Singing the Hungarian Foresters' Hymn during the UBC forestry
faculty's 50th anniversary.
Photo credit: George Draskoy
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
This year is sponsored.
You'll note that this year includes events listed under Also
in . . . These are events for which we don't have a specific
date. If YOU know the
specific date of an event shown there, please
notify us . . . and cite the source! Many thanks!
January 21 A contract was let for construction
of a new Second Narrows Bridge.
January 24 One of the great stories in B.C.s
history began today when 214 Hungarian refugees (200 students and
14 faculty members) arrived at the Matsqui train station. They were
from the Forestry School in Sopron, Hungary. Two months earlier
Sopron, and other Hungarian cities, had been invaded by Soviet troops.
Attempts to resist the approaching Soviet tanks, Professor
Antal Kozak wrote, were futile. About 450 students and 50
professors and their families left Sopron fleeing across the open
borders to Austria. Of these, about 250 were from the forestry school.
This was not a planned departure . . . The Faculty of Forestry at
UBC offered to adopt the Sopron University of Forestry
and guaranteed its maintenance for five years until the current
By May 1961 the last Sopron class graduated. (They
had started their classes in Hungarian, gradually upped the English
content as they progressed.) Most of the 140 graduates decided to
stay and work in Canada. That picture, taken at UBC December 3,
2001 by George Draskoy, was taken during the UBC forestry facultys
50th anniversary. The people shown are singing the Hungarian Foresters
Hymn. The Hymn, says Professor Kozak, obscured in the
back row, "describes briefly the wonderful life of the young
foresters in the Hungarian forests." See this
site. Our thanks for some of this material to Peter
Czink, editor of The
New Hungarian Voice.
The Sopron faculty and students were not, of course,
the only Hungarian refugees here. At one point in 1957 there were
1,500 Hungarians housed at a camp at the Abbotsford airport.
One well-known refugee who arrived here in 1957 was
sculptor Elek Imredy, born April 13, 1912 in Pest, Hungary. His
sculptures have been exhibited in Canada, the US and Europe, including
a life-size statue of prime minister Louis St. Laurent at Ottawa's
Supreme Court. His most famous work is Girl in Wetsuit in
Stanley Park, commissioned in 1972 by Vancouver lawyer Douglas McK.
Brown. Imredy created the impressive bust of archivist J.S. Matthews
at the City of Vancouver Archives, and a sculpture of Judge Matthew
Begbie (Begbie Square) and Lady of Justice at the Vancouver Law
Courts. See The Sculpture of Elek Imredy by Terry Noble.
Imredy died October 22, 1994 in Vancouver.
February 16 Samuel Patrick Cromie, newspaper
publisher, died by drowning in a boating accident at Halfmoon Bay,
north of Vancouver, aged 39. He was born January 25, 1918 in Vancouver,
the third son of Robert James Cromie. He worked his way up
from circulation department and pressman, writes Constance
Brissenden. He joined the RCAF in February 1942. After the
war, he returned to the Vancouver Sun as mechanical superintendent
(Nov. 1, 1945) and was soon made vice president. In 1946, at 28,
he was elected alderman (Non-Partisan Association), the youngest
in the citys history to that time, and the youngest acting
mayor in Vancouver history. In 1955 he became vice president/assistant
publisher of Sun Publishing (1955). He was described as one
of Canada's best-known newspaper men.
February 23 Premier W.A.C. Bennett opened
a new school for the blind at Jericho (it was an extension of the
February 24 William Culham Woodward, retailer
and lieutenant-governor, died in Hawaii, aged 71. He was born April
24, 1885 in Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, Ont. He came to Vancouver
with his father Charles Woodward. At 16, William worked as a $15/month
Royal Bank clerk. In 1908 he joined Woodward's as bookkeeper. In
World War One he served with the First Canadian Heavy Artillery,
then with Occupation forces (1916-18). He was Honorary Colonel of
the 15th Field Regiment (RCA), 1932. During WWII, he served without
pay as executive assistant to munitions and supply minister C.D.
Howe. He was BCs lieutenant-governor from 1941 to 1946. William
ran Woodward Stores with his brother Percival Archibald Woodward
to 1956 when his son Charles Chunky Woodward became
president. In 1956 he was named Colonel at Large of the Militia,
a rank created for him by defense minister Ralph Campney.
February 26 G.F. Strong, heart specialist,
died in Montreal while en route to a meeting of the National Heart
Foundation. It was four days after his 60th birthday. George Frederic
Strong was born February 22, 1897 in St. Paul, Minnesota, was
a graduate (MD) of the University of Minnesota. He interned at Vancouver
General Hospital (1922-23), then served on its staff for the next
34 years. He was chair of the VGH medical board; a founder of the
BC Cancer Foundation, the Western Society for Rehabilitation, BC
Medical Research Institute, Vancouver Community Chest, and the Family
Welfare Bureau. In 1955 he was named president of the American College
of Physicians and Surgeons. G.F. Strong Centre in Vancouver is named
for him. There is a good brief recap of his career here.
March 6 Ghana became independent, the first
country in sub-Saharan Africa to be so.
April 7 John Hart, former BC premier and a
financier, died in Victoria. He was born March 31, 1879 in Mohill,
Ireland. He founded Gillespie, Hart and Co. in 1909. He was elected
(Liberal) MLA for Victoria in 1916, and won every election he was
in thereafter. He was BCs finance minister from 1917 to 1949,
except for business reasons in the years 1924 and 1933. In December
1941 Hart was elected the Liberal premier of a coalition government,
a position he held until he retired in 1947. He established the
B.C. Power Commission and began building highways, including the
Hart Highway from Prince George to Dawson Creek.
April 15 A 14 sq km chunk of South Surrey
seceded: White Rock was incorporated. It was named for a large white
granite rock on the beach, a relic of the Ice Age. Writes Sandra
McKenzie: According to romantic legend, the boulder was tossed
onto the beach by the son of a Salish sea-god who fell in love with
a Cowichan princess. When both mortal and immortal parents objected
to their union, the angry scion threw the boulder across the waves,
then, with his bride in his arms, followed it to the shores of Semiahmoo
Bay, where they subsequently made their home. Actually, the last
ice age deposited the great granite landmark, which owes its distinctive
coloration to layers of sun-bleached guano and several coats of
white paintat least four a year, with regular touch-ups after
April Radio CJOR, writes Jeff
Bateman in The Greater Vancouver Book, staged a competition
to find a local Elvis. The winner by audience knock-out: Jimmy Morrison.
Later that year, Morrison and The Stripes (who originally featured
Ian Tyson of Ian & Sylvia fame) recorded Singin' The Blues
b/w Your Cheatin' Heart, a 45 that's regarded as the city's
first rock'n'roll recording. Other rockabilly contenders included
Les Vogt, whose band The Prowlers was named after Jack Cullen's
CKNW radio show The Owl Prowl, and Stan Cayer.
May 1 B.C. Breweries became Carling Breweries
(B.C.) Ltd. Two years later it became part of the Carling organization
with its head office in Toronto.
May 3 The first person to be flown to the
heliport atop the (still abuilding) new main post office was James
Sinclair, the fisheries minister. He was met by Prime Minister Louis
St. Laurent. The heliport was later closed: the aircraft were deemed
too heavy for safety on the roof.
May 26 Percy Norman, swimmer and swimming
coach, died in Vancouver, aged 53. He was born March 14, 1904 in
New Westminster. Norman started his career as a promising marathon
swimmer but chose to coach instead. He was considered Canada's top
swimming and diving coach for many years. He coached the 1936 Canadian
Olympic and 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games swim teams,
winning six medals. He was the head coach of the Vancouver Amateur
Swim Club at Crystal Pool from 1931 to 1955. Norman was inducted
into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1967. Many of the swimmers
he coached are members of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. In 1960,
the Vancouver Parks Board named a pool for him at Riley Park.
June 8 Dr. Peter (Peter William Jepson-Young),
future AIDS diarist, was born in New Westminster. He would become,
sadly, well-known in September 1990 as a result of his weekly diary
of his AIDS illness on the CBC evening news. He died November 15,
1992 in Vancouver. See Affirmation: The AIDS Odyssey of Dr.
Peter by Daniel Gawthrop.
June 10 A federal election saw the Liberals
defeated, and Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker elected.
One of the successful PC candidates was Douglas Jung, born February
24, 1924, elected for Vancouver Centre, who would become Canada's
first Member of Parliament of Chinese descent. There is an excellent
brief bio of Jung by Tom Hawthorn at this
site written on the occasion of Mr. Jungs death
June 15 The last issue of the Herald
(formerly the News-Herald.) See the 1933
Chronology (April 24) for the story of how this feisty
little paper began.
Also June 15 Malcolm Peter McBeathmayor
of Vancouver from 1915 to 1917died, aged 76. He was born December
2, 1880 in Bruce County, Ontario, arrived in Vancouver in 1907.
An alderman in Vancouver from 1912 to 1914, McBeath sat in the mayor's
chair for the two years immediately after.
June 21 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker took
June 27 Writer Malcolm Lowry (who had written
much of his acclaimed novel Under the Volcano in Dollarton,
on the north shore of Burrard Inlet) died, aged 47, in Ripe, Sussex,
England of an overdose of sleeping tablets. He was buried in the
graveyard of the village church. He was born July 28, 1909 in Cheshire,
July 1 The four-lane Oak Street Bridge, on
Route 99, opened to traffic. It became a vital link to Vancouver
for Richmond. (After the bridge opened, traffic began to move several
blocks to the east. The business districts along Hudson Street and
Marine Drive went into a swift decline.) With the Middle Arm Bridge,
this new span replaced the old Marpole swing bridge over the North
Arm of the Fraser. The old swing bridge, with its tendency to open
at inconvenient times (7,015 times in 1954!), will be familiar to
users of Vancouver AMF (Air Mail Field) on Sea Island, now the airfreight
and seaplane terminal. It was dismantled this year.
July 16 The Sun reported the death
of Major John R. Grant, designer of the Granville and Burrard Street
bridges. No death date was given. He was 78. Grant was born in Elora,
Ontario, came to Vancouver after service in the First World War.
"In 1910," says the Sun, he submitted his
first design for a Burrard bridge, but the project was rejected
on a civic plebiscite . . . He was designing engineer of the Seymour
dam, Vancouver Heights reservoir, Vancouver Block and the Dominion
Trust building. The Burrard Bridge was okayed in 1930, and
Grant got the commission. The bridge opened July 1, 1932. Highlight
of the career of the slightly-built, gray-haired designer,
the Sun concluded, was the acceptance in 1949 of his
plan for the new Granville bridge, which cost $16.5 million.
August 9 The Richmond Civic Centre opened.
City Hall, at 6911 No. 3 Road, was designed by Allen C. Smith and
August 15 CKWX became BCs first 50,000-watt
radio station as it moved its frequency from 980 on the dial to
1130. For a period of time the message, This is not CKWX.
It used to be, could be heard on the old frequency, advising
listeners to change the dial. See this
August 17 The Vancouver Sun reported
that American tourists were griping about the money exchange rate:
they lost 5 1/2 cents every time they cashed in a dollar!
August 25 Radio news reporter Kim Emerson
August 26 The one-way street came to downtown
Vancouver today. No accidents were reported. Police and city
traffic department officials worked feverishly to instal signs,
paint traffic lines and tear down the temporary sign covers.
The Province predicted a great test of the
system when one of the greatest crowds in city history100,000pack
Exhibition Park tonight and then heads home on unfamiliar one-way
streets. B.C. Lions expect 25,000 for the game with Calgary Stampeders
at Empire Stadium. An estimated 50,000 will attend the PNE and other
10,000 will watch racing . . .
No special problems ensued.
On May 22, 2005 some of the downtown one-way streets
reverted to two-way.
August 31 Elvis Presley performed one song
at a packed Empire Stadium, left the stage when fans begin to battle
with police. He returned to sing four more songs, none of which
could be heard over the screaming. The next day, Presley's manager,
Colonel Tom Parker, happily read aloud to the media a local newspaper
account of the riot.
September 20 Julius Harold Bloedel, lumberman,
died in Seattle, aged 93. He was born in March 1864 in Fond du Lac,
Wisconsin At age 17 he entered civil engineering (U. of Michigan),
but left due to money problems. He worked on a Wisconsin railway,
then developed real estate in Sheboygan. With a $10,000 profit,
he moved west in 1886. In 1890, he started Samish Logging in Bellingham
Bay, Wash. In 1911 Bloedel began logging in B.C. He retired in May
1942 as president of Bloedel, Stewart & Welch in favor of his
son Prentice Bloedel (b. Aug. 13, 1900, Bellingham, Wash.) but continued
as board chair. His business philosophy was to own timber.
It was a passion that dominated his life. His archives were
donated to U.B.C.
September 21 Leon Koerner began the Thea and
Leon Koerner Foundation. To quote from the Foundations web
The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation provides grants to stimulate
and invigorate the cultural and educational communities in British
Columbia by enabling institutions, organizations or individuals
to undertake programs and/or projects which would not be possible
without special assistance. To this end, the Foundation receives
and considers grant applications in these four areas: Cultural and
Creative Arts; Social Services; Higher Education; Grants in Aid.
There is an excellent article on Leon Koerner and the Koerner family
by Rosemary Cunningham in British Columbia History, Vol.
40 No. 1, 2007.
Also September 21 The TV series Perry Mason,
starring New Westminster-born Raymond Burr, began on CBS-TV with
The Case of the Moth-eaten Mink. The series would prove immensely
popular, run for nine years. It is still seen in reruns, nearly
40 years after ending.
September 26 West Side Story premiered.
October 4 The Soviet Union put Sputnik into
space and launched the space race.
October 11 Earlier this year Anglican priest
Stanley Higgs told the newspapers that general manager Cedric Tallis
of the Vancouver Mounties baseball club would be in contempt of
law if he pursued Sunday ball games. Sure enough, the Mounties were
found guilty today and fined for playing baseball on Sunday.
October 24 Tragically, the citys chief
librarian since 1924, Edgar Stewart Robinson, who had campaigned
for a new library for many years, died a week before it opened.
November 1 A new main Vancouver Public Library
building opened at Burrard and Robson. The location was criticized
by some at the time because there isnt enough foot traffic.
The sleek, modernist structure was Vancouver's first glass curtain
building, designed by architects H.N. Semmens and D.C. Simpson.
It was awarded the Massey Medal, Canada's highest architectural
This building served until May of 1995 when todays
main branch opened. Almost from the beginning the 1957 building
was too small. There was never any serious question that a
new central library was in order for Canada's most literate city,
Sandra McKenzie wrote. The old facility, built in 1957 at
Robson and Burrard, was designed to accommodate 750,000 volumes,
with seating for 300 patrons. In the intervening years the VPL's
collection, which numbers over 1.4 million items, and public demand
for the library's services, swelled well past this capacity. Despite
seconding the auditorium, several meeting rooms and much of the
seating space to shelf space, nearly a third of the collection was
stored in the basement, while more than 5,000 patrons a day scrambled
for scarce chairs.
The years, and public taste, were not kind to its
once-shimmering street presence. After nearly four decades
of use, Sandra McKenzie continues, its transparent facade
was gray and grimy, and the well trodden interior was scarcely worth
preserving. Despite preservationists' interest in its architectural
significance, there was little public sympathy for the building's
50s-style modernism . . . Fortunately, the forces for heritage preservation
won out, and the Semmens and Simpson design has gained a second
life. That resulted in a Virgin Records megastore at street
level, and a Planet Hollywood restaurant upstairs.
November 4 A new passenger facility opened
at Vancouver International Airport.
November 8 Johnston Heights Elementary opened
December 8 George Henry Keefer, contractor,
died at Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island, aged about 92. He was born
in 1865 in Bowling Green, Ont. Keefer was prominent in B.C. railway
construction for 50 years. A railway contractor in 1886, he cleared
the CPR right of way from Port Moody to English Bay, mostly with
the help of Stikine Indians. On June 12, 1886, looking for a camp
site near today's Granville Bridge, he saw some dry brush and set
it on fire to clean it up. On June 13, the Great Fire
levelled Vancouver. He admitted his mistake many years later. (Some
say his story is apocryphal.) He worked on railway lines in Washington
state and B.C. before serving in WWI with Canadian Foresters (1914-19).
He was later a contractor for the Capilano Waterworks. Keefer Street
in Chinatown is named for him.
December 9 William Grafton, a Bowen Island
pioneer, died in West Vancouver, aged 89. He was born February 6,
1868 in London, Eng., came to Vancouver with two brothers in 1885.
One of Bowen Island's first settlers, writes Constance
Brissenden, he preempted 640 acres at $1 an acre. Farming
on Bowen was difficult but salmon was abundant. He boiled cod, shark
and dogfish livers on the beach in a 60-gallon sugar kettle to extract
the valuable oil, and also sold game to the Hotel Vancouver. About
1887 he launched the first Howe Sound ferry service with a four-ton
sloop. From 1917 to 1934, he worked as a janitor. The island's Grafton
Lake and Grafton Bay are named for him.
Also in 1957
The Vancouver Tourist Association changed its name
back to the Greater Vancouver Tourist Association.
The Vancouver Police Department dog squad began with
four dogs. Today, all training for the squad is carried out in the
city and by their own experts. The teams expertise has been
recognized by other police forces in B.C. and the western U.S.,
which send their dogs and handlers to Vancouver for training. See
site. The site includes a tribute to Rollie,
a 25-kg Labrador, who died of cancer July 16, 2004. PD Rollie,
the site tells us, was the first single purpose Narcotic Detection
Canine deployed by the Vancouver Police Department and was in service
since April 1999. During his career, Rollie was responsible for
the seizure of millions of dollars of narcotics from the streets
Sam Black, artist, joined UBC. Good bio info at this
Not local, but enlightening: in 1957 in the King
County area of Washington State, nearly HALF of all workers in the
county were employed in aerospace manufacturing related to the Boeing
Numbered streets came to Surrey, consecutively upward
from the 49th parallel. There is a 0 (Zero) Avenue in
Surrey, right on the US border. Step off into the bush on the south
side of O Avenue and youre in Washington. Lost in the conversion
were many street names of historical interest . . . but it now became
a lot easier for people to find their way around this big city:
317.40 square km (122.5 square miles), the largest city in BC's
lower mainland, with the second largest population (400,000 in 2004).
J.V. Clyne, a judge on the BC Supreme Court, was
named a director of MacMillan Bloedel. He would later become chairman
and CEO until his retirement in 1973.
The Upper Levels Highway was completed on the north
A Mosquito Control Board was formed in Surrey. The
mosquitoes are still fighting back, says an official.
An industrial area was zoned near Newton. North Surrey,
where formerly berry and chicken farms have flourished, became almost
Burnaby's Historical Society is formed and becomes
the driving force behind the creation of the Archives, Museum and
the Heritage Advisory Committee.
Westminster Abbey and Seminary was opened at Mission
by the Benedictine Order. They had occupied Fairacres in Burnaby.
The first gas pipeline was completed to Vancouver.
The Union Steamship Co. closed its hotel, the Bowen
Inn, on Bowen Island.
Restoration of Fort Langley began as part of the
celebration of British Columbia's centennial.
Killarney High School opened.
Professional baseball came to Capilano Stadium.
The Burrard Building, at West Georgia and Burrard,
was completed. Architect was C.B.K. Van Norman.
An extension was added to Brock Memorial Hall at
The BC Medical Association formed the Council on
Health Promotion. COHP comprises 15 committees, each dealing with
specific areas of community health and health promotion. Current
issues of special concern to the COHP are violence in society, health
education in school, and community involvement in health promotion.
A current concern: childhood obesity. See this
Construction started on a new 123-bed Centennial
Wing at Burnaby Hospital.
The Community Information Service realized their
comprehensive card catalogue of community services in the Lower
Mainland would be useful to many other agencies and services, so
began publishing the Directory of Services for Greater Vancouver.
Today, its on line, and is called The
The BCLA Reporter began publishing. Its
for member libraries of the British Columbia Library Association,
and reports on activities of the BCLA, policy and news pertaining
to libraries in the province. It includes features on information
retrieval and technology, library architecture, literacy, management
The British Columbia Thoroughbred began publishing.
It appears seven times a year, is published by the British Columbia
Thoroughbred Breeders Society.
The Coupler began publishing. Its a
bi-monthly company newsletter for staff of BC Rail Ltd.
Paragraphic began publishing. Its a
quarterly for members of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, British
Turner Boatworks, which had started on Coal Harbour
about 1897, closed.
The Sandheads #16 lightship at the mouth of the Fraser,
there since 1913, ended its service. This two-masted schooner had
started life in New York in 1880 as the Thomas F. Bayard,
a Delaware Bay pilot ship. (Thomas Bayard was a Delaware senator.)
She had an interesting career, which can be read about here.
The Bayard was purchased in 1978 by the Vancouver Maritime
Museum, which has been restoring her to her condition as a West
Parker Industrial Equipment, a company established
by Lloyd F. Parker in Penticton in the 1940s, began to sell Kenworth
trucks. Known today as the Inland Group it is now, with 24 branches,
the largest Kenworth dealer in the world. Its headquartered
Vancouver golfer Stan Leonard, who had joined the
PGA tour two years earlier, won his first major tournament on that
tour: the Greater Greensboro. Later in 1957 he would win the Tournament
The Quilchena Golf Course was opened to provide a
place for Jewish golfers to play. They had been denied entry to
John Prentice, head of the huge forestry firm Canadian
Forest Products, and president of the Chess Federation of Canada
since 1955, first represented Canada at the world chess federation
(FIDE). He would continue to do so for 30 years!
The Vancouver Museum moved into the old Carnegie
Library building when the new library moved into its new building.
BC artist B.C. Binnings external mosaic decoration
was installed on the B.C. Electric Building at Nelson and Burrard.
Today that building is called the Electra, and houses condominiums.
Binnings delightful work remains.
Orville Fishers mural, featuring the figure
of Mercury, god of messages and glad tidings, was completed in the
interior of the main post office, by the Homer Street entrance.
Deejay Red Robinson moved from CJOR to CKWX.
Journalist Ian Mulgrew was born. He came to Vancouver
in the early 1980s as West Coast bureau chief for the Globe and
Mail, joined the Province in 1986. Today, hes with
the Vancouver Sun. See this
Writer and commentator Ben Swankey, born in Steinbach,
Manitoba in 1913, moved to Vancouver. As owner and director
of Heritage Biographies, writes Alan Twigg, Swankey
has devoted much of his life to history and economic analysis from
a left-wing perspective. Man Along The Shore is a Vancouver
waterfront history. The Fraser Institute evaluates the right-wing
think-tank. Visit this
site for an interesting brief bio.
Weston, Ontario-born Bill (Wilfred John) Duthie,
bookseller, opened Duthie Books at the northwest corner of Robson
and Hornby. It speedily became the most well-known bookstore in
western Canada. Duthie had come to Vancouver in 1952 as the first
regional book representative on the West Coast. An innovator, he
dedicated an entire floor in his new store to paperback books, a
marketing move unprecedented at the time. He was especially encouraging
to emerging Canadian writers. The Bill Duthie Memorial Lecture is
delivered annually at the Vancouver International Writers Festival.
Born April 8, 1920 he died the day before his 64th birthday, sorely
missed by the reading and writing fraternity. There is a Duthies
today on West 4th Avenue.
Dal Grauer, president of the BC Electric, became
Four parks in Vancouver were purchased through a
bequest in the will of Harvey Hadden, who had died in England in
1931. The parks were on Georgia, Adanac, Woodland and McLean.
Lawyer Leon Ladner was elected to UBCs Board
of Governors. He would serve to 1966.
Basil Plimley, born June 21, 1924 in Victoria, took
over Plimley Motors in Vancouver, a company started by his grandfather,
Thomas Plimley. Basil would run the company, one of BCs largest
dealerships, until 1986, one of the few third generation executives
of a B.C. business. The Plimley companies closed in 1991, after
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[1900 - 1905] [1906
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