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.
Some 1940 highlights (described in more
- H.R. Cottingham the new President
- The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan lauded
- Nellie McClung speaks to The Board
- Home Defense Pushed
- Wartime Registry for all citizens!
- Gap in the Hope-Princeton
- Danger of Sabotage
- Parking Meters Approved
- Huge Drop in American Visitors
- Britain Needs Lumber!
The Vancouver Sun for January 17, 1940 announced
that the local Ford Motor Co. branch manager, H.R. Cottingham, would
succeed G. Lyall Fraser as president of The Vancouver Board of Trade.
The succession would occur at The Boards 53rd annual dinner
meeting in the Hotel Vancouver on January 24. Cottinghams
was the only name put forward for the presidency when the nominations
closed on the 16th. He had been vice-president during the past year.
Charles E. Anstie, vice-president and general manager
of Shell Oil Co. of B. C. Ltd., would be the new vice-president,
his name also being the only one put in nomination.
W. E. Payne was again returned to office as executive
secretary. That meant he was entering his
22nd year in that position.
[The January 20, 1942 issue of The Ubyssey
has a brief Page 1 reference to Cottingham speaking to its Commerce
students about the problems of distribution in wartime, and running
a film showing the part motorized equipment was playing in Canadas
war effort. And theres a bonus in that same issue: a little
poem titled Ode to a Young Lady Frightened by a Passing Tug,
written by Jabez. Old-timers will know that was the
pen name for Eric Nicol. To find that issue, and indeed any past
issue of The Ubyssey, go to this
website and hunt it down. In January of 1942 Nicol would
have been 22.]
Graf Spee Scuttling an Insult
A reminder that we were at war with Germany comes
from Page 15 of the Sun for January 18, 1940 in a story headlined:
German Sailors Lack Spirit of Royal Navy.
Wrote the Sun: The worst insult to
sea traditions history recordssurrender of the German High
Seas Fleet in November, 1918is paralleled by the scuttling
of the pocket battleship Graf Spee, Capt. E. Aikman told
the annual meeting of the Transportation and Customs Bureau, Vancouver
Board of Trade Wednesday night. Capt. Aikman, deputy representative
of the British Ministry of Shipping and general manager of Canadian
Pacific Steamships, gave a sparkling commentary on happenings which
have puzzled landsmen since war started last September.
Spirit Not Improved
No one has ever insulted the sea as the Germans
did in 1918, Aikman declared. After sinking of the Graf
Spee, we must assume that the German navy's fighting spirit
has not improved. I admit I was amazed. I did not think they would
scuttle Graf Spee. British seamen have always been taught
to 'fight to the finish'since before Grenville's famous lone
battle against 53 Spanish warships.
[The Graf Spee was scuttled December 17,
1939. There is a good description of the incident here.]
High-ranking officers of the Army, Navy and Air
Force were represented at The Board meeting.
Special guests, said the Sun,
included: K. J. Burns, port manager; Capt. R. W. McMurray,
manager, B.C. Coast Steamships; Capt. Oliver Williams, new marine
superintendent, B.C. Coast Steamships; J. C. McLean, vice-president,
Junior Board of Trade; Walter Hately, CNR; E.G. Rowebottom, chairman,
B.C. Tourist Council, and A. Carmichael, collector of customs.
Charles Hovey sang three nautical songs, accompanied
by J. Emerson.
[We left that last sentence in for the benefit of
local old timers who will recall that John Emerson was a well-known
radio personality and musician in those days. A very brief recap
of his career is in the 1968
Chronology on this web site.]
The Province covered that same January 18
meeting (Page 16). They added this: A highlight of the evening
was the first Vancouver showing of The Swift Family Robinson,
by W. J. Dalby of Trans-Canada Airlines. It is a colored motion
picture of a TCA flight from Montreal to Vancouver. [Were
trying to determine if that film is still available.]
Not all The Boards activities in 1940 are
outlined here. We chose those that seemed to have the most relevance
and/or interest to present day readers. As an example, many stories
this year dealt, understandably, with the impact of the Second World
War, and many of the speeches heard by The Board were exhortations
to support the war effort. Unless they added new information we
passed them by.
The copies of the newspaper stories, however,
are all being keptall 120 years of them! When this project
is finished the thousands of pages copied will be given to The Boards
library for reference purposes.
The retiring president of the Vancouver Board of
Trade used the annual general meeting to assure members that the
transformation of the Canadian economy to a war basis has proceeded
in the past four months to a point well beyond that reached in the
first two years of the conflict of 1914-18. G. Lyall Frasers
remarks were noted in the January 24, 1940 Vancouver Sun
Some of his remarks have a faintly recognizable
similarity to recent comments on Canadas unpreparedness
at the outbreak of war.
True, Fraser said, our hopelessly
inadequate supply of military equipment for a newly recruited force
of comparatively large numbers is most caustically criticized even
by some who profess to support the party at present in power. Much
of the blame for such unpreparedness may rightly be placed on the
shoulders of us all here tonight. How difficult it was five years
ago to drum up our support for heavily increased taxation for the
supply of naval and military expansion in Canada. How tenaciously
we all clung to the beautiful idea of peace on earth and goodwill
to all men.
How do we expect our government to suddenly
thrust into our hands complete equipment for a whole army, prepared
to take its place in the ranks of modern warfare? Particularly when
at the same time, Great Britain and even the United States are spending
billions of dollars for war equipment for immediate delivery.
He referred to the importance to Canada of the empire
aviation training scheme. [Note: the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan, to give it its formal title, remains the single
largest aviation training program in history and was responsible
for training nearly half the pilots, navigators, bombardiers, gunners,
wireless operators and flight engineers of the Commonwealth air
forces during the Second World War.]
The retiring president, reported the
Sun, reviewed briefly outstanding 1939 board activities,
first citing the Royal visit. Others included the farewell
to the old Hotel Vancouver; 1939 excursions up-coast; the campaign
to secure leave with pay for non-permanent active militia members;
spring and fall style presentations sponsored by the retail merchants'
bureau, and the part taken in securing a resident representative
of the Foreign Control Exchange Board.
T.S. Dixon, chairman of finance, presented
his annual report showing both budget and currrent membership accounts
in healthy condition and membership increased. Fifty new members
were formally confirmed to membership by vote.
Others at the head table included Past President
Harold Brown; President Earl Bennett, Junior Board of Trade; Major
Austin C. Taylor; W. L. MacTavish, editor, Vancouver Daily Province;
R.H. Robichaud, managing director, Vancouver News Herald; R. Cromie
II, vice-president, the Vancouver Sun; R.A. Sargent, president,
North Vancouver Board of Trade, and Ralph McPherson, president,
New Westminster Board of Trade.
Not directly connected to activities of The Board,
but interesting in its own right, was a report in the same Vancouver
Sun on the push for a new museum for the city.
Suggestions to charge admission and appointment
of a committee to canvass for funds with which to begin construction
of a new and more suitable repository for the Vancouver museum's
invaluable treasures were put forward at the 46th annual meeting
of the Art, Historical and Scientific Association, which assembled
in the museum Tuesday night [January 23, 1940] to elect officers
for 1940. Prof. Charles Hill-Tout, F.R.C.S., F.R.A.I., was unanimously
Prof. Hill-Tout reported that present museum
quarters are wholly inadequate. The city grant fell far short again
of the sum required to maintain the museum efficiently, he said,
and much valuable material has to be stored in vaults below the
library. One hundred thousand visitors saw the archaeological specimens
and paintings during the past year. [An interesting entry
on Charles Hill-Tout can be seen in the 1944
Chronology on this site. Among other things he was the
first to study the Marpole Midden, and he named Kitsilano.]
Debating means of securing funds, the
paper continued, Capt. W. J. Watson-Armstrong cited the practice
among European museums to charge a small admission. Ald. John Bennett,
who with Ald. Charles Jones represented the city council at the
meeting, said he would have to consult the mayor and his colleagues
on the question of admission charges before committing himself on
Not related to The Board, but irresistible, this
January 1940 story from the Sun: A burglar who took
24 sample shoes from the garage of A. C. Paddock, 3803 West Twenty-fifth
avenue, on Sunday morning, was probably the most disappointed thief
in the city when he discovered they were all for right feet.
Airline to the Antipodes
The February 13, 1940 Province (Page 6) reported
that MP Howard Greenin an address to the advertising and sales
bureau of The Vancouver Board of Trade at luncheon on the 12thtold
them that At the present time we have no modern shipping line
between here and New Zealand to compare with the faster and more
modern American services. We should press for establishment of an
air line from Canada to Australia and New Zealand.
He said that closer attention should be given to
the development of transportation as the lifeline of B.C.
A free China can give us a larger increase
in trade than any other nation, Green said. In 1933
China was our eighth best customer. Today she is our twentieth best
customer. Japan, which is our fourth largest customer, is guardedly
buying only our raw products. She is being governed in such a way
that we are forced to fortify our coast.
Nellie McClung speaks
Nellie McClung, in the words of the February 24,
1940 Province (Page 5 ) the noted Canadian authoress,
gave an address that day to The Boards Transportation Bureau.
It was an appeal to Canadians to look ahead to the post-war period.
This rosy glow of spending which has sent up Canada's building,
shipping, exports and imports to new highs, she told the Bureau,
is not the hue of health. It is the flush of fever and will
be succeeded by depression and chills!
I know our first job is to win the war,
she said, but we must look ahead. Here in Canada we are blissfully
unchanged in our way of living. After the war the bills will come
in, as they always have.
There is an interesting brief biographical sketch
of McClung here.
The Vancouver Board of Trade, said the
Sun on February 10, 1940 (Page 25) will take an active
part in the fight against adverse propaganda in the United States
designed to discourage Americans from visiting Canada during wartime.
The council of the board has decided to communicate with chambers
of commerce in all cities of the Pacific Coast states, also with
the local offices of international organizations such as Rotary,
Kiwanis, Gyro, Lions and others and ask their co-operation in making
the facts known. It will be pointed out that conditions in Canada
are no different than they were in peace time.
Vancouver of the Future
According to the Sun for Thursday, February
22, 1940 (Page 17) An ambitious program for a greater Vancouver
was outlined Wednesday before the civic bureau of the Board of Trade
by J. Alexander Walker, secretary-engineer of the Town Planning
Time for consummation of the proposed projects of
the commission, the Sun said, ranges from five to 25 years.
Walker set them out as follows:
- Preservation of English Bay foreshore for recreational purposes
- Acquisition of Kitsilano Reserve as a park
- Acquisition of the right-of-way and construction of distributor
- Reclamation of False Creek
- Creation of a terminal railway to serve the waterfront and False
- Acquisition of suitable areas for parks and creation of a system
of parkways or pleasure drives
- Promotion of the civic centre idea, auditorium, museum, art
gallery and aquarium
- Construction of a civic stadium
- Construction of an elevated railroad along the waterfront, from
Granville to Heatley
- Preparation of a plan for replotting 1,000 acres in the South
Vancouver area as a fine residential subdivision
- Some day an embarcadero, or esplanade, along Coal Harbor
Mr. Walker denied the Town Planning Commission
is visionary, the paper added. Annual cost of the commission
for the past five or six years, he said, expressed as millage on
total taxable valuation of the city, is approximately 1-70th of
Engineers Visit Seattle
Said the Sun on April 4, 1940 (Page 24):
"Thirty members of the Engineering Bureau of Vancouver Board
of Trade who took a bus trip to Seattle on Wednesday to inspect
the new pontoon bridge on Lake Washington showed absorbing professional
interest in two engineering projects. South of Everett they saw
an airport in the making on a flattened hill top, 600 feet above
sea level. The flattening and filling is being done by moving three
million cubic feet of earth.
Charles E. Andrew, chief engineer of the Washington
Toll Bridge Authority, met the party in Seattle and took them on
a tug in Lake Washington to inspect the nearly completed bridge.
It is more like a causeway than a bridge and composed of great concrete
floating pontoons except for a large draw span.
A highlight was luncheon in Everett, tendered
jointly by the Everett Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club.
The Province, reporting on the same trip,
gave more details:
The new pontoon bridge, as everyone in the
party agreed, is an amazing feat of engineering. Costing $8,854,000
to build, it is six and a half miles long with approaches, and when
completed will provide a four-lane motor highway7,800 feet
from one side of Lake Washington to the other. The Vancouver visitors
learned that the pontoon (or floating) type of bridge was adopted
by the Washington authority because the waters of the lake150
to 200 feet deep in placesare underlaid with 100 feet of soft
mud prohibiting construction of a suspension bridge.
Your presence here today proves that
our international border is fortified only by goodwill and brotherly
love, Seattle Mayor S. Frank Spencer said. It is an
answer to the problem that all Europe is struggling to solve at
the present time.
Dr. E. A. Cleveland, responding for the Vancouver
party, reflected upon the easy formality of crossing
the U. S. border. [Yes, this was the good old days.]
Canadians and Americans joined wholeheartedly
in community singing led by Col. J. F. Keen, Vancouver war veteran,
and immediate past chairman of the bureau. Before continuing their
journey to Seattle, the visitors inspected the new $3 million airport
now under construction at Everett, occupying an area of 680 acres,
and requiring moving of three million cubic yards of earth.
Board Demands Increased War Effort
A special meeting of The Board was reported on in
the Sun for May 22, 1940 (Page 15.) More than 300 members
enthusiastically backed an initiative of The Board to put into practice
the Suns editorial campaign of the time to GET ON WITH
Fifteen men's and women's organizations under The
Board's leadership resolved to send a message to Ottawa that more
needed to be done to organize the entire economic power and
the entire manpower of the nation to prosecute the war. Organizations
represented included the Vancouver Canadian Club, Women's Canadian
Club, Local Council of Women, Junior Board of Trade, Associated
Property Owners, several of the service clubs, the Canadian Legion,
Vancouver Veterans' Council and Amputations Association.
Home Defense Units
The resolution also urged formation of home defense
units and pledged the voluntary services of every member of the
Board of Trade. The resolutions to go to Ottawa would not be identical.
Each would present the views of the particular organization but
all would make the same request for "more vigorous action.
The Sun also described other developments:
- Vancouver City Council had appointed a three-man committee to
investigate steps taken to supervise enemy aliens and to draft
policy recommendations to transmit to Ottawa. It would seek to
co-ordinate civic, provincial and federal efforts.
- The Sixth Column, through its organizer, R. Crowe
Swords, reported it had enrolled hundreds of members on Tuesday,
and expected to enroll thousands within a few days. Larger quarters
were being sought. Present headquarters were 114 Vancouver Block.
[We tried to find out more about the Sixth
Column cited, but Googling turned up nothing Vancouver-related.
We had only slightly better luck with R. Crowe Swords, who, we learned,
was the main man at Hercules Mining, Smelting and Power Corporation.
And thats all we learned. Our guess is that the Sixth
Column was an assembly of volunteers doing work to further
the local war effort.]
Reorganization of the Associated Boards of
Trade of British Columbia in the near future became a practical
certainty when 50 members of Vancouver Board of Trade ended their
two-day stay here on Sunday night. That was the story from
Kamloops on Page 13 of the Sun for June 10, 1940.
Staff reporter J.A. MacDonald went on to say: It
is regarded as certain that this will lead quickly to all other
centres of the province joining in one central organization.
The interim proposal is that each board should
have a key man to keep in constant touch with the Vancouver Board
so that all will know what is being done in connection with wartime
effort of every kind. The Vancouver Board, it is suggested, should
be a sort of clearing house where all may get information
and send their own recommendations as to action considered necessary
by the business interests of the province on pressing for government
action on its war program, production of war materials, control
against danger of subversive activities and the domestic problems
of trade that arise.
While they were in Kamloops the Vancouver party
visited the Provincial Sanatorium at Tranquille, where they were
shown every detail of the fine institution by the staff under Dr.
Wartime Problems for Fruit and Vegetable Growers
The Sun for June 11, 1940 (Page 13) told
of a potentially bountiful harvest in the Okanagan, one of
the greatest crops of fruits and vegetables the Interior has ever
A delegation of the Board was visiting the northern
Okanagan, and what they saw . . . from Kamloops through Salmon
Arm and Armstrong to Vernon was a revelation of lush early growth
of all crops with every promise of a record harvest. There had been
a record mild winter with plenty of following rain.
But there is doubt about where such a crop
is to be marketed with world export restricted and the keynote of
hope is that more can be sold on the Canadian markets . . .
At Salmon Arm D. M. Rattray, recently elected
president of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, hinted broadly
that the federal government might help by restricting importation
of foreign fruits and vegetables during the time of stress. He also
suggested that Coast folk might well take their own action by waiting
for and giving preference to the product of their own province.
[See the June 15 item from the Province, below, for more
details of Rattrays comments.]
Arm the Home Guard
The Vancouver Board delegation met with the Penticton
Board of Trade on June 13, 1940 and agreed unanimously that early
national registration of all citizens as was done during the last
war was desirable. The meeting was reported on in the Sun
for June 14, Page 8.
Representatives of every leading district
in the South Okanagan joined. Penticton and other districts have
a home defense guard like other places in the Okanagan
and the meeting revealed that there is a strong demand that such
organizations be given government recognition and authority to arm
key groups as in Kelowna. There is also a strong demand for the
establishment of a military recruiting and training unit in the
Okanagan that would be armed and ready for any emergency.
There is no particular alarm, but a feeling
of uneasiness as to what might happen if irrigation dams were threatened
by alien enemy action.
The Vancouver Board of Trade goodwill party,
reported the Sun on June 15, 1940 (Page 8), wound up
its tour of Interior points Friday by taking a look at the mining
industry after a week among the orchards and fields of the Okanagan.
First, however, they saw the 50 miles of the Hope-Princeton Highway
out of here and heard once more the story of hope deferred but not
The party drove over a road which is in quite
fair shape in places, but in others requiring a good deal of work
before it will be fit for much travel. They found the highway enthusiasts
of Princeton and Penticton resigned to the prospect that the gap
of 11 miles remaining between the ends leading out of Hope and Princeton
cannot be built until after the war is over and things have settled
Copper Mine Guests
In the evening the visitors were dinner guests
of General Manager A. S. Baillie and officials of the Granby Consolidated
Mine on Copper Mountain, 12 miles from here, and heard the remarkable
history of this big copper property which after several false starts,
has come to be what Hon. W. J. Asselstine, Minister of Mines, declared
to be the banner mining achievement in British Columbia in
the last five years.
In 1936 it was thought that the maximum production
would be 3,000 tons a day, but today it runs well over 4,500 tons,
giving steady work to 300 miners and direct or indirect living to
between 800 and 900 people. It is the mainstay of a revived town
of Princeton, which has all the signs of activity and prosperity.
More on the Hope-Princeton
The Province for that same June 15 added
more details on the Hope-Princeton Highway problem.
This isn't just a road from Princeton
to Hope, declared T.E. Griffiths, secretary of the Princeton
Board of Trade, and a prominent young Okanagan business man, who
dreams of the day when motorists may cut off 115 miles from the
Vancouver-Okanagan journey by travelling the Princeton route. This
is the logical route for the main tourist and commercial highway
from Vancouver to interior British Columbia, he said.
Griffiths had the economic facts relating
to the highway project marshalled in such a way as to convince the
Vancouver business men of the importance of completing the long-delayed
job as soon as the immediate problems of war are successfully met.
He produced figures showing that last year, at one port of entry,
Osoyoos, more than 34,000 cars entered British Columbia from the
United States, or 42 per cent more than via the Fraser Canyon route.
Out of the 34,000, 90 per cent were going to or from Vancouver,
representing an estimated expenditure of $300,000 a year during
the part of the trip inside United States territorymoney that
would have been spent in British Columbia had the Princeton-Hope
route been open. Money spent in British Columbia for gasoline alone
would have been more than $95,000, and $27,000 would have gone to
the government for road tax.
Griffiths disagreed with the government's
estimate that cost of completing the road would be $550,000 or more.
He said another competent estimate had been less than one-fifth
Home Market Essential
Wartime woes were not sparing Okanagan fruit and
vegetable growers, as evidenced by a report by the Provinces
Charles L. Shaw on June 11, 1940 (Page 22).
Uncertainty over exports to the British Isles
as a result of the war will make it necessary for the Canadian domestic
market to absorb a much greater proportion of the Okanagan's fruit
production, D.M. Rattray, president of the British Columbia Fruit
Growers' Association, told members of the Vancouver Board of Trade
[See the June 11 Sun story above.]
Captain Rattray said that under wartime conditions
there was no justification for such a heavy importation of foreign
fruit and vegetables as recent Dominion statistics indicated. In
spite of the discount on the Canadian dollar, he said, Canadian
imports from the United States have increased rather than decreased
in recent months. It is the plain duty of British Columbians to
increase their consumption of Canadian fruit and vegetables. Under
present conditions there is no excuse for Canadians to continue
buying products such as early potatoes and strawberries from the
United States. Such a practice hits the pocket-book of Canadian
growers, reduces the farmers' buying power, slows up industry and
curtails the nation's war effort.
Rattray took issue with a recent radio broadcast
from Vancouver indicating that British requirements for the coming
year were definitely established. He said that no one could
even guess at the volume of sales to Britain under wartime conditions.
He also ridiculed the contention in the same broadcast that the
London market alone could absorb the entire British Columbia pack
of processed fruit. The fact is that Nova Scotia has several
million pounds of processed fruit available for export, said
Captain Rattray, and it can't be sold even at half price.
Captain Rattray said the Okanagan fruit industry
represented annual revenue of $12 million, of which apples accounted
for $8 million, of which three million went to transportation costs.
The Hon. James Gardiner, minister of agriculture,
told British Columbia's fruit delegation a few days ago in Ottawa
that the pack might eventually be disposed of free to relief cases.
More on Buying Foreign Produce
The Province came back a few days later to
the issue of Canadians buying US produce. In its June 13, 1940 issue
(Page 26) the papers business editor, Charles L. Shaw, reported
on a talk by
W. E. Haskins, fruit growers' leader, at a joint
meeting of Vancouver Board of Trade's goodwill party and Kelowna
The former chairman of the British Columbia
Tree Fruits Board said that Canadian purchases of United States
fruit and vegetables last year represented a total expenditure by
Canadians of some $44 million, including costs of transportation
and exchange. This was a serious financial drain on the country
in war time, said Mr. Haskins.
Under present conditions, he declared,
it would be more appropriate for Canadians to eat more of
their own produce and save these millions of dollars for the purchase
of the munitions that are so much more vital. It is our plain duty
to conserve our foreign exchange for purchases that are essential
from the war standpoint. Millions spent in foreign countries for
fruit and vegetables are millions lost for the purchase of airplanes,
guns and shells.
More Discretion Needed
He felt that the Canadian consumer could do
his country real service by exercising more discretion in purchasing.
A policy of discouraging the buying of unessential American fruit
and vegetables would, he said, be of immense benefit to the Okanagan
farm industries at a time when their export markets were seriously
threatened. Under normal conditions, said Mr. Haskins, 90 per cent
of British Columbia's fruit production was disposed of outside British
Columbia, and 50 per cent of it went outside Canada. This represented
an important revenue to the country, yet the whole setup was now
jeopardized by the fact that Empire markets might be forced to reduce
Domestic sales were the only alternative,
and these could not possibly be substantially increased unless foreign
purchases were cut down, said Mr. Haskins. The Okanagan may
look prosperous, but the fruit growers have been selling at less
than cost of production for two or three years and whatever evidence
there is of good times is merely the reflection of payrolls that
the industry is forced to maintain regardless of income. He
added that the fruit growers felt entitled to government assistance
at this time because of the complicated conditions encountered by
an industry founded on a source of production that required 20 years
to develop, that was dependent upon irrigation and tricky
Danger of Sabotage
The Vancouver Board of Trade enjoys almost
unanimous support of the proposal for national registration so that
the Ottawa authorities will have information concerning every individual
in the country such as it had during the last war. It is believed
that registration will provide an effective check on foreigners.
That was the impression given to a Board delegation
touring the Okanagan, and reported on in the June 14, 1940 Province
Many of the boards consulted during the Vancouver
party's tour of the Okanagan, Charles Shaw wrote, have
voiced support of the local defense organizations voluntarily organized
for home preparedness. Whether such bodies should receive official
recognition and be authorized to have arms and ammunition has been
debated at several cities. In some towns the organizations have
been functioning regardless of Ottawa's apparent indifference.
The boards have been handicapped in their
discussions by lack of official knowledge concerning Ottawa's efforts
to suppress fifth column influences. Some speakers have urged that
the government should make a reassuring statement on the subject
if adequate precautions have been made. But others have emphasized
that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police naturally will not reveal
its policy because of the importance of secrecy.
Steps are being taken to find out just how
the various boards feel on the subject, especially in the Okanagan,
where large numbers of Germans and Italians are known to reside
and where more than 2,000 men have already been organized for home
This has nothing to do with The Board, but the story
is irresistible. Old-timers will recall Vancouver alderman Halford
Wilson, who served from 1935 to 1972. His name popped up in the
July 26, 1940 Province (Page 18), the subject being his weight!
When the war started 230-pound Ald. Halford
D. Wilson tried hard to join the navy and air force. Recruiting
officers glanced at his girth and explained carefully that men in
his category were not being accepted.
But Wilson was undaunted. Several months ago
he went into secret training, indulging in early morning marches
which reduced his weight to a neat 212. And on Thursday night he
blossomed forth in Stanley Park Armories as a second lieutenant
in Headquarters company, Second Battalion, Irish Fusiliers (Vancouver
Ald. Wilson is studying hard for his examination,
and after his first drill with two-hundred other recruits Thursday
night, pronounced army life just fine. Although he has
served on the City Council six years, the 34-year-old alderman has
always been considered the baby by his older colleagues,
all of whom are now beyond military age.
Dark Day in Downtown Vancouver
Again, this story has no direct connection with
The Board, but will be of general interest, anyway.
It comes from the Province for August 6,
1940 (Page 7).
Installation of parking meters on an experimental
basis in downtown Vancouver was approved in principle by aldermen
in traffic committee Monday after a resolution by Mayor Telford
. . . The type of meters was not discussed, but aldermen were interested
in the number which should be installed, and the time limit for
such a trial. The official traffic commission, in approving the
move, had suggested 1,000, City Solicitor A. E. Lord pointed out.
Ald. John Bennett thought the number too large,
and painted a gloomy picture of the city left with a surplus of
500 meters on its hands. Engineer Charles Brakenridge said, however,
that 1,000 was the absolute minimum if a fair trial was to be made,
and added that his department had advised 1,500.
Ald. J. W. Cornett, who with Ald. George Miller
voted against the mayor's resolution, felt that with a war in progress
the city had more important business on its hands, and that the
meter question should be stood over. After all, he said,
our problem is light compared to that of Toronto or Montreal.
Suggested limits for the experiment were six
months and a year. Installation of meters was advocated by a number
of downtown organizations in letters to the committee.
Huge Drop in American Visitors
The August 6, 1940 Province (Page 7) had
some alarming news: A drop of approximately 40 per cent. in
the number of American cars entering B.C. during July as compared
with the same month last year is seen in figures released by the
customs and transportation bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade.
A total of 11,379 cars entered the four ports
during the month, while in July, 1939, there were 16,357. Officials
believe the decrease is due directly to misunderstanding and fear
of difficulties since the imposition of passport regulations.
While Canada has gone to considerable trouble and expense to inform
visitors from south of the line that they need anticipate no difficulties,
incorrect information released when the regulations went into effect
has taken a heavy toll on Canada-bound tourists.
Canadian travel to the United States has meanwhile
diminished almost to the vanishing point as far as tourist and pleasure
travel is concerned. R. P. Bonham, district director of immigration
and naturalization in Seattle, points out that Canadian regulations
regarding the transportation of money across the line is more to
blame than passport regulations.
Only 54 automobiles crossed the border at
Sumas in Whatcom County during July. Last year there were more than
2000 in the same month.
Following are figures showing the number of
American cars entering B.C. through the four entry points during
July, 1940, and 1939: the 1939 figures are in parentheses.
Aldergrove 960 (1,215)H
Huntingdon 1,552 (2,317)
Pacific Highway 5,540 (6,667)
Douglas 3,327 (6,158)
Totals: 11,379 (16,357)
Theyre in the Army, too!
Whether you shoulder a gun, swing an axe or
run a gangsaw, you're in the war for freedom.
That was the lead in a story from the August 29,
1940 Province (Page 24) that told of a new series of
industrial war posters being distributed throughout the province
by the Vancouver Board of Trade stressing the vital importance of
employment in the forest industries at this time when Britain is
depending on the great timberlands of British Columbia for the bulk
of her lumber requirements.
Sudden demand for lumber to be used in Canada's
own defense preparations has added to the responsibility of the
lumber industries, and the Board of Trade, co-operating with various
trade associations, is encouraging loggers and sawmill workers to
continue hitting the ball. The poster idea is regarded as one effective
way of showing the timber worker that his job is vital and that
his service is a contribution to victory.
Modern warfare is fought with tools as well
as with guns and bayonets" reads the poster, hundreds of which
have been issued for distribution in logging camps, mills, railway
stations----wherever timber workers congregate.
The tools of your craftthe axe and saw,
the peavey and the hookyou can swing knowing that every hard-worked
shift has helped to fill a ship with precious lumber for Britain.
This is the lumber that will build camps for soldiers, wings for
heroes of the Royal Air Force, new factories, new homes to replace
those that have been bombed by the enemy.
Cut off from European supply, Britain depends
almost wholly on Canada for forest products in wartime. In the woods,
in sawmills and on the lumber-loading wharves you who man the industrial
army of production are doing war-time service in the fight for democracy.
Truly, you're in the army, too!
A similar poster addressed to men in the mining
industries was issued by The Board of Trade several weeks ago.
Five Canadian Pacific locomotives of the Royal
class soon will be hauling passenger trains between Revelstoke and
Vancouver, said the July 3, 1940 Province (Page 25).
First of the five, No. 2860, reached Field
Monday for delivery to the British Columbia district, and No.'s
2861, 2862, 2863 and 2864 will follow in short order. It was one
of this type, No. 2850, which was assigned last summer to the royal
train, and it hauled the gleaming blue and silver unit all the way
from Quebec to Vancouver in what proved to be the longest single
run ever achieved by any locomotive.
[These are the locomotives, dubbed Royal Hudsons,
that so impressed King George VI when he and Queen Elizabeth, the
Queen Mother, travelled across Canada in May and early June, 1939.
Wikipedia has an article on the locomotives and the royal trip here.
Show Hitler our Strength
From the Sun for September 11, 1940 (Page
10): Hon. James L. Ralston, the Minister of National Defense,
has a very high opinion of the manner in which the people of Canada
have faced and met the shift from peace to war and responded to
all calls on them, he told a large and applauding audience in Hotel
Vancouver at noon today at a luncheon sponsored jointly by the Board
of Trade, Canadian Club and Women's Canadian Club . . . He noted
the wonderful response to the first war loan, the national war savings
scheme, and the success of the current new war loan.
Speaking of the Empire Air Training Plan,
Col. Ralston declared that the RCAF has already done a magnificent
job. Schools are already functioning at 75 different points
and others are springing up almost over night.
For the first year of the war it had been
planned to spend $88 million on the air force. For the present fiscal
year the estimates were $240 million and actual expenditure would
probably run to $260 million. Of the new war loan, for which he
asked all out support, he predicted it will show
Hitler more clearly than in any other way the spiritual strength
and unshakeable determination of the Canadian people.
Distinguished Soldier . . . and dollar-a-year
Vancouver furnished a distinguished soldier,
the Sun continued, in Maj. Gen. Victor W. Odlum who
commands the Second Canadian Division in Britain, and the Minister
paid special tribute to his energy and initiative and qualities
of leadership. Also mentioned gratefully were Col. H. F. G. Letson
of Vancouver and Commodore V. G. Brodeur, formerly at Esquimalt,
who are now, respectively, the military and naval attaches to the
Canadian legation at Washington.
The Minister paid high tribute to three civilians
from Vancouver who are now dollar-a-year men at Ottawa:
W. C. Woodward, who is chief executive assistant to the minister
for munitions and supplies; J. P. D. Malkin, who is chief of supplies
purchasing; H. R. MacMillan, who is timber controller for the Dominion.
All are doing a very fine job, he said.
[A few months later, as a result of attacks on Allied
shipping by German U-boats, MacMillan would be given a new task:
heading a new agency called Wartime Merchant Shipping. He would
Hey, our Climates Fine!
Contrary to prevalent opinion in Eastern Canada,
British Columbia's climate permits more flying days per year than
any other part of Canada, Leslie J. Martin said in an address to
the advertising and sales bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade
Monday at Hotel Vancouver.
A report on his talkwhich didnt explain
who Mr. Martin waswas in the September 17, 1940 Province
Outlining the history and organization of
the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Mr. Martin declared
that, while residents of Eastern Canada were accustomed to think
of the west coast as rain and fog-bound, the majority of holdups
on scheduled Trans-Canada Air Lines flights occurred east of Winnipeg.
The Commonwealth Air Training Plan, he maintained,
was Canada's greatest contribution to the war. It represented an
investment of more than $600 million, of which the Dominion's share
was $300 million. The balance was made up by Australia, New Zealand
and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Martin reaffirmed his faith that through
the training of first class pilots, air observers and gunners, the
British Empire would overcome its present severe handicap and overcome
Nazi Germany. Where we are fighting today against great odds,
we are making up with quality, he said. Soon we will
be making up with quantity. Then nothing can touch us. Our airmen
will be the best in the world.
Indicative of the superlative quality of Canada's
potential air forces, Mr. Martin pointed out that in the first
class of flying students to be graduated from the Lulu Island training
school there had been only one failure. Student pilots had secured
an average of 80 per cent in the rigorous examinationsan exceptionally
high figure, the speaker said.
Britain Needs Lumber!
Further details of the need for lumber in wartime
Britain was given to members of the foreign trade bureau of The
Board at a luncheon on November 1, 1940. It was covered on the same
day by the Province (Page 10).
Great Britain now depends almost entirely
on the evergreen woods of British Columbia for her enormous timber
requirements, J. G. Robson, president of the B.C. Lumber and Shingle
Manufacturers' Association, told the luncheon. Last year,
he said, the United Kingdom took 965 million board feet of
our lumber, but that was only about 45 per cent of her requirements.
The rest came from northern Europe.
Now northern Europe is closed,
Mr. Robson continued, but Britain still needs an enormous
amount of timber. She will need all that we can spare.
Mr. Robson, who has figured prominently in
timber extension bureau work, stressed the fact that foreign markets
have always represented the life blood of the industry. This condition,
he predicted, will not change. When the war is over,
he said, we must go back to those markets to meet our payrolls
Tourism Increase Seen
The Sun for November 23, 1940 (Page 24) told
of a luncheon talk by E. G. Rowebottom, federal deputy minister
of trade and industry, in which he predicted a bright future for
the Canadian tourist industry in 1941. He was speaking to the transportation
bureau of The Board.
I am sure we will see record travel
to the coast this coming year, Rowebottom said, adding that
the Canadian Travel Bureau is going all out in its campaign
to bring American tourists to the Dominion. Besides large newspaper
and magazine advertising campaigns, broadcasts of Canadian-born
Hollywood stars from the CBC to American networks are being planned
as well as motion picture series for release in the United States.
[No details were given by the paper.]
Mr. Rowebottom suggested strongly that goodwill
tours of American border cities by the Vancouver Board of Trade
visiting boards of trade in the United States would, if officials
of the Foreign Exchange Control Board were included, help to explain
the situation which money regulations have created in the south.
I. W. Neil reported that unfair propaganda
circulated in American coast cities concerning border regulations
has now ceased and that United States organizations are assisting
in informing the American public that no difficulties are experienced
in entering Canada.
What else was happening
locally in 1940?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1941 »