Thanks to local aviation pioneer Don MacLaren and Canadian Airways
you could fly to Victoria for $20 in the luxurious eight-seat Sikorsky
S-38 amphibian advertised here. [Click image to enlarge]
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[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
  
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The Great Depression had settled like a sodden shroud
on the city. Thousands of us were on relief (34,000 at the peak),
and hundreds more were riding the rods into town on every freight
train. (The authors father was one of them.) The Suns
Alan Morley counted 1,250 men in the breadline at First United Church.
The city's relief cost for the 1931-1932 year was over $1.3 million.
A symbol of the economic downturn: the unfinished form of the Hotel
January The old Hastings Mill Store, now moved
to Pioneer Park at the north foot of Alma, was officially opened
as a museum.
February 26 Singer Johnny Cash born.
February 28 Actor Don Francks born in Vancouver.
February Victor Odlum killed the Star,
a morning paper, when the printers refused to take a pay cut. Now
the city was back to two newspapers, the Sun and the Province,
both evening sheets. (Some of the people who worked for the Star
would launch the News in November. It had a short life. But
then they and others would launch the Vancouver News-Herald
February The Strand Theatre, on the south
side of Georgia Street at Seymour, was closed as a result of the
Depression. (One of the regular vaudeville attractions at the theatre,
the great Fanchon and Marco musical productions from California,
was transferred to the Orpheum, as was Earl Hill, the Strands
orchestra conductor.) The theatre would reopen in 1933.
March 31 The advent of sound didnt entirely
kill off silent movies. On this 1932 date the Beacon Theatre (the
old Pantages) on Hastings Street was showing the 1915 classic Birth
of a Nation.
May 27 The first performance of the Vancouver
Youth Symphony Orchestra.
April 13 Famed pianist Ignace Paderewski performed
at the Vancouver Arena. Eight years later he was at the head of
the Polish government in exile during the Second World War!
Also April 13 Sister Frances (Mrs. Fanny Dalrymple
Redmond), our first public health nurse, died in Vancouver aged
about 80. She was born c. 1852 in England, arrived in Vancouver
not long after the Great Fire of June 13, 1886. She was a nurse
at St. James Church, and was called the Florence Nightingale
of the City for her nursing care during the smallpox epidemic
of the 1890s.
April 14 B.C.s 27th premier, William
Richards "Bill" Bennett was born in Kelowna to W.A.C.
and May Bennett.
April 25 The Vancouver Sun 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.
April 26 UBC researcher Michael Smith, 1993
Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, was born in Blackpool.
April The Vancouver Police Department inaugurated
a full radio system in April of 1932.
May 4 A large demonstration by the unemployed
occurred at Vancouver City Hall.
May 16 Robert Dollar, steamship lines president,
died in San Rafael, California aged about 88. He was born in 1844
in Falkirk, Scotland, came to Eastern Canada at 14. By age 19 Dollar
was an experienced lumberjack. He moved to California in 1888 and
bought Newsboy, the first in a shipping empire of More than
100 vessels. In 1912 he established the Canadian Robert Dollar Co.
in Vancouver to run the fleet of Dollar Steamship Line of California.
Timber stands bought from the B.C. government supplied his sawmill
on Burrard Inlet. The Dollar flag, a white dollar sign on a red
background, was known worldwide. He was called The Pacific's
Grand Old Man.
Spring The first Bradner flower show was attended
by huge crowds with a grand concert and dance in the evening.
June The Capilano Timber Company mills are
destroyed by fire. The company, started in 1917, ran a logging railway
up the Capilano Valley to bring out the red cedar for which the
Valley was famous. One of its bridges, the Houlgate Creek Trestle
(named for R. Kerr Houlgate, one of the company owners), was 400
feet long and 90 feet high.
July 1 A snip of a pair of golden scissors
in the hands of Mayor Louis D. Taylor, ran a news report today,
and Vancouver's $3 million Burrard Bridge was opened to the
public Friday afternoon, July 1 . . . Hardly was the ribbon cut
in front of the devouring eyes of movie cameras, than thousands
of pedestrians and hundreds of cars surged across the magnificent
white structure in a procession of triumph, celebrating another
step in Vancouver's progress.
The Kitsilano Boy's Band played; so did the Fireman's
Band. An RCAF seaplane zoomed under the bridge, to the great
amazement of the congregated thousands.
At a civic reception later, in the Hotel Vancouver,
a replica of the bridge was unveiled. It was made of sugar.
The architect (of the concrete version) was G.L.
Thornton Sharp, of Sharp and Thompson. It was Sharp who was responsible
for the most noticeable physical feature of the bridge, those tall
galleries in the middle. Both central piers, Sharp told
a reporter, were designed and connected with an overhead gallery
across the road. This helped to mask the network of steel in the
truss from the two approaches, and has been treated as an entrance
gateway to the city.
So if you've ever wondered what those two big concrete
structures were for, the answer is they're to hide all that messy
steel. (The story that people once lived in apartments inside one
or both of them is an urban myth.)
The bridge piers have provision for a rapid transit
vertical lift span beneath the highway deck, but it was never installed.
Busts of Captain Vancouver and Harry Burrard jut
out from the bridges superstructure (a V under Vancouvers
bust, a B under Burrards), a gleaming and colorful coat of
arms welcomes the visitor, andbridge engineer John Grants
inspirationthere are huge lamps at both ends of the span,
a tribute to Canadian WWI prisoners of war, who huddled around open
fires in their prison camps.
Theres a sheaf of correspondence at the Vancouver
City Archives between Grant and an American consulting engineer
(and friend) whom Grant had commissioned to advise him during the
building of the bridge. It amounts to a continuing progress report
on the work, much of it technical, and contains some fascinating
stuff about a rival, a very well known Vancouver engineer, who tried
to get the work away from him. (Grant, by the way, was the engineer
for the present-day Granville Street Bridge, too.)
One small change that resulted from the construction
of the Burrard Bridge: Cedar Street disappeared. When the bridge
went in, it connected to Cedar Street south of the bridgethe
name Burrard was simply extended and Cedar disappeared.
Road crews working on the northern approaches to
the bridge paved over the ruins of Chip-kaay-am, Chief George's
July 17 The first CPR trains began to run
through a tunnel under the downtown, built to get the trains off
city streets. That same tunnel is used today by SkyTrain. It
was built, says Robert Harris in The Greater Vancouver
Book, by Northern Construction Co. and J.W. Stewart, for
$1.6 million. The tunnel is 6 to 24 metres below the surface and
is 1,395.72 metres in length. It follows an elongated S-curve, starting
with the west portal on Burrard Inlet (now the Waterfront terminal
for SkyTrain,) curves left up Thurlow, and switches back south under
Dunsmuir, follows Dunsmuir to Cambie, then curves again almost due
south, ending at the east portal near the Georgia Viaduct.
A new eastern portal was built to the north of the original when
the tunnel was rebuilt for SkyTrain use. The new portal features
two bores. Most of the original tunnel floor was slightly lowered
to accommodate stacking the east and west-bound tracks of the SkyTrain
just inside the new portals.
August 1 The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation
(CCF), forerunner of the NDP, was founded in Calgary. Its first
leader was James Woodsworth.
August 20 Vancouver beer parlors can now be
open from 9.30 am to 11.30 pm.
August 31 Columnist Allan Fotheringham was
September 8 Singer Patsy Cline was born.
September 9 Future entrepreneur Peter Toigo
was born in Powell River, B.C. In December 1982 he will buy the
White Spot restaurant chain.
September 17 New Vancouver coroner's court
and city morgue opened at 238-240 East Cordova. Today, that little
building is the Vancouver Police Museum.
September 25 Pianist Glenn Gould was born.
October 3 Broadcaster and politician Hugh
Curtis was born.
October 18 B.C.s lieutenant governor
Iona Campagnolo (the first woman appointed to that post) was born
on Galiano Island.
October Construction began on homes in the
British Properties in West Vancouver which, at the height of the
Depression, gave 150 local men steady employment.
October The province established relief camps
for single unemployed men . . . of which there were many. (More
than 6,000 by 1934.)
November 1 Some former Star staffers, including
Gus Sivertz and J. Edward Norcross, started up a newspaper called
the News. Its offices were at 614 West Pender. It lasted
November 13 The Vancouver Garrison dedicated
a plaque marking the site of the citys first drill hall. Its
in the lobby of the Shelly Building across Pender from the Old Sun
Building. (It was from that location that a small contingent of
men left Vancouver for the Boer War in 1899.)
November 17 Broadcaster, politician and ombudsman
Barrie Clark was born.
November 21 The Province cited a young
local "artiste" and "promising composer" named
December 8 Businessman (and ex-politician)
H.H. Stevens walked around Stanley Park on his 54th birthday. He
continued his birthday walk for 40 years. His last was December
8, 1972 when he was 94. He died June 14, 1973.
December 20 Burnaby, battered by the Depression,
defaulted on its bond payments and went into receivership December
31and would stay in it until 1942. North Vancouver District
suffered the same fate. Like a lot of struggling places in North
America, the Districtits tax base hammered by the loss to
North Van City of major industries and the lucrative ferry servicecollapsed
into bankruptcy. One old-timer recalled jigging for salmon in local
streams to have something for dinner. Some 75 per cent of landowners
saw their property revert to the municipality for unpaid taxes.
The District was placed under the control of a commissioner, Charles
Tisdall, and would not have representative government again until
December 25 Greater Vancouverites listen to
the first Christmas radio message from the sovereign as George V
speaks from Sandringham.
Also in 1932
In the 1932-33 season Vancouver will ship out 96,869,841
bushels of wheat, making it the worlds largest grain port.
The City of Vancouver formally recognized Major J.S.
Matthews as the city archivist, and paid him an honorarium of $30
per month. This would later lead to a dispute. See Donna
Jean McKinnons article.
Vancouver racer Percy Williams ran in the 1932 Olympic
Games, but pulled up short with a severe muscle injury. He would
never race again.
The Richmond Review newspaper began publication.
Mrs. J.R. Paton won first prize for her griddle scones
at the Surrey Agricultural Fair.
Italy-born Oreste and Agnes Notte move to Vancouver
from Victoria and open a bakeshop at 14th and Granville. (Three
years later they would move the shop, called Nottes Bon Ton,
Jimmy Pattison, 4, moves with his family from his
hometown, Luseland, Sask., to Saskatoon.
Australian aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith was knighted.
For more on Sir Charles and his connection with Vancouver, see
The M.V. Scenic began service, the only floating
post office in the British Empire. She will serve to 1968, known
as the Burrard Inlet T.P.O. (Travelling Post Office.)
Future judge Angelo Branca, 29, born March 21, 1903
in Mount Sicker on Vancouver Island, became Canadian amateur middleweight
boxing champion. I was a tough little bastard, he said,
tough as hell and all solid muscle.
An outside worker for Surrey Municipality this year
was paid between 37.5 cents and 56.25 cents an hour.
Thanks to site visitor Malcolm Page, we learn that
the Australian XI touring cricket team played B.C. at Brockton Point
in 1932. Don Bradman, the greatest batsman of all, played there
and described the ground as the loveliest in the world.
The Burrard Inlet Tunnel & Bridge Company went
bankrupt, and ownership of the Second Narrows Bridge (the first
one) eventually passed to the Crown. The bridge would be closed
for four years. Despite all the accidents the bridge had undergone,
there were no injuries.
Cooper & Smith Towing, which had started operations
on the Fraser River in 1919, became Westminster Tug Boats Inc. They
began to specialize in boat handling in Burrard Inlet.
Likely B.C.s most famous artist, Jack Shadbolt
came to Vancouver this year. He was born in Shoeburyness, Essex,
England February 4, 1909. He came to BC in 1912, to Vancouver in
1932. He would teach at the Vancouver School of Art for nearly 30
The Vancouver Concert Orchestra, a predecessor to
the CBC Radio Orchestra, was formed by John Avison. In those
days, Avison once told a Province interviewer, we played
a lot of light music, and we used to do radio shows from the CN
station and the Hotel Vancouver. Avison took over his new
duties with enormous enthusiasm. He did everything: chose the repertoire,
conducted, selected the players and handled the contracting. (He
was, by the way, a superb accompanist and performed with many of
the internationally recognized performers who visited Vancouver.)
York House School, a private girls school in
Vancouver, was founded in 1932 by Lena Cotsworth Clarke, who called
the school after her home town, the ancient cathedral city of York,
England. York, in turn, was named for the House of York whose symbol
is the York Rose, which the school adopted as part of its crest.
It became possible for the first time this yearthanks
to the Copper Highwayto place a call to the other
side of Canada without having it route through American cities.
When the first trans-Canada telephone callit was between Vancouver
and Montrealwas placed in 1916 the circuit ran 6,763 kilometres
through Buffalo, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City and Portland, Oregon.
Thanks to local aviation pioneer Don MacLaren and
Canadian Airways you could now fly to Victoria for $20. The
plane, Sean Rossiter wrote, was a luxurious eight-seat
Sikorsky S-38 amphibian that made two or three flights a day to
and from Victoria at $20 a seat, out of an office at the foot of
Cardero Street on Coal Harbour. Unfortunately, the Sikorsky
was not designed to withstand the effects of salt water. Within
two years, it was just one gob of corrosion, according
to maintenance engineer Rex Chandler. View this
The CNRV Players, heard across the country on the
railway's network from the CNR's Vancouver station since 1927, wrapped
New Westminsters St. Mary the Virgin Anglican
Church was damaged by fire, but successfully repaired.
Winona Grace Woodsworth, 26, the daughter of J. S.
Woodsworth, who founded the CCF, precursor to the NDP, married a
Labour MP from Vancouver named Angus MacInnis. Grace McInnis would
go on to become one of Canadas most famous (and effective)
politicians, first elected in 1941.
Vancouver-born Cecil Merritt, 23, who will become
famous in 1942 as a winner of the Victoria Cross, was called to
The Great Depression forced a reduction this year
in UBC operating grants by the provincial government. Students mounted
a successful publicity campaign against a suggestion that the University
be closed; still, the budget was reduced from $626,000 to $250,000
and salaries were reduced.
The Depression just kept on coming. In 1928 the Canadian
National Railway had started to build a huge chateau-style hotel
at Georgia and Hornby Streets, but a depressed economy brought a
halt to construction in 1932. The building stood uncompleted for
five years. (We know it today as the Hotel Vancouver.)
The Jewish Administrative Council was founded.
With the growth of the second generation, Canadian-born
and schooled, Cyril Leonoff, chronicler of local Jewish history
has written, a demand arose for the formation of a modern
congregation without segregation of the sexes and with greater English-speaking
content. This led in 1932 to the inauguration of a Conservative
congregation, Beth Israel (House of Israel), which reconciles the
traditional values of Judaism with modern forms.
Duce McNaughton, a Magee High school grad who led
his school to the first ever provincial boys basketball championship,
won the high jump at the Los Angeles Olympics.
The Vancouver Rowing Club, coached by Bob Johnston,
won a bronze medal in the 1932 Olympic double sculls event. One
of the crew is Ned Pratt, soon to be a well-known architect. His
partner: Noel de Mille.
17-year-old Stan Leonard won the B.C. Amateur golf
championship. He would do it again.
The Vancouver Curling Club affiliated with the Forum.
A seaside pool is built at Stanley Parks Second
In September, 1931 the Canadian Amateur Lacrosse
Association had established box lacrosse as its official game, and
in 1932 Reginald Pop Phillips brought the box version
("boxla") to B.C.
Vermilion, Alberta-born Gerald Cap Hobbis,
14, traded a bunch of old magazines for his first bicycle. He repaired
it in his basement and sold it to his first customer, Fred Bramley,
for $10. Cap will become a hugely successful bicycle retailer.
Thomas Coldicutt bought 500 acres at Crescent Beach,
and built homes, a villa with lodges, a stable and tennis courts.
These are today's Ocean Ridge townhouses.
The children of pioneer William Henry Ladner erected
a plaque on the clock tower in Delta beside the museum. William
and his brother Thomas Ellis Ladner were the first settlers in the
area named for them.
Dr. Harry Warren began teaching at the B.C. and Yukon
Chamber of Mines, his students being prospective prospectors. Warren
would be vice-president of the Chamber from 1939 to 1951 and president
from 1952 to 1954. (He is equally known as an amateur sports executive,
and his name will pop up often in the book.)
At one time, if you had turned off every electrical
installation Lennox Mackenzie designed in Vancouver, half the city
would have been plunged into darkness. His work, starting in 1932,
would go on to include the exterior lighting on city hall, the lighting
of the Stanley Park Causeway, a lot of street lighting, all of the
citys major hospitals, a lot of hotels, stores, factories,
apartment blocks, houses and office buildings.
North Shore citizens donated shrubbery and plants
from their own gardens to complete the landscaping of the North
Vancouver General Hospital, which had opened in 1929.
Michael W. Brighouse, one of Lulu Island's largest
landowners, died. His father was pioneer Samuel Brighouse.
Farmers from the drought-stricken Prairies loaded
their families into old vehicles and began to come West. Many squatted
on land in Surrey, and some of those eventually bought land and
Harold Brown was chair of the Vancouver Board of
B.C. Motor Transportation and B.C. Rapid Transit,
both subsidiaries of the B.C. Electric Railway, were merged under
the umbrella of Pacific Stage Lines, a wholly-owned B.C.E.R subsidiary
and one of the largest intercity bus companies in Canada.
Josephine A. Dauphinee became president of the Canadian
Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, would hold
the post to 1935.
The Women's Auxiliary to the Rotary Clinic for Chest
Diseases, founded in 1921, changed its name to the Rotary Women's
Auxiliary. It remained a separate entity and financially independent
of the Rotary Club.
Ephraim and Anne Sugarman founded Congregation Beth
William Woodward became Honorary Colonel of the 15th
Field Regiment (RCA).
Ben Wosk, about 19, began dealing in old stoves from
a small shop on Granville. He would become a major furniture dealer.
Ivan Ackery, manager since 1930 of the Dominion Theatre
on Granville Street, began to show his promotional drive. In his
autobiography, Fifty Years on Theatre Row, he says, I
began to do some good promotion work while at the Dominion. There
was a 1932 Gracie Fields movie called Looking on the Bright Side
that hadnt been doing too well in early showings on the circuit,
so we really went to work on it. We worked with the newspaper, giving
free passes to the film to cooperative advertisers; we got free
window space in shops, where we hid free passes among the merchandise
and lucky customers would find them on making purchases. I worked
with eight music stores in the city, having them feature Gracie
Fields records and sheet music, and went on CKMO with a great radio
man and Fields fan, Billy Brown. A cousin of Gracies played
piano in Vancouver, and we got him to come on the radio broadcast
at CKMO and two other radio stations. In short, we blitzed it!
Heres what Empire Films, which had made the
Gracie Fields picture, had to say about Ivans results in a
notice to other film folk: Ackery did itso can you!
I.F. Ackery, manager of the Dominion Theatre, Vancouver, put over
Looking on the Bright Side starring Gracie Fields in the
Greatest Number of Paid Admissions ever recorded for that theatre.
Outgrossed the Cavalcade first-run engagement. Played three
weeks to extraordinary houses, 36,334 paid admissions in the first
two weeks. Ackery is no magician, just a wide-awake manager, but
he did transform a Double-Feature Policy theatre into an Extended
As reward for his efforts, Ackery was transferred
to Victoria to manage the Capitol Theatre there. But there was even
better to come.
1932 CHLS Radio Station, 2nd floor, 198 West Hastings
CJOR Radio Station, 804 Hornby
CKCD Radio Station, 2nd floor, 198 West Hastings
CKFC Radio Station, West 12th Avenue at Hemlock
CKMO Station of the Sprott-Shaw Schools 815 West
Hastings and 1704-500 Beatty
CKWX Radio Station, 801 West Georgia
CNRV Canadian National Railways, Station Street off
VE5FF Short Wave Transmitting Station 3527 West 33rd
VE9CS Short Wave Radio Station, West 12th Avenue
1932 Lincoln ZB V12 Boattailed Speedster
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]