Ballantyne Pier today
A note to readers: This is a first
draft of the 1935 chapter proposed for the book. By the time
the book appears in 2010 it may be much altered.
1935 (Sample Chapter)
On January 2, 1935 Gerry McGeer walked into his
city hall office as mayor of Vancouver. He had received more votes
in the civic election than any mayor before him, easily defeating
More has been written about Gerry McGeer than any
other Vancouver mayor. McGeer, wrote Donna Jean McKinnon
in The Greater Vancouver Book, was voted into office
on a mandate to fight crime, and to do away with slot machines,
gambling, book-making, white slavery and corruption in the police
force. True to his promise, he confiscated 1,000 slot machines in
his first week.
A bizarre note was struck four days after McGeer took office when
he decreed a day of prayer for forgiveness of city sins. (It was
also his birthday. He turned 47.)
His extraordinarily zealous and vigorous management style,
McKinnon wrote, led many to call him a megalomaniac.
TIME Magazine was only slightly kinder: they called him big,
shrewd and bumptious. My Websters defines bumptious
as presumptuously, obtusely and often noisily self-assertive.
McGeer got an early opportunity to show that assertiveness when
in the spring hundreds of relief camp menorganized by the
Workers Unity League (WUL)began to converge on Vancouver
from the interior. By the beginning of April they numbered in the
thousands, holding parades and demonstrations on city streets and
in parks. They occupied the Hudsons Bay store (where they
did $5,000 damage) and the Carnegie Library. The WUL had been organized
in 1929 by Communists and leftist allies to provide an alternative
to mainstream trade unions, and became the most visible labor organization
in Canada during the early years of the Depression. It worked to
organize semiskilled and unskilled as opposed to crafts workers,
and was particularly active among miners and lumber workers.
A Page One story June 4, 1935 in the Province
gives an indication of the fertile ground the WUL found for exploitation:
A total of 6,255 single men were in relief camps in British
Columbia last December 31, and 3,536 last April 30, according to
a return tabled in the House of Commons.
In his history of BC, George Woodcock reminds us that in the spartan
setting of the camps, the men were given uncomfortable bunkhouse
accommodation, food, medical care and 20 cents a day for a 44-hour
work week, clearing brush, making roads and reforesting. They were
free to leave when they wished, but there was nowhere they could
go to get work. On April 23 a huge demonstration formed at
Victory Square. The men decided to send a delegation to pay a call
on Mayor McGeer at city hall (then in the Holden Building, at 16
East Hastings.) He told them he could do nothing. They left unsatisfied,
and ten of them were arrested for vagrancy outside the building.
McGeer travelled the three blocks east to Victory Square, to find
himself facing an angry crowdestimates of up to 2,000 have
been citedand read the Riot Act, calling on the crowd to disperse.
He was nervous, onlookers said, and his voice was almost impossible
to hear. That night, police raided worker headquarters, a riot ensued
and police on horseback were called out to quash it.
McGeer was both praised and vilified for his reading of the Riot
Act. Your opinion depended on your status, with, as McKinnon writes,
Mayor McGeer firmly entrenched on the side of the moneyed
interests of the city fearful of Communist takeover, while alienating
many would-be supporters who sympathized with the strikers.
Many of the men protesting the lack of work (unemployment in BC
in 1935 was 19 per cent) and the relief camp conditions were in
the crowd of a thousand unemployed men who boarded freight cars
in Vancouver on June 3 to begin the famous On To Ottawa
trek. They intended to get a meeting with Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.
They didnt make it. On orders from Ottawa the RCMP stopped
the trek at Regina. On July 1 there was a violent clash between
some of the trekkers and their supporters and the RCMP. The Regina
Riot resulted in the death of one plainclothesman and one
trekker. The riot would be a factor in the decisive defeat of the
Bennett government in the federal election October 14, won by Mackenzie
Kings Liberalswho would replace the relief camps with
a better system.
Some of these same men would later be volunteers for the Mackenzie-Papineau
Battalion, who in 1937 would fight on the Republican government
side in the Spanish Civil War against Franco.
Battle of Ballantyne Pier
Local unrest peaked June 18 when a parade of a thousand
striking waterfront workers marched into what has come to be known
as the Battle of Ballantyne Pier. There had been a strike-lockout
situation for two weeks on the waterfront prior to the Battle. Leading
the parade, wearing his Victoria Cross (awarded for bravery at Vimy
Ridge in August, 1917) and Military Medal and carrying the Union
Jack, was James Mickey ORourke. This is a man
who deserves a book of his own! He was the second-most decorated
man in the Canadian armed forces, behind only air ace Billy Bishop.
Described as a hard-drinking, hard-playing, no-nonsense type,
who often seemed hard pressed to hold his tongue, ORourke
had often been punished for drunkenness while in the army. Now he
worked, when he could, on the Vancouver waterfront. It was his popularity,
and the fact that he volunteered, that led to him being in the vanguard
of the strikers, mostly longshoremen, who were demanding, among
other things, wage increases, union recognition and the dismissal
of strike breakers.
James Mickey ORourke
Other First World War veterans were marching beside
ORourke. The demonstrators were met by brand-new police chief
W.W. Billy Foster, standing in front of a big contingent
of city police. Foster told the men to stop. When they refused,
the protesters were attacked with clubs by the police ranked behind
the chief. (One report on the melee says Foster pulled Mickey ORourke
aside to safety.) Within minutes, more police joined in the fight.
Besides the city police, there were contingents from the BC Provincial
Police, who had been waiting unseen behind boxcars, and the RCMP.
The police chased the crowd as it dispersed, clubbing them as they
fled and firing tear gas. Some protesters fought back,
says one web site about the melee, throwing rocks and other
projectiles at the police. The battle went on for three hours and
spread throughout the nearby residential district. Several people,
both police and protesters, were hospitalized as a result of the
riot, and one young demonstrator was shot in the back of his legs
by a police shotgun. The strikers headquarters were raided,
with tear gas shot through the windows to drive out any occupants
before the police entered. Strike supporters set up a makeshift
hospital at the Ukrainian Hall, and the police did the same for
their wounded at the Coroner's Court on Cordova Street. In total,
28 out of the 60 injured were hospitalized and 24 men were arrested.
The Battle of Ballantyne Pier was over, and the longshoremen had
lost. But they would keep up the fight for better working conditions
and their own independent union, and would get it ten years later
with the formation of the International Longshore and Warehouse
Union (ILWU), Local 500.
New City Hall proposed
Another challenge for McGeer arose with his proposal to build
a new city hall. Since 1929 Vancouvers city hall had been
the Holden Building at 16 East Hastings (still there, but now known
as the Tellier Tower). What led to controversy was McGeers
preferred location: the northeast corner of Cambie Street and West
12th Avenue, occupied by Strathcona Park. Squabbles over city halls
location had been going on for years, with many plumping for a downtown
site, but Strathcona Park was favored by McGeer for several reasons.
It was high, so the building would be seen from many parts of the
city, and would itself provide good views. The land was already
owned by the city, and there would be lots of room for the building
and landscaped grounds around it. It would spark an extension of
the Cambie streetcar line and that, in turn, would spur development
of the area.
In addition, McGeer wanted to cement links with the recently (1929)
amalgamated municipalities of Point Grey and of South Vancouver,
the northern boundary of which had been just four blocks to the
south on 16th Avenue.
A special baby bond issue was announced to raise money
for the $2 million building, and they went on sale June 11. (Baby
bonds are so called because they are low-cost, usually under
Much of the opposition to the Strathcona site came from the business
community. Businessmen wanted city hall downtown so they wouldnt
have to go so far to get to it. City archives files yield, for example,
a June 25, 1935 letter to McGeer from the Vancouver Real Estate
Exchange, saying the Strathcona Park site is not, from many
points of view, the best site for the new city hall. An unnamed
member of the Board of Trade scrawled across the back of a form
appealing for bond purchases that the location selected is
a most unpopular choice, and many would-be subscribers have withheld
their subscriptions on that account.
Still another letter harrumphed, We do not relish the idea
of going some two-and-a-half miles from the centre of the business
section of this city to do business in this proposed new city pile.
Change your location to the Central School site, and we do not think
you will have too much trouble selling your bonds.
If those businessmen had won, city hall today would be in that
Central School site, the block bounded by Pender, Dunsmuir,
Cambie and Hamilton, and immediately north of the Queen Elizabeth
McGeer, as he usually did, prevailed. Ground was broken October
5 at Strathcona Park to mark the beginning of construction of the
new city hall, the citys sixth. The silver spade used in the
ceremony to start the digging was presented by freshman Alderman
Halford Wilson to a beaming Mayor McGeer. McGeer also led the decision
to accept the building design submitted by the architectural firm
of Townley Matheson.
That design was not greeted with unanimous cries of admiration.
One letter to the mayor read: Have you no eye for beauty?
Why put up an eyesore and . . . a pile of concrete like that modernistic
monstrosity pictured in the local papers? It looks just like Nelsons
Laundry. It is a crime to put up a filthy looking structure like
that . . . On such a beautiful site it is doubly bad.
Architectural historian Harold Kalman, in his invaluable
book on the citys buildings, Exploring Vancouver, says
of Vancouvers city hall: The hard-edged classicism of
the austere white walls and column-like shafts appears in government
buildings of the 1930s from Munich to Moscow.
The building would open for business December 1, 1936.
Ward System Ended
Later in December city voters decided to end the
ward system. A 1981 MA thesis by UBC student Andrea Barbara Smith,
titled The Origins of the NPA: A Study in Vancouver Politics
1930-1940 tells the story: Vancouver citizens voted
in favor of change in December 1935. Turnout for the plebiscite
was lowonly 19 per centbut the average percentage of
voters in favor varied little from ward to ward with a city-wide
average of 69 percent supporting the introduction of an at-large
electoral system. In March 1936, the provincial government amended
the Charter to abolish wards. In a footnote on page 53, Ms.
Smith quotes City Clerk Fred Howlett from a Vancouver Sun
story December 11, 1935 on the low voter turnout: [I]nterest
in the election seemed slacker than he had ever seen in his experience
dating back to 1910, including 24 previous contests. Explanations
offered: no popular public issue and light rain.
December was also the month that Ottawa was reported to be considering
raising unemployment insurance to $10 per week, to give people out
of work the same income as old age pensioners.
Another indication of the tough times: the 1935
appropriation for the Vancouver Public Library was nine cents
more than it had been the year before.
And The Vancouver Sun had its tongue firmly
in its cheek in this March 13 report on the savings to the city
that occurred when the CPRs cross-town tunnel opened in 1933.
Because the tunnel eliminated level crossings at Pender Street
near Carrall, the city didn't have to keep a signalman there. Because
no watchman is needed, no shelter for him is necessary. Because
no shelter is required, no lease for the necessary land from the
CPR need be continued . . . Because the city is no longer a CPR
tenant, it doesn't have to pay the $1-per-year rental.
On March 19 Thomas Owen Townley, former Vancouver mayor (a one-year
term in 1901), died in Florida at age 72. After losing in a bid
for a second term he became registrar of land titles in Vancouver,
a position he had held previously in New Westminster. He had run
for a Vancouver seat in the provincial election of 1916, but finished
last. He was remembered as the commander of Vancouver's first militia,
and as the father of Fred L. Townley of the aforementioned architectural
firm Townley Matheson. And youll meet him again in this chapter.
1935 was, incidentally, the year in which an invasion of Canada
was planned . . . if one is to believe the reports. Its said
that December 18 was the date this year that the G-2 intelligence
division at the U.S. Army War College submitted a secret plan to
invade us. Rather than direct you to an Internet site that outlines
the plan, we suggest you go to a search engine, enter invasion
of Canada 1935" and take your pick of the many sites that discuss
it. Vancouver and Victoria were to be attacked along Puget
Sound through Everett and Bellingham, supported by an attack by
water in Puget Sound.
The big local sports item of 1935 was, sadly, not
a good one. Vancouver boxer Jimmy McLarnin (right), 27, lost his
world welterweight boxing title again, this time for good. In 1933
hed won the welterweight championship, kayoing Young Corbett.
Then he lost the championship to Barney Ross in May, 1934, regained
it from Ross in September, 1934, and lost it, again to Ross, in
May of this year. Jimmy would retire in 1936.
You lose some, you win some. On September 5 Charlotte
Acres became the first Canadian girl to win a world professional
swimming championship. At the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto,
she won the five-mile swimming championship.
The Terminal City Lawn Bowling Club was built at
1650 West 14th Avenue. Its a heritage structure today. Parts
of Robert Altmans 1969 movie, That Cold Day in the Park,
would be filmed there.
Englands Joyce Wethered, 34, considered by many the best
female golfer ever, broke the course record at Jericho with a 73.
(An indication of her skill: the great golfer Bobby Jones said:
I have never played against anyone and felt so outclassed
. . . she is the best golfer in the world.) The Jericho course
no longer exists. But the Fraserview course does. Fraserview was
the first public golf course in Vancouver; it opened this year on
SE Marine Drive between Kerr and Elliott Streets. Curiously, it
has also received designation as a certified Audubon sanctuary as
a significant habitat for birds in an urban setting!
The Quilchena Golf Club gave up its land in 1935 and the CPR's
Land Department subdivided it, and would later name streets to commemorate
the following: Brakenridge (after Charles Brakenridge, city engineer),
Edgar Crescent (named for Robert McBeth Edgar, a long-time member
of the Civic Zoning Appeal Board), Haggart (for Andrew Haggart,
building inspector), McMullen (James McMullen was a CPR solicitor),
McBain (for Clark McBain, CPR land agent), and Townley (for Thomas
Owen Townley, cited above.)
Public tennis courts were opened opposite Exhibition Park this
year, and a horseshoe pitch opened in Burnaby's Central Park. It
had been built by residents on relief, or working out delinquent
In badminton, Eileen Underhill, who had been four times B.C. mixed
doubles champions (1928-31) did it again this year. Her partner
was husband Jack Underhill, an inductee in the BC Sports Hall of
The Kitsilano Showboat started this year, a forum
for amateur talent that continues to this day. To celebrate the
memory of Arthur W. Delamont and the founding of his Kitsilano Boys
Band, there was an 80th anniversary band concert there on July 7,
On Friday, November 15 a new movie opened at the
Orpheum, a musical called Shipmates Forever. Replete
with thrills and romance and infectious songs, the life of the naval
cadet (played by Dick Powell, pictured left) is presented in all
its vivid colors . . . Ruby Keeler was never more winsome and charming
. . . A 12-year-old boy and his dad have just come out of
the Orpheum and are walking home past the F.W. Woolworth store.
In the window is a musical hit parade display, including a shiny
new 78-rpm record of a song from that movie, Dick Powell singing
Dont Give Up the Ship. The boy turns to his dad and
pleads for 35 cents to buy the record. And that is how the record-collecting
career of Jack Cullen began. Cullen will grow up to become one of
the citys iconic radio personalities. His collection of records,
transcriptions and discs would become one of the world's largest,
and his late-night CKNW show, The Owl Prowl, would be hugely
And speaking of big collections, the BC Archives has substantial
holdings of radio broadcast recordings from privately-owned radio
stations in Vancouver, Victoria and the BC interior, as well as
the CBC. These include acetate disc recordings from the period 1935
to 1960. Any future history of broadcasting in Vancouver would do
well to remember them.
The remarkable Ivan Ackery became manager of the Orpheum Theatre
this year, and would hold that title until 1969.
Frank William Hart, theatre entrepreneur, died
May 4 in Prince Rupert, aged 78. Hart was born June 1, 1856 in Illinois.
His Swedish family came here from the US. In December 1887,
Constance Brissenden wrote in The Greater Vancouver Book,
he built Vancouver's first theatre, Hart's Opera House on
Carrall Street, presenting amateur shows, touring companies, variety
and vaudeville. Dubbed the skating rink, the 15-metre
by 40-metre arena housed 800 theatregoers or 250 roller skaters.
When the Imperial Opera House opened in April 1889 Hart's closed.
The building became a furniture warehouse. By 1912 Hart had moved
to Prince Rupert and began selling furniture.
The Lyric Theatre on Granville Street opened July 26 to feature
movies. It had opened in 1891 as the Vancouver Opera House, later
(1913) became the Orpheumnot the present onewith vaudeville
acts. The Lyric would close in December of 1960 before being demolished
in the development of Pacific Centre.
Visiting author Will Durant spoke at the Auditorium
in 1935, the year the first volume of Durants monumental The
Story of Civilization appeared. Durant, an American whose parents
were both originally from Quebec, and his wife Ariel, would produce
11 volumes in that series.
The Highland Association (An Cumunn Gaidhealch) held the B.C.
Gaelic Mbd in December 1935, the first annual Gaelic-language music
and literary festival outside of the British Isles. Affiliated with
the National Mbd in Scotland, the B.C. version regularly attracted
entrants from all over North America. Today, Mbd Vancouver is a
celebration of Scottish Gaelic music, language and culture held
every second year.
Bandleader Mart Kenney and his Western Gentlemen
orchestra gained national renown with a series of CBC radio programs,
notably the Sunday night favorite Sweet and Low, which started
this year. The show was broadcast live and heard right across the
country from the second Hotel Vancouver's ritzy Spanish Grill. (In
later years Kenney would again perform in the Spanish Grill, this
time in the present Hotel Vancouver. That dining room is now called
The Fairleigh family built the Hollywood Theatre
and began to run it this year. On the web site Cinematour,
contributing writer Stephen Drake has this delightful passage:
Nothing much has changed at the Hollywood Theatre since it
opened for business in 1935. The original chandelier still lights
up the small lobby. To the left, there's a staircase. On the first
landing, a sign glows with the word loge.
Not many people know that means balcony, says
Dave Fairleigh, the current owner of a family business that has
persevered for 69 years. When my grandfather opened the theatre
there was an extra charge of 10 cents to sit upstairs. He wanted
the theatre to be a classy kind of place. He wanted every man to
wear a tie and the women wearing skirts.
When he saw young people necking in the balcony he
would hand the young man a card that said, Please treat your
girl like she was your sister or your mother, and he was deadly
Vancouvers Annie Charlotte Dalton, poet,
was named a Member, Order of the British Empire, the only woman
poet so honored at the time. She was born Annie Charlotte Armitage
in Birkby, Huddersfield, England, and came to Canada in 1904. By
then she was married to businessman Willie Dalton. He became an
executive with Mainland Transfer. Daltons public success as
a poet was somewhat curtailed by her deafness. A tiny sample of
her poetry (from The Robins Egg):
So strangely are we made that I must know
Why this small thing doth move me so;
Why, for an amulet, I fain would beg
The turquoise of some robins egg
High Bluff, Manitoba-born Ira Dilworth left his job as a popular
UBC associate professor of English this year to direct the Bach
A Famous Murder
On March 28, 1935 F.M. Rattenbury, 67, the architect
who gave Vancouver the courthouse later occupied by the Vancouver
Art Gallery, was murdered. Francis Mawson Rattenbury, born October
11, 1867 in Leeds, England came to B.C. at 25 and was quickly commissioned
to design the provincial legislature, then the Empress Hotel, later
the Vancouver courthouse. But then commissions began drying up,
and Ratz got into real trouble when he began an affair
with a married woman named Alma Pakenham. They both divorced and
fled to England where the 19-year-old family chauffeur, who had
started getting it on with Alma, bashed in Rattenburys head
with a mallet. After the trial Almanot knowing that her young
lover had been spared the death penalty, and sentenced to life in
prisoncommitted suicide. The playwright Terence Rattigan wrote
a play, his last, about the incident. Cause Celebre premiered
in 1977. And Terry Reksten has written an excellent book, Rattenbury
(1998), on the whole affair.
Bristol-born W.W. Foster, about 60, became Chief Constable of
the Vancouver Police Department, succeeding John Cameron. William
Wasbrough Foster, known as Billy to friends, had a really
interesting and variegated background: hed come to BC in 1894
and got into the lumber business. Then he worked as a superintendent
for the CPR, and as a police magistrate in Revelstoke. Next he was
manager of a lumber company on Vancouver Island. He was president
of BCs Conservative Party, was elected an MLA in 1913 and,
just prior to the First World War, was BCs (deputy) minister
of public works. He was a keen mountain climber, was part of the
first teams to climb Mount Robson and Canadas highest peak,
Mount Logan. During the Great War Foster fought in Europe, reached
the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the DSO (Distinguished
Service Order). He would be the Military Commander of Western Canada
during the Second World War, with the rank of Major-General. As
recounted above, Foster had a baptism of fire with the Battle of
Ballantyne Pier. He would meet up with angry unemployed men again
A tragic event this yeartwo children were killed by a car
as they attempted to cross Burrard Street at Comox to attend Dawson
Schoolresulted in the creation of the Vancouver School Boy
Patrol. The program saw student boys manning crosswalks near the
schools to stop traffic and allow the kids to cross. (Girls would
be added to the program in 1953.) This may have been the first program
of its kind in Canada. The project got its start in Chicago, Illinois
in 1920 after the deaths of 180 child pedestrians in one year.
Aberdeen-born Archie McDiarmid, 52, became chief of the Vancouver
Fire Department on December 28. McDiarmid had been with the VFD
since 1907. He succeeded Charlton William C.W. Thompson,
and would serve as chief until 1941.
On March 1 the B.C. Provincial Police took over from Burnaby municipal
police, and they would enforce the law in Burnaby until August,
1950 when the RCMP took over.
George Henry Cowan died in Vancouver September 20. He was a lawyer,
author and public speaker. An anti-Asiatic, he drafted the Chinese
Head Tax law. Cowan was a founder of Vancouver's Conservative Association,
and MP for Vancouver from 1908 to 1911, when he chose not to seek
re-election. He bought 1,000 acres of land on Bowen Island (Point
Cowan), built cottages for visitors and ran a farm raising purebred
Ayrshires. Cowan Road on Bowen Island is named for him.
The Bank of Canada was founded in March, 1935,
and opened a Vancouver office this year. (They also opened in eight
other cities across the country.) Its first home in Vancouver would
be in Page House, still there at 330 West Pender Street, famous
for its stained-glass ceiling. Today the bank has its Vancouver
headquarters on West Hastings Street.
Also in March, the California-based Standard Oil
Company announced it would build a big million-dollar refinery on
55 acres it had bought at the north foot of Willingdon in Burnaby.
The municipalitys Depression-squeezed residents welcomed that
news. Burnaby was selling municipal lands to try to diversify the
tax base and improve the local economy, and this was a signal success
of that policy. The refinery, named Stanovan, would
open in 1936 with the ability to produce 2,000 barrels a day, processed
from California crude oil. The company began to introduce a new
line of Chevron brand gasoline products in service stations opened
throughout British Columbia, and acquired a tanker, the B.C.
Standard, to bring the oil in.
There was bad news for William Shellys company, Grouse Mountain
Highway and Scenic Resort Limited. The re-opening of the Second
Narrows Bridge in 1934 had come too late for the firm. By the summer
of 1935, even though 8,000 people were coming up the mountain every
month, the company was unable to pay its bills. The property and
everything on itroad, chalet, light and power lines, water
and sewage systems, still-unfinished buildings and allreverted
to the District of North Vancouver for non-payment of $20,000 in
taxes. The road up Grouse Mountain was ordered closed. It would
stay closed for many years.
James Ramsay died November 22 this year. He was a biscuit maker
. . . and more. Born December 16, 1866 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland,
in 1891 or 1892 he moved to Vancouver and began Ramsay Bros. &
Co., manufacturer of biscuits, candies and syrup. The factory bought
out the four-storey Imperial Syrup Factory at 998 West Powell Street.
Ramsays three brothers and one sister worked with him. He
was a Vancouver alderman and a Liberal MLA (for Vancouver, from
1920 to 1924), retiring from the latter post because of ill health.
Ramsay was chair of the Vancouver School Board for ten years, a
president of the YMCA and served on the board of Vancouver General
Hospital. His also served a term as president of the Canadian and
the B.C. Manufacturer's Associations.
Sounding Board, a publication of the Vancouver
Board of Trade, began in 1935. Its still around, appears 11
times a year.
The Blue Cab taxi company was founded by A. Pashos. By April of
1960 it had grown to operate 48 cars, and would merge that year
with the 62-car Black Top fleet under the latter name.
The Vancouver Sun began to campaign for
a convention bureau. Said Alderman J.J. McRae: Our merchants
need the business that conventions bring, and our city can stand
a little of the cheer that throngs of visitors bring to the city.
John M. Buchananborn in Steveston in 1898was
appointed general manager of B.C. Packers. Hed been with the
firm since 1928, would eventually rise to become president. His
name is much associated with UBC, and youll meet him again
later in these pages.
There was tragedy at Alta Lake near Whistler July 31 when a Boeing
flying boat piloted by W.R. McCluskey, manager of Pioneer Airways,
crashed while attempting a take-off from the lake. The pilot didnt
have enough lift to clear the trees at the end of the lake, and
in attempting to turn the plane to re-land on the lake side-slipped
and plunged to the earth. Aboard were three passengers, UBC Dean
Reginald W. Brock and his wife and a David Sloan. McCluskey and
Brock, who were sitting in the cockpit, were killed upon impact.
Mrs. Brock and Mr. Sloan were not killed in the crash but were severely
injured; Mrs. Brock died en route to hospital, Sloan died 10 days
later in hospital. Making the crash particularly tragic was the
fact that two of the Brocks sons, David and Tommy, witnessed
it. (David Brock (1910-1978) was a prominent Vancouver writer and
broadcaster.) Reginald Brock had been one of Canada's leading geologists.
He graduated from Queens with an MA in geology, and worked as a
geologist with the Dawson Survey of B.C. (1897). He was chair of
the geology department at Queens from 1902 to 1907, became Director
of the Geological Survey of Canada from 1907 to 1914. Brock was
one of the first four teachers hired by UBC president Frank Wesbrook.
He was named dean of applied science but served in WWI before taking
up his duties.
And in November aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smithfamous
for being the first man to fly the Pacific (a non-solo flight)went
down somewhere in or near the shark-infested Bay of Bengal.
He had been on a mail flight from Allahabad, India to Singapore,
an over-water distance of 1,360 miles (2,188 km). Stories of Kingsford-Smith's
disappearance dominated newspapers in late 1935. He was never found.
The Vancouver connection is that he had lived here as a boy. At
the suggestion of then Vancouver city archivist Major J. S. Matthews,
an elementary school at 6901 Elliott in Vancouver was named for
Kingsford-Smith. In June of 1959 a portrait of the flyer by Australian
artist William Dargie was presented to the school.
Death on the water
The West Vancouver Museum web site www.wvma.net
has this account of tragedy on Burrard Inlet: At 8:47 am on
Monday, February 4, 1935, in thick fog, the West Vancouver No.
5 ferry was westbound for the 14th Street terminus, reportedly
on course, at a slow speed and approaching Prospect Point, when
the sharp steel bow of the much bigger CPR ship Princess Alice
loomed out of the fog. The Alice was inbound from Seattle,
47 minutes late. There was no time to try to dodge and the Alice's
bow cut into the ferry at an acute angle on the port side of the
after cabin. It was obvious that the ferry would sink immediately.
Luckily she carried few passengers on that trip, and only one (the
elderly Mrs. William E. Burritt) was trapped, below decks. The bow
of the Alice pinned her against the side of the cabin. Captain
Darius Smith , aided by mate Hayes and lookout Arnold Garthorne,
made valiant efforts to free her but the ferry went down so fast
that the others had to drag Capt. Smith out before he went down
with her . . . The Alice lowered a boat, the ferry Sonrisa
appeared, and the survivors were taken off the sinking No. 5
which ended up beached for the night off Brockton Point. She was
a total loss but her almost new engines were salvaged and used in
Besides those mentioned above, we lost a number of local notables
in 1935. Among them was John Grove, lighthouse keeper. He died March
21, aged about 71. Grove was born in 1864 in London, Eng. He served
as lighthouse keeper at Prospect Point, later at Brockton Point
(1895-1930). >From 1888 he lived in a cottage on the rocks until
the station was electrified in January 1926. One of the lowest
paid workers in Vancouver, Constance Brissenden writes, he
received $25 per month but his station was coveted for its free
housing and use of two acres in Stanley Park. To make extra money,
Grove ran a lemonade stand for tourists until the park board complained
and it was closed down.
On May 4 Edward Faraday Odlum, author and scientist,
died in Vancouver, aged 84. He was born November 27, 1850 in Tullamore,
Ont., became a teacher. He came to Vancouver in April of 1889. Odlum
built the first electric arc light used here (it was turned on for
night-time football games) and the first public telephone. He owned
extensive lands. In 1892 he was elected alderman in Vancouver. He
was the author of A History of British Columbia (1906), and
president of the Arts and Science Association of Vancouver. He was
the father of Victor Odlum, soldier and publisher.
In December J.S. Ross, the first editor of the
Vancouver Daily News (1886), died.
And architect Thomas Hooper died in Vancouver this year. Some
of his work includes the Winch Building (now part of Sinclair Centre),
the Spencer Building on Cordova, and the rear addition (Robson Street
side) to the Vancouver Court House. A number of well-known architects
apprenticed in his office, including J.Y. McCarter, architect of
Vancouvers Marine Building.
A severe snow and ice storm, together with flooding, hit the Fraser
Valley in January, cutting communication and transportation links
and causing much other damage. On January 21 Vancouver got 43 centimetres
(17 inches) of snow, with gale winds and a minus 26 Celsius temperature.
Thats still the 24-hour record for snowfall. One result: the
roof of the Hastings Park Forum collapsed. There were no injuries.
A Grand Rally of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides at Hastings Park on
April 15 welcomed the visiting Lord and Lady Baden-Powell
In October work started on the Pattullo Bridge (it would open
November 15, 1937).
There was serious flooding in Pitt Meadows. A rush of water down
the Alouette caused water to come nearly as far as the Lougheed
Highway and boats had to be used to rescue people and poultry.
A Croatian Cultural Hall was built in Vancouver, but it would
close in 1946. Forest Lawn Memorial Park at 3789 Royal Oak Avenue
in Burnaby was started by Albert F. Arnold.
Beta Sigma Phi, an international woman's organization founded
in Abilene, Texas in 1931, established its first Canadian chapter
when California member Rilla Billings moved to Vancouver with her
family, the only Beta Sigma Phi in a country of ten million.
Alice Keenleyside became the organizations director. She was
principal of St. Clare School for Girls in Vancouver.
In November the City of Vancouver Archives received a gift from
the CPR: an inch of the rail from Craigellachie, site of The Last
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