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[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
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You'll note that this year includes events listed under "Also
in . . ." These are events for which we don't have a specific
date. If YOU know the
specific date of an event shown there, please
notify us . . . and cite the source! Many thanks!
1909 is the first year with so many events that we
gave it its own separate file. Further analysis might show that
Metropolitan Vancouver took a giant leap forward this year: many
prominent buildings were erected, and there seemed to be a heightened
sense of excitement at the promise of the city.
January 7 The first export shipment of grain
was made out of Vancouver. Some 50,000 bushels of wheat from the
prairies went to Australia.
February 4 Artist Jack Shadbolt was born in
Shoeburyness, England. At age 3 he came with his family to Victoria.
February 10 Artist Bertram Charles Binning
was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Hes most well known for
the mosaic design on the outside of the B.C. Electric Building .
. . which became the B.C. Hydro Building . . . and which is known
today as the Electra, a condominium development at the northeast
corner of Nelson and Burrard.
March 9 Hugh Magee, pioneer Point Grey farmer,
died in Point Grey, aged 83. He was born June 4, 1826 in what is
now Northern Ireland. He moved to Upper Canada (Ontario) in 1843,
and married Isabella Crawford in 1850. In 1857 he sold the farm
and took his family, which now included three young children, to
California. They travelled by sea via New York, across the Panama
isthmus (no canal yet) and then by ship again to San Francisco.
Hearing news of the Fraser River gold strike in 1858, they headed
to New Westminster. Their fourth child, Hugh Crawford Magee, was
born while they were on the ship.
By 1861 the family was at Rosehill, on
the Burnaby/New Westminster border where 10th Avenue intersected
with the North Arm Trail (Marine Drive). Thats where their
fifth child, James Douglas Magee, was born April 17, 1861. But Magee
found the land in that area too marshy for farming, and determined
to move again. (A later tenant of that land, Rose Hill Farm, established
a dairy farm and sold milk there.) By October 1864 the Magees had
settled west of Marpole.
He was the first farmer to settle the North Arm of the Fraser.
He and Isabella had fifteen children: seven sons and eight daughters
between 1852 and 1880. Two of the daughters died in infancy.
In Michael Kluckners Vancouver, The Way It Was, Kluckner
describes how Magee purchased a home in New Westminster, put it
on a barge, floated it down the Fraser, and landed it in a grove
of spruce trees near what is today the foot of Blenheim Street.
They called their new home Spruce Grove. Ten years later, high water
forced Magee to move the house up the hill to what later became
3250 West 48th Avenue.
In 1902 the Magees cleared a road through the forest from Blenheim
Street to the newly constructed Granville Street. It was known as
Magee Road until the name was changed to 49th Avenue. The name Magee
got on the map the next year when the Canadian Pacific Railway built
the Magee station on the Interurban line from Vancouver to Steveston.
Hugh Magee died March 9, 1909 in Point Grey, at the age of 83.
He left an estate valued at more than $100,000 and a will with instructions
that kept lawyers and the courts busy for the next fifty-three years.
It took until the last of his children had died, before the estate
was finally settled in 1962.
The Magee name lives on, too, in Magee High School,
which had its beginnings in 1913 when Point Grey established its
first high school. At first, classes met in Eburne Elementary School
until a building was ready at 49th Avenue and Maple Street in 1914.
Soon after, the name was changed from Point Grey High School to
King George V High School. This name caused confusion with the King
George High School in Vancouver, and residents and students persisted
in calling the school Magee. That name became official
This entry relies heavily on research by John Macdonald. Hugh Magee
was Johns wifes great-great-grandfather. Were
very grateful for this interesting material.
March 10 The new world heavyweight boxing
champion, Jack Johnson, visited Vancouver for an exhibition bout
at the Vancouver Athletic Club against an opponent named Victor
McLaglen. It was Johnsons first fight after winning the title.
Trivia: McLaglen, 26, later became a well-known movie actor.
March 15 The first freight train (Blaine,
Washington at one end, New Westminster at the other) traveled the
new Great Northern Railway track along the White Rock foreshore,
precipitating real estate speculation and a building boom. A customs
post was opened at White Rock.
March 26 American evangelists John Wilbur
Chapman and Charles McCallon Alexander, who have formed the Chapman-Alexander
Simultaneous Campaign, embarked from Vancouver on a worldwide
campaign. Their technique was to hold multiple simultaneous meetings
in cities, conducted by themselves and associates. In Philadelphia
the year before they had held 21 meetings at the same time.
March 29 Longshoremen struck for higher pay.
They want 35 cents per hour for day work and 40 cents per hour for
May The name of Vancouvers 9th Avenue
was changed to Broadway. There were a number of Americans involved
in the citys real estate boom and it was felt that Broadway
(after Broadway in New York City) would, in archivist Major J.S.
Matthews' words, help promote some mysterious advantage.
May 5 Robert Clark, merchant, died
in Vancouver, aged 65. He had an important influence on the business
life of Vancouver. He was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1845.
His first job was in a grocery store, but then he learned the ship-builders
trade. On May 1, 1871, at age 25, he left Scotland for Canada.
He built the first steamer that sailed on Lake Manitoba.
Going into the forest, the 1906 B.C. Illustrated
News relates, he picked out the trees, hewed the lumber
and with help whip-sawed the lumber. He then built and launched
the boat and delivered her to the owners, a craft one hundred feet
Clark then moved into the States and worked in various
cities until he came up to Victoria in 1875. In 1880 he opened a
mens wear store in Nanaimo, moved it to Yale a year later.
His store there burned down. He remained at Yale until the
spring of 1886, the Illustrated News continues, when
owing to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad [sic] he
returned to Vancouver. He then opened his store on the same street
[Hastings] on which he is now located, and he has a large and successful
business. He built his present store, ninety by one hundred and
thirty-two feet, and in it he carries a full and complete line of
mens furnishing goods, carefully selected. He is the pioneer
clothing merchant of this place . . .
We also learn he assisted in building the first Presbyterian
church in Vancouver, and topped the aldermanic polls here in 1887,
88 and 89.
This excerpt from the web site of the Vancouver Board
of Trade indicates the key role Clark played in the
early business life of Vancouver: Following the disastrous
fire of June 13, 1886, when all but one of Vancouvers buildings
were destroyed, Vancouver businessmen held a number of meetings
to discuss the need for some kind of business organization that
could help to rebuild the young city. On September 22, 1887, such
a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Alderman Robert Clark
and the decision was made to form a Board of Trade . . . On November
24, 1887, a Charter was issued which made the new organization official
and gave it its nameThe Vancouver Board of Trade.
May 24 Vancouver’s first marathon
was run. The location was Recreation Park, and the race was won
by Vancouver’s Will Chandler in a time of 3 hours, 22 minutes,
11 1/5 seconds. Eleven runners took part and the race was run around
a track in the park. 2,500 spectators attended and Mayor Charles
Douglas fired the starting pistol. One of the timekeepers was prominent
local jeweler George Trorey, manager of the Birks store here. Our
thanks to Andrew Martin of Special Collections in the Vancouver
Public Library for this glimpse into the city’s athletic past.
June 20 Errol Flynn was born in Hobart.
June The first moving picture theatre in North Vancouver
opened at Larson's Pavilion.
August 21 Minoru race track, named after King
Edward's Epsom Derby winner, opened in Richmond, with 7,000 people
August 25 The Canadian Pacific Railway opened
its new line over Kicking Horse Pass near Field, BC. The route featured
two spiral tunnels, bypassing the former switchback with its 4.4
September 6 Governor General Earl Grey officially
opened the new Granville Street bridge. Lady Grey cuts the ribbon.
(This bridge will last until 1954.) The new bridge extended from
Pacific to 4th, east of the original bridge.
September 28 The first contingent of 110 French
Canadians from Quebec's lumber industry arrived by train to work
at Fraser Mills. Their residential settlement, built with company
help, becomes known as Maillardville, named after community leader
Father Edmond Maillard.
September The St. Andrews and Caledonian Society
began a group in North Vancouver for Scottish dancing.
October 6 Vancouver took its first mechanized
ambulance out for a test drive and ran over and killed an American
October 14 Famed American evangelist
William Jennings Bryan lectured at the Vancouver Opera House.
October 20 The Vancouver branch of the
Canadian Women's Press Club, the Province reported,
held its first regular meeting yesterday afternoon. The club
has been formed with the object of bringing together all women writers
of the City . . . One of the founders of the local branch
was Lily Laverock, one of the most interesting of all Vancouver
pioneers. The Edinburgh-born Miss Laverock (she was Miss Laverock
to everyone) had arrived as a child with her parents and went on
to become the first female general reporter in the city. She worked
first at the World and later became women's editor of the
News-Advertiser. Later she will become an impresario, and
an impressive one.
October The first bank in Surrey, a branch
of the Bank of Montreal, opened in Cloverdale.
November 8 The West Vancouver Transportation
Company began a ferry service across the inlet with the 35-passenger
West Vancouver. The pier was at the foot of 17th Street, on land
owned by John Lawson (one of the company's founders), land now called
John Lawson Park.
Also in 1909
Construction began on the Evangelistic Tabernacle
at 85 East 10th.
The Normal School at 555 West 12th was built.
The Winch Building at 757 West Hastings (now part
of Sinclair Centre) was built.
Aberthau, at 4397 West 2nd, was built. Its
now the West Point Grey Community Centre.
Hycroft, at 1489 McRae, was built. It was the grandest
home in Shaughnessy at $100,000 at a time when $3,000 would buy
you a new house. Its owners, General Alexander McRae and his wife,
turn it into a glittering social centre. Owned today by the University
Womens Club, inside and out it is one of the most beautiful
buildings in the city.
The Cecil Hotel opened on Granville Street.
Poland-born Jack Diamond was born. He will come to
Vancouver at age 17 and become hugely influential.
Realizing the growing importance of Vancouver as
a port and that its fame was spreading to many far away places,
The Vancouver Board of Trade advocated a new city hall.
English Bay pier was built.
The Chinese Benevolent Association was founded and
moved into its own new building at 108 East Pender.
Vancouver's first skyscraper, the Dominion Trust
Building at Hastings and Cambie, was completed.
The Interurban railway was extended from Eburne in
Richmond to New Westminster.
The Caulfeild subdivision on the north shore was
completed and lots went on sale for summer homes.
Wigwam Inn, at the north end of Indian Arm, was built
by German-born financier Alvo von Alvensleben. By 1913 it will be
popular enough to have daily boat service provided by the stern-wheeler
The work of the Surrey Women's Institutes began,
welcoming new settlers and assisting with such projects as libraries,
parks, youth training work and dental clinics.
Richmond entered into an agreement to have its water
supply piped from New Westminster's reservoir, after many years
of unsuccessfully drilling to find its own water.
The North Pacific Lumber mill at Barnet was destroyed
by fire. A modern plant was constructed to handle 150,000 board
feet a day. Separate accommodation was built for Caucasian, Chinese,
and Sikh workers, and Barnet, although a part of Burnaby, became
a company townsite.
Sculptor Charles Marega arrived in Vancouver, accompanied
by his wife Berta. He will become a prolific creator of sculpted
work around the city.
Frederick Begg arrived in Vancouver from Lindsay,
Ontario and, with his brother Frank as partner, began the Begg Motor
Co., the citys first car dealer.
The Vancouver Police Department began its first mounted
patrol for Stanley Park.
The streetcar line was extended from downtown Vancouver
to Boundary Road, and the development of Vancouver Heightswhich,
despite its name, was on the Burnaby side of the linewas spurred.
It was designed as an exclusive subdivision which the developers
hoped would rival Shaughnessy Heights. An example was Overlynn,
the Charles J. Peter Mansion at 3755 McGill Street, built at a cost
Alexander McDonald Paterson came to Delta to run
the Paterson farm Inverholme. Inverholme School (now
preserved on Deas Island) was built in 1909 on the Paterson farm.
Charles S. Davies came from England to Port Coquitlam
in 1909, and was a contractor and builder there on such projects
as the City Hall and the Commercial Hotel. He will later become
an alderman and then mayor.
Laburnum Street was named for the tree by the CPR,
when the land behind Kitsilano Beach was opened.
Pitt Meadows gets its first school and first telephone.
The Grandview Methodist Church was built at 1895
Venables. It will later become a United Church and, still later,
will be converted into the East Vancouver Cultural Centre, the Cultch.
Wisconsin-born Charles Stanford Douglas was mayor
of Vancouver at the beginning of 1909, Michigan-born L.D. Taylor
was mayor at years end.
The building boom in Vancouver leads to comprehensive
new building regulations.
The Vancouver Fire Department got its first motorized
aerial ladder, a 1909 Seagrave 75-foot tractor-aerial ladder, first
of its type built by the Seagrave Company. It was purchased because
of the large number of high buildings being built downtown, particularly
the Dominion Trust Building at Hastings and Cambie, then the tallest
in the British Empire.
The No.18 Field Ambulance unit, Army Medical Corps,
was founded here.
The Vancouver School Board began to offer night school
courses. Some 966 people signed up.
Construction started on the Hospital for the Mind,
later renamed Essondale, now Riverview Hospital.
The B.C. Electric Railway purchased plans for two
open-air sightseeing cars from the Montreal Tramways Company for
25 cents and constructed them in their New Westminster shops. A
young conductor worked one on short notice one day, and found himself
a born showman. From that day on Teddy Lyons and the observation
car were inseparable. His quick wit and non-stop humor became
so well known the company even published a book of 'Teddy Lyons
Jokes'. See that seagull? Richest one in Vancouver. Came by
here the other day and made a deposit on a new Packard. It
was corny, and the passengers loved it, almost as much as they loved
the little groups of children who would sing at corners where the
car stopped, or the long narrow souvenir photos of the passengers
taken by photographer Harry Bullen and sold on every trip.
Vancouver-based Placer Dome had its origins this
year when a party of prospectors in northern Ontario literally stumbled
over what would turn into one of the biggest gold finds of the century.
One of the men slipped and fell, dislodging a piece of moss . .
. under which was found a dome-shaped rock structure studded with
gold. Hence the name Dome Mines. (Dome amalgamated with Placer Development
in 1987. Hence Placer Dome.)
1909 was a fiscally feverish year in the city. An
alley corner on Hastings Street was sold for $100,000 while one
property owner refused an offer of $250,000 for a corner on Robson
and Granville Streets. Bank of Toronto officials at the time deplored
the wild speculation which has taken place in real estate.
The Vancouver labour council joined the Canadian
Trades and Labour Council.
The Clayburn brick works were producing 30,000 bricks
Fred Hinckleton built the first shack on Grouse Mountain.
It quickly became a rendezvous point for hikers wanting food and
Stanley Park covers 405 hectares, much of it with
grey squirrels, thanks to a gift of eight pairs from New York City
Artist Jack Shadbolt was born.
Percy F. Goldenrath's name appeared as the sole publisher
listed in the Vancouver telephone book.
1909 Hupmobile Roadster ($750 new)
1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]