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January 1 David Jones Greenlees was born in
Richmond at 1:01 a.m. To mark the event the city named Greenlees
Street in 1959.
January 9 J.V. Clyne was named chairman of
MacMillan Bloedel, the giant forestry company. Clyne had earlier
resigned as a judge on the B.C. Supreme Court.
January 16 The Sun reported that Boyd
Haskell, 43-year-old Simpsons-Sears executive (he was the General
Manager of the Burnaby store) had been named President of the Greater
Vancouver Tourist Association. He succeeds George Bradley,
President of Home Oil Distributors Ltd." Haskell had been on
the board for three years previous to his appointment. Named as
one-year directors were: William Mercer, President of W. M. Mercer
Ltd.; Emerson West, Assistant General Manager of T. Eaton Co.; and
Lawrence Dampier, Assistant Publisher Vancouver Sun. The association
will spend $3,500 this year on a survey and analysis of its entire
activities and workings.
January 28 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother,
visited Vancouver briefly en route to New Zealand and Australia.
January 31 Stung by the success of Sputnik
(launched by the Soviet Union October 4, 1957) the USA launched
its first satellite.
January The Esco Company established its first
Canadian Alloy Steel Foundry in Port Coquitlamits accessibility
to the mainline of the CPR would facilitate the export of the finished
Also January Lots in the first subdivision
at Lions Bay went on sale, and the first home there would be started
by Charles and Mary Coltart in the spring. Writes Max Wyman, They
needed a special permit to transport building materials over the
unfinished highway. Situated on the waterfront, the house was a
cathedral-ceiling, modernist structure of cedar and glass that set
the tone for much of the later architecture in the village.
Also January Louie Gim (Gum) Sing (also known
as Loy Sum Sing), a pioneer Chinese builder, died in Vancouver at
107, the oldest Chinese resident of Canada. He was born June 6,
1850 in China. He left a job in Hong Kong to work as the foreman
of a CPR Chinese crew. He arrived in Victoria June 25, 1884. He
helped lay the last track into Vancouver, survived the Great Fire,
and helped rebuild the city. He was noted for his great strength
and education, and for fighting to preserve the rights of Chinese
workers before the courts. In later years, he took up truck farming
on Lulu Island before settling in Chinatown.
February 28 The famed Interurban
tramlines had their final run today on the Marpole-Steveston run,
the regions last remaining route. According to Henry Ewert,
author of a history of the B.C. Electric Railway, the last regularly
scheduled train [whether single or multiple cars, they are always
known as trains] consisting of car #1225 left Marpole at 12:30 AM,
Friday, February 28, 1958 for Steveston. The car was full, most
of the passengers (Ewert included) being railfans. The same car
made the last northbound return trip, leaving Steveston at 1:00
AM with a 1:30 AM arrival at Marpole. The passengers got off and
the car went to the Kitsilano carbarn (under the south approach
of the Burrard Bridge) for the last time. That last deadhead
[passenger train running empty] move was made from Marpole to the
Kitsilano carbarn along what we know today as the Arbutus corridor.
Later in the same day the interurban once again came
to life for a ceremonial last run. Two trains of two cars
each (1231+1222;1208+1207), made one last round trip leaving Marpole
at 11:00 AM. Passengers were invited guests, municipal and B.C.
Electric officials. The return trip paused at Brighouse for a luncheon
hosted by the utility. After passengers were let off in Marpole,
the two trains made their way back to the Kitsilano carbarn arriving
at 3:00 PM . . . and as Henry Ewert writes, 68 years of electric
railway passenger service came to an end. The overhead trolley
wires were removed in 1959 and more diesels were purchased.
Interestingly, says railfan Jim McGraw,
many of the diesels are still running . . . right in front
of my [Queensborough] house! They even have the same numbers, although
they have gone through the many paint schemes of subsequent owners
[B.C. Electric, B.C. Hydro Rail, Itel and the Washington Group].
Those shiny new (in 1958!) diesel locomotives took
over the freight duties, and diesel buses of the company's intercity
bus division, Pacific Stage Lines, began to handle passenger traffic.
February After seven years of negotiations
110 owner-drivers of Yellow, Star and Checker Cabs bought the 85-car
Yellow Cabs Co. Ltd.
March 12 Gordon Farrell, president of B.C.
Telephone Co for 30 years, stepped down and was succeeded by Cyrus
March 13 Prime Minister John Diefenbaker spoke
to 8,500 people at the Forum.
March 14 The present Main Post Office (architect
Bill Leithead) opened at 349 West Georgia. Public Works Minister
Howard Green and Postmaster-General William Hamilton jointly officiated.
Hamilton arrived in a helicopter that landed on the POs roof
heliport. The heliport was later closed: mail delivery by helicopter
was too expensive.
The $13 million building, more formally known as
the Vancouver Mail Processing Plant was, at the time, the largest
welded steel structure in the world. Its a giant, five-storey
machine, Andrew Scott wrote in The Greater Vancouver Book,
covering an entire city block. The conveyor system, once state-of-the-art,
whips mail from floor to floor, up ramps, down chutes and along
three kilometres of whirling belts. Clanking mechanized parcel sorters
dump boxes through slots. The building is connected to the CPR station
by a conveyor-equipped tunnel, but as transport by truck grew more
efficient, the tunnel became obsolete. By 1965, it wasn't used at
all. Neither was the roof pad, designed for helicopter loads of
4.5 tonnes per wheel. Helicopter mail delivery turned out to be
Writer Sean Rossiter says he has a theory that its
this building at which the City Hall statue of Capt. George Vancouver
Also March 14 The Sun reported that
Tom Hood, boss of Vancouver Shipyards, said the St.
Roch is good for another 200 years.
March 21 The Province reported that
GVTA President Haskell (see January 16 item) had asked the City
of Vancouver to increase its grant to $75,000 from $40,000.
April 5 Ripple Rock was blown up. Thanks to
CBC-TV Archives, you can actually see and hear it happen. Go here
and watch as Bill Herbert (left) and Ted Reynolds (right) of the
CBC count us down to this spectacular event. The twin peaks of Ripple
Rock, lurking just below the surface of the waters of the Seymour
Narrows, had over the years caused the sinking of more than 100
ships and the loss of more than 100 lives. This was the largest
non-nuclear explosion in history to that time. There is an excellent
description of the project by Jeremy Leete at this
April 19 Professional baseball tickets were
sold on Sunday for the first time in Vancouver, at Capilano Stadium.
On April 28 the Supreme Court of Canada would uphold B.C.'s approval
of a Vancouver City Charter bylaw amendment permitting Sunday sports.
Newspapers called it the end of the biggest public issue of the
April Ladner was connected to Lulu Island
via the Deas Island Tunnel (which would later be re-named the George
Massey Tunnel). Six sections comprising 663 metres of concrete and
steel were sunk to construct the tunnel, which was opened to traffic
later in the spring. See this
site. The official opening was May 23, 1959. See that
year for more detail.
Until the tunnel, river crossings were made via the
Ladner-Woodward's Landing Ferry. Within 20 years after the opening
of the tunnel Delta's population would increase by 400 per cent.
May 28 The P&O liner Chusan arrived.
One observer noted it was an historic event, re-establishing passenger
vessel links with the Orient which had lapsed for almost 20 years
with the last voyages of the great CPR Empress liners. We had wondered
if this was the beginning of Vancouvers cruise trade, but
Gary Bannerman (author of, among other books, Cruise Ships: The
Inside Story) tells us the modern cruise era began on
our coast with the Seattle World's Fair in 1962 when Stan McDonald
of Seattle chartered an old ship to do a circle: Vancouver, Victoria
and Seattle. Soon after, McDonald launched Mexican cruising (and
Princess Cruises) by chartering CP's Princess Patricia in
the winter months. The real cruise era began then on the west coast
and, simultaneously, by Norwegian companies in the Caribbean, all
this in the late 1960s. See more on this at Garys site
1958, Gary continues, was the year
P&O made Vancouver a regular port of call. Their first ship
that year was actually SS Himalaya. Panoceanic passenger
ship visits back then were fairly rare, each one greeted by the
fire boat and brass bands on the pier.
It was a big year for the late Dean Miller, who had
been retained as public relations representative for P&O. Dean
first made his mark in the industry in 1954 representing a P&O
subsidiary, The Orient Line, when one of their famous O BoatsSS
Oronsaysailed into Vancouver harbor. (P&O would acquire
100 per cent of the shares of The Orient Line in 1965 and retire
the name). After P&O established Vancouver as a regular port
in 1958, Dean not only made the maiden visit of each ship an extraordinary
local event, he eventually became synonymous with the industry itself.
By the time of his death in 1997, Vancouver had become not merely
a port of call, but one of the international cruise
industry's principal ports of embarkation.
June 17 The
new Second Narrows Bridge collapsed during construction.
Eighteen workmen and one rescue worker died and 20 more were injured.
On June 17, 1994 the bridge was renamed in their and other workers'
honor. It is now officially the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows
July 1 Premier W.A.C. Bennett announced that
B.C. would establish its own ferry service between Vancouver Island
and the mainland. The move was prompted by labor strife in both
the Black Ball and Canadian Pacific ferry systems.
July 13 The 100th anniversary of the creation
of the (mainland) colony of British Columbia.
June 24 Jean Charest, future Québec
premier, was born in Sherbrooke.
July 20 Harry (Henry) Frederick Reifel died
in Vancouver, aged 62. He was born December 3, 1895 in Vancouver.
He and his brother George, the brewer, built and owned the Commodore
Block on Granville (1929) and the Vogue and Studio theatres in the
1940s. Harry Reifel raised purebred Jersey cows in Milner, B.C.
Also July 20 George James Bury, rail pioneer,
died in Vancouver, aged 92. He was born March 6, 1866 in Montreal.
He studied shorthand and joined the CPR as a $20-a-month junior
clerk, the start of a 40-year railway career. In 1907 he was supervisor
of western branch lines. During the First World War he returned
to Montreal as vice president of CPR's operating system. In 1917
Britain asked Canada for his services. Bury was sent to Petrograd
to report on the Russian railway system (and the revolution) for
the British war cabinet. He was knighted on recommendation of the
British prime minister, Lloyd George (1917). As president of Whalen
Pulp & Paper (from 1920), Sir George named Woodfibre, B.C.
July 23 Princess Margaret visited. While here
she opened the reconstructed Fort Langley.
July 28 Terry Fox was born in Winnipeg. He
was born Terrance Stanley Fox, came with the family when they moved
to Port Coquitlam in 1966.
Also July 28 Jazz giant Jack Teagarden recorded
an album at the Orpheum Theatre. Its title: Muskrat Ramble.
August 4 The Oscar Peterson trio (Oscar Peterson,
piano; Ray Brown, bass and Herb Ellis, guitar) played a gig at the
Orpheum Theatre. The concert was recorded, but the album wasnt
released until 2003!
August 13 The Parks Board closed Vancouver
beaches because of pollution.
August 18 CKNW 1320 moved to 980 on the dial
the same day as CKLG 1070 switched to 730. See this
August 30 Ferry service between Vancouver
and North Vancouver ended, until the start-up of the Seabus 19 years
later. Detailed descriptions of the interesting years of ferry service
on the inletso important to the history of the north shorecan
be found in two books, Ferry Across the Inlet, by former
master James Barr, and the informal Echoes of the Ferries,
by J. Rodger Burnes. North Vancouver Ferry No. 5, built in
False Creek in 1941 as the last car ferry for the North Vancouver
Ferry system, became the Seven Seas Restaurant. (By the time the
fondly-recalled ferry service ended more than 112 million passengers
had been carried.)
Summer A 100-foot-high Kwakiutl totem pole
was raised in front of Vancouver's new Maritime Museum, in honor
of the centennial of the founding of the colony of British Columbia.
Also summer 8,000 people celebrated B.C.'s
centennial at a barbecue atop Burnaby Mountain. A pavilion was built
there as a centennial project.
September 9 An exaltation of archbishops and
bishops pitched in to put the finishing touches on the brand new
St. Marks College on the University of British Columbia campus.
Operated by the Basilian Fathers, St. Marks was the first
Roman Catholic college of university level in Vancouver. It
will provide living accommodation for 50 UBC students, the
Province reported, and will be the centre for the universitys
1,300 Roman Catholics.
The college, designed by architect Peter Thornton,
was blessed by the Most Rev. Giovanni Panico, apostolic delegate
September 10 The Province reported
that: Proposals for developing Tsawwassen Beach as the mainland
terminus of the projected new Vancouver Island-Lower Mainland ferry
service have been forwarded to the provincial government.
Also developed would be a boat harbor and public beach. Site
is on the Gulf of Georgia, about four miles (6.4 km) north of Point
The paper also said that Swartz Bay was one favored
Vancouver Island base, and only one mile longer than a rival suggested
route from Point Roberts.
September 16 Frank Ross Begg, auto dealer,
died in Vancouver. He was born in Lindsay, Ontario, came to Vancouver
in 1898. From 1904 to 1906, Constance Brissenden writes,
with his brother Fred he operated a garage on Hastings. They
soon opened Begg Motor Co., Vancouver's first auto dealership. Frank
left an estate of nearly $2 million.
October 5 The Surrey Centennial Museum opened.
W.E. Ireland, Provincial Archivist, is there with his wife, a descendant
of Eric Anderson, a Surrey pioneer whose log cabin is now a part
of the museum.
October 11 Lee Powell, CKNW sports broadcaster,
October The Hula Hoop craze hit Vancouver.
November 6 From the Province: Tourist
inquiries up 71 per cent this year . . .
November 15 Russell Francis Baker, pioneer
bush pilot, died in West Vancouver, aged 48. He was born January
31, 1910 in Winnipeg. Writes Constance Brissenden: He was
an early bush pilot for several airlines, including Western Canada
Airways and Canadian Pacific. In 1946 Baker began Central B.C. Airways
with a B.C. Forest Service fire-patrol contract. He took over airlines
in B.C. and Alberta to create an independent airline to serve western
communities. In 1953 the company name was changed to Pacific Western
Airlines. It grew to be the largest western regional air carrier.
PWA bought CP Air in 1987.
December 22 A French adventurer completed
a swim of the Fraser River from Prince George to New Westminsters
Pattullo Bridge. (NOTE: in December!)
December 30 From Wilf Bennett's column in
A Canadian on holiday in Paris was trying out his French in a restaurant.
Hi, garsong, he said after a lengthy study of the menu,
je desir Consomme Royal et un piece de pang et burr . . .
no, dang it, half a minute! A piece of bang.
The waiter said helpfully, I'm sorry, sir, I don't speak French.
Very well, said the diner irritably, for heaven's
sake send me someone who can.
December 31 A tunnel under Burrard Inlet!
What a clever idea! Budgeted at $150 million, the idea was proposed
to Vancouver city council by Ald. Halford Wilson. The tunnel, conceived
by the engineering firm H.H. Minshall and Associates, would run
for 2.7 miles (4.3 kilometres) from a point on the North Shore about
one- half mile (800 metres) east of Lions Gate Bridge to come out
on False Creek flats just south of the Georgia Street Viaduct. Highways
Minister Phil Gaglardi called the proposal a pipe dream.
Also in 1958
The Upper Levels Highway to the Horseshoe Bay ferries
The B.C. Centennial of 1958 was commemorated by the
construction of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which would open in
1959. The centennial also saw the premiere of the Vancouver International
Festival, a world-class performing arts showcase mixing local and
international acts that would remain an annual event for the next
decade. Various venues were used that first year: the Orpheum Theatre,
the Georgia Auditorium, and the Hotel Vancouver Ballroom.
Bryan N.S. Gooch has a good description of the Festival
The Maritime Museum was built as a B.C. Centennial
Project. It would open to the public in June 1959. There is an excellent
history of the facility at this
The Buchanan Buildingofficially opened by Premier
W.A.C. Bennettbecame the new home of the liberal arts at UBC.
Built at a cost of $2 million, the facility accommodates almost
8,000 students and 650 regular faculty members representing 19 departments
and four schools. Most lectures in the Faculty of Arts are held
here. A striking example of contemporary west coast architecture,
the building took 16 months to construct. The name honored the late
Dean of Arts and Sciences, Daniel Buchanan, who died in 1950.
Composer Michael Conway Baker, born March 13, 1942
in West Palm Beach, Florida, came to Vancouver. (His mother was
born here.) He is considered one of Canadas most prolific
and successful composers, with popular works in a variety of musical
genres, including symphonic, ballet, film, TV and special events.
He has over 120 film, television, and video music scores and more
than 110 concert works to his credit and is the recipient of numerous
awards. His best known works include Fanfare for Expo 86,
the Music for the BC Pavilion film at Expo 86, the superb Washington
Square ballet music (commissioned by the National Ballet of
Canada), the soundtrack music for Planet for the Taking,
the popular Canadian film The Grey Fox, and the music for
two episodes of The Road to Avonlea. a concerto for oboe and orchestra, is a beautiful reflection of the city. For a good brief bio of Baker, see this site.
Ritchie Bros., now the worlds leading industrial
auctioneer, held its first auction sale in a Kelowna, B.C., boy
Tim Cummings, the last Indian resident of Stanley
As spokesperson for Save Our Parklands Association
Rebecca Belle Watson played a major role in preserving the Shaughnessy
Golf Course from development.
In a poll taken on the North Shore, people in all
three municipalities overwhelmingly supported building a new hospital.
Lions Gate Hospital will open April 22, 1961.
Shaughnessy Golf Course negotiated with the Department
of Indian Affairs a long-term lease for part of the Musqueam Indian
Reserve. The natives protested the terms when they learned of them,
and in 1985 a Supreme Court of Canada decision would uphold a $10
million award to the band because the department had not acted in
the best interests of the natives.
Louie Gim Sing, a pioneer Chinese builder, died at
107, the oldest Chinese resident of Canada. He was born June 6,
1850. He helped lay the last rail track into Vancouver in 1887.
In 1958 a treehouse built by gently eccentric deaf
twins Peter (1872-1949) and David Brown (1872-1958) on their heavily-treed
property in Surrey was demolished. They had lived in the treehouse
for many years. A replacement of a quite different (more formal)
design was installed. The twins, who lived in the treehouse for
years, planted many different kinds of trees on their property .
. . more different trees, in fact, than anywhere else in BC! They
left 59 acres to Surrey, which turned the property into the charming
Minnekhada Lodge in Coquitlam, built as a country
retreat and hunting lodge by Eric W. Hamber, was acquired by Col.
Clarence Wallace, a former Lt.-Gov. It is now managed by GVRD Parks.
Canadian Pacific Airlines became a jet airline, when
it bought turboprop Bristol Britannias. See this
The largest roller coaster in Canada was built at
the PNE grounds.
Empress of Scotland, which had started in
life in 1930 as Empress of Japan and was renamed in 1939
when she became a troop ship, had another name change when CP Ships,
which had reclaimed her after the war, sold her in 1957 to Hamburg
Atlantik Linie. She was put into service in 1958 as Hanseatic,
but after fire damage in New York on September 7, 1966 would be
Brighouse race track in Richmond was sold for development.
A statue of King George VI was carved by Sir Charles
Wheeler. It was a gift of P.A. Woodward to the Vancouver Branch
of the War Amputations of Canada, who presented it to UBC. Originally
located at the War Memorial Gymnasium, the statue stands now by
the Woodward Biomedical Library. A second casting of the work stands
near Buckingham Palace in London.
Other sculptures placed at UBC this year include
Hanging sculpture, by Gerhard Class, at the Buchanan Building,
and Asiatic Head, by Otto Fischer-Credo, near the Frederic
Pioneer Laundry, established in 1890, merged with
A huge mural, Symbols for Education, at Brock
Memorial Hall, was gifted to UBC by the graduating class of 1958.
Assembled by Lionel Thomas, a distinguished artist and UBC architecture
professor, the mural represented the various disciplines taught
at the university.
Today's Times, a Vancouver-based monthly publication
with news and life-style topics aimed at persons 50 and older, began
The Windmill Herald: Western Edition, a publication
with news and views of Netherlands and overseas Dutch-speakers,
began publishing (in Dutch and English).
Fred Steiner sold his Toronto radio store and moved
to Vancouver. He opened a shop here, and called it A&B Sound.
Why A&B? A&A was taken. True story.
Lucky Lager Breweries was acquired by Labatt's, and
Molson's bought out the American-owned Sick's brewery and became
a major player in B.C. with a plant at the south end of Burrard
The Tunnel Town Curling Club opened four sheets of
ice in a Boundary Bay air hangar.
James Lovick & Co. Had become the largest advertising
agency in Canada, with additional offices in Edmonton, London, Ont.,
Halifax, New York and San Francisco. It built its own headquarters
at 1178 West Pender Street.
Professor Elod Macskasy, who had come to Vancouver
from Hungary in 1956, won the Canadian Open Chess Championship.
Macskasy, born in 1919, taught mathematics at UBC for over 30 years,
and was B.C.'s top chess player for most of that time. A listing
of B.C. Chess Federation Provincial Champions (Macskasy is in there
from 1958 to 1962 inclusive) can be found here.
Mungo Martin, Henry Hunt and David Martin carve a
30.5-metre-high Kwakiutl totem pole for BCs Centennial. The
original was presented to Queen Elizabeth II, and stands in England's
Windsor Great Park. A replica is in Vancouvers Hadden Park,
on Ogden Avenue between Chestnut and Maple Streets, near the Maritime
Thomas Reid, who in 1937 as the Liberal MP for New
Westminster (1930-49) helped form the Fisheries Commission, and
who was devoted to rehabilitation of Fraser salmon run, was credited
with the rivers best run this year since 1905. B.C. packed
more than one million cases.
The Centennial Museum, along with the Maritime Museum,
became city departments under control of a Civic Museum Board. The
former is known today as the Vancouver Museum.
Bill and Alice McConnell founded Klanak Press. Klanak
Press books, says collectionscanada.com, combine elements
of fine book design, typography and printing. A dozen books were
published under the imprint over a 14-year period including Maria
Fiamengo's The Quality of Halves which was the Presss
Dick Diespecker, radio announcer and writer, moved
to San Francisco to join a public relations firm. He was an influential
radio personality here. In 1948 Diespecker won a Columbus Award
for a three-part radio documentary Destination Palestine. He wrote
more than 400 radio plays for CBC, BBC and the South African Broadcasting
Corp. He was a columnist with the Vancouver Star, News-Herald
and Victoria Colonist.
Radio CKWX started a locally-shaped hit parade (The
Sensational Sixty), the first in the city. Langley radio buff Jim
Bower has started a web site that will list the tunes WX and
other stations played. He makes the point that Vancouvers
hits were sometimes different from those listed in Billboard and
other trade publications, influenced by our own deejays like Dave
Big Daddy McCormick and Red Robinson. Have a look at
the 1958 hits (here)!
Alexander Campbell Des Brisay, about 70, became chief
justice of the B.C. Court of Appeal, the provinces senior
Buda Hosmer Brown (née Jenkins) was elected
the Social Credit MLA for Vancouver Point Grey). She was born June
10, 1894 in Bellingham, Washington.
The book New Westminster, the Royal City,
a history by Barry Mather and Margaret McDonald, was published.
The West Vancouver Recreation Centre opened at 780
Jurgen Hesse, who was born in Germany in 1924 and
grew up in Italy, came to Canada. Hesse has received numerous awards
for his radio documentaries. He has written many books, including
two self-help titles, The Radio Documentary Handbook and Mobile
Retirement Handbook. In Voices of Change: Immigrant Writers
Speak Out he interviewed 15 immigrant writers. Go to this
site for more detail, and to read a good commentary
by Hesse on self-publishing.
1958 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
[Photo: Alf Spence]
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[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]