The New Westminster police force in 1923. To see more history of
the New Westminster police force, visit their excellent
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
  
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February 14 Irving K. Ike Barber
was born in Edmonton. On October 3, 2002 Barber, a UBC alumnus and
founding chairman of Slocan Forest Products Ltd., announced a $20
million donation to transform UBC's Main Library. The B.C. Government
is contributing $10 million, and UBC is matching the sum of these
donations for a total of $60 million to build the Irving K. Barber
Learning Centre. You can read more details by clicking
February 19 Singer Bobby Hughes was born.
February 27 The Surrey Gazette, a weekly,
began publication in White Rock.
February The three north shore municipalities
urged the Port of Vancouver to develop grain handling facilities
on the north shore.
March 2 Fighting Joe (Joseph)
Martin, former BC premier (for three-and-a-half months in1900) died
in Vancouver, aged 70. Born in Ontario in 1852, Martin, a former
Manitoba MLA and cabinet minister, began practising law in Vancouver
in 1897. He became one of the citys largest landowners. He
was elected an MLA (Vancouver City) in 1898. After Premier Semlin
was forced to resign by Lt. Governor McInnes in February 1900, Martin
became acting premier. Four months later, he was defeated by James
Dunsmuir. He moved to England in 1908, and was elected to the British
House of Commons in 1910! Back in Vancouver, he tried (and failed)
to get elected as an Asiatic Exclusion League candidate, and lost
out in a bid to become mayor.
March 3 First issue of TIME Magazine.
March 19 The BC Electric Railway inaugurated
a motorbus line on Grandview Highway. Brian Kelly, transit historian,
has written: In 1923, under [B.C. Electric Railway] general
manager George Kidd, the first vehicle to challenge the supremacy
of the electric streetcar arrived on the scene. To inaugurate a
new route connecting Broadway and Commercial with the Grandview
area at 22nd and Rupert the company bought two 23-passenger buses
from the White Motor Company, with bodies built locally by G.W.
Ribchester. They were hand-cranked, sported solid tires, and were
so successful that more buses were ordered...
March 26 The Province published a special
edition to mark their 25th year as a Vancouver daily.
March The CNR station had just been completed
and the parks board started work on an undeveloped parcel of land
in front of the station, at the corner of Main and Terminal. Sir
Henry Thornton, the first president of the CNR, provided a special
track to bring sand and black soil from Chilliwack. Upon completion,
the parkoutfitted with benches and rare treeswas named
April 1 CFDC Nanaimo, which was moved to Vancouver
and renamed CKWX in 1926, went on the air.
April When city engineer F.L. Fellows drew
up plans for the proposed Canadian National and Great Northern railways'
passenger stations, he found himself with a nameless thoroughfare
on his plan. Since it led to the stations, he thought Station St.
would be a good name. Fellows also named Terminal Avenue.
May 15 Architect Ron Thom was born in Penticton.
He will become a very busy and influential architect in Vancouver.
(There may be as many as 200 houses in Metropolitan Vancouver designed
wholly or in part by Thom.)
June CFCB call letters became CKCD.
July 1 A new Chinese Immigration Act came
into effect. It virtually banned Chinese immigration to Canada.
Only four kinds of Chinese immigrants were allowed: diplomats, children
born in Canada, students and merchants. Only 44 Chinese entered
Canada during the next 24 years. Chinese Canadians long referred
to July 1 as Humiliation Day and many refused to join
in Dominion Day celebrations. The act would not be repealed until
1947 and then only wives and children under 18 of Canadian citizens
were admitted. Chinese were not able to come to Canada on the same
basis as other immigrants until 1967.
July 10 Arctic yachtsman Willy de Roos born.
July 26 U.S. President Warren Harding visited
Vancouver, the first serving president to do so. Premier John Oliver
and Mayor Charles Tisdall hosted a lunch in his honor at the Hotel
Vancouver. More than 50,000 of us crowded into Stanley Park to hear
him speak, thrilled that such an important figure was visiting.
July 27 The official opening of the Prospect
Point Signal Station in Stanley Park. It was installed to regulate
all shipping in and out of Vancouvers harbour. To quote a
site established by the Prospect Point Lookout: The
Lookout is the most popular panoramic viewpoint in the city, situated
64.3 metres (211 feet) above the sea. It has also been named South
Head, Calamity Point, Observation Point and Prospect Bluff.
The Signal Station, a two-storey structure, was made redundant by
the construction of the Lions Gate Bridge, which would open in November
August 2 President Harding died of heart failure
in San Francisco, exactly one week after visiting Vancouver. The
city was shocked and saddened. The Kiwanis Club initiated a drive
for a grand memorial to him in Stanley Park, at the site where he
spoke. (Harding was a Kiwanian.) The monument, designed by Vancouver
sculptor Charles Marega (also a Kiwanian), is there to this day.
(p.s. Harding was succeeded by vice president Calvin Coolidge.)
August 4 (or 14?) Southam assumes control
of the very successful Vancouver Daily Province.
September 3 Vancouver was linked with California
with the opening in Cloverdale of the Great Pacific Highway. A
smooth unbroken highway, dustless and rutless, the Province
reported, now undulates evenly from Vancouver to Los Angeles,
linking two nations and joining three states to the Province of
British Columbia. The new link, the Province reported,
was now the worlds longest paved road. (Drive down 176th Street
in Surrey and you link to I-5 in Washington. That route is this
road.) The road benefited from a planting effort by the Kiwanis
Club of Vancouver, who put in 1,150 ornamental trees as a gesture
toward hiding some ugly clearcuts left by decamped lumber companies.
At the end of the formal ceremonies one side of the highway
through the village was then overspread with flax seed and borax
for dancing. The Vancouver pipers piped, the New Westminster band
played, and the many hundreds present danced gaily . . .
Flax seed and borax???
September 4 West Vancouver High School opened
in the Hollyburn elementary school building.
September 8 In the Province, a couple
(1) Oh, no, soliloquized Johnny
bitterly, there aint any favorites in this family. Oh,
no! If I bite my fingernails I get a rap over my knuckles, but if
the baby eats his whole foot they think its cute.
(2) Foreman: Yes, Ill give ye a job
sweepin and keepin the place clean.
Applicant: But Im a college graduate.
Foreman: Well, then maybe ye better start on somethin
September 14 On the evening of September
14, 1923," nine-year-old Stuart Keate (future publisher of
the Vancouver Sun) recalled, "I was listening to a radio
broadcast of the heavyweight boxing championship between Jack Dempsey
and Luis Firpo, 'the Wild Bull of the Pampas.' When Firpo knocked
Dempsey out of the ring [onto a sportswriter's typewriter, in the
first round], I dashed into nearby Granville Street and stopped
the first car I could find. 'What's up, son?' asked the driver.
'Firpo has just knocked out Dempsey and won the heavyweight championship
of the world,' I cried. Which, in retrospect, was an authentic harbinger
of the career to come: I was not only first with the news, but had
it totally wrong!
After being knocked through the ropes, Dempsey returned
to the ring and knocked Firpo down twice in the second round, finally
knocked him out.
September 17 Hank Williams was born.
October 1 The first ship of the Canadian government
mercantile marine left Vancouver with grain bound for Britain.
November 19 Writer and teacher Robert Harlow
November 26 Journalist and author Geoffrey
Molyneux was born. His 1992 book British Columbia: An Illustrated
History is a good brief look at the provinces past.
December 4 Maria Callas was born.
December 5 Radio was used for the first time
in a Vancouver mayoralty election campaign: candidate W.R. Owen,
a former blacksmith, gave a ten-minute speech over Station CJCE.
He won the election.
December 9 Thomas George Shaughnessy died
in Montreal, aged 70. The old-money Vancouver neighborhood was named
for him. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1853, Shaughnessy became
a railroader. In 1882 he was recruited over a glass of beer as general
purchasing agent for the CPR. He became the railways president
in 1898, held the job for 20 years. He was knighted in 1901 and
became Lord Shaughnessy in 1916.
December 12 The Rotary Clubs first Christmas
Carnival was held.
Also in 1923
Vancouvers population topped 130,000, a growth
of 13,000 in two years.
Jimmy Butterfield, aged about 44, began a daily column
in the Province. Butterfields name stands out because he wrote
on local doings (beginning in 1923 and carrying on to his death
in1941), at a time when newspaper style was often stiff and long-winded,
in a voice that sounded human. His column was titled The Common
Round. Jimmy was born in London (the big one) about 1879, died September
23, 1941 in Penticton.
The Vancouver Park Board issued a map showing the
location of squatters in Stanley Park. The map is at
the City Archives.
A court case was initiated to attempt to expel eight
native families from Stanley Park. See previous item.
The parish hall at St. Mary's Church at 2498 West
37th Avenue in Kerrisdale was built. It is a heritage building today.
In her 1943 book Ports of British Columbia Agnes
Rothery says Diesel engines began to be used locally in tugboats
this year. (Page 236.)
The oldest local functioning amateur sports organization
in Vancouver, the Meralomas, was established as the Mermaid Swim
Club. Meraloma was coined from mer for mermaid,
al for alpha and om for omega. The last
a was added for the sound.
The investment firm Odlum
Brown was incorporated in Vancouver. Appropriately,
they have sponsored 1923 in The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.
The Alcazar Theatre, built on Commercial Drive in
1913, was taken over by Vancouver Little Theatre. (They sold it
in 1978). Today, as the Raj Theatre, it shows films from India.
Back in 1920 a referendum brought in an experiment
in Vancouver with proportional representation, then being tried
out in a number of North American cities. This year another referendum
brought back the eight-ward, single-member system.
Myrtle Philip was Whistler Valleys most significant
female pioneer. Born in the Eastern United States in 1891, Myrtle
migrated to the west coast of BC in her early twenties with her
husband Alex. The young couple fell in love with the Coast Mountains
and decided to carry out their dream of building a holiday retreat.
With the guidance of an old trapper, the Philips travelled north
of Vancouver up the Pemberton Trail to a place called Alta Lake
- the perfect wilderness setting for a fishing lodge.
Burnaby got its first fire truck, a Model T Ford
converted in his garage by mechanic (and fire truck driver) Bill
Banks. He later converted a 12-cylinder Packard limousine.
Coquitlam joined the Greater Vancouver Water Board.
Annual rates were introduced: 75 cents for houses without bath,
$1.15 for houses with.
Ocean Park got its first post office. It was featured
in Ripley's Believe it or Not as the smallest in the
world. People wrote from distant places just to get the postmark.
Pacific Stage Lines and B.C. Rapid Transit Company,
subsidiaries of B.C. Electric Railway, began regular passenger service
in the Fraser Valley.
The Canadian Northern Railway became part of the
Canadian National Railway.
Construction began on the Main Library at UBC. Architectural
historian Dr. Harold Kalman writes: The central portion (1923-25)
features the stone walls and medievalizing detail of the Collegiate
Gothic style, originally intended for the entire campus.
Construction began on the Centre Lawn building at
Essondale (now Riverview Hospital).
The Burnaby Civic Employees Union Memorial Fountain
was erected, designed by William Williamson of Westminster Monumental
Works. Made of BC granite, the fountain was erected to honor union
members killed in the First World War. Originally located on Kingsway
near Edmonds at the old Municipal Hall, in 1974 it was moved to
Burnaby Village Museum.
Star of the Sea Parish in White Rock, a Catholic
church, was established.
The Women's Institute, a province-wide group of community-minded
women, sparked the idea of creating a Crippled Children's Hospital
in Vancouver. The name will change to Childrens Hospital in
The Canadian Daughters League was established with
approximately 30 members. It is a Fraternal and Benevolent organization
whose members believe in Canada and its people. Today it has about
300 members in British Columbia. There are three branches in the
lower mainland with about 90 members.
The quarterly Butter-Fat first appeared. Published
by Agrifoods International Cooperative, it informed members of activities
in the co-op and dairy industries.
The West Ender/Kitsilano News first appeared (as
the West Ender). Today it has a circulation of about 59,000.
The Toronto-based Bank of Hamilton, which had several
Vancouver area branches after opening its first one in the city
in 1898, merged with the Bank of Commerce.
The big wooded area known today as Pacific Spirit
Regional Park, adjacent to the University Endowment Lands, was once
a source of timber for the Hastings Sawmill. Their logging, started
in 1860, ended this year. Then the land was endowed to the university.
You'll see second-growth Douglas fir, western red cedar, western
hemlock and more here.
Writer Steve Gatensbury was born in New Westminster.
He started work in the sawmill industry at 16. His fly on
the wall approach to B.C. logging history, Once, To Learn
It, is a light-hearted look at his 50 years of working mainly within
small companies. His Queensborough: Images of an Old Neighbourhood
recalls New Westminster.
Writer, columnist and MP Paul St. Pierre was born
in Chicago. He grew up in Nova Scotia and came to Vancouver in 1945.
Hes written a lot of good things, may be best known for his
1950s CBC television series Cariboo Country (which launched the
acting career of Chief Dan George).
Photographer Ulli Steltzer was born in Frankfurt,
Germany. She emigrated to the U.S. in 1953, moved to Vancouver in
1972. In 1992 she shared the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice award
with writer Robert Bringhurst for The Black Canoe, a celebration
of the art of Bill Reid.
Executive and judge J.V. Clyne, 21, graduated from
UBC. J. V. Clyne worked summers, writes Constance Brissenden
in The Greater Vancouver Book, as a cowboy, sawmill
laborer, deckhand and placer gold miner. After graduation from UBC
in 1923, he studied marine law at the London School of Economics.
He was called to the BC bar January 8, 1927 and appointed to the
BC Supreme Court in 1950.
Scotland-born William Marr Crawford, shipping executive,
was named president and managing director of Empire Stevedoring,
B.C.'s largest waterfront employer.
Wisconsin-born newspaper photographer Claude Dettloff
began his career with the Minneapolis Journal. He joined the Province
in 1936. Wait for Me, Daddy,
his memorable WWII photo of a boy running after his marching dad,
was shot Oct. 1, 1940 as the New Westminster brigade went overseas.
Vancouver boxing promoter Pop (Charles)
Foster began training a future world welterweight champion in 17-year-old
Jimmy McLarnin, who had been selling newspapers on the street in
England-born Charles Cleaver Maddams, a Mount Pleasant
settler, who in 1888 had bought five acres on the south shore of
False Creek and, because of nearby Chinese farms named the area
China Creek, transferred his Maddams Ranch to the Vancouver
park board to cover his taxes. Maddams Street, originally a Mount
Pleasant trail, is named for him.
North Vancouver mountaineers Don and Phyllis Munday
discovered Mt. Waddington, B.C.'s highest peak. They will make four
attempts to reach the top, coming within 18 metres in 1926. Don
Munday described their attempts in an exciting 1948 book, The Unknown
Mountain. Two more editions appeared. See also 1920.
27-year-old Gordon Shrum, who will loom large in
BC affairs in the future, earns his PhD at the University of Toronto.
Fritz Ziegler, who had established Ziegler Chocolate
Shops in 1921, died. His widow Wanda became president, grew the
chain from three to 11 Lower Mainland stores.
Former BC premier John Turner (1895 to 1898; no relation
to the former prime minister) died.
The name British Columbia Telephone Company was established,
under a federal charter that the company had obtained in 1916.
Construction of Ballantyne Pier was completed.
The provincial government let contracts for completion
of UBCs Point Grey buildings: the Science building (today
part of the Chemistry building); the Library (today the centre block
of Main Library); a power plant, and semi-permanent
buildings: Arts, Agriculture, Applied Science, Administration, the
Auditorium, and four laboratory/workshop buildings, most of which
are still in use today. Still, the universitys opening at
Point Grey will not be until 1925.
Michael James Mickey ORourke, a
VC winner in WWI, began working at local grain elevators, aged either
44, 45 or 49. There is a long, really interesting and ultimately
depressing article on him at the History Cooperative site (click
here to view article).
Construction began on a bridge across the Second
Narrows. (Not the present bridge.)
Mrs. Tom Routleypresident of Port Coquitlams
Womens Institutethought it would be a good idea to have
a joint May Day involving both PoCo schools, James Park and Central.
Held alongside the Coquitlam River and ruled over by May Queen Evelyn
Mars, it was the first Community May Day. It has been held every
year since without a break and, in fact, is likely the citys
biggest annual event.
Milk output at Colony Farm at Essondale, the mental
hospital, reached almost a million pounds. Among the more notable
of the 62 Holsteins there was Colony Grebegga Valdessa, two years
old, who produced 28,371 pounds of milk, a world record for her
age group. (Thats nearly 78 pounds a day!)
Port Coquitlam paid tribute to the men it lost in
the First World War with the construction of a cenotaph. It stands
today in the park in front of city hall.
1923 Morris Bullnose Cowley Roadster
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]