You’ve heard of Show Biz. This is Biz Biz, the history
of business in Vancouver, told through the activities of The
Vancouver Board of Trade.
Going with the Grain
The Council of the Board made Page One of the Province
for January 2, 1907 with a request to Vancouver MP R.G. Macpherson
to do his best at Ottawa to induce the Government to establish
a large terminal grain elevator in Vancouver for the handling of
Board president R.P. McLennan said he understood
the CPR would be glad to give an advantage to Vancouver in
getting the Alberta grain to flow in this direction.
In 1905 Alberta grew 3,035,843 bushels of wheat. That had virtually
doubled by 1906 to 5,932,267. Only a million of those bushels were
exported, though, and they had gone east. To get the wheat to come
west, freight rates would have to be improved (i.e., lessened).
J.E. Hall, manager of the Hall Elevator & Grain
Co. (its location not given), told the Council members his company
was willing to build a large elevator here if a profit could be
made. It would be to our interest and to that of the public
if the Government would bring pressure to bear on the railway to
make such rates that the business will come this way. A start in
this direction would be to get the government to put in a terminal
elevator and then go after the railway company for rates.
Hall encouraged the Board to get behind this arrangement.
The smallest elevator that would be practical, Hall
said, would hold about 250,000 bushels and cost about $150,000.
If Alberta wheat could be laid down here under a freight tariff
of 11 cents per hundred Vancouver could ship to the United Kingdom
via the Horn [note: the Panama Canal would not open for another
seven years] in competition with Fort William. [another note:
Fort William is Thunder Bay today.]
At its regular monthly meeting January 9 the Board passed a resolution
asking the Dominion government to build an elevator of 250,000-bushel
Well, the first grain elevator on Burrard Inlet didnt open
until 1914. It would be financed by H.H. Stevens, encouraged by
the construction of the Panama Canal.
That January 9 meeting also endorsed a suggestion
from the Point Grey Improvement Association that the naval reserve
in Point Grey be leased to the city as a park, and called for a
marine driveway around the peninsula as soon as possible.
The shortage of railway freight cars arose at the
February 12 meeting of the Board. It seems J.W. Leonard of the CPR
had appeared before the Railway Commission and explained that merchants
and others kept the cars for storage purposes, making them unavailable
for traffic. That was not the case in Vancouver, Board member E.H. Heaps (who was at the Railway Commission hearing) said. Here,
said the Province, quoting Heaps in its February 13 edition
(Page 10), it would take 500 cars to supply the immediate
needs of the lumber mills alone.
The CPR had been extending its mileage, but had
not been enlarging its equipment in the same proportion. The Board
decided to refer the matter to its car shortage committee, which
would act jointly with the British Columbia Lumber and Shingle Manufacturers
Association and frame a strongly worded letter to the Commission
explaining the situation.
The Board declined to endorse a resolution of the
Montreal Board of Trade in favor of the importation of Chinese labor
and abolishing the $500 head tax. Member James Henderson suggested
that if Montreal wanted the Chinese they could be shipped through
The Board did endorse a petition from the Toronto Board of Trade
asking Ottawa to stop the entry of immigrants with tuberculosis.
The 20th birthday of the Vancouver Board of Trade
was coming up, and the March 6 edition of the Province announced
the Board was planning a banquet. The date, the Province
said, of this, it may almost be said, epoch-making event,
will be arranged by a committee to be named by Mr. W.J. McMillan,
president of the board for 1907. The 1906 president, Robert
P. McLennan, stepped down amid much praise.
President McMillan spoke of the year ahead. I
think some action should be taken in connection with False Creek
to the end of increasing the shipping facilities of the port.
He thought the provincial and federal politicians representing the
city should be invited to an anniversary banquet at which False
Creek would be discussed. The CPR should be represented, too. [By
the April 2 meeting Premier McBride had informed the Board that
he and the other members of the provincial cabinet would have
great pleasure in attending.]
There has lately been a sale of real estate
in the vicinity of this city by the provincial Government,
McMillan went on, and as the value of that property has been
enhanced by the progress and prosperity of the city, I think the
provincial Government can well afford to act handsomely by the city.
The newspaper story didnt specify where that real estate sale
McMillan wanted details on railway tariff charges so that more
informed discussion of freight rateswhich our researches indicate
was the most frequently discussed question at Board meetings of
this eracould be made.
Alderman E.H. Heaps, the newly-elected vice-president, who had
been with the Board all those 20 years, told of its brief history
and its growth in the face of adversity. He also referred to False
Creek, saying nothing could be done in improving it until the city
bought out the rights of the property owners at the head of the
Creek. [Remember that the eastern reaches of the Creek had not yet
been filled in, and still extended far past Main Street to the east,
to present-day Clark Drive.]
The city, Heaps continued, cannot
build a bridge at Westminster Avenue [Main Street] till something
is done, and something will have to be done soon, as the present
bridge is in very poor condition. The bridge hes referring
to had gone up in 1872.
He cited the need for a city market, which would bring produce
to the city and encourage farmers to do their business in Vancouver.
The BC Electric Railway was providing good service to the Fraser
Valley, and that was very helpful.
In view of the valuable services rendered
the board by Mr. William Skene, secretary, the Province
report continued, a motion by Mr. C.E. Tisdall that his salary
be increased from $60 to $75 per month passed unanimously, and Mr.
Skene thanked the members for their consideration.
Member C.F. Jackson referred to the projected establishment
of a stock and share market in Vancouver, and suggested
that the scope of the undertaking should be extended to include
the operation of an exchange where members of the mercantile
community could meet and secure standard commercial quotations.
Member D. Von Cramer, one of the promoters of the market, rose to
say that aspect was being covered.
History of the Board
Former president McLennan had a few departing remarks
for the March 5 meeting. He recalled a time when lots worth $100,000
now (1907) had sold for $1,000, and remarked on the immense growth
of the lumber industry. Although we may be justly proud of
our trade and commerce returns for the last twenty years, we have
scarcely as yet touched even the fringe of our possibilities.
He then sketched in the beginnings of the Board.
The Vancouver Board of Trade was formed on November 24, 1887.
Mr. David Oppenheimer was the first president, and continued as
such for three years, and to this gentlemans optimism, enterprise
and ability was much of the success of this board due, and of the
city itself in its early struggles. [David Oppenheimer had died
in 1897.] Thirty-one citizens signed the original application for
the organization of the board, of whom six only are now on the membership
It is interesting to note in the first presidents
address available (1889) that whilst some of the objects aimed at
have been accomplished, others are still in the future.
Among the achieved objectives he cited were direct
steamship connection with Australia and New Zealand, and a submarine
cable between Australia and Canada. Railway connection to
the south is an actuality, but it was expected that Vancouver would
shortly become the terminus of five railway systems. We have three
transcontinental roads running into Vancouver now, but whilst the
other two are not yet with us, they are tapping at our door.
A new post office was needed and it was being built.
And it seems the late David Oppenheimer was instrumental
in forming the British Columbia Fruitgrowers Association,
which was organized February 1, 1889 in the Board of Trade
rooms. The seed sown at that time has brought forth abundantly,
and plant growing is rapidly becoming one of our chief provincial
industries. [That name Oppenheimer has been prominent in this
area for more than a century: the company that David Oppenheimer
and his brothers began is still around. In fact, theyre right
There was need for blast furnaces and rolling mills in the city.
That need had been talked about, but nothing had been done.
He spoke of the lands at Point Grey. The Board had
urged the provincial government, which owned the land, to have it
laid out by a competent landscape surveyor before being placed on
the market, and that a marine driveway two hundred feet wide be
built around the whole property. We have been actively assisted
by the different associations in the city, and it is gratifying
to be informed that it is the intention of the Government to lay
out the grounds along the lines suggested . . . These lands at Point
Grey can be made one of the most beautiful spots in North America,
and by the means of drawing a wealthy class of people to reside
with us who would contribute very materially to the advancement
of the city, municipality and province in every way.
Vedder or not
The reclamation of land in the Vedder River/Sumas
Lake area was the main topic at the April 2, 1907 meeting of the
Board. A company had been formed to drain 11,000 acres of the lake
and make it available for cultivation, and they were asking the
Board to support a request to the provincial government for financial
assistance. The company claimed that a total of 30,000 acres would
be rendered fit for cultivation by the scheme, but if
no aid were received from the government the scheme might fall through.
The Board supported the concept, but member Jonathan Rogers said
he was opposed to the government granting any money in aid of the
work. He said, however, he thought the government might guarantee
the bonds of the dyking company. (The government was already on
record as saying it wouldnt do that.) A resolution in support
of the concept was passed, but a Rogers amendment requesting the
government guarantee a certain amount of the companys bonds
[The reclamation work would not be completed until 1924, and then
by another company.]
Freight rates again
Joseph Martin, KC, who had acted for the Board on behalf of local
wholesalers in their battle with the CPR over freight rates, happened
to be in Ottawa. The Board asked secretary William Skene to telephone
Mr. Martin in Ottawa and ask him, once again, to inquire of the
Railway Commission when its decision on rates might be expected.
Board of Control
The Board endorsed the principle of a civic Board
of Control at its April 2 meeting. "In the opinion of Mr. Frank
Baynes [a Board member]," the Province said in its April
3 report on the session, thousands of dollars would be saved
the city annually if its affairs were controlled by such a board.
[We looked up board of control on Google, found this:
In municipal government a Board of Control is an executive
body of municipal government which usually deals with financial
and administrative matters. The idea is that a small body of four
or five people is better able to make certain decisions than a large,
unwieldy city council. Boards of Control were introduced in many
North American municipalities in the early twentieth century as
a product of the municipal reform movement.]
The April 2 session also decided that meeting times for the council
of the Board would be changed to 5:00 in the afternoon on the last
Thursday of the month.
A coal miners strike in Alberta was causing
suspension of ordinary freight traffic on the CPR, and
the Calgary Board of Trade asked its Vancouver counterpart to endorse
its appeal to the federal government to take immediate and strenuous
action to end it. Because the strike was, in the words of the Vancouver
Board resolution, paralyzing all business in British Columbia,
the Calgary request was speedily granted at a special session. (Province,
April 18, 1907, Page 18.)
Railway Commission invited to Drop In
There was, at last, some movement on the freight
rates question . . . even if it was somewhat jerky. The Railway
Commission had issued an order (on August 11, 1906) to the effect,
wrote the Province on May 8, 1907 (Page 5) that on
shipments from Eastern Canadian points to the coast the differential
of 5 cents per hundred pounds in favor of Seattle as against Vancouver
should be removed. The railways are alleged to have backed and filled
and upon one pretext and another put off issuing tariffs in compliance
with the order of the Railway Commission until the sixth day of
the present month. The order became effective May 6.
At its May 7th meeting the Board of Trade passed
a resolution to invite the Railway Commission to visit Vancouver
during the summer to discuss the question of rebates. The Board
wanted the Commission to announce that the differential had come
into effect the moment they announced it. During the interval
between the issuance of the order, the Province wrote,
and the date the tariff became effective, hundreds of carloads
of freight have come into Vancouver from eastern points, and, as
the difference in the cost of shipment under the old and new tariffs
amounts to something between $15 and $20 for each car, the merchants
of Vancouver figure that there are thousands of dollars coming to
them in rebates if they can induce the Railway Commission to direct
that its order of August 11 was effective forthwith.
Member H.A. Stone declared that the railways showed no anxiety
to meet the claims for rebates, and he contended that steps should
be taken to compel them to pay up.
The matter of the freight differential paid by merchants in Winnipeg
and Vancouver (the former paid less than the latter) was still active,
and the Boards freight rates committee was empowered to hire
a tariffs expert to look into it.
Mail service to Seattle via the CPR was, apparently,
quite slow. In contrast, that of the Great Northern Railway, which
operated two fast trains daily between the two cities, was rapid.
But, said member Robert McLennan, if one wants
to mail a letter by that route, one has to put an American stamp
on the envelope and take it down to the train. It was decided
to get Board secretary William Skene to get more details on the
subject and report at the next meeting.
And another thing . . .
From the May 8, 1907 Province (Page 5), in
its report on the previous evenings Board meeting, the paper
wrote: If the Boards of Trade throughout Canada, and the Canadian
Manufacturers Association have their way, the railways of
the country will be forced to retreat from the arbitrary, and to
many shippers galling, requirements which they impose in the case
of every bill of lading now issued.
(For the uninitiated, we Googled bill of lading
to get a brief description: A bill of lading is a type of
document that is used to acknowledge the receipt of a shipment of
goods. A transportation company or carrier issues this document
to a shipper. In addition to acknowledging the receipt of goods,
a bill of lading indicates the particular vessel on which the goods
have been placed, their intended destination, and the terms for
transporting the shipment to its final destination.)
Every shipper who has taken the trouble to
look over a bill of lading, the newspaper report continued,
with its thousand and one conditions and regulations must
have realized that if anything happened to his goods in transit
he had about as much chance of holding the railway responsible as
he had of escaping the freight charges on the shipment. By imposing
these conditions, which may or may not be good in law, the railways
endeavor to shift responsibility entirely from their own shoulders.
The time has now come, however, when the meek
and lowly shipper has awakened to the fact that he possibly has
some semblance of rights in this matter and his opinions are about
to be forced home to the management of the various railways.
(Note: this angry little passage isnt ascribed to a speaker
at the Board meeting; it appears to be the sentiment of the unnamed
The Board endorsed a resolution of the Toronto Board
of Trade asking the Railway Commission to authorize a simple
bill of lading bearing only one clause relating to conditions of
transportation. The Toronto board announced that examination of
the general terms and conditions of carriage showed some 29 clauses
to be contrary to the Railway Act and calculated to relieve the
railways from common law liabilities.
With the Grain
If the Dominion Government ever builds a custom
grain elevator at the port of Vancouver, wrote the Province
May 8, 1907, the credit will belong to the Vancouver Board
of Trade. The government had not responded to the call for
such an elevator and, as a result, the Boards committee on
trade and commerce would conduct a vigorous inquiry.
A proposal that cropped up at the July 3, 1906 Board
meeting arose again at the May 7, 1907 session, with a recommendation
to forward it to the provinces Attorney-General, to wit: to
increase the amount recoverable in Small Debts Court from $100 to
$200. Also to be sent to the A-G: a recommendation for legislation
to prevent dishonest merchants from disposing of their stock-in-trade
without paying their creditors. Washington State legislation
(the Bulk Sales Law) was cited as a good model.
Among the four new members elected to membership May 7: general
merchant Charles Woodward. (He had opened his second store, the
one on West Hastings, in 1903.)
New England Fish Company . . . just for the Halibut
At its regular monthly meeting June 4, 1907 the Board got tough.
It petitioned the federal minister of Marine and Fisheries not to
renew the halibut fishing licence of the New England Fish Company,
which was operating three vessels out of Vancouver. The Board wanted
to end the companys special concession of shipping halibut
in bond through Canada to the eastern United States. That concession
was due to expire June 30, and the Board wanted the government not
to renew it.
The Board also wanted the feds to define what
are territorial waters along the coast of British Columbia from
the 49th parallel to Alaska.
Why? The intent of this request is to ascertain
what, if any, rights American fishermen have to operate in the waters
of Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance, where the American steamers
running from Vancouver and from Seattle and Tacoma now find their
best rewards. Should the Government declare that Hecate Strait and
Dixon Entrance are territorial waters, the effect would be that
the American fishermen would have to be ousted from those lucrative
The motion that these matters be sent to the minister for consideration
was made by Board member, H.O. Bell-Irving, who ran the provinces
largest fish packing operation.
If the request to not renew New Englands licence
was granted, said the Province in its June 5 report (Page
2), it is possible, judging by remarks made at the board meeting,
that a British Columbia company might step into the field.
A local fisherman named William Batson explained
to the Board how the New England company operated. They annually
exported to the U.S. millions of pounds of halibut.
There was a duty of $20 a ton entering the United States, but the
New England company overcame this by using American bottoms
to catch their fish and then, by means of the privilege of shipping
through Canada in bond, landed them in the United States free.
Against such competition, Batson said, Canadian
companies could not compete and many companies had been driven out
of the field. If the unfair privileges granted to the New
England Company were abolished, Mr. Batson said, he would be able
to get into the halibut business again on a profitable basis. All
he asked was that the laws of Canada be enforced in this matter.
Mr. Batson was not kind to the CPR. [He] charged
that it was the influence of that corporation which assured the
New England Fish Company its annual extension of the bonding privilegethe
railway company, he mentioned, hauled all the fish landed at this
port by the New England Company.
A resolution advanced by H.O. Bell-Irving to petition the government
to have these special privileges end with the scheduled expiration
date of June 30 was approved.
Freight rates . . . again
The June 4 meeting also heard of the years-long delay by the Railway
Commission in handing down a decision on the imbalance of freight
rates paid by wholesalers in Winnipeg and Vancouver. And yet again
a resolution was passed to ask the Commission when its decision
could be expected.
The Board took up the question of the desire for a bridge across
the Second Narrows. H.O. Bell-Irving commented on the very low turnout
for the meeting, indicating there were too few members present to
make such a weighty decision. It was referred to the Boards
committee on railways and navigation for further study. [In the
event, the first bridge over Burrard Inletit was over the
Second Narrowsdid not open until 1925.]
The June 4 meeting read a letter from R.H. Sperling
of the BC Electric Railway Company explaining why there had been
a power failure on May 30 that lasted a full 35 minutes.
His letter, the Province reported, said that the BCERs
power supply was the best on the continent since the change
from steam to hydro generation, and he thought that possibly the
interruption cited was the more noticeable because of the general
excellence of the service. He explained that the trouble had been
caused by a 3,000 horsepower unit becoming suddenly useless through
an inherent defect. There was no lack of power, Mr. Sperling pointed
out, as the company is now using only 12,000 horsepower out of a
possible output of 42,000. As the letter from Mr. Sperling satisfactorily
met the boards desire for information, it was filed.
The June 5, 1907 Province reported that at
the Board meeting held the previous night the committee in
charge of plans for the 20th anniversary banquet which the board
proposes to hold had decided that it would be well for it to take
place on September 23, the anniversary of the first meeting of citizens
to arrange for the formation of the board twenty years ago.
The September 4, 1907 Province, reporting
on the regular monthly meeting of the Board the night before, said
the Board had determined the destruction of game in the vicinity
of Vancouver out of season should be stopped. It was declared that
farmers, Indians and white men holding miners licences may
kill game out of season without fear of prosecution. The holder
of a miners license is exempt from the provisions of the Game
Law in respect to closed seasons.
It was resolved that in the opinion of the
board the whole of Richmond electoral district should be organized
under the Game Act for the protection of game. At present only the
southern half is organized.
In its very brief report on that September 3 meeting,
the Province also noted that a special committee was appointed
to report on a request from the editor of an eastern financial
publication (otherwise unidentified) for the opinion of the
Board of Trade on the Asiatic immigration question. The members
of that committee were named; it was a high-powered bunch, included
among others: H.O. Bell-Irving, W.H. Malkin, Ewing Buchan and Charles
It was moved at the September 3 meeting that the CPR be asked to
place in service a morning train from Agassiz to Vancouver and returning
in the evening. Member Charles Tisdall pointed out that such a service
would be of immense benefit to the trade of Vancouver, and would
greatly facilitate the introduction of garden truck and dairy supplies
to the city.
20th Anniversary Celebration
In its September 24, 1907 issue the Province
spoke effusively on Page One on the Boards anniversary bash
the night before. In the Board of Trades banquet in
celebration of the 20th anniversary of its birth, history was written
as well as read before perhaps the most influential gathering and
epoch-making occasion in the citys bright, brief record.
Fifteen of its 49 charter members were present, and three of them
spoke: the Hon. Francis Carter-Cotton, Conservative MLA for Richmond,
R.H. Alexander and the Boards secretary William Skene.
The guest of honor was the Hon. Robert L. Borden.
[Borden at the time was the Leader of the Opposition in the federal
parliament. He would become prime minister in 1911.] He was
brief and eloquent, said the Province. British
Columbia, said Borden, shall surely become the richest
and greatest, as she is the fairest, of the provinces of the Dominion.
Speaking of unity, the Province
continued, Mr. Borden declared that there was no divergence
either of sentiment or interest between the East and the western
portions of Canada, and he added there need be none.
Attorney-General Bowser (hed become AG this
year) responded to a toast given to British Columbia. There
is, as we all are aware, a deep-seated agitation against Asiatic
immigration. Surely there are enough of our own race and blood in
Great Britain to give British Columbia the laborers and the white
population she needs.
This was greeted, the paper noted, with an enthusiastic wave of
A dissenting vote
Then member H.O. Bell-Irving spoke in the form of a toast to the
The workman of Vancouver is perhaps the best
paid of any in any city of like age and size in the British Empire,
and the reports in the East that there is danger in the Oriental
starving him out are not true. There is no such danger . . . we
need a cheap class of labor to do certain and necessary work, and
until arrangements are perfected by the Government to bring labor
from Great Britain, there should, in my view, if I may be permitted
to express it, be a limited number of Orientals allowed in British
There was, said the paper, subdued applause.
Richard Marpole, whose title was General Executive
Assistant for the CPR, told the gathering that larger and faster
vessels would soon be seen on the Vancouver-Orient and Vancouver-Prince
Rupert routes, with piers and wharves costing two million here in
one of the finest harbors of the world. [Its not mentioned
in this story, but six months earlier Marpole had announced that
the CPR would be opening up a new subdivision in the city, which
he said would be the Nob Hill of Vancouver. We know
it as Shaughnessy.]
John Hendry called for more railways in BC, and particularly lines
to the north.
T.H. Worsnop, general manager of the new Canadian-Mexican
Steamship Company, whose fifth vessel, loaded, is about to leave
for Mexico, urged greater appreciation of the possibilities of Mexican
trade. President Dias recently told me at the Mexican capital,
said Mr. Worsnop, that he desired most a closer diplomatic
and commercial union with that great country, Canada."
[A Spanish Internet site makes reference to a W.E.P. Worsnop, who
on August 17, 1907a month before the Boards anniversary
dinnerestablished the Mexican consulate in Vancouver. Could
this be the same person?]
The newspaper reported that the banquet hall, the
spacious dining-room of the Hotel Vancouver, was a thing of beauty
and a joy for five hours. Manager Cummings inaugurated an idea new
in banquetting halls, round tables each seating five, the speakers
being seated at one long flower-bedecked table.
Later in the newspapers report, it was noted
that Bowser spoke of the economic growth in the province. Revenue
from land had increased from $918,000 in 1906, to $2 million in
1907. The cut of lumber had grown from 818 million feet three years
ago to 570 million today. The mining industry had vastly expanded,
and the local industries enabled operations to be conducted in Alaska
and Montana smelters.
Mayor Alexander Bethune, the Province reported,
was brief in his address to the gathering, and the brevity
painfully surprised the chairman. (Board president W.J. McMillan.)
I had fully expected His Worship to give us
a glowing account of the citys past and present, McMillan
said, and to speak on the plans for deepening False Creek
and other projects. I am indeed surprised.
An awkward silence followed.
A Very Large B
It does not require any imagination,
President McMillan concluded at banquets end, to see
that Vancouver is destined ultimately to be the great rival of the
new San Francisco for the Pacific trade." [That reference to
the "new" San Francisco was an allusion to the earthquake
that city had experienced in April of 1906.] "In Vancouver
the atmosphere spells business with a very large B. Vancouver is
a city to be seen and cultivated like the delightful province of
British Columbia. It has an element of charm which is all its own.
It has absolutely no connection with the Board of
Trade, but the same Province that reported on the Boards
anniversary dinner also had on Page 15 this irresistible report
from Ada, Idaho. Because Amos Clark, aged forty, a farmer
living on the Lewiston reservation, 20 miles south of Ada, openly
defied the Lord, he was struck dead in his front yard last night.
Clark had been known as an atheist for years, and last night in
the presence of his family and several neighbors, said There
is no God. He then defied the Supreme Being to punish him.
No sooner had the words left his lips than he was stricken, and
died a few minutes later. His family is composed of Christian boys
and girls who have been secretly trained and instructed by the mother.
It was a field night for the Vancouver Board
of Trade, wrote the Province of November 6, 1907, exactly
100 years ago today. There was a volume of business that took
over two hours to transact. One of the items discussed was
the safety of the citys streetcar system. The frequency
of fatal accidents on the street railway has been previously considered
by the council of the board and a committee has been appointed to
interview the company . . . The danger was in people alighting from
the cars and going round behind and then getting in the way of a
car going by in the opposite direction. One suggestion was
made that an exit be provided at the front end of the car, as
this would enable the passengers to see an approaching car.
(Remember, too, that until 1922 traffic on our streets drove on
the left.) Discussions with the street railway company would continue.
Winnipegs selfishness was blamed for the news
(on Page One of the Province of November 23, 1907) that new
CPR tariffswhich would go some way to easing BC complaints
about having to pay higher rates for no apparent good reasonslated
to begin November 25 would be suspended. Winnipeg, it seems, had
protested. The council of the Board of Trade held a special session
on the morning of the 23rd and fired off a strong protest to the
Railway Board. The changes affecting Kootenay especially,
the Boards telegram read, if not brought into force
will mean heavy loss on account of . . . contracts having been already
made. The protest of Winnipeg to loss of trade by new tariffs seems
untenable. We assume that it is not part of the jurisdiction of
the railway board to fix tariffs so as to give Winnipeg the Kootenay
business or any other business. We assume that the tariffs are fixed
by the board on general principles, and that the effect on the trade
of any particular place is something that the board is not concerned
with. We understand that the railway board has on complaint of Portage
la Prairie found that the old tariff is illegal.
Great indignation, the Province
reported, was expressed by the members of the council, and
it was pointed out that there would be great financial loss should
the new tariffs fail to come into force on Monday.
The Victoria Board of Trade telephoned during this special meeting
to say that they, too, had sent a telegram to the Railway Board
protesting against the interference of Winnipeg and requesting that
the tariffs be put in force on Monday as proposed.
It would be interesting to read the Winnipeg newspapers from this
same period to see how they handled this same issue.
End to Subsidy
Another strongly-worded telegram was sent by the Board on December
26, 1907, this time to Prime Minister Laurier and the seven BC representatives
in Parliament protesting the cancellation of the subsidy to the
Canadian-Australian line of steamers.
What else was
happening locally in 1907?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1908 »