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 1932 highlights (described in more
- Trade with Australia booming
- BC exhibit disappointing and disgusting
- 45 New Factories
- Steelman tells us: Abandon Isolation
- Wartime Registry for all citizens!
- One-Cent Cafeteria!
Good News . . . sort of . . . from Australia
The February 19, 1932 Province (Page 20 )
told of the visit to Vancouver of Major L. R. Andrews, representative
of the British Columbia Government in Australia for more than two
years, who spoke to members of the foreign trade bureau of the Board
of Trade at luncheon in the Hotel Vancouver today.
The paper reported that British Columbia's lumber
trade with Australia in 1931 brought $1 million to this province,
provided 80,000 days work and netted the Provincial Government directly
$50,000. Various aspects of Empire trade were dealt with by
Major Andrews, the Province said, who accompanied
the delegation of British Columbia lumbermen which visited the Antipodes
in 1929. He remained in Australia to continue development of the
trade for which the delegation laid the foundations.
In 1931, Major Andrews declared, Australia
bought only 85 million feet of lumber, compared with its normal
consumption of 300 million. Curtailed purchasing power was responsible
for this sharp decline. Of this, however, 50 million feet was supplied
by British Columbia. The total supplied by this province in 1931
represents a sharp proportionate advance over previous years, due
principally to the trade agreement between Australia and Canada
which gives this country a preference over competitors. Normally
it would have supplied 10 million feet. The minimum Australian tariff
on lumber is $80 per thousand and on this rate the Canadian preference
In British Columbia the government owns
all of the standing timber and it draws $5 million of its income
annually from this source, Major Andrews continued.
Doubles her Exports
The history of trade agreements between Australia
and Canada, the Province continued, was briefly
sketched. In 1925 the first agreement was negotiated and resulted
in Australia doubling her exports to Canada by 1930, compared with
the five years before the treaty. Lumber, however, was not mentioned
in this pact, although without it Canada still had a favorable trade
balance with her sister Dominion.
In 1929 a small subsidy was granted for ships
carrying lumber to Australia, and this aided the exporters of this
province considerably in the development of trade. However, in 1930
a new treaty was negotiated at Ottawa by Australian delegates returning
from the Imperial Conference and in return for further tariff concessions
to Australia in the matters of fresh and canned fruits, canned meats
and other basic products, the Australians agreed to a preference
Americans Losing Ground
Until the subsidy in 1929 and the subsequent
treaty, the Australian lumber trade was dominated by United States
exporters. Aided by subsidies they were able to retain their hold,
the speaker said. At present British Columbia exporters are cutting
into the American shipments to a large extent. Support of the Australian
treaty in British Columbia was urged by the speaker. Purchase of
Australian goods in Canada will mean the further development of
the trade to the interests of both countries and an opportunity
for further expansion of trade.
Cheap Energy Great Aid
British Columbia is singularly fortunate in
the wealth of its water power, furnishing cheap energy without which
many of its largest industrial developments would be unable to operate
economically, if at all. That was said by Major J. C. MacDonald,
Provincial Comptroller of Water Rights, addressing the Transportation
and Customs Bureau of the Board at luncheon on Tuesday, April 19,
1932. The Sun reported on the talk the next day (Page 24.)
Engineering estimates placing the available
hydro-electric power of the province at 7 million horsepower tell
only part of the story, Major MacDonald said. They are
based only on the power of running streams with known power sites
whereas there are many elevated lake deposits, the tunneling of
which to lower levels would multiply the estimate many times.
Development at Trail
The enormous mineral and metallurgical development
at Trail would be impossible without the cheap water-power of West
Kootenay. There would be no paper industry at Powell River and Ocean
Falls but for the combination of waterpower and water transportation.
Even in Vancouver, at least 50 per cent of industrial plants can
operate only because of the cheap power furnished by the B. C. Electric,
The most recent development of the Cora Linn
plant in West Kootenay [note: the Cora Linn Dam was completed in
1932] brought the total present hydro-electric development in the
province to 700,000-h.p. and sales of electrical energy in the province
run to an average of $23 million a year. One of the most interesting
possibilities for the future lies in the water-power of the Fraser,
between Lytton and Quesnel. It has been estimated that dams at natural
sites would make possible the development of 2 million h.p.
Blessing in Disguise
Failure of the United States to ratify the
proposed Fraser River sockeye salmon treaty might be a blessing
in disguise, Major MacDonald asserted. International control of
the spawning streams might prevent water-power development worth
many times as much as the value of the salmon fisheries, once estimated
at $13 million yearly, but recently averaging only $2 million.
The speaker was introduced by E. A. Cleveland,
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Area.
Great Depression Still Shaping Canadian Life
From the Sun for April 25, 1932 (Page 1):
Unemployment in Canada should be treated as a national emergency
and full leadership in tackling the problem should be assumed by
the Dominion Government, said Frank C. Brown, chairman of the B.C.
Division, Canadian Manufacturers' Association. Brown spoke at noon
today in the Hotel Vancouver at a joint luncheon meeting of the
Civic and Insurance, Real Estate and Financial Bureaus of the Vancouver
Board of Trade. [note: in 1932 the Hotel Vancouver referred to is
the second, now vanished, of that name. It stood at Georgia and
Brown said that labor battalions for land clearing
and land settlement would be of definite value to B.C. if
developed in a practical, intelligent way in conjunction with the
Dominion Government. The chief burden in any case should be borne
by the Dominion because the main responsibility of the situation
so far as B.C. is concerned rests with the Federal Government.
No New Roads
Land clearing, Brown said, should
be on lands controlled by the governments, of which there is much
in different parts, such as logged-off lands in the Fraser Valley,
light bush land in Northern B.C., around Fort Fraser and Vanderhoof,
and at many points along the PGE, especially north of Williams Lake.
[note: the Pacific Great Eastern Railway is now BC Rail.]
There should be no new road construction beyond
necessary repairs, except on the Trans-Canada Highway. Present road
camps could be used to some extent or moved to more convenient spots.
Answering objections to the battalion system as sounding too
military. Capt. Brown held that men are better morally and
physically and mentally when under organized leadership where discipline
is maintained. [Not sure what the battalion system was.]
Canada Built by Land
Under such conditions they will maintain or
improve their condition for return to various occupations, whereas
when idle and allowed to drift they go to seed, losing initiative
and often their self-respect. In this connection Capt. Brown voiced
his gratification at learning that this very system had been advocated
by J. S. Woodsworth, M.P., of Winnipeg.
Brown approved the Dominion Government's decision
not to carry on any extensive public works as in the main these
yield no return on capital invested and only draw on future employment,
thus robbing legitimate labor of future work and reward. He questioned
the wisdom of continuing the P. G. E. in its present incomplete
and unproductive state, serving 3,000 peopleless than the
population of Vernonwhile adding daily to the taxation burdens
of the whole province.
Unless as business men we dedicate ourselves
to solving some of the problems and get more men to work we will
see unemployment insurance saddled on the taxpayers, and I predict
that from the day such a scheme as the dole is put into effect,
thousands of healthy men in this young country will never do another
day's work, Capt. Brown said.
He advocated severe measures for men who refused
to work while demanding relief.
Stork Works Overtime
Not a Board-related item, but irresistible: the
April 25, 1932 Sun (Page 2) reported that the Vancouver General
Hospital maternity department had broken all previous records for
the number of babies born there in one day: eleven.
The previous record was eight. It was,
said the Sun, the busiest day doctors and nurses have
had in the history of the department. One wee Japanese and 10 white
babies, including a set of twins, form the record-breaking crew,
six of whom are boys and five girls.
That photo at the top of the page, needless to say,
is not of those 1932 babies!
"Disappointing and Disgusting"
E.G. Allen, managing director of the Wrigley Printing
Co. of Vancouver, had just returned from a trip to England, and
Boy was he mad! Hed been to see British Columbias exhibit
at the British Industries Fair in London, said the Province
of April 26, 1932 (Page 16), and he described it as disappointing
The British Industries Fair, he told the Advertising
and Sales Bureau of the Board during its weekly luncheon at the
Hotel Vancouver, was an enormous undertaking with thousands
of exhibits and hundreds of thousands of visitors from all parts
of the Empire . . . and the BC exhibit was in a little cubby hole
15 x 15 feet and consisted of a few boxes of apples and a few boxes
of salmon. The apples were not even named by variety and the advertisements
were written by hand on brown wrapping paper.
With regard to the sale of BC goods in England
Mr. Allen said he had been unable to buy BC apples, and on inquiry
found that dealers said they were unable to buy them. One importer
said BC apples were too small. He found representative dealers knew
nothing of BC butter, cheese, honey and eggs. I don't know
why, but it is evident these products have never been properly sold
there, he said. BC apples don't need to be sold. They
will sell themselves . . . It would have been better if we had had
no exhibit at all. What we need in London is a real salesman or
With regard to lumber, he said BC vendors
laid down conditions that the trade over there could not accept.
Lumber dealers accustomed to the trade name Oregon pine
did not yet know that Douglas fir was the same thing. When they
asked for Oregon pine they were told B. C. had no Oregon pine.
Gold seekers helped found BC
John Galloway, provincial mineralogist, told members
of the advertising and sales bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade
at a luncheon in Hotel Vancouver May 1, 1932 that this province
was founded on advertising of the discovery of gold in the Cariboo.
The report of his talk was in the Province for May 3, 1932
(Page 3). [Hes referring to the announcement by Governor James
Douglas of the discovery of gold on the Fraser. Within weeks 30,000
American prospectors had poured into the region, an 1858 invasion
that prompted Douglas to create the mainland colony of British Columbia.
The colony of Vancouver Island already existed. In 1866 the two
colonies were united and in 1871 joined Confederation.]
The mineral wealth of British Columbia is responsible,
indirectly, for the foundation of this province, Galloway said.
The advertising value of the find was demonstrated in the
thousands of gold-seekers who came to British Columbia and virtually
laid its foundation. Those miners were pioneers who advertised the
Even the present mild rush
for gold in the Cariboo will have permanent results, as many prospectors
will stay in the area, he observed. The plight of British
Columbia's coal industry is due to lack of proper advertising, he
contended. This province's potential coal resources and excellent
quality of produce make it unnecessary to import any coal here,
James Farrell says Abandon Isolation!
The May 25, 1932 Province (Page 1) reported
on a talk to the Board by James Farrell, a former president of U.S.
Steel. For fifty years, said the Province, Mr.
Farrell has been in American business, manufacturing and marketing
steel and iron to all corners of the world.. He had arrived
in Vancouver aboard RMS Empress of Japan from Honolulu.
[As far back as 1910 Farrell had had dealings in
steel in Vancouver, and had apparently established something back
then called The New York & Vancouver Line, about which
we could learn nothing more, other than that it had no ships of
its own. Google had precisely one reference to the line.]
Isolationist sentiments must have been in the air.
Said Farrell: People of all countries should unite in resistance
to undue isolation and the restriction of international trade .
. . Canada and the United States must look across the Pacific,
he declared. Vancouver is a tap from which trade may flow
throughout the Pacific basin.
Across, around and through this area
there flow already vast currents of international trade, to the
Antipodes, the Orient and the Indies . . . This demand is now temporarily
suspended by causes beyond the power of the producer and consumercauses
in the most part political. Commerce is not so much suffering from
over-production as it is from under-consumption.
Natural Westward Flow of Civilization
With world trade free of unnecessary
restrictions, these potential markets are open to the industrial
nations of the world, and the possible rise in living standards
and the resulting power of consumption is sufficient to blot out
the present anomaly of one-half of the world suffering from a surplus
of goods while the other half is subject to extreme deprivation.
This is indeed a heavy price to pay for nationalistic desire for
If and when the natural westward flow
of civilization and increased living standards is resumed, our industrial
advance will be resumed and our prosperity will return. When this
occurs British Columbia will benefit by reason of its geographical
position. Bordering as you do on the Pacific Ocean, ships from your
shores can reach directly four of the six continents, and traverse
direct trade routes in contact with something like half the population
of the world.
West of you lies the Orient with the
teeming millions of hard-working thrifty people, the great majority
of whom, unfortunately are still existing on a standard of life
materially below that of some of their neighbors. It is apt to be
forgotten, he continued, when viewing the current cessation
of trade, that the Pacific area is perhaps the most rapidly developing
market in the world. Even during the decline of the past two years
the interchange of goods between the countries bordering on the
Pacific has continued to increase in volume, even though declining
in value. All other trade areas have declined in both volume and
It is significant to note that this
growth of trade was not accompanied by a corresponding increase
in population. It was, however, accompanied by a striking development
in communication and transportation, the constant companions of
45 New Factories
R.H. Arnott was listed as The Boards Industrial
Secretary in the byline for an item he wrote in the Province
on May 25, 1932 (Page 1).
A review of industrial progress in Vancouver
for the past year, Arnott began, reveals that a total
of 45 new plants were opened in the city in that period, giving
employment to 409 workers and representing an investment of $885,000.
At the last meeting of the industrial committee
of the Vancouver Board of Trade Mr. C. J. Kay, president of the
Columbia Paper Company, was unanimously elected chairman for the
ensuing year. During a period of world-wide depression, it is hardly
to be expected that Vancouver could show any major increase in number
of employees engaged in manufacturing or in her industrial payroll.
Nevertheless, progress has been made in attracting and establishing
new plants and considerable expansion has taken place in our established
He Lists the Commodities
The principal commodities made in new factories
commencing in Vancouver in 1931 are: Food products, illuminated
advertising signs, machinery products, dairy products, lumber products,
automotive equipment, fur garments, tiles, oil burners, wood preserving,
cement products, salt and others.
The Dominion Bureau of Statistics has just
released industrial statistics on the Greater Vancouver area for
1930 which present in concrete form the picture for that year as
compared with 1929. Forty-five firms commenced manufacturing in
1930, largely due to the efforts of the industrial department
of the Vancouver Board of Trade. [Emphasis added by this web
Let us review for a moment, Arnott continues,
the internal operations of the industrial department. As a
result of the compilation of a manufacturers' directory, covering
all British Columbia products, prospective manufacturers are enabled
to obtain a complete picture of what is being made in Vancouver
and realize at once the diversification and success of those enterprises.
Western Canadian purchasing agents find this a most useful reference
and have made use of it most loyally in giving our manufacturers
preference to the exclusion of Eastern Canadian and foreign competition.
They have played no small part by their efforts in supporting our
factories. In addition, this, the first comprehensive directory
of its kind ever published in Western Canada, has been of inestimable
value in a great many other channels by promoting the consumption
of B. C. products.
He referred briefly to an industrial survey carried
out by The Board, compiled to present in pleasing and accurate
form all the preliminary information an interested manufacturer
would require in his primary investigations of the feasibility of
making his products here, prior to a personal visit. The distribution
of this survey was most carefully planned, care being exercised
to get it into the hands of plant executives most likely to require
the data it contained and to influence them in considering Vancouver
as the best place in which to erect their plant.
Many hundreds of worthwhile contacts have
been made by this means which should, with the improvement in industrial
conditions, lead to the establishment of new factories in Vancouver,
directly due to the department's efforts . . . The constant enquiries
received have proved the absolute need for such data, which was
not available in the city prior to the department's inception.
Empire Conference in Vancouver
The Empire Conference was highlighted in two Vancouver
dailies today. The big event was held in the Hotel Vancouver and
sponsored by the Vancouver Board of Trade, and a highlight was visits
by delegates from Australia and New Zealand.
Distinguished delegates from down under,
said the Sun, were introduced by President Harold Brown
of the Vancouver Board of Trade which sponsored the notable gathering
in honor of the visitors. Rt. Hon. S. M. Bruce of Australia and
Rt. Hon. J. G. Coates of New Zealand, heading their respective delegations,
responded to introductions and the speakers were Hon. H. S. Gullett,
Australian Minister of Trade and Customs' and Hon. W. Downie Stewart,
New Zealand Minister of Trade and Finance, a notably effective orator
in spite of being bound to a wheel chair.
Mr. Stewart gave eloquent credit to Canada
for showing the other dominions and the Empire as a whole the way
to self-government coupled with unquestioned allegiance to a common
sovereign. Senator A. D. McRae, representing Premier R. B. Bennett
and the Government of Canada, and Ald. E. W. Dean, representing
Mayor L. D. Taylor, were among head table guests.
[Today, wed call R.B. Bennett Prime
Of the many facts that bind Canada to
the Antipodes, said Mr. Gullett, the loneliness of the
two Dominions away by themselves in the Southwestern Pacific was
the chief. We watch therefore with very approving and not altogether
unselfish interest the tendency of your Northwest provinces to turn
a heavy portion of their trade towards the Pacific seaboard. We
like the idea that Canada will inevitably become not only a great
force in the Atlantic but also in the Pacific.
During the War, Mr. Downie continued, the
Dominions were comrades in arms. Owing to the present world depression
and catastrophic fall in prices they were now companions in distress.
But, if we are companions in distress
we are also companions in good fortune. We enjoy the inestimable
privilege of being part of the British Empire, and we live under
the august prestige and power of that great country whose sovereign
and peculiar virtue is that she has grown gray in the art of governming
men. Great Britain alone has learned the paradoxical secret that
if you wish to bind men to you, you must leave them free to live
their own lives, to observe their own customs and to govern themselves.
Left for Ottawa
Scores of Vancouverites attending the luncheon
were at the CPR station at 3 p.m. when the visitors left for Ottawa
and gave the delegates a final sendoff. Mayor L. D. Taylor, Ald.
E. W. Dean and Ald. Harry DeGraves were at the station to wish the
party bon voyage and the Firemen's Band added music to the colorful
send-off . . . During their brief stay in Vancouver the distinguished
visitors from down under had every opportunity to see
as much as possible of Vancouver. Automobiles were placed at their
disposal from early morning by members of Vancouver Board of Trade,
who drove them about the scenic beauties of the city and environs.
The Board of Trade is not involved in this storyunless
some of its more impecunious members were patrons!but its
wonderfully illustrative of the times.
FULL MEAL 10 CENTS AT NEW 1-CENT CAFETERIA
Wrote the Vancouver Sun on July 15, 1932
(Page 4): Here in Vancouver, you can get a full course meal
for less than 10 cents, and sinkers and for a nickle.
[Were guessing that sinkers and means donuts and
No item more than three cents,
is the menu slogan of the One Cent Cafeteria which opened Wednesday
at 44 East Hastings Street. In its first seven-and-a-half hours
of business it served 790 persons.
The average cost to the customer per meal
was seven cents. And you don't have to gobble and git
either. There's lots of room to eat your meal in comfort. A Vancouver
Sun reporter had a full course meal at noon today and if he
had paid for it, it would have cost him just 13 cents. He was the
guest of J. C. Keenan and Ray Ellis, who are operating the unusual
Both are Vancouver men. Mr. Ellis having attended
school here and lived in Vancouver all his life. The quality of
the food was excellent.
Here's part of the menu, all visible from
clean steam tables and counters: Ten-cent size bowl of soup, 3 cents;
generous helping beef stew, 3 cents; two slices of whole wheat bread,
1 cent; butter, 1 cent; coffee, 1 cent; milk, 1 cent; and sugar
1 cent. Three prunes cost 1 cent, and a big basting spoonful of
pork and beans, 1 cent.
Rice custard pudding with creamy milk is 2
cents. Potatoes, onions, carrots and other vegetables sell for 1
cent. Doughnuts are 1 cent each.
The restaurant operates on cafeteria lines,
and employs all-white help. It is excellently furnished and beautifully
decorated. There are no seats, but roomy counter-tables. There is
a big kitchen on most modern lines.
Mr. Keenan and Mr. Ellis have been studying
the idea for many months. They are hopeful that with a sufficient
volume of business the one cent cafeteria will be successful.
What else was happening
locally in 1932?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1933 »