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.
The January 10, 1935 Vancouver Sun (Page
2) indicates that British financiers were leery of investing in
BC’s mines. Our mining industry, the Brits said, needed “house
“Voluntary action,” the Sun said,
“towards purging the mining business in British Columbia of
dubious and sometimes deliberately dishonest promotion schemes
has been under way for some time, it was revealed at a meeting
of the Mining Bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade in Hotel Vancouver
“F. M. Black, bureau chairman, who was re-elected
for another term, told of a joint committee of 15 men from five
organizations representing almost all phases of the mining business
that has been studying the problem for some weeks and is already
able to report good progress. Reputable promoters, brokers, engineers,
mine operators and others are represented on the committee on which
there are three representatives each from the Board of Trade Mining
Bureau, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Mining
Association of B. C., the Vancouver Stock Exchange and B. C. Chamber
of Mines . . .
"’British Columbia has mining potentialities
such as no one has yet been able to estimate. Already their development
has made mining one of our foremost industries. But the public faith
in mining promotions must be maintained and in order to get continued
support of investors an end must be put to dubious schemes’,
Mr. Black said."
“What definite action may be taken is not
yet indicated. It is intimated that the general trend of the movement
is towards a ‘house cleaning’ within the industry itself.
“The announcement by Mr. Black came with added
interest because it coincided with an address by F. P. Burden, former
agent general of B. C. in London, who told frankly and bluntly of
his mostly unsuccessful experiences in endeavoring to interest British
capitalists and mining corporations in the opportunities awaiting
them in British Columbia.
“Listing the reasons, as he found them, Mr.
Burden said: “The history of Canadian mining promotions
in London is not good and there is much to be lived down. British
mining investors, with little knowledge of Canada, were ‘taken
in’ by improper schemes, usually advised by unscrupulous acquaintances
and ‘friends’ who had been in Canada, and these failures
were still charged back to Canadians generally.
“Many of these London promotions of some years
ago were ‘out and out swindles.’
“It is useless to try to interest British
capital on the basis of maps and plans and glowing prospects, because
mining in Canada is different from South Africa or Australia. British
investors are willing to ‘invest’ heavily in a proved
property, but they are not used to ‘gambling’ on the
uncertain future of a prospect.
“Canadian mining issues of proved worth are
almost unknown in London because they are usually financed in Toronto
or New York, and the London market thus lacks the ‘background’
of successful Canadian mines that creates public confidence.
British people have hazy ideas of distances in Canada. When
urged to send their own engineers or representatives to look over
a proposition in British Columbia they reply that they have a representative
who usually turns out to be in Montreal or New York, and who knows
as little about British Columbia as themselves.
“‘We have got to keep hammering at them
to send their own engineers out here to see for themselves what
we have. Once (we) get them into the field so that they will learn
what we have here the amount of capital they would furnish would
be unlimited,’ Mr. Burden said.”
T.S. Dixon President Again
“Vancouver Board of Trade members at their
annual dinner meeting in Hotel Vancouver on Friday night will acclaim
a new president for 1935, but he will not be new to the job,”
reported the Sun for January 18, 1935 (Page 18).
“T. S. Dixon, managing director of
Gault Bros. Ltd., was the one nominee for the presidency when nominations
for the three chief officers of the board closed on Tuesday, and
is thus elected by acclamation. He was president in 1928, one of
the youngest and most aggresive presidents in the history of Vancouver's
chief trade and business organization.
“The honor of the vice presidency, also by
acclamation, goes to J.Y. McCarter, prominent architect . . . W.
E. Payne, popular and perennial secretary, was also re-elected unanimously
and after Friday night's meeting will be entering his eighteenth
year in that post. He joined the staff of the board in 1910 and
became secretary in 1918.”
[Incidentally, in 1935 a special committee of the
BC Medical Association had been formed to investigate what could
be done about an increasing incidence of cancer and lack of treatment
facilities. The committee worked with the Vancouver Board of Trade
and the Greater Vancouver Health League, and the first meeting was
chaired by T.S. Dixon, president of the Board of Trade. See our
1935 chronology for more on that story.]
[The reference above to Gault Brothers reminds us
that that company, a dry goods store, was one of the original contributors
to the establishment in 1931 of Vancouver’s first civic art
gallery. The October 7, 2006 Sun has a good article on
the subject by Kevin Griffin.]
Better Rates, Better Roads
“Fight to keep and to build up Vancouver's
“Better roads for British Columbia.
“These were two of the aggresive policies
laid down for Vancouver Board of Trade at its annual meeting Friday
night by T. S. Dixon, incoming president,” according to the
Sun for January 19, 1935 (Page One.)
“Mr. Dixon spoke briefly but vigorously of
the coming year's work as he took the chair.
“‘One of the most important duties of
the year,’ he said, ‘would be the fight to retain for
Vancouver the present position as one of the world's greatest grain
ports in the face of the apparently unfair attitude of other interests.
There is too much at stake in the Port of Vancouver to allow
anything to prevent the natural flow of Canada's grain crop to the
“He also said that one of the chief objectives
of the board would be to back up public demand for road improvement
in the province, so important to increased tourist traffic. And
he spoke hopefully for the movement to resuscitate the Associated
Boards of Trade of British Columbia so that there might again
be a central body qualified to speak to governments with the voice
of all the business interests of the province.”
“Progress due to Dictatorship”
The January 19, 1935 Sun, in a Page One story,
reported on an address (described as ‘comprehensive and brilliantly
analytical’) about Russia by J. W. DeB. Farris, K.C.
He was speaking at the annual meeting of The Vancouver Board of
“Russia has undoubtedly made great strides
since the revolution,” he said, “but the essential fact
is that the progress which has been made, and which will be made
in the future, is not due to Communism, but to dictatorship.
“‘Democracy would not have done it,
because democracy is not for people like the Russians, any more
than dictatorship is for a free people like those of Canada, Britain
and the United States. Dictatorship would not work in the latter
countries because the very idea is abhorrent to free people. They
would never stand for it.
“‘Russia's problem is entirely different
from that of Canada and the other countries named. Russia was,
and is, backward industrially and needs food and consumer goods.
Russia is trying to solve this problem. Canada's problem is that
production of goods of all kinds has outrun demand and consumption.
“Primitive, Cruel People”
“‘Russia's problem thus amounts to building
up production of goods to reach a certain standard of living. Canada's
problem is to dispose of and distribute a surplus of goods which
can be produced in abundance, thanks to her technological advance.
So far as Russian Communism is concerned, it is inconceivable that
Canada could ever accept her doctrine, or in any way turn backwards
to learn, from this primitive and cruel people.
“‘The problem of the world today is
not between Communism and Capitalism, but between Democracy and
Dictatorship. The great question is "Can Democracy endure?"
“‘Russia is the world's great object
lesson in Dictatorship. Italy and Germany have learned the lesson
from Russia. Is Democracy capable of standing against this force?
There is a ruthless efficiency about these modern fanatical
dictatorships that should cause every lover of liberty, freedom
and individual rights, to take heed to the future,’ the speaker
“‘There are important reasons at the
present time why we should take some interest in Russia,”
he said, “and have some understanding of what is happening
in that country.
Russia Larger than North America
“‘Russia is the largest country in geographical
extent in the world. It extends from the Baltic Sea—which
is an arm of the Atlantic—to the Pacific Ocean, a distance
of over 5,000 miles—practically as far as from here to Europe.
It extends north to south for a width of 2,500 miles. It has an
area of over eight million square miles. The area of Canada is 3,730,000
square miles; of the United States 3,027,000; Mexico 767,000 square
miles. So that we find Russia is larger than the North
American continent, including Canada, U. S. and Mexico.
“‘It has as part of its water boundaries
the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic
Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. By land it is bounded by Finland, Poland,
Romania, Turkey, Persia [note: now Iran], India, China, Korea and
Manchuria. It borders on China alone for over 3,000 miles. [Note:
that map of Russia shown is what it looks like today.]
“‘It is a popular idea that Russia is
a frozen sort of place. We object to that being said of Canada—yet
there is much more reason to say this of Canada than of Russia.
Both countries have their cold parts. Russia, however, has as great
a variety of climates and zones as the North American continent.
There are five zones in Russia from the Arctic to the Sub-Tropic.
Russia is one of the most self-contained countries in the world.
“‘Extending eastward from Moscow there
are great plains which contain the richest agricultural land in
the world. From stretches in the lower Volga area the rich black
soil extends downward from 50 to 70 feet. The significance of
this may be better appreciated when I tell you that the average
depth of soil in the U.S. Prairies is six inches. The population
of Russia is over 160 million people.
“‘In this vast country things have been
happening during the past seventeen years. During that time there
has been a revolution—a revolution which has been political,
social and industrial. The revolution has turned the government
from the autocratic and aristocratic rule of the Tsar and his Court
to an entirely different form of autocracy and a new type of aristocracy.
“‘The autocrat is now a Bolshevik by
the name of Stalin.’”
Mines Worth $48 Per Capita
“The per capita value of metals produced in
British Columbia last year was $48.87, while the whole of Canada
produced metals worth $19.20 to every man, woman and child in the
That was the lead on a story for February 28, 1935
(Page 3). The report was on a luncheon talk given by Sidney Norman,
mining editor of The Vancouver Sun, to The Vancouver Board
of Trade. The title: "What's Mining Worth to You?"
“‘During 1933,’ Mr. Norman said,
‘the production of metals was worth $14.44 to every person
in the Dominion, while the per capita in the United States was but
$1.38. In other words, metals were worth over ten times as much
to each person in Canada as in the United States.’
“Canada's production in 1934 reached $19.20
per head, but United States complete figures are not yet available,
though it is believed that approximately the same proportion was
maintained. British Columbia's 1934
gold production averaged $15 for every man, woman and child,
while the proportion throughout Canada was $10.20; in the United
States 82 cents and in California, the largest producer of the States,
“It was also shown, by figures recently completed,
that the mining industry led the other three creative industries
with $42 million, or $60 per capita; agriculture coming second with
$39.5 million, or $56; forestry third with $39.2 million, or $55,
and fisheries fourth with $13.3 million, or $19 per inhabitant.
“The speaker pointed out that the industry
had done more than any half-dozen others to meet the ravages of
the Depression and that relief rolls had been wiped out in the gold
“Annual wages paid to over 11,000 men engaged
directly in mining were placed at $18 million, with another $8 million
spent in supplies, largely furnished by Vancouver. Allowing for
as many more engaged indirectly in the many branches of business
affected by mining, Mr. Norman estimated that practically one-seventh
of the total population of B.C. was supported by the industry.”
“There are no slums in Vancouver, but the
city is headed in that direction, unless action is taken to relieve
the over-crowding conditions and furnish low rental homes for the
poorer laborer, the Parliament Housing Committee was told today
by J. Y. McCarter, a Vancouver architect, past vice-president of
the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and vice-president of
the Vancouver Board of Trade.”
The report was in the Sun for March 13, 1935
“In 1927-28-29,” the paper continued,
quoting Mr. McCarter, “‘the mortgage companies in Vancouver
made loans for construction purposes on building and property of
100 to 110 per cent of the value of the two’, said Mr. McCarter.
In many cases, the mortgage company provided the money that purchased
the property and built the home.
“Through the ease of money in this period,
the speculative builder developed a condition in which, at the end
of 1929, the community was over-built with reference to homes
“This speculative builder, building only for
sale, developed a large amount of second-class space, that is, space
without proper light and ventilation in his buildings. The type
of construction was poor, with no permanency, and the minimum of
depreciation not being considered. This second-class space during
the Depression reduced the rent of first-class space, whether in
home or apartments, and also tended to reduce the assessment.
Urged Strict Zoning
“The City should protect itself by having
a sound City plan, with strict zoning and building regulations to
protect the investment of its citizens and itself. These regulations,
said Mr. McCarter, should aim at establishing a class of citizen
in a given area so that this area would support the class of citizen
for which it is designed for a long period of years, with a minimum
of depreciation. This necessitated an exterior construction in the
home or apartment that would not deteriorate with the weather and
compelled the use of brick, stone or concrete.
“In Vancouver, with the frame constructed
house, if the owner of one house failed to paint his home, his home
slips and the block of homes depreciates and the whole district
loses the value that it had a few years previous. This was the case
with the West End in Vancouver, adjoining Stanley Park.
The houses in this area today were largely poor-class rooming
houses, occupied by three to five families, which means overcrowding
in very many cases.”
City Saves $1
We like this story a lot! It appeared in the March
13, 1935 Sun (Page 3).
“A credit item of one dollar per year was
chalked up Tuesday by the City Council against its expenditure,
under Railway Commissioners' orders, of almost $500,000 toward the
construction of the CPR cross-town tunnel.
“Because the tunnel eliminated level-crossings
at Pender Street near
Carrall, the city didn't have to keep a signalman there. Because
no watchman is needed, no shelter for him is necessary. Because
no shelter is required, no lease for the necessary land from the
CPR need be continued. Because the lease can be surrendered, Council,
in Board of Works, authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to sign the
necessary legal forms.
“Because the city is no longer a CPR tenant,
it doesn't have to pay the $1-per-year rental.”
British Columbia salvage companies
are the most efficient on the Pacific Ocean, J. H. Hamilton, manager
of the Merchants' Exchange, told the engineering bureau of The Board
of Trade at a luncheon Wednesday, February 6, 1935 in an address
The Page 3 story said the speaker “gave graphic
descriptions of big salvage jobs on the coast from Mexico to Alaska
in all of which British Columbia salvage companies made
noteworthy achievements. Practically the only mode of transportation
along the several thousand miles of coast indentations in BC is
by steamer, Mr. Hamilton said, and for that reason the amount of
coast-wise trade here is out of proportion to the size and population
of the province.
“‘The fact that there are so few casualties
in shipping along the coast, despite frequent fogs and the rocky
formation of the routes, is a tribute to the skillful navigation
of our mariners,’ Mr. Hamilton said. As typical examples of
the high class of salvage work done by British Columbia companies, he referred in some detail to the coffer
dam built around the steamer Prince Rupert when she
went ashore at Swanson Bay
and was successfully floated.
“Mention was also made of the salvage job
on the steamer Princess May, when she stranded in an unusual
position on Sentinel Island
in 1910, the salvage company blasting the rock that had punctured
the hull. Praise was also given the company that took the Catala
off the rocks outside of Fort
Simpson in 1927. On this occasion 300 tons
of rock were blasted away of which 100 tons were inside the vessel,
“Successful efforts of another B. C. salvage
company in 1922 in rescuing a former British "Q" boat
from the sandbanks off the Mexican coast were described. A racy
description was given of the work of Mr. Percy Sills, a Vancouver
lumberman, who with a fine group of longshoremen salvaged lumber
off the wrecked steamer Canadian Exporter on a sandbar off
“Every Tourist Meal an Export”
"Every tourist meal is an export; and every
article or service we can sell to our visitors will help to overcome
the unbalanced condition of British Columbia's trade.
“In these words,” reported the Sun
for March 15, 1935 (Page 20), “Dr. W. A. Carrothers, chairman
of British Columbia's Economic Council, in an address before the
B.C. Products Bureau [of The Vancouver Board of Trade] at a Hotel
Vancouver luncheon Thursday, emphasized the importance of encouraging
the Tourist Industry as one of the three things which British Columbia
can do for herself in fighting her way out of the Depression.
“The three policies he stressed are:
- Development of small industries employing from 5 to 15 men
- Promote the use of B. C. products at home
- Build up the Tourist Industry in every possible way.
“One of the first jobs undertaken by the B.
C. Economic Council, said Dr. Carrothers, in opening, was to obtain
an accurate picture of the trade of British
Columbia in relationship to the rest of Canada and to the world.
And the figures obtained after tremendous research reveal a seriously
“‘British Columbia,’ said the
speaker ‘is for the most part a primary producer, consequently
we have to export a major part of our production and import most
of the things we desire to consume. And furthermore, for the most
part our primary products have to be shipped abroad where in selling
we come into competition with the producers of the world, whereas,
we buy most of our domestic requirements from Eastern Canada, where
in buying we have to cope with the adverse influence of Canada's
“Dr. Carrothers gave the following statistical
picture of British Columbia's trade situation:
B.C. Purchases in Canada............$88
B.C. Sales in Canada.....................$14
ADVERSE BALANCE WITH CANADA.....$74 million
“In other words, we send $74 millions more
east from Vancouver to purchase goods than we get from the sale
of B. C. products in other parts of the Dominion.
“The foreign situation Dr. Carrothers gave
in the following figures:
B.C. Products exported...........$51
Imports from abroad...............$26
FAVORABLE BALANCE.....$25 million
“So that our trade with the world nets us
only $25 millions with which to meet our adverse balance with eastern
“This unbalanced trade situation is one requiring
carefully devised policies to correct, Dr. Carrothers said. This,
among other vitally important questions is one of the matters that
will have to be dealt with next fall when the great Dominion-Interprovincial
Economic Conference takes place. ‘No doubt,’ he declared,
‘the forthcoming Ottawa Conference will bring a solution to
many of our major problems, but in the meantime there are things
we can do and must do to help ourselves.
“‘One of the things we have learned
in the present depression is that we depend more and more upon our
own efforts. And another lesson is that we will emerge from this
depression by emphasizing the importance of small things. Creating
a job for a man here and there will cumulatively do an immense amount
of real good while we are waiting for the major adjustments which
inevitably must be made. But in looking for these major adjustments
we must not lose sight of those things which we can do for ourselves.’”
“In elaborating on his three-way program of
suggested self-help for B.C., Dr. Carrothers emphasized the vital
importance which small industries have been in the south of England.
In the north, with its large industries, he said, depression effects
have been most severe. ‘There has been hardly any depression
at all in the midlands and south of England,’ he declared,
‘because small industries, with five to fifteen men, have
a stabilizing influence, particularly those producing domestic
“With reference to stimulating the consumption
of home-made products, the speaker said there are many things now
imported which there is no reason to import, although it must not
be assumed that everything we can produce here should be discouraged
in the local market. Such a policy has to be carried out with due
regard for the fact that where we would sell we must also buy.
“The Tourist Industry, Dr. Carrothers thought,
can be made one of the most outstanding influences in correcting
unbalanced conditions. ‘Every tourist meal and every article
or service sold to a tourist is equivalent to an export,’
Pleading for Anyox
The Province for March 19, 1935 (Page 18)
reported that “Following representations from the British
Columbia Chamber of Mines and the B.C. branch of the Canadian Institute
of Mining and Metallurgy, the executive of Vancouver Board of Trade
on Monday afternoon decided to ask the Federal and Provincial governments
to make every possible effort to prevent closing down of the Granby
Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. mine and plant at Anyox.
Present plans call for closing down the community in June.
“Closing down the plant, the Board of Trade
states, will have the following effect: Loss of employment to
1,000 men, throwing a total of possibly 2,500 persons on relief,
probably in Vancouver.”
[The Board’s efforts were in vain. Anyox,
run by the Granby mining company, would close in June of 1935. Incidentally,
the late Sun columnist Denny Boyd was born in Anyox in 1930.]
“An almost forgotten page in British
Columbia's history, a page telling of a gigantic scheme, boldly
planned and energetically prosecuted, was reviewed by Judge F. W.
Howay of New Westminster, before the transportation and customs
bureau of the Board of Trade on Friday, when he dealt with the Collins
overland telegraph line of the late fifties. [Note to readers: That’s
The Province of April 27, 1935 (Page 7) told
“The story had to do with the ambitious plan
of eastern capitalists to run an overland telegraph wire
from San Francisco to Europe via British Columbia, Alaska and Siberia, following
the failure in 1851 and several subsequent years of other companies
to lay a workable cable across the Atlantic. The Collins wire, or
what was in reality the Western Union telegraph wire, was actually
run from San Francisco northward to New Westminster, and on to Stuart
Lake, but the mammoth undertaking was abandoned in 1866 when a cable
was successfully laid across the bed of the Atlantic.
“Judge Howay's address was confined particularly
to the work of the Western Union in British Columbia, and his several
interesting stories gave an informative picture of the efficient
manner in which the company tackled its great enterprise with a
force of 1,500 men and thirteen ships.
“The speaker, in giving a background of the
British Columbia part of the work, told how
the crown colony of British Columbia turned down the proposal to subsidize a telegraph line
from Eastern Canada but readily gave a charter to the Western Union
which required no payment. On April 17, 1865, the overland wire
reached New Westminster and the first message received over it was
an account of the assassination of U.S. President Lincoln.
Judge Howay described how the company took the wire to Hope by June
1 and reached Yale by August 1, cutting a wide telegraph trail through
the virgin forest, a no mean undertaking. Work progressed until
the following year saw Skeena reached, and by July 1, 1866, the
trail reached a point on Lake
Native People Objected
“How the Skeena Indians, under provocation
of a medicine man, opposed the work, and how they were at last brought
into line, was told by the speaker. In October, 1866, all operations
ceased, he said, as news of the successful Atlantic cable was flashed
across the wires. By that time the company had expended $3 million
and, Judge Howay said, stockholders were told that if they returned
their stock they would be given their money back. This contract
was actually carried out, he said.
“For a time the Western Union tried to operate
the line as far as Quesnel, even extending it into Barkerville,
but it lost money. In the end the colony of British Columbia bonused
it, but the venture still lost money and finally it was offered
to the British Columbia Government. When the government did not
want it, the line was abandoned, but in 1869 the government reconsidered
and opened negotiations for possession of the line. Eventually it
passed to the Dominion Government, he said.”
Harbor Bosses Gather
In a Page One story in the May 10, 1935 Sun
we learn that “International Harbor
and Port Day is being celebrated in Vancouver today under auspices
of the Transportation and Customs Bureau of the Vancouver Board
“The chief event was a noon-day luncheon in
Hotel Vancouver with the Oval Room presenting a unique appearance,
gaily decorated with national flags and the house flags of practically
all shipping companies operating to and from the Pacific Coast.
Representatives from 11 ports on both sides of the border
attended the luncheon presided over by Bureau Chairman D. R. MacLaren,
and at which Harold Brown, managing director of Union Steamships,
was the chief speaker, his subject being ‘The Spirit of the
“The address featured a strong plea for better
understanding and co-operation between the nations of the Pacific
basin and a warning to the western nations to be prepared for the
inevitable developments of the next quarter century.
“Following the luncheon, the large delegation
of visitors were guests on a harbor trip in the harbor aboard the
Hmm. Would have been nice to have had more details
of Brown’s talk.
Before Health Insurance
“The Vancouver Board of Trade,” the
Province reported September 23, 1935 (Page 8), “in
a brief presented at Victoria today, strongly
recommends that the whole proposal of health insurance for British
Columbia remain in abeyance until the Dominion Government has issued
a report. It further recommends that B.C. should not adopt any
measure of health insurance until all the provinces have agreed
on a uniform method.
“The Board of Trade recognizes that there
is a definite need for some form of state assistance for people
who are unable to obtain necessary medical attention, but it is
its opinion that 3 per cent is too much to take from employees in
view of other taxes which they must pay.
“As an example, the board points out that
an employee earning $1,000 per year will contribute $30 yearly to
this plan, in addition to $10 income tax and $13 for the new federal
unemployment insurance tax, making a total of $53 a year.
“The Dominion Government has passed an Unemployment
Insurance Act,’ the paper continued, ‘and has appointed
a commission to study unemployment and health insurance. ‘It
would appear desirable for all the provinces to wait until the report
of that commission is issued. The federal investigation will, no
doubt, embrace in its activities the entire Dominion of Canada,
and it is our understanding that the commission will endeavor in
its findings to develop a Dominion-wide conception of health insurance,
which will obviously be an improvement upon a consideration of local
requirements only, undertaken by separate provinces.
“Without a Dominion-wide agreement in health
insurance, it is reasonable to suppose that British Columbia, favored
as she is climatically, would attract a large number of the people
from other provinces. An influx of population seeking advantages
here which do not exist in other localities would add considerably
to the total burden which this province proposes to assume.
We have enough examples in our unemployment relief situation to
illustrate this point.
Export Business Affected
"’We view with apprehension any additional
tax on commerce and industry, and it is obvious that an extra impost
of 2 per cent on business payrolls will add to the cost of production.
This will further seriously affect not only British Columbia's position
in interprovincial trading, but her export business, upon which
we so much depend.
“‘An increase in production costs must
of necessity increase the cost of living, which, more than any others,
affects the employee class, who represent the bulk of our population.
It must not be forgotten that as increased costs of production can
not be added to the value of exported goods in world markets, the
additional cost of these must be reflected in still higher prices
of goods produced for local consumption.
“‘The chief need for assistance arises
from major sickness and injury, because it is undoubtedly serious
ailments and prolonged sickness which cause the greatest distress
rather than minor ailments. The bulk of the employees may not desire
to pay the high premium proposed, because it is reasonable to suppose
that they are able to pay for the cost of minor ailments.
“There is the possibility, almost a certainty,
that much greater hospital accommodation will be required than is
at present available. We understand that the Vancouver
General Hospital is working
at full capacity and any additional requirements for space could
not be met without a very large capital expenditure to enlarge the
hospital, which would fall upon the City of Vancouver. The financial
situation of the City of Vancouver is well known to you." [Note:
this is a reference to the Depression, which was vigorously continuing.]
“Dr. Weir surprised the meeting by asking
Mr. Reeve bluntly if the Board of Trade would favor instead of health
insurance a system of state medicine on a socialized basis. [This
story doesn’t explain who Dr. Weir and Mr. Reeve are. From
1933 to1941, George Weir was the Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Point
Grey. He was Premier Duff Pattullo's Provincial Secretary and Minister
of Education. Mr. Reeve may be D.W. Reeve, who’d been
elected President of the Vancouver Real Estate Board in 1928, and
would likely have been a member of the Board of Trade in 1935.]
“Mr. Reeve said the board was opposed to the
government going ahead on any policy which would mean that it took
care of the people in all phases of life instead of allowing them
to exercise their own initiative. He strongly condemned too much
“To this Dr. Weir retorted that health
insurance was designed to cut down paternalism. At present,
he said, British Columbia was paying huge amounts in taxes to make
up the deficits of hospitals because many patients did not pay hospital
bills. These amounts came out of taxes on all citizens, and represented
paternalism of an extreme sort.”
The Friendly Yukon
The October 17, 1935 Province (Page 13) told
of a talk to the engineering bureau of the Board of Trade at a luncheon
meeting in the Hotel Georgia by J.P. Forde, B.C. superintendent
of the federal engineering department, who has travelled extensively
throughout the Yukon in his work
“The speaker described the hospitality of
Yukoners and some of the conditions under which they live, in addition
to giving informative facts on the hydraulic and dredging operations
in the mining areas. He registered a vigorous protest against
the misuse of the word ‘Alaska’ in referring to
things pertaining to the Yukon, declaring that even the Canadian
Pacific and Canadian National Railways and some Canadian magazines
fell into the same error. He objected, he said, to railway advertising
under the title of Alaskan scenes including pictures of Dawson and
other Yukon centres.
“The Hon. George Black, in supplementing what
Mr. Forde said, declared that the Yukon gold camps have lasted longer
than any gold camps in the world. He predicted at least another
twenty years of activity for the gold dredges in operation in the
Britain a Big Market for BC
One of the biggest export items from BC to Britain
in the 1930s: doors!
That was one of the facts unearthed in an October
5, 1935 story in the Sun (Page 26) on trade with the Mother
“England's great housing program,” said
the paper, “which has meant so much business for British Columbia
lumber exporters in the past 18 months is not nearly completed but
only started. It will last five years, and barring any war upheaval
it will be carried out with every opportunity for more lumber business
than ever, H. R. Poussette, Canadian trade commissioner at Liverpool,
told members of the Foreign Trade Bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade
at luncheon in the Hotel Vancouver Friday.
“The British market beckons with opportunity
for Canadian exporters, Mr. Poussette declared.
“An example is the fact that in 1932 British
Columbia wooden doors were almost unknown in England. In the past
year Vancouver factories alone have shipped over 800,000 doors
and the total for the province, including New Westminster and
Vancouver Island mills, has been one million.
“B.C. canned salmon has a preferred place
in the British market, also pilchard oil, canned milk and canned
apples. Britain can take all the ‘gallon can apples’
that the province can produce. Fresh apples are accepted as second
to none. ‘You have the ball at your feet. England is Empire-minded
about buying because England has come to realize that it must look
to the Empire in the future for most of its own export business.
So you should never be satisfied with any success you gain. it is
always possible to make it greater. The British market is almost
illimitable. Give John Bull what he wants, give him service with
attention to every detail, and you will find an enormous amount
of business if you only go after it,’ Mr. Poussette declared.
“Britain's recovery since 1932, when the country
went off the gold standard, has been notable, the speaker declared.
Unemployed number one million less than in 1933, and coupled with
that is the fact that in spite of the loss of foreign markets the
number gainfully employed is the largest in the whole history of
[We don’t know what “gallon can apples”
Canada-Australia Trade Good
Australia was in the news on October 18, 1935. The
Province for that date (Page 2) reported on a talk at noon
before the foreign trade bureau of the Board of Trade by Mr. L.
R. Macgregor, Australian trade commissioner in Canada.
“The speaker explained that since Australian
federation in 1901 the country has always extended substantial tariff
preferences to the United Kingdom with the result that during the
post-war period Australia was Britain's second best customer. This
favorable British preference was extended to Canada in 1931, and
as a result Australia has become Canada's third best customer,
“‘As far as England is concerned, Australia
believes in a free and open market in the Mother Country,’
said Mr. Macgregor. ‘Approximately one-half of the finance
required for Australian development during the last century and
a half has been obtained from Britain, and the meeting of commitments
for interest, redemption, dividends, shipping charges and such like
in England could only be effected by the export of goods, apart
from the necessity of paying for imports from Britain in the same
way. Accordingly, Great Britain has been Australia's greatest market;
over a term of years nearly half of Australia's exports went to
the Old Country.’”
“Mr. Macgregor explained that notwithstanding
this, Australia, like the Empire as a whole, is dependent on foreign
markets for the sale of a considerable portion of her export commodities.”
Jobless Must Apply for Work
“Jobless citizens on relief in Vancouver must
make application for work at least once every two weeks at the Employment
Service of Canada, it was decided today by the City Council's relief
That was the lead for an October 21, 1935 Sun
story (Page 5).
“This is an alternative,” the Sun
continued, “to setting up the city's own employment bureau,
which Relief Officer W. R. Bone said would duplicate the work already
being done by the Dominion Government. After conference between
Bone and J. H. McVety, Employment Service superintendent, the Relief
Officer advised that each relief recipient be obliged to carry
a Service card, which must be stamped at the bureau at least
“The Relief Officer's report showed that the
number of cases on relief, including 5,126 families, declined by
six during the past two weeks, from 7,177 to 7,171. Cost of supporting
those on direct relief for the period from Oct. 2 to Oct. 16 was
$87,711, of which the city paid $33,341 and the Provincial and Dominion
Mining Needs Ink!
“At the weekly luncheon meeting of the Advertising
and Sales Bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade, at the Hotel Georgia
Monday, Sidney Norman, mining editor of The Vancouver Sun,
spoke on ‘B.C.'s Best Seller,’ expressing the opinion
that the Bureau could do more to bring the mining opportunities
of the province before the world than any other similar organization
in the city.”
The story appeared in the Sun on October
29, 1935 (Page 2).
“Norman urged his audience to feature the
industry's possibilities, as a patriotic and selfish duty,
all the year round and deprecated inclination to devote generous
space to it only when the stock market is active, pointing out that
the physical condition of mines is of greater importance than speculation
in securities based upon them.
“The industry was pictured as the most important
in the province, not only in actual results so far as uninterrupted
sale of products is concerned, but as the mainspring of buoyant
optimism so necessary in these times. With an area of 366,000 square
miles and a population of less than two to the square mile, Norman
argued that extension of the productive areas of the province must
always be the work of the miner, the promoter and the operator.
* 10% of Canada's gold
* 13% of her copper
* 55% of her silver
* 83% of her zinc
* 98% of her lead
to the output of the Empire:
* All the nickel
* 49% of its zinc
* 34% of its lead
* 45% of its silver
* 13% of its copper
* 10% of its gold
“During the past twelve
months 14 new gold milling plants have been constructed, with total
capacity of over 1,200 tons of ore daily; total cost of over $1.5
million and potential producing capacity of an additional $2 million
“Gold production is now $1 million a month,
an increase of over 250 per cent since 1925. Four major gold-mining
areas, all directly tributary to Vancouver, are producing $11 million
annually; paying $7.5 million for wages and supplies and distributing
$2.6 million in dividends.”
of Million in 15 Years'
This isn’t a Board of Trade item, but worth
including. It’s from the October 29, 1935 Sun (Page
“A great future for Vancouver was forecast
Monday when R. Rowe Holland, chairman of the Park Board, addressing
the Gyro Club, reviewed events of the past 35 years.
“‘In 15 years,’ he said, ‘we
can expect a population of 1,000,000. We will be able to drive over
the First Narrows Bridge
and along paved roads to Garibaldi Park, and up to Grouse
Mountain and Hollyburn Ridge. >From there we will see
great paved roads leading off to the farming centres in the Fraser
Valley, and bridges across the Fraser to
Ladner. There will be ten times the present population in the Fraser
“Grouse Mountain and Hollyburn Ridge Mr. Holland visioned as
a great winter playground, drawing tourists from all parts of the
continent and comparable with Switzerland. He urged particularly
the purchase of a 25,000 acre tract there for development and operation
by a metropolitan Parks Board.
“Mr. Holland sharply criticized the provincial
and Dominion Liquor Act. It is idle, he said, to ask tourists
to come here from the States, where their sumptuary laws are less
strict, and to expect them to appreciate similar laws here that
are much stricter and vary from province to province.”
[Note: Sumptuary? We looked it up. “Designed
to regulate habits on moral or religious grounds.”]
Old Days in the Cariboo
“The gripping story of the Cariboo,”
said the Province of November 1, 1935 (Page 8), “was
related by Louis Lebourdais of Quesnel to the mining bureau of the
Board of Trade on Thursday at the Hotel Vancouver. Some priceless
original photographs were shown of the hardy, bewhiskered men of
the period and the courageous women to whom Mr. Lebourdais paid
“While every picture shown held its own interest,
perhaps the one which most intrigued the mining men, many of whom
are familiar with Cariboo's later development, was an authentic
photograph of one of the camels which for a short time were
used to pack supplies along the romantic Cariboo
Road. The pictures were gathered during
the past twenty years, the speaker explained, and he tried to obtain
pictures of first scenes -- arrival of pack trains, stage coaches
and other transportation contrivances down through the years up
to the modern train and the latest transport, the airplane.
Mining scenes, historical
roadhouses, pack trains, stages and humans passed quickly before
the rapt gaze of the audience, interrupted frequently by chuckles
at Mr. Lebourdais' humorous remarks.” [None of which, unfortunately,
the unnamed reporter shared with us.]
You can read about the Cariboo camels here.
Lumber Trade Booming
The November 28, 1935 Province (Page 7) told
of big gains in the BC lumber trade, thanks to China and Australia.
“Mr. J. H. McDonald, managing director of
B. C. Manufacturing Co. Ltd., gave an interesting review of the
British Columbia lumber export situation, past and present, before
the wholesale bureau of the Board of Trade at a luncheon meeting
“A few years ago, he said, two mills, one
at Vancouver and the other at Chemainus, were engaged in the export
business. Peak of production was reached in 1929, when it was obvious
the lumbermen would have to go farther afield for markets, he said.
The first field tackled was Australia, where a B.C. lumbermens’
delegation gained a sympathetic hearing. Then the Bennett government
[note: the federal government of R.B. Bennett] made a reciprocal
agreement as result of which the export trade grew from 41 million
feet in 1929 to 128 million in 1934. The first ten months of
this year, he said, have seen Australian shipments reach 108 million
Gains in China
“‘'Some time was then spent' on the
market in China, Mr. McDonald continued, and, while Canada has no
preference there, the government subsidized shipping, with the result
that by 1934 Canada was obtaining 22 per cent of the foreign lumber
business to that country. In ten months of this year Canada's share
has been 29 per cent, he stated.
“‘The market in China is not likely
to wane, and we intend devoting more attention to it,’ the
speaker said. ‘We expect to place a man there permanently
to represent our interests.’
“The Japanese market has shrunk until British
Columbia is practically doing no business there, he said, but lumbermen
are hopeful of opening up more trade there shortly.
“Adoption of a modern tariff policy in England
in 1932 gave a preference to Canadian lumber in that country, Mr.
McDonald continued, and following the Ottawa conference Canadian
lumber representatives visited that country. In consequence shipments
of 81 million feet to United Kingdom in 1931 grew to 455 million
in 1934. The first ten months of this year have seen 365 million
feet shipped to the United Kingdom.
“‘Despite this big increase, Canadian
shipments to the United Kingdom do not equal those of 25 years ago,
when the Maritime provinces alone shipped one billion feet of lumber
to the Old Country,’ he said.
“Referring to the trade with South Africa,
the speaker reiterated much of what he has said on previous occasions
regarding the fine reception British Columbia lumbermen received
in that country two years ago. ‘No country trades more within
the Empire than South Africa,’ he said, ‘and she is
anxious to buy all she can from Canada.’
“Mr. McDonald expressed the hope that under
the new reciprocal agreement with the United States Canada will
regain her lumber trade in some measure with that country, although
Canadian lumbermen have still a substantial handicap to overcome.
In closing, the speaker emphasized the benefit of the lumbering
industry to the country as a means of taking up the slack of unemployment
when good lumber markets were offering.”
What else was happening
locally in 1935?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1936 »