May 1, 1975
Its one of the great houses in the city, a
fixture on Point Grey Road for more than 90 years. But Brock House
began as the Gilman house, named for Philip Gilman, a mining engineer
who bought two-and-a-half acres on the Point Grey waterfront, had
noted architect Samuel Maclure design the home (with eight fireplaces),
and moved in with his wife and two sons in 1913. In 1922 the Gilmans
sold the house to the Brocks and moved to England.
UBC Dean Reginald Brock and his wife Mildred moved
in with four sons, and Mrs. Brock named the house Brockholm
holm' meaning low-lying land near water. In July of 1935 Dean
and Mrs. Brock were killed in an airplane accident, but three of
the sons one of them the fondly remembered writer and broadcaster
Dave Brock remained in the house until it was sold in 1938
to David Tait.
In 1952 the Taits sold Brock House to the federal
government, and it was used for a time by the RCMP. On May 1, 1975
31 years ago today the property was turned over to
the City of Vancouver as part of the transfer of the Jericho Waterfront
Lands. It has become a busy activity centre for seniors and has
a noted restaurant.
May 2, 1986
Back in 1978, in the quiet and elegant confines
of the Cavalry Club in London, England three people sat around over
tea and talked about Vancouver. They were Grace McCarthy, the deputy
premier and minister of human resources in the B.C. government,
Lawrie Wallace, B.C.'s agent-general in the U.K. and Europe, and
Patrick Reid, who had been commissioner general for Canadian participation
in several world expositions (San Antonio, Osaka, Spokane) and who
was just about to start a term as president of the International
Bureau of Expositions in Paris. That's the body that has the final
say about what cities get expos.
Mrs. McCarthy said that 1986, still eight years
ahead, was going to be Vancouver's 100th birthday and it would be
nice to mark that occasion in some special way. Reid responded by
saying a world exposition would fill the bill splendidly.
When McCarthy got back to BC she collared Premier
Bill Bennett and began to push for support for an exposition in
Vancouver to mark the city's centennial.
On May 2, 1986—19 years ago today—Expo 86 began. Exactly 52 countries
participated. Over the six months it ran, Expo drew 22,111,600 people,
a huge success.
May 9, 1891
Vancouver was perfectly situated for the early Canadian
Pacific Railway. They'd signed a contract with the British government
in 1889 to deliver mail to Japan and China. The mail, brought by
ship from England, would be loaded aboard CPR trains at Halifax,
rushed across the country to Vancouver, then put aboard CPR ships
for the trans-Pacific run. The contract—which earned the company
,60,000 per year—was based on their getting the mail from Halifax
to Hong Kong in 684 hours (28.5 days.)
The first ship the CPR had built for the purpose
(at Barrow-in-Furness in northern England) was the Empress of
India, launched in August 1890. She got here via the Suez Canal
and Hong Kong in late April of 1891, and on May 9, 1891—exactly
114 years ago today—left Vancouver to begin the regular transpacific
She would make that run for 23 years, and one of
the odder facts of her life was that the coal that fed her boilers
was loaded in Nagasaki, Japan. The loading was done by women and
children, each carrying sacks weighing 15 pounds.
In 1914 the Empress was sold to the Maharajah
of Gwalior, who converted her at his own expense, into an Indian
Army hospital ship.
May 15, 1976
It got easier to get to Vancouver International
Airport when the Arthur Laing Bridge opened. It reduced the distance
from downtown to the airport by more than three kilometres. Traffic
had started using the bridge August 27, 1975, but the official opening
was May 15, 197630 years ago today. Its 1,676 metres
(one mile) in total length, and more than 90,000 vehicles use it
Geraldine Laing unveiled a plaque at the ceremony,
where tribute was paid to her husband. He was born in 1904 in Eburne,
near the south end of the new bridge, and by 1949 was the Liberal
MP for Vancouver South. He later became the leader of the Liberal
Party in BC, still later returned to a busy life in federal politics:
He was Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, then
Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, next Minister
of Public Works and finally Minister of Veterans' Affairs. In 1972,
he was appointed to the Senate.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced in 1974 that the
bridge would be named for Laing (the original plan had been to call
it the Hudson Street Bridge), but he died at 70 on February 13,
1975 while the bridge was still under construction.
May 16, 1982
There was no joy in Vancouver (nor the rest of Canada)
on May 16, 1982—23 years ago today—when the Vancouver Canucks were
defeated by the New York Islanders in the quest for the Stanley
Cup. It was the closest the Canucks had come to hockey's top prize.
But they had been beaten in four straight games by the Islanders,
and the team was inconsolable.
But the fans were not. A piece by the Vancouver
Sun's Ian Haysom was headlined CINDERELLA HEROES LOST STANLEY
CUP BUT WON OUR HEARTS. Stan Smyl,” Haysom wrote, eyes
red, choking back the tears, said: 'Yes, it hurts. I guess it hurts
Outside the Canucks' dressing room, a crowd of almost
200 diehard fans chanted Next year! Next year!” and Stan-ley,
Stan-ley!” That wasn't for the Cup, but for team captain Stan Smyl.
The Canucks' captain,” Haysom continued, After regaining
his composure, was persuaded to go out and meet them. They mobbed
him, told him he was the greatest, they held aloft a foil-wrapped
Stanley Cup, shook both his hands and cheered themselves hoarse.
Smyl managed a smile and said, simply: 'Thanks, guys. You're the
greatest. You've all been incredible.'”
Maybe next year.
May 23, 1937
On May 23, 1937—68 years ago today—the Palomar
opened at 713 Burrard Street at Alberni in Vancouver. In its day
the Palomar was the place in town for big-name entertainers:
the Ink Spots appeared there frequently in the 1940s and '50s, and
for those of you younger folk who just said 'Who?,' here are a couple
of other names you will recognize: Louis Armstrong (February
2, 1952) and Duke Ellington (April 11 to 15, 1952.)
Dal Richards joined the Sandy De Santis house orchestra
at the Palomar in the fall of 1937, and was there in the fall of
1938 when it changed from a ballroom to a night club. A Vancouver
girl named Peggy Middleton joined the chorus line, and Dal remembers
that she pestered him and the club's owner, Hymie Singer, to do
a solo number. It was Top Hat, White Tie and Tails,”
Dal said, And she'd gone out and bought the stuff she needed
for the number.” They okayed the solo, and maybe that's what persuaded
15-year-old Peggy Middleton that showbiz was for her. She changed
her name to Yvonne De Carlo and went on to become a movie and TV
Singer and Sandy De Santis had a falling out,”
Dal recalls, And Singer asked me if I could lead a band. I
said sure. I was 20.” The Palomar eventually closed. Dal's still
May 30, 1985
On May 30, 1985—exactly 20 years ago today—The Vancouver
Sun's front page was dominated by the Steve Fonyo story.
Fonyo was a 19-year-old Vernon kid who'd lost his leg to cancer
at age 12 and who'd been inspired by Terry Fox's 1980 run.
At 4:15 p.m. the day before, in a pouring rain,
grinning hugely, Fonyo dipped his artificial left leg into the waters
of Juan de Fuca Strait. He had done it. He had run across Canada.
His journey, the Sun's Dave Margoshes and
Chris Rose wrote, had started 14 months earlier on March 31, 1984
on an equally miserable day in St. John's, Nfld. In between
he's been on the road 425 days, ran or walked 7,924 kilometres and
raised almost $9 million for cancer research, education and patient
services, including $1 million pledged by the federal government.”
Fonyo wasn't as photogenic as Terry Fox, his personality
wasn't as attractive, his run wasn't as well organized, and his
post-run life was marked with trouble with the law. But he did two
extraordinary things: disabled, he ran across the entire country,
and he raised those pledges in the fight against cancer to more
than $13 million.
Today, Fonyo's working, living quietly, and at peace
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