Youíve heard of Show Biz. This is Biz Biz, the history
of business in Vancouver, told through the activities of The
Vancouver Board of Trade.
A note: the federal government has an interesting
brief article here
on how the Second World War affected the Canadian economy. An
excerpt: For a decade before the war, Canadas economic
situation had been very bleak. From 1929 to 1933, the gross national
product fell 43 per cent, and exports plummeted by 50 per cent
. By 1933, the unemployment rate had risen above 25 per cent.
Recovery began in 1934, but its pace was very slow until the wars
outbreak . . .
Prospecting Killed in B.C.
Six leaders of the British Columbia mining industry created
a sensation among a representative gathering of heads of the industry
in Vancouver Friday afternoon, by laying bare the difficulties under
which prospectors labor in this province. That was the lead
on a Vancouver Sun story from January 14, 1939 (Page 26.)
Dr. Victor Dolmage, famous mining consulting engineer, Gordon
Murray, himself a successful prospector; F. E. Woodside, manager
of the B. C. Chamber of Mines; D. S. Tait, secretary of the Privateer
Mine Co.; Fred M. Connell, head of the Toronto Mining & Exploration
Co.; and heavy investor in British Columbia mines, and Dr. W. B.
Burnett, head of Cariboo Gold Quartz Mines, joined in a slashing
attack on the manner in which the other branches of the industry,
and its allied industries, have killed the prospector
in British Columbia, and damaged the future prosperity of the mining
They spoke in a symposium address before the Mining Bureau
of the Vancouver Board of Trade, and their condemnations of the
B. C. mining industry's relations with the prospector were greeted
with continuous volleys of applause.
Chapter and Verse
Points brought out in the discussion, the Sun
- Prospecting in B. C. is dead. The industry itself
has killed it.
- The prosperity of the industry 10 or 12 years hence depends
on prospecting being carried out today. There is none.
- At least four-fifths of B.C. mines that developed into paying
mines in the last ten years are the discoveries of prospectors
of a past generation which has not been replaced.
- At least 95 per cent of paying B. C. mines are the discoveries
of independent prospectors.
- Prospecting has been killed by big companies who legally
defraud the prospector, by "experts and engineers"
who discourage him, and by business men who draw big profits from
the mining trade but are afraid to put any money back into it.
- The government draws much revenue from the prospectors and from
the result of their work, but fails to support prospecting adequately.
Said D.S. Tait: The reason that prospecting has died out
in B. C. is simply that for the past five years there has not been
one decent deal between a big operating company and a prospector.
The treatment of the prospector in B. C. varies from very rotten,
to just plain bad, which is the best he can hope for. Even with
a proven claim he gets frozen out. One big company squeezed a
$3 million claim out of a man for $10,000.
Vancouver Lacks Courage
This long newspaper article concludes with remarks by W.B. Burnett:
I have spent 30 years backing prospectors, and it has
paid me well, declared Dr. Burnett, famous as the man whose
persistent courage made the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mines,
and president of the B.C. Chamber of Mines.
The trouble, he said, is that the engineers
and experts discourage the prospectors, and the grocers, hardwaremen,
machinery dealers and others who make big money out of the miners
wont put a few dollars back into the deal via the prospector.
Vancouver has the best chance a city ever had in history to make
millions, but it hasnt the courage. If this city took the
advice it has heard here today, its citizens would make money for
themselves, for the city and for the province.
G. Lyall Fraser The Boards new President
The January 18, 1939 Sun (Page 2) announced that G. Lyall
Fraser, manager of Western City Co. Ltd., would be the new president
of The Board. He would succeed John Whittle. H. R. Cottingham, branch
manager of Ford Motor Co. of Canada Lts., is the new vice-president
elect, whose namelike Fraserswas the only one
submitted when nominations closed on Tuesday, the 17th.
W. E. Payne, executive secretary, said the paper, was
also confirmed in that office, which automatically makes him a member
of the council of the Board. He is entering his twenty-first year
Ira Dilworth Invites Criticism of CBC
Nearly 200 persons crowded the dining salon of Princess Kathleen
at Pier B. C. Friday night, reported the Sun of January
21, 1939 (Page 11), to attend the annual meeting of the Transportation
and Customs Bureau, Board of Trade. They were there to see F. M.
Rutter, new bureau chairman, officially installed, and to hear Prof.
Ira Dilworth tell of the aims and problems of the Canadian Broadcasting
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation invites sane,
constructive criticism, Prof. Dilworth, B. C. Regional representative
of CBC, told his audience. We have attempted to provide Canada
with a balanced program, but are constantly besieged by irresponsible,
uncritical listeners who insist that their whims should dominate
He listed three major problems facing CBC:
- Control: The problem of harmonizing CBC's democratic responsibilities
to safeguard the greatest good to the greatest number.
- Variety of program taste.
- Coverage: CBC is committed, as a national utility, to a policy
of caring as far as possible for listeners in lonely places.
The Province on the same date (Page 5) added a couple of
other details: Action of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
in barring certain individuals from the air lanes was defended Friday
night by Dr. Ira Dilworth, CBC regional director, who addressed
the annual dinner of the transportation and foreign trade bureau,
Vancouver Board of Trade. Although he mentioned no names, Dr. Dilworth's
remarks recalled the broadcasting corporation's recent refusal to
lease station time to C. George McCullagh, president of the Toronto
Globe and Mail.
He urged the public to be patient with Canada's national
broadcasting system, emphasizing that it is still in the experimental
stage [it was formed November 2, 1936] and, if properly nurtured,
can become an extremely important force in the realization of a
greater national unity.
In keeping with the nautical atmosphere of the meeting, W.
E. Carr sang several lusty sea chanties for the bureau members.
Other entertainment was contributed by Jack Boothe, Daily Province
cartoonist, and Jack Emerson, pianist.
[1936 was a busy year for 31-year-old financier George McCullagh.
He had bought that year The Toronto Globe, a newspaper with
a circulation of 78,000, then a few weeks later bought The Mail
and Empire (circulation 118,000) and absorbed it into The
Globe under the new name, The Globe and Mail. His startling
life story, and his suicide at 47, are described by Robert Fulford
Cigarettes Cost More than Hospitals, Doctor Says
Although one out of every thirteen Canadians goes to hospital
every year, the average man spends far more on cigarettes than he
does on hospitalization, Dr. G. Harvey Agnew of Toronto told the
health bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade in a luncheon address
The talk was covered in the Province on February 24, 1939
(Page 1). The cost of hospitalization is high to the individual,
Agnew said, but the actual cost to a family over a period
of years is very small compared with the amount spent on non-essentials,
such as cigarettes and entertainments.
Dr. Agnew, as president of the American Hospital Association
and the department of hospital service, Canadian Medical Association,
reviewed the development of hospital care insurance, pointing out
that it was impossible for the average man to budget for
hospital treatment as he does for rent. In Canada there were approximately
80,000 persons in hospital on any average day, and the total cost
of hospital maintenance was approximately $60 million.
Hospital insurance aims at spreading the cost of hospital
treatment over the year so that the patient could pay when he was
well, rather than during sickness. Various schemes of insurance
had shown tremendous growth during the past seven or eight years,
particularly in the United States.
Vancouver Equal to Most Ports
Vancouver's port facilities are equal to the most modern
in the British Isles, members of the Foreign Trade Bureau of the
Vancouver Board of Trade were told at a luncheon Friday in Hotel
Vancouver by G. McBean, assistant manager of the Canadian Transport
Company. He had just returned from Europe, reported the Sun
for February 11, 1939 (Page 26).
The docks in most United Kingdom ports are a shock,
Mr. McBean declared. There are few natural harbors and most
ports are on inland rivers. Small locks, tugs and lack of room add
immensely to the cost of loading and unloading. Giant electric
cranes in one port are forced to keep pace with horse-drawn wagons,
which are still used to move freight away from the docks, he said.
I didn't see anything in any British port that was
superior to our own Ballantyne Pier in Vancouver. Ballantyne
is a great credit here to our harbor board.
Mr. McBean described the effects of the recent crisis on European
countries during his last visit. It would be putting it mildly
to call it a panic, he said. Business was
at a complete standstill in England. The country was apparently
totally unprepared for the crisis. Distribution of gas masks was
not completed until five days after the crisis had passed. Most
of the population would have caught pneumonia if an air raid had
forced them into the open-air graves that were being dug in every
park. [Note: the Second World War was still seven months away,
but many people in Europe thought it was imminent, so the crisis
referred to was likely linked to that.]
Germans Disposed Toward British
Belgium was one of the most upset countries during the crisis,
apparently fearing German reprisals for her part in the World War,
Mr. McBean said. There was less talk of war in Germany than
anywhere else. The people there seemed very favorably disposed toward
the British people and many scoffed at the idea of war. Most Germans
are more interested in their own economic welfare than in war. Many
expressed the feeling that the sooner Germany gets out of the hands
of the present political regime the better for everybody. I am convinced
that if Germany involves Britain in war, it will be against the
wishes of the German people.
A Few Pop Guns
In the March 27, 1939 Sun (Page 2) Vancouvers Mayor
Lyle Telford, who was in Ottawa, rapped the citys defenses
of Vancouver. We have a few pop guns in the parks,
he said, but we would be lucky if they did not kill the men
who were trying to fire them. I'm not a military man, but I will
say this: Any defenses will have to start, not on the shore, but
away out in the Pacific.
Present coast defenses here, the Sun commented,
are based on heavy fortifications on the Strait of Juan de
Fuca and Johnstone Strait, already installed and designed to deal
with any attempt to invade B.C. coast waters with large naval forces.
Local batteries are for protection against small craft which may
slip past the heavy forts and approach the city. The guns installed
in Vancouver by the Department of National Defense so far are two
six-inch coast defense rifles in Stanley Park. They are placed as
an examination battery to cover the activities of harbor
patrol boats examining incoming vessels in time of war. Similar
batteries are projected for Point Grey and Point Atkinson.
Record Number of Tourists Predicted
Thousands of requests for information about British Columbia,
said the Sun for March 27, 1939 (Page 2), and the first
trickling flow of visitors from Eastern Canada and the United States
bring predictions that an all time record number of tourists
will visit the province this year.
Provincial government and local tourist officers, railway
and steamship executives, airline officials and hotel men estimate
the industry this year will be worth more than the $30 million to
$32 million spent by visitors to British Columbia in 1938.
They list these principal items on the credit side of the
- The proposed visit of the King and Queen, which will start the
tourist influx at least two weeks earlier than usual.
- Widespread advertising of provincial tourist attractions in
newspapers, magazines and travel publications.
- The general westward movement of the United States to the international
Exposition at San Franciscowhere British Columbia has an
exhibitwith an expected return flow of travellers through
700,000 Last Year
Major J. Gordon Smith, Commissioner of the British Columbia
Travel Bureau, declines to estimate how many tourists will come
to the province this season but says all factors point to
a bigger summer than last year, when about 700,000 visitors
came to British Columbia.
Many thousands of inquiries about British Columbia tourist
attractions are handled by his office weekly. G. I. Warren, publicity
commissioner for Victoria, says there will be a tremendous
move north this year, and in addition thousands of prairie
visitors will visit the city.
Cars entering British Columbia from the United States totalled
108,423 at the four principal points of entry in the southern coast
district in 1938. They brought 348,158 passengers, said (illegible)
Hutchison, secretary manager for the Vancouver Tourist Association.
A big share of our business in Vancouver comes from the Prairies,
too, Hutchison says. Last year we had 100,000 Prairie
visitors26,000 from Edmonton alone, and 14,000 from
By the end of summer, he estimates his bureau will have answered
250,000 inquiries from prospective tourists. While the Golden Gate
Exposition will have some effect on tourist business this year,
Hutchison says its greatest value will be in long-term
Hutchison says hotel executives have told him their rooms
have been booked from the time of the Royal visit to autumn. Travel
prospects have never been better," according to G. A. McNicholl,
general passenger agent for Canadian National Railways in Vancouver.
Bookings for 16 Alaska voyages by CNR ships are ahead of last year.
The new Tweedsmuir Park, in the central coast district, will
draw a goodly number of tourists this summer, he says.
Canadian Pacific Railway spokesmen feel 1939 will be a fair
year. They plan 22 Alaska sailings and many day trips
in coast waters during a busy summer. Bus lines expect
business to equal or slightly exceed that of 1937, previous
record year for motor coach transportation.
Air travel has been given a fillip by the Trans-Canada Air
lines establishment of Vancouver-Montreal passenger service. Other
major lines expect heavy tourist business.
Mining Profit Made During Peace
The Great War brought no great or permanent prosperity to
the mining industry of British Columbia or any other part of the
world, and a new war would be even less beneficial on the whole,
it was declared by Dr. Harry V. Warren of the University of British
Columbia, at a luncheon meeting of the mining bureau of the Vancouver
Board of Trade on Tuesday. That was the lead in a Sun
story on March 29, 1939 (Page 22).
The real profits of mining are in peace and not
in war, he said. Canada would make a better contribution
to peace by making some sacrifices in peace time by denying to predatory
countries the metals they need to stock up for future war. The
British Empire, United States and Russia, if they earnestly wanted
peace, could ensure it by shutting off the supply of all materials
that might be used in war. This is because no nation in the world
is self-sufficient in war materials, and even colonies could not
make it so.
Short of Needs
Even if Germany was given back all her former colonies
she would still be far short of her war needs in wheat, copper and
especially petroleum. If only the oil supply of Japan was shut off
by all other nations the doings in China would quickly collapse.
Even the British Empire and the United States are neither
of them self-sufficient. We must abandon narrow nationalism in the
world of today and depend on international trade for a return of
reasonable prosperity. It is all "eyewash" to say that
they could do this and that. Canadians should be a little less glib
about appeasement, Dr. Warren said.
Returning to his original thesis he declared that cold historical
statistics show that no country's mineral industry ever profited
in the end from any war. In the last war prices of some of the base
metals in British Columbia boomed for a time, but demand soon fell
off and the price clock at the end of the war had been set back
twenty years or more.
Dr. Warren termed talk of sanctions as smug hypocrisy.
History showed that in a year or so before the last war Canada supplied
Germany with enough nickel for her needs in the four years of war.
Other countries made comparable sales of other commodities even
in the six months during which the whole world knew that war was
imminent. There was trading with Germany in war supplies even
after the war started.
It is foolish to talk of sanctions if we are not prepared
to pay the price which would make them unnecessary when war actually
breaks out. Canada and the United States, by preaching peace but
supplying war materials, and by preaching that they would stay at
home if war broke out, are actually menacing peace, Dr. Warren
250,000 Miles a Month
The March 1, 1939 Province (Page 24) reported on a speech
given today by William A. Straith, chief flying instructor for Trans-Canada
Airlines. He told The Board's transportation and customs bureau
at a luncheon meeting at the Hotel Vancouver that a quarter of
a million miles a month is the astonishing total which pilots
will roll up in flying the regular schedule of the continent-spanning
mail and express service which opens today.
The schedule includes one round-trip a day between Vancouver
and Montreal, two round-trips daily between Lethbridge and Edmonton,
one round-trip between Montreal and Toronto via Ottawa and North
Bay, and two round-trips between Vancouver and Seattle. Mr. Straith
mentioned also that the schedule had been recently extended to include
daily service between Vancouver and Victoria.
Vancouver's airport won high praise from the chief instructor,
who spoke in warm terms of the foresight and skill which had gone
into its selection and development, and of the fact that adequate
facilities for landing planes are maintained at this terminal.
Need to Keep British Market
British Columbia's embattled fruit industryfaced with
the twin-problem of increased production and diminished markets--yesterday
sought Vancouver's aid in its fight to retain what is left of this
province's preferential market in the British Isles.
E. J. Chambers, of Vernon, president of the Associated Growers
of British Columbia Limited, made the plea, said the Province
on March 25, 1939 (Page 35), at the regular luncheon meeting
of the foreign trade bureau, Vancouver Board of Trade, at Hotel
Vancouver. If anything happens that we lose our position in that
market, the situation of the British Columbia fruit producer will,
to say the least, be very, very serious, said Mr. Chambers,
who explained that Great Britain takes 90 per cent of British
Columbia's exported apples.
Mr. Chambers traced the development of the industry from
its birth in 1910, when there was a fear that British Columbia
would never be able to produce enough apples to supply the markets,
until now, when the domestic market has dwindled so alarmingly that
it is necessary to sell 50 per cent of the crop abroad. He described
the fruit farmer as a manufacturer in partnership with nature,
producing 7,500 carloads of apples in a manufacturing season
of four months, May 10 to September 10.
Illustrating the narrow margin of profit that accrues to
the farmer after his year of patient toil, he produced the following
table of costs for the Board of Trade members:
Market value of 7,500 cars of apples......$8.5 million
Transportation costs................$2.5 million
Packing, storage, selling...........$3 million (This
includes $750,000 on B.C.-made boxes)
Labor for picking, etc. .................$1.5 million
On this basis the fruit farmer makes a profit of about twenty-five
cents on each box of appleshe nets the price of a box of
Prairies May Help
A return of prosperity to the prairies would change
the picture, he said. Until such happens we must export
at least 50 per cent of the crop.
Mr. Chambers showed that exports had increased from 10 per
cent of the crop in 1920 to 50 per cent of the crop this year, but
in 1920 British Columbia produced only 2 million boxes of apples,
whereas today the province grows the staggering total of 6 million.
In other words, the growers are faced with the problem of marketing
3 million boxes of apples annually in a domestic market, which has
been seriously curtailed by depression and prairie drought.
Barriers against Canadian fruit have been erected all over
the world and the United States has undermined BCs former
sales ground in Scandinavia. Even Australia places obstacles in
the way of BC apples in order to protect its own fruit producers
but, admitted Mr. Chambers, we favor thatwe would like
to see that same principle adopted in our own country.
The Board gets the Old Hotel Clock
Said the Sun for April 13, 1939 (Page 10): The clock
which used to hang over the Georgia Street entrance of the old Hotel
Vancouver was presented to the Vancouver Board of Trade at a farewell
luncheon Wednesday, by W. J. Mylett, manager. [The farewell
was to the old hotel, the second in the citys history.] We
want you to accept this clock as a token of our appreciation,
said Mr. Mylett to the large assembly. We hope it will keep
time for you as well as it has kept time for us.
The clock was presented to the board at 1:20 p.m. It had
stopped at 1 o'clock.
90 Members Sail
Pier C was a busy spot this morning, reported the Sun
on Monday, June 5, 1939 (Page 22), as wives and other relatives
and friends of ninety members of Vancouver Board of Trade bade them
bon voyage on the 21st annual board excursion, which
this year takes them upcoast to Stewart and back by way of the West
Coast of Vancouver Island on a nine-day outing.
President G. Lyall Fraser and vice-president H. R. Cottingham
headed the party that left at 10 a.m. on C.P.S.S. Princess Alice.
The list represented a broad cross-section of the business and professional
leaders of the city. It is the most representative Vancouver
party we have ever taken on an annual excursion, said
Executive Secretary W. E. Payne.
The party will see the pulp and paper plants of Powell River and
Ocean Falls; the mining plants of Portland Canal, including Big
Missouri and Silbak-Premier, and later the great new camp at Zeballos;
the varied fishing, lumbering and other activities of Prince Rupert
and Port Alberni.
A note: for reasons of length reports on this
excursion, with a few exceptions, will be left out of our articles.
Our focus remains the Metropolitan Vancouver area. Researchers
wanting more data can check the Sun and the Province
for the two weeks following June 5, 1939. These newspapers can
be accessed on microfilm on the 5th floor of the main branch of
the Vancouver Public Library.
An Alaskan Highway Proposal
Strong arguments in favor of the routing of a highway
to Alaska through British Columbia, as against Alberta proposals
that the highway should be routed through the latter province, are
advanced by the Vancouver Board of Trade in a brief submitted today
to the British Columbia-Alaska Highway Commission. Thats
from the Sun for July 20, 1939 (Page 1).
The Board of Trade's argument was supported by Vancouver
Tourist Association which, through B. George Hansuld, a director,
predicted the completion of the highway will make tourism the greatest
industry of the Northwest. But Mayor C. E. Scanlon of Kamloops brought
a new consideration before the commission, a plan to route the southern
part of the highway through the central interior, by way of existing
Okanagan roads, the North Thompson Highway and the Cariboo Highway.
The commission opened its public hearing in Salon A, Hotel
Vancouver at 10 a.m.
The Vancouver brief, presented by G. Lyall Fraser, president
of the Board of Trade, and Howard T. Mitchell, chairman of the joint
committee of the mining, transportation and customs bureaus of the
board, was based on these points:
- Proximity to the Pacific Coast should tend to lessen costs
- A north-south road in British Columbia would open areas in Northern
B. C. now largely inaccessible, in which the potential mineral
resources are comparable to those of the Northwest Territories
where economical transportation is now provided by railway and
- Alaskan interest in the project, so vital to its satisfactory
conclusion, will only be maintained if the route serves the more
populous communities along the coast of Alaska
- Presumably designed in a large measure as a road which will
develop tourist travel, a highway to Alaska will have more appeal
if it runs through the world-famous scenic surroundings of British
- The selection of a British Columbia route does not preclude
the possibility of Calgary, Edmonton and other prairie centres
being more or less directly linked to this highway by existing
or projected east-west communicating roads.
Mr. Hansuld, speaking for the Tourist Association, said the
building of the Alaska Highway through British Columbia by making
tourism the greatest industry of the coast will establish a prosperity
that will be reflected in all industries. It will be as great
a boon to the merchants of Alaska and the Yukon as the fabulous
Klondike gold rush, he asserted.
T. P. O'Kelly of Vancouver, president of the Monkman Pass
Highway Association, presented a brief favoring the eastern, or
Prince George route, through British Columbia. He cited climatic
conditions on the northern coast to demonstrate that weather conditions
on the western, or Hazelton route, west of the Cascades, would create
enormous difficulties. In addition, he said, the terrain of the
western route is much more difficult than that out of Prince George.
More CP Ships, says MacMillan
The July 6, 1939 Province (Page 25) carried a report quoting
H.R. MacMillan as saying BC needed two new transpacific Empress
liners. He was speaking July 5 to The Board in an address at
the Hotel Vancouver.
He praised the present service as the finest in the
world, but said that development of Pacific trade and commerce
and the recent attention on the China coast merited addition to
the fleet. I don't wish to make any invidious comparisons,
he said, but it seems to me that if we can afford this fine
hotel in which we are gathered today, we can afford two new Empresses.
[Note: the Hotel Vancouver, the present one, had opened May 24,
so was just a month-and-a-half old.]
On motion of Howard T. Mitchell, the Province continued,
yesterday's meeting voted to revive the Associated Boards
of Trade of British Columbia. Appeals had been made from the
Island, Valley and interior, Mr. Mitchell said, and it was to Vancouver
to take the initiative.
Fifty-three new members were elected to the board at Wednesday's
meeting, which was attended by more than 600 persons.
September 1, 1939 Hitlerís Germany invades Poland.
The Second World War begins.
Register Men and Money
In the first newspaper item about The Board we were able to find
following the beginning of the Second World War, the Sun
in its September 13, 1939 edition (Page 20) headlined Register
Men, Money, Industry for Defense.
The Boards Council at a special meeting the night before
went on record as in favor of national registration.
The resolution was sent to Prime Minister King; Dr. R.J. Manion,
the leader of the Opposition, and Ian Mackenzie, Minister of Defense
(and the MP for Vancouver Centre since 1930.) It urged that the
resources of Canada, to the uttermost of wealth, industry and manpower
be placed at the disposal of the Empire in the defense of democratic
institutions in the present war.
It also read, said the Sun, And be it further
resolved that to such end there be inaugurated at once a system
of national registration of all residents of the Dominion
and of all other resources of the country in money, industry and
Willing and Anxious to Serve
The Board Council endorsed the action of the Hon. Dr. R.J.
Manion in joining forces with the government in the present emergency.
(Manion was, of course, a Conservative.) We are confident,
read the resolution, that under our present leaders, political
expediency will be subservient to prosecuting the war with the utmost
vigor and determination, and the Vancouver Board of Trade pledges
its support in this hour of national emergency.
G. Lyall Fraser, president of the board, wrote the
Sun, declared the Empire is not at war with Germany
on account of personal hatred or for territorial or other gain.
We are at war with Germany to defend the British nations,
our homes and our families from the fate that has befallen the Austrians,
the Czechs, yes, even a majority of the German people themselves.
Many of our members have, due to their previous service and
experience, already been called to the colors. Others are members
of the militia and have been mobilized. All the members of the board
are, I am sure, willing and anxious to serve in whatever capacity
their ability and experience best fits them.
Ship Commandeered to Carry BC Lumber
Evidence that Great Britain is determined to continue the
purchase of British Columbia lumber in large quantities despite
war hazards to shipping was driven home to exporters here today
when it was learned that the British Government had commandeered
a ship to carry lumber out of Port of Vancouver. That
was the lead in a September 30, 1939 story in the Sun (Page
24), that continued: It is understood the ship will start
loading lumber in the next couple of days. Name of the ship is not
known, but it has been on the Pacific Coast for some time. It has
not been learned how much lumber the ship will take.
This is the first ship to be commandeered to haul lumber
from British Columbia and exporters here expressed the opinion that
the Timber Control Board in England is rapidly getting things in
shape for a continuous movement of British Columbia lumber to the
Old Country. (The fact that the Timber Control Board, with headquarters
in Bristol, England, would supply ships to carry BC lumber was brought
out exclusively by The Vancouver Sun on Wednesday.)
Success of the board's plans will mean a great deal to the
British Columbia lumber industry as the United Kingdom has been
the greatest buyer of lumber from this province, taking an average
of 80 million feet per month in the first eight months of this year,
or about 65 to 70 per cent of all shipments.
Britain is in dire need of B.C. lumber, as she will
not be able to import from the Scandinavian countries due to a blockage
of the Baltic Sea, and is faced with the problem of building homes
in rural areas of England to house between five million and seven
million women and children who have been moved from the danger of
bombing attacks in the densely-populated cities.
At present, some of these people are being taken care of
in private homes, but the British Government sees the necessity
of a building program to provide proper accommodation for them.
Lumber is also needed for further building in connection with national
defense. It is understood that arrangements were made this week
for a shipment of nine or ten million feet of lumber for the U.K.,
apart from that to go on the commandeered vessel, and exporters
are of the opinion that total shipments for the full month of September
will be not much more than 10 per cent lower than in August, when
the United Kingdom took the record total of 127 million feet.
Until exports hit their stride some of the millswhich
are now operating from 65 per cent of capacity to 100 per cent capacitymay
be forced to reduce operations as storage space will be overtaxed.
This, however, would be but a temporary condition. Operations in
the woods will undoubtedly be maintained for the next few months
and there is the possibility of an increase in operations if business
from the United Kingdom is what might be expected in view of that
country's inability to import lumber from other countries.
There are now about 9,000 loggers employed. Normal employment
at this time of year is around 10,000. However, if three of the
bigger logging companiesB. & K. Logging Co., Campbell
River Lumber Co. and O'Brien Logging Co.which have not resumed
operations since the summer shut-down, decide to start up, work
would be given to between 750 and 800 men, which would bring employment
to about normal for this season of the year.
What freight rates will be on lumber out of Vancouver to
the U. K. when the board gets its plan under way can only be guessed
at this time, but a rate of 100 to 125 shillings per thousand feet
is thought probable, comparing with about 60 shillings in peace
time. The rate will be subject to risk and the amount of tonnage
available. Just at the time there is said to be but little tonnage
available on the Pacific Coast for charter, the majority of those
ships here already being booked up.
Submarines Not a Threat
There has been some talk in Vancouver of the possibility
of shipping lumber east by rail to the Atlantic coast, where it
would be shipped to England, but exporters say that under present
conditions there will be no necessity for such action, as ships
leaving Vancouver will be able to travel down the Pacific Coast
without convoy and through the Panama Canal and could be met by
destroyers on the Atlantic. Thus far there has been no indication
of ships being molested by submarines in the Pacific and there
is little need for convoys.
Some benefits are also seen for the BC shingle industry in
the U. K., although 90 per cent of shingles from this province go
to the United States. During the past year some 20 to 40 cars of
BC shingles went to the U. K. each month, which is about a 5,000
per cent increase over such shipments five years ago. BC shingles
have become increasingly popular in Scotland.
$5 Million in Housing in 9 Months
The September 30, 1939 Sun (Page 25) reported that more
than $5 million worth of building has been authorized in
Vancouver during the first nine months of this year. Figures released
at City Hall today showed that $5,296,982 worth of building in 3,152
separate permits has been authorized. This included 885 homes, having
a total value of $2,432,125. [Note: that works out to $2,748 per
During the first nine months of last year 2,792 permits,
with a total value of $5,682,280, were issued, including 1,032 dwellings,
valued at $2,945,685. This month, 287 permits, with a total value
of $402,237, were issued, compared with 384 permits, valued at $503,670
Eighty-two homes, valued at $198,690, were authorized this
month, compared with 102 homes, valued at $307,500.
Retain the Men!
With great business activity seemingly assured in the near
future, owing to the need of war supplies of all kinds, the council
of Vancouver Board of Trade has circularized its membership urging
that, as far as possible, employees should be retained on payrolls
during the temporary period of transition.
Board president G. Lyall Fraser, the Sun for
September 30, 1939 (Page 25) reported, voices his confidence
that all board members are ready and willing to do their part in
assisting to maintain normal community conditions and that their
action will not only meet with the approval of all citizens, but
will give a lead to others throughout Canada.
President Fraser also assures members that active steps are
being taken by the council, in co-operation with other organizations,
to see to it that Vancouver and British Columbia get a full share
of Canadian and British war contracts.
No Time to Grumble
Vancouver business men accepted the tax increases ordered
in Canada's new budget without grumbling, said the Province
on September 13, 1939 (Page 21), seeing in them an opportunity
for everyone to help pay for the war.
The new levies will make the cost of living higher for everyone
in Canada, and hardly a business or industry has not been directly
affected by the changes announced in the House of Commons by Revenue
Minister J. L. Ilsley.
However, the attitude of business is that in view of wartime
conditions the changes had to come. The only serious protest
so far has been from the tea and coffee trade, which claims that
discrimination has been shown against their commodities.
To most business leaders the budget was not unexpected in
its general aspects. It was no surprise to me, commented
Lyall Fraser, president of the Vancouver Board of Trade. As
a financial man I see no important defects in the budget. The thing
that business men were chiefly anxious about was a threatened increase
in the sales tax. It would have resulted in a great deal of costly
and inconvenient readjustment. Fortunately, the sales tax has been
left at its present level.
Taxation of excess profits is based on a sound principle.
Industry should be made to bear the burden of war as well as
The Right Thing
Considering the nature of the job to be done, the budget
strikes me as being the right thing, said H. R. MacMillan,
prominent Vancouver exporter and manufacturer. As president of B.
C. Packers Ltd., Canada's biggest fish-packing organization, he
was interested in removal of the sales tax exemption from canned
fish, but he said that in his opinion the canning industry should
not feel entitled to exemption.
Export salmon is not affected, but 40 per cent of the
pack is sold in the Canadian market and will be subject to the tax,
said Mr. MacMillan. However, we aren't complaining. It is
inevitable that under war conditions taxes should take a high
proportion of our earnings, and this is no time to grumble about
it. Our chief concern should be to see that the money raised by
the government is well spent.
Just the Beginning
This is probably just the beginning, remarked
Col. H. S. Tobin, vice-chairman of the B. C. division, Canadian
Manufacturers' Association, who as head of one of the city's biggest
brewing and distilling organizations, represents a business directly
affected by the new tax setup. Everyone must realize that
we've got to pay for the war as well as fight for it, said
Col. Tobin. We've got to carry on, and "business as usual"
should be the slogan. I'm all in favor of excess war profits, taxes
and conscription of capital. If Canada's lives are going to be sacrificed,
her capital should be sacrificed, too.
B.C. Electric Affected
B.C. Electric Railway is another big company affected by
the tax, the Province continued, "inasmuch as
gas and light charges are to be levied upon under the sales tax.
W. G. Murrin, president of B. C. Power Corporation and subsidiary
companies, said the change would mean that the business office of
B. C. Electric would have to change its entire system of bookkeeping,
but that it was regarded as a war measure.
Canada is at war, said Mr. Murrin, and
if the government in its wisdom decides on this particular method
to raise funds, we must co-operate to the limit of our ability.
Great Tourist Year Forecast
The Second World War wasnt daunting Dr. G.H. Worthington.
In a talk reported on in the September 25, 1939 Province
(Page 17) he declared that unless the Canadian Government
enacts regulations making it difficult for American tourists to
enter Canada, 1940 will be the biggest tourist year in the Dominion's
history. He made that prediction in a luncheon talk to
the advertising and sales bureau of the Board of Trade at the Hotel
Dr. Worthington, who is president of the Evergreen Playground
Association and vice-president of the Canadian Association of Tourist
and Publicity Bureaus, pointed out that if the war continues great
numbers of tourists who ordinarily visit other countries will come
Unquestionably there will be a great decline in tourist
travel to countries that may be neutral, he said. South
America can be reached only by boat or planeit takes at least
three weeks to reach Rio de Janeiro by boat from New Yorkand
Mexico is too hot for summer travel. Canada will therefore be the
United States residents, the speaker said, are the most travel-minded
people in the world. In 1938, of the six billion dollars they expended
on vacation travel, $264 million was spent in Canada and $25 million
in British Columbia.
The Board Urges Gifts to the Empire
Besides selling goods to Great Britain for war purposes,
Canada should pursue a generous policy of giving to the Empire,
the Vancouver Board of Trade contends in a resolution passed by
the council this week and which is being communicated to Prime Minister
Mackenzie King, cabinet members, B. C. federal members and various
trade organizations throughout the Dominion.
So began a story in the September 30, 1939 Province (Page
35 ). We propose the adoption of a principle and a policy
rather than a detailed plan, states the board in an explanatory
letter sent to business organizations. It is probable, however,
that the simplest method of giving effect to this scheme would be
in the granting of credits by the Canadian Government to
the Imperial Government for the purchase of supplies in Canada,
to be used as desired up to a specified total value.
This would be in addition, of course, to the heavy purchases
which Great Britain is planning to make in Canada for war materials
and supplies. The cost would be borne by our country as a whole
through general taxation rather than by any individual industries
or areas in Canada.
The Vancouver Board of Trade feels that it is Canada's patriotic
duty to make the maximum possible contribution toward the winning
of a war in which the future of the British Empire and, in fact,
all democracy is at stake. It was felt by the council that the proposed
voluntary contributions by Canada to the Imperial Government, pending
the furnishing of strong military assistance, would be a gesture
greatly heartening the British people.
It would unquestionably be a practical evidence to the world
of Empire solidarity and would add to the goodwill existing between
the two principal nations of the British Commonwealtha goodwill,
incidentally, which Canada has enjoyed for years in terms of preference
given to Canadian products in the British market at a time when
other world markets were closing to the Dominion.
Whatever voluntary contribution to the British cause Canada
can afford to make will be particularly appreciated at this time
when the British taxpayer has shouldered the greatest tax burden
in British history in order to defend a war front which is Canada's
front quite as much as Britain's.
BC Goods for Public Contracts
The October 11, 1939 Province headline on Page 21 today
read: BOARD OF TRADE URGES B.C. GOODS FOR PUBLIC CONTRACTS.
The Board of Trade council, at the instance of the B. C.
Products Bureau, the story continued, has written to
the Provincial Government, City Council, Park and School Boards
and Institute of Architects, urging that the products of B. C. factories
and farms be specified in the granting of contracts.
In the case of the Provincial Government, British Columbia
manufacturers and producers have always received, and continue to
receive, splendid support, the bureau reports. Provincial Government
bids specify that all material and supplies used in and about the
construction of works shall be manufactured in the province. The
B. C. Products Bureau would like to see this policy extended to
all bodies spending public moneys. Particularly is such a policy
needed now. British Columbia has a notable record both for the quality
and price of the products produced.
It has been pointed out in the communications which have
been forwarded to governing bodies that a large section of the buying
public, as a result of long years of intensive campaigning on the
part of the bureau, is definitely sold on the value of B. C.
products and give practical evidence of their loyalty by an
Good Wages = Spending Power
Good business conditions can not exist in a low-paid community,
said Percy R. Bengough, vice-president of the Trades and Labor Congress
of Canada, addressing a crowded meeting of Vancouver Board of Trade
at Hotel Vancouver, Wednesday, October 18, 1939 (Page 21). The Province
gave the talk brief attention the next day.
Speaking on the aims of labor in relation to business,
the paper continued, Mr. Bengough declared war-time needs
could best be satisfied by keeping business in a healthy condition.
You can not have good business without spending power,
he said, and you can not have spending power unless you
pay good wages.
The Board Makes a Good Suggestion
The Province for October 20, 1939 (Page 30) reported that
the Board of Trades recommendations to the Federal Government
urging adoption by Canada of the principle and policy of assisting
Great Britain in the war against Germany by regular and voluntary
contributions of foodstuffs and supplies to the British forces,
have met with a very wide response.
Prime Minister Mackenzie King replied that careful note had
been taken of the representations, which had already been referred
to the proper officers of the government. [He] fully appreciates
the emphasis which the board places upon voluntary contributions
to the war effort of Great Britain.
R. J. Manion [he was the Leader of the Opposition at the
time] stated that he would be pleased to bear in mind the views
of the board and in the meantime congratulates the board upon the
very keen interest which it is showing in all matters relating to
Canada's participation in the war . . . First responses received
from boards of trade throughout Canada indicate unanimous support.
Those heard from include St. John, N.B.; Kamloops, Medicine Hat,
Vernon, Revelstoke, and Trail.
Loggers at One Dollar a Day
A timber country where waste is unknown, wrote the
Province on October 21, 1939 (Page 35), where a sawmill
cutting 25 million feet annually is regarded as one of the biggest,
and where loggers cheerfully toil sixteen hours a day for a dollar,
was described to the Vancouver Board of Trade's foreign trade bureau
Friday at noon by Leon Koerner, president of the recently
established Alaska Pine Company, New Westminster.
Mr. Koerner, a newcomer to British Columbia's industrial
life [Note: he came to Vancouver from Czechoslovakia in 1938] was
formerly in charge of Czechoslovakia's state forest administration.
What I have to tell you about is a forest program that is
no more, said Mr. Koerner regretfully. What Czechoslovakia
worked for many years to create has by this time been destroyed
by war. Germany will wreck the Czech forests to serve her industrial
Mr. Koerner told how Czecho-Slovakia, which he left only
eleven months ago, had carefully and industriously developed its
timbered areas so that they might yield maximum crops perpetually.
As long ago as 1857 the first conservation plans had been adopted
in the provinces then forming a part of the Austrian kingdom. When
he left Europe the country's forests were owned by the state, communities
and private holders in equal proportions.
Lumbermen who listened to Mr. Koerner smiled when he told
them of the modest requirements of the Czech loggers. Most
of them are farmers during a part of the year, he said. Their
standard of living is much lower than in this country. They take
their own food into the woodssuch things as corn flour and
lard, and they work well and happily. Fallers work sixteen hours
from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a dollar a day.
But all lumbermen's costs are not light. Stumpage is $10
to $20 a thousand, compared with an average in BC of less than $2.
The mills operate with a minimum of waste. Materials that might
go to the refuse burners in B. C. is made into boxes or sent to
the pulp mills, and a variety of other by-products result from the
There is an excellent short biography of Dr. Koerner and his wife
The Sun covered this story, too, on October 21 (Page 26).
Build Planes Here!
The Vancouver Board of Trade thought airplanes should be
manufactured in British Columbia. The Sun issue of November
1, 1939 (exactly two months from the date of the invasion of Poland),
Page 1, reports that The Board contended that British Columbia
has superior conditions and facilities for the economical manufacture
of airplanes and is therefore entitled to every consideration in
any plans for plane manufacturing in Canada.
The brief, the Sun said, summarized the advantages the province
- Superior climatic conditions
- Ample sites available
- Abundance of raw materials
- Proximity of United States airplane manufacturing centres
- Capital available for plant building and airplane manufacturing
- More favorable construction costs and
- Availability of skilled labor
Stress is laid on the fact, the paper continued, that
it is authentically reported that the use of wood construction
has been adopted for training planes and certain types of bombers.
It is pointed out that huge tracts of "Sitka"
spruce, the best wood in the world for aircraft construction,
are available in British Columbia and within easy reach of Vancouver.
In fact, the only available sources of supply of airplane spruce
are in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.
As to climate, it is contended that there is no section of
the Dominion more favorably situated. Plants can be operated 12
months each year, with no extremes of weather and an average temperature
of 50 degrees [F] above. Buildings can be constructed very cheaply
requiring only normal heating, while outdoor work can be pursued
throughout the year.
Adequate sites are available near the civic airport and the
city has already set aside much acreage for this purpose.
The Boeing plant in Coal Harbor is the only one established
here, but there are other companies whose present plants could be
converted into airplane factories. However, it is the view of the
board that in the event of an airplane industry being established,
it should be in permanent buildings so that at the end of the war
a peace-time program of construction for commercial purposes could
be carried on. Building costs would be less here than in Eastern
The United States recognizes that the Pacific Coast is the
logical place for airplane construction. Approximately 90 per cent
of U. S. airplane manufacture is west of the Rockies. The board
has information that Canadian capital for plant building is readily
available provided orders are forthcoming.
Skilled Men Here
As to labor, it is pointed out that over 500 skilled men
are now employed in airplane manufacture in the province and
that these men would be available for training others. Plants here
would have a distinct advantage in supplies in that, with the U.
S. Neutrality Act likely to be changed, these supplies could be
got readily from nearby U. S. plants.
The Board of Trade brief is being sent by air mail to the
War Supply Board at Ottawa, the British War Mission, Capt. Harold
Balfour of the British Air Mission, Prime Minister Mackenzie King
and all immediately interested members of the cabinet. Copies also
go to Lloyd Craig, B. C. government representative for war orders
at Ottawa; Hugh Dalton, executive secretary, B. C. Division of the
Canadian Manufacturers' Association, in Ottawa on the same mission;
local and eastern heads of the RCAF; all Vancouver members of Parliament;
provincial government; Brig. Gen. J. C. Stewart, DOC, and among
many others, the airport committee of the City Council and its manager,
General Supply will win the War!
Said the Sun on November 24, 1939 (Page 5) S. W. Fairweather,
chief of research and development at Canadian National Railways,
told the Transportation and Customs Bureau of the Board of Trade
at a luncheon meeting today, that it may well be that the decisive
factor in favor of the Allies will be their superior lines of
communication to sources of food, munitions and supplies.
Fairweather declared that the railways of Canada form an
important, if not a vital link, in the lines of communication of
the Allies and he assured his audience they will not fail in the
test. He made an interesting comparison between the railway systems
of Russia and Canada for the reason, he said, that the war
may be determined on the industrial front by the comparative efficiency
with which the natural resources served by Canadian and Russian
railways can be used.
Canada and Russia, he said, are alike in
possession of vast natural resources but unlike otherwise. You have
the totalitarian Russian state against the Canadian democracy. You
have Russia with one of the lowest per capita wealth productions
in the world compared with Canada, which has one of the highest.
You have, too, in Russia a country whose transportation
system is inadequate, as compared with Canada, which has the most
efficient railways in the world. Above all, you have exemplified
in Russia the weakness of bureaucratic management and control as
compared with sound business methods in Canada.
1 Canadian = 20 Russians
I venture to say, continued Mr. Fairweather,
that, measured in terms of exportable goods, the labor of
one man in Canada is as productive as the labor of twenty men in
He went on to show that while Canadian railways played an
important part in the last war, they are infinitely better equipped
to handle freight and passengers in this war. Instead of 80 and
85-pound steel, the main line standard today is from 100 to 130
pounds. The largest road freight locomotive in 1914 had a tractive
effort of 52,000 pounds; today it is more than 90,000 pounds.*
In 1914 it required eleven days for manifest freight to
travel from Vancouver to Toronto; today it requires only seven
days. Average capacity of a freight car in 1914 was thirty-three
tons; today, forty-two tons.
Mr. Fairweather predicted closing of Europe to tourist traffic
will result in an unprecedented number of U. S. travellers seeking
recreation in Canada."
* [Note: Jim McGraw of the Vancouver Historical Society comments
on the statistics quoted by Fairweather: Today the average
freight car capacity is anywhere from 100 to 120 tons. As for the
steel, today the main line standard is 165 pounds and more per yard!
That's 35 pounds more than the heaviest in the Second World War.
And today a modern diesel-electric locomotive has a tractive effort
of 200,000 pounds!]
No War Orders!
We learn from The Province for November 1, 1939 (Page 27)
that local manufacturers were puzzled by the lack of war orders.
Charles L. Shaw, the papers Business Editor, wrote: Now
that the War Supply Board has formally taken charge of Canada's
industrial mobilization for war, British Columbia manufacturers
expect an early break in the long delay for orders.
It is taken for granted by Coast industrialists that with
the Empire facing the prospect of a long war, there will soon be
an abundance of business for steel working plants and foundries,
shipyards and a wide variety of other fabricating establishments.
What they can not understand is the fact that after nearly two months
of Canada's participation in the war practically no orders
have come west of the Rockies.
Three Shifts Working
Financial Post, Toronto, reports: Wheels in
Canadian factories with orders for war supplies are now turning
night and day. Three shifts are working to turn out goods required.
Activity is specially marked in those plants making materials of
which there is a shortage. From all sides come reports of plants
of the heavy industries being prepared to begin manufacture of shells
immediately. Skilled mechanics and tradesmen are becoming scarce.
So far, apart from lumber and metals which form a part of
the province's normal trade with the United Kingdom, the only war
orders received here have been for boots and service uniforms,
in a comparatively small quantity. While huge airplane contracts
are being awarded elsewhere, Vancouver's only order, placed
months ago, is now nearly completed. This industry's opportunity,
so far neglected, is effectively described in a brief prepared by
the Vancouver Board of Trade which is being given wide distribution
There has been delay in the East as well, but in Quebec and Ontario,
industry has at least received considerable new business directly
attributable to the war, even though it may be much less than had
been anticipated and in negligible volume when compared with what
is to come. Nevertheless, plants in the East have been active, which
is more than can be said of the West.
A Striking Transformation
Charles Shaw, the Business Editor of The Daily Province,
wrote an interesting column November 2, 1939 (Page 25). It told
of how Canadas industrial power had multiplied since the First
Canada's role in the war industry, he wrote, has
undergone striking transformation since the last conflict. In 1914
this country had one great dominating industry--wheat. Canada was
regarded then, as she is now, as the granary of the Empire; but
in the past twenty years Canada has become far more than that.
In its current review the Royal Bank of Canada surveys Canada's
industrial contribution in the last war and indicates how the nation's
part in the present struggle may be tremendously broadened.
Canada's wheat farmers did accomplish some amazing things
in the 1914-18 era. In 1914 crop was sown to some10 million acres
and a crop of 161 million bushels was harvested. Owing to war demand
the acreage was increased to 15 million the following year; with
a crop of 393 million bushels. This was the first of Canada's big
crops. Since then acreage and harvest have varied, but this year's
acreage is the second largest on record26,771,000 acres
and the total crop will not be much less than half a billion bushels.
But, as the bank points out, wheat no longer is Canada's
sole dominating product. Her mining and manufacturing industries
have achieved world importance in the past two decades. War power
depends largely on metals, and the expansion of Canadian output
of such products since 1918 has been spectacular. Take gold, for
instance. In 1914 Canada produced 773,000 fine ounces of gold; valued
at about $15 million. Since then the price of gold has risen from
$20.67 per ounce to $35, but the increase in volume alone has been
noteworthy. Canada will probably mine 5 million ounces this yearseven
times the production of 1914. Estimated value of Canada's gold
output this year is set at $175 million.
Nickel has many peace-time uses, but in war it is essential.
In the first year of the last war Canada produced $13,650,000 worth
of the invaluable metal; last year the value was more than four
times as great. Copper production in Canada has increased sevenfold
in the past twenty-five yearsfrom 76 million pounds, valued
at $10 million, to 586 million pounds, worth $58 million. Lead output
is twelve times as great419 million pounds, worth $14 million,
as compared with 36 million pounds, valued at $1,008,000, in 1914.
Zinc has risen from 22 million pounds, valued at $262,000, to 381
million pounds, worth nearly $12 million. And nearly all Canada's
lead and zinc comes from British Columbia.
Canadas Wheat at War!
The November 29, 1939 Province (Page 27) told us that Canadas
huge wheat harvest had given us vital war status.
The Canadian Press today reported out of Winnipeg that Canada
with wheat stocks currently estimated at 400 million bushels, today
assumed a key position as a source of supply for the Allies as Britain
and France fought the menace of German sea warfare. At the start
of the war," CP continued, "wheat exports to the United
Kingdom dwindled to the mere odd shipment, but at that time authoritative
sources expressed the opinion that Britain planned to maintain the
Canadian stocks as a reserve supply.
On Monday and Tuesday, Winnipeg Grain Exchange dealings revealed,
the United Kingdom and neutral countries' buyers dipped into the
Dominion's overflowing wheat bins with nearly 10 million bushels
of wheat and flour worked for overseas shipment. Export sales today
totalled more than 7 million bushels with wheat values at Winnipeg
increasing more than two cents a bushel in the futures market.
Canada's proximity to Europe has a marked advantage
over the long routes from Australia and the Argentine. Adding to
the importance of the Dominion's supplies are developments in the
Argentine where unfavorable harvesting weather has deteriorated
the new crop, and poor prospects in the United States winter wheat
belt after many weeks of drought conditions.
Sea warfare has added to the cost of wheat shipments from
the Argentine with sharp increases in freight and war risk rates
in recent days.
Woodward on War Supply Board
One of British Columbias leading retailers was in the news
on December 8, 1939.
From the Sun, datelined Ottawa: Hon. C.D. Howe, transport
minister, has announced the appointment of William C. Woodward
of Vancouver as a member of the War Supply Board.
[The War Supply Board succeeded the Defence Purchasing Board. It
would continue the task of organizing and mobilizing the nation's
resources and industries, and dealing with the problems involved
in the handling of supplies, the construction and extension of defence
projects, and the approval of contracts for equipment and supplies
required by all three branches of our armed forces.]
The appointment of Woodward had been strongly urged by The Board.
The Suns story commented that the choice was
hailed by Vancouver business and industrial leaders as an ideal
choice and as a triumph for the Board of Trade which,
several weeks ago, sent a comprehensive brief to Ottawa outlining
the claims of British Columbia for direct representation.
G. Lyall Fraser, president of the Board of Trade, said the
choice of Mr. Woodward culminated an intense campaign sponsored
by the board, and it was a matter of congratulation that Ottawa
had recognized British Columbias claims . . . With Mr. Woodward
at Ottawa the gap between Vancouver and the Federal Government has
been closed, and we can look forward to the future with confidence.
The Sun story concluded: The Vancouver merchant, who
was educated here and got his start in business forty years ago
as a junior clerk in the Royal Bank (of which he is now a director),
knows war work well. He was overseas from 1916-1919 with the C.E.F.
[Canadian Expedition Force]
In addition to being president of Woodwards here and
in Edmonton, he is vice-president of Neon Products of Western Canada;
director of the Union Steamship Co., and Royal Bank, and a past
president  of the Board of Trade.
[He was also, of course, the father of Charles Chunky
Woodward. In 1941 he became Lieutenant-Governor
of British Columbia, a post he held until 1946.]
The Board thanks Ottawa
The day after Woodwards appointment to the War Supply Board,
the executive of the Vancouver Board of Trade registered its pleasure
and satisfaction at his appointment in a series of telegrams to
Ottawa. The Sun story (December 9, 1939, Page 3) said: A
message to Hon. C. D. Howe, Minister of Transport and cabinet member
in charge of the War Supply Board, thanked him warmly for his keen
interest in the representations of the Board of Trade, as evidenced
in several inquiries for added information which resulted in the
decision to add a western man to the board.
Howe was assured that the services of the Vancouver board
are entirely at his disposal in any way they can cooperate. The
Hon. Ian Mackenzie, British Columbia representative in the cabinet,
was also thanked for his good offices in pressing for the appointment.
The message of congratulation to Mr. Woodward himself was
coupled with warm thanks of the council and membership of the Board
of Trade for his public-spirited acceptance of the onerous and very
responsible position which means that Mr. Woodward has withdrawn
from active participation in business for the duration of the
war. He was assured that the board will cooperate with him in every
1940 Good for Tourism?
The December 14, 1939 Province (Page 29) announced a new
tourist travel bureau.
With indications pointing to a big influx of tourists into
British Columbia in 1940, the transportation and customs bureau
of the Vancouver Board of Trade set up on Wednesday a new tourist
travel and traffic committee of representative business men. The
committee, which will hold its first meeting shortly after Christmas,
will co-operate with other groups in planning the celebrations which
will mark the opening of the Big Bend Highway next midsummer.
It hopes also to secure for British Columbia its fair share of both
the United States tourist business expected to come to Canada because
of the stoppage of European and the limitation of Oriental travel,
and the traffic from other parts of the Dominion caused by the adverse
U. S. exchange rate, as well as by the restriction of ocean travel.
R.M. Pidgeon is chairman. Aviation and other representatives
are still to be appointed.
What else was happening
locally in 1939?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1940 »