned this hitherto unknown region 'au bout du
monde' into an area of international contention. Having operated
for years under a mantle of
secretive silence, Russian had unwittingly passed a 'carte blanche'
into the hands of her rivals.
Plans projected for the 19th century held visions of Juan de Fuca
Strait "teeming" with Russian
vessels9 and further expansion to
CaUfornia, as weU as the estabUsh
ment of a supply farm on the Sandwich Islands.
There were as yet sixty-seven
years left before the sale of Alaska
— Alexander II's folly! Fort Victoria had not yet been put on the
map when visiting Britons and
Americans referred to Sitka, the
new fur trading centre of Russian
America, as the "Paris of the
'M.V. Lomonosov, Piotr Veliki, Canto I, ii
Akad. Nauk, 1893, pp. 163-73.
2R.A. Pierce and A. Doll, "Alaskan Treasure
— Our Search for the Russian Plates," Alaska
Journal, I, 1 (1971) pp. 2-7.
'P.A. Tikhmenev, A History of the Russian
American Company, Vol. II transl. D. Krenov,
ed. R.A. Pierce & A.S. Donnelly, (Kingston:
Limestone Press, 1978) p. 21.
'Beth Hill, The Remarkable World of Frances
Barkley, 1769-1845 (Sidney, B.C.: Gray's
Publishing Ltd., 1978) p. 95.
'A.I. Alekse'ev, Osvoeme russkimi liud'mi
Dalnego Vostoka i do konza IXI veka, (Moskva:
Nauka, 1982) pp. 103-104.
Tikhmenev, P.A., op.cit., p. 17.
'R.V. Makarova, Russians on the Pacific,
1743-1799 transl. & ed. R. A. Pierce & A.S. Donnelly, (Kingston: Limestone Press, 1975) p. 3.
•K.T. Khlebnikov, Baranov, ed. R.A. Pierce,
(Kingston: Limestone Press, 1973) p. 15.
Tikhmenev, P.A. op.cit. p. 182.
'Toivo Haryunpaa, "The Lutherans in Russian Alaska," Pacific Historical Review, 1968,
V. 37, p. 132.
(cont. from page 2)
Treasurer's Comments
Historical Federation. That is long
enough, and it is time that someone
else assumed the duties. An outUne
of the routine that has been foUowed is fastened inside the Journal
and I would wiUingly explain procedures to my successor — someone with some experience of
acounting who has retired recently?
It would be preferable to have a
volunteer from someone in the
general Vancouver area so that the
same Postal Address may be retained for the foUowing reasons: (i)
There have been a surprising
number of enquiries, especiaUy
from the U.S.A., re-directed from
earlier addresses of the B.C.
Historial Federation that have been
obtained from Ustings in Public
Libraries and similar places — it
takes time for a change of address
to filter down through national and
international directories and
records; and (2) the Postal charges
for change of address are now considerable and would need to be continued for two years at least.
Anyone offering their services
should get in touch with Past President, Len McCann, or another
member of the Table Officers.
Rhys Richardson
December 11, 1986
Honorary Patron:
His Honour, the Honourable Robert G. Rogers,
Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia
Honorary President:
Dr. W. Kaye Lamb
Naomi Miller, Box 105, Wasa VOB 2K0
422-3594 (res.)
1st Vice President:
John D. Spittle, 1241 Mount Crown Rd., North Vancouver V7R 1R9
988-4565 (res.)
2nd Vice President:
Myrtle Haslam, 1975 Wessex Rd. Cowichan Bay, VOR 1N0, 748-1897 (res.)
T. Don Sale, 262 Juniper St., Nanaimo V9S 1X4
753-2067 (res.)
Recording Secretary:
Margaret Stoneberg, P.O. Box 687, Princeton VOX 1VV0
295-3362 (res.)
J. Rhys Richardson, 2875 W. 29th, Vancouver V6L 1Y2
733-1897 (res.)
Jacqueline Gresko, 5931 Sandpiper Ct., Richmond, V7E 3P8
274-4383 (res.)
Mary G. Orr, R.R. #1, Butler St., Summerland VOH 1Z0
Leonard G. McCann, #2-1430 Maple St., Vancouver V6J 3R9
736-4431 (bus.)
R.J.C. Tyrrell, Editor, B.C. Historical News, P.O. Box 5626, Stn. B.,
Victoria, V8R 6S4.
Chairmen of Committees:
Historic Trails
& Markers:
John D. Spittle
B.C. Historical News
Ann W. Johnston, R.R. 1, Mayne Island, B.C. VON 2J0
Publishing Committee
Award Committee:
Naomi Miller
Publications Assistance Helen Akrigg, 8 - 2575 Tolmie St., Vancouver, B.C., V6R 4M1
Committee (not
with B.C. Historical
Loans are available for publication.
Please submit manuscripts to Helen Akrigg. The British Columbia Historical News
P.O. Box 35326, Stn. E.
Second Class Mail
Registration No. 4447
Sidney,   B.C.       V8L 2G9
Why not join the British Columbia Historical
Federation and receive the British Columbia
Historical News regularly?
The BCHF is composed of member societies
in all parts of the province. By joining your local
society you receive not only a subscription to
British Columbia Historical News, but the
opportunity to participate in a program of talks
and field trips, and to meet others interested in
British Columbia's history and the BCHF's
annual convention.
For information, contact your local society
(address on the inside front cover).... No local
society in your area? Perhaps you might think
of forming one. For information contact the
secretary of the BCHF (address inside back


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