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January 3 Alaska became a state.
January A four-day Chinese New Year celebration
was held in Vancouver's Chinatown for the first time, sponsored
by Chinese-Canadian businessmen.
February 5 Jennifer Granholm was born in Vancouver.
Today, shes the Governor of Michigan.
March 16 The first ship, the Lake Atlin,
docked at Vancouvers brand new Centennial Pier, operated by
the National Harbours Board.
March Munich, Germany-born (May 11, 1908)
Erwin Swangard, who had come to Canada in 1930 and worked for both
the Province and the Vancouver Sun, was appointed
managing editor of the Sun.
May 4 Canadian Pacific Airlines started a
Trans-Canada service, Montreal to Vancouver.
May 5 Lynn Seymour (born Lynn Springbett March
8, 1939 in Wainwright, Alberta), who began her training in Vancouver,
became a principal dancer in the Royal Ballet this year, and danced
the lead today in that companys Swan Lake. Her astonishing
career is nicely described at this
website. A quote from that site: A later performance
in Swan Lake at Covent Garden won critical acclaim in London. Vancouver
papers were so lyrical it embarrassed her. Later that year, she
made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, where
Martha Graham, the great dancer and choreographer, turned to Dame
Ninette [de Valois] and exclaimed, 'Its not fair: shes
got it all!'
May 6 Vancouvers Oakridge shopping centre
opened at Cambie Street and West 41st Avenue, the first shopping
centre in the city. West Vans Park Royal had opened in 1950.
May 15 Vancouvers Harry Jerome broke
the world record for the 220-yard dash. The record had been set
31 years earlier by Percy Williams, also of Vancouver.
May 23 The Deas Island Tunnel opened for traffic.
Tolls would be collected until 1964. See July 15 below for
Ladners Landing was turned, thanks to the tunnel,
from a rural enclave into a busy townlet.
One unforeseen result of the tunnel opening: there
was a sudden upsurge in visits by Canadians to Point Roberts, the
tiny chunk of Washington State that, thanks to the 49th parallel,
is accessible by land only through Canada. And why were they coming
in their thousands? Sunday drinking. Boozing Canadians leave
Point Roberts a Hangover, one headline read. A popular bumper
sticker read Sunday Services at the Breakers. (The Breakers
was a Point Roberts drinking hole.)
June 11 The Vancouver
Maritime Museum opens. Good detail.
June 26 Queen Elizabeth II and US President
Dwight Eisenhower opened the St. Lawrence Seaway.
June UBC opened a Faculty Club and Social
Centre. It was the second club, the first being a very modest affair,
a converted three-section army hut once used as an officers' mess
at the New Westminster barracks. Work to prepare the site at the
north end of Main Mall began in 1946 and that first club opened
for a housewarming on January 5th, 1947.
The 1959 club was a decided advance! It was a gift
from Mrs. Thea and Dr. Leon J. Koerner. The architect was Fred Lasserre,
a UBC professor of architecture. As the campus residence for visiting
royalty, the club was honored by the presence of both Queen Elizabeth
and Prince Charles. The Faculty Club, built at a cost of $750,000,
had both public and private dining rooms, a reading room, lounges,
a music room, a snack bar, a games room and four salons. It was
the centre of social activity for UBC Faculty.
Faced with financial insolvency the club closed its
doors in 1994. However, in March, 1999 it sprang back into life
as the Leon and Thea Koerner University Centre, ensuring that
the facility will continue to fulfill the original vision of its
donors. Visit this
July 3 McCleery Public Golf Course opened.
July 5 The Queen Elizabeth Theatre opened.
July 15 When you drive through the George
Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River, near the airport, youre
driving through the lowest point on a public road in Canada. The
roadbed is 20 metres below sea level. The tunnel (open to traffic
since April, 1958) was officially opened today by Queen Elizabeth
and Premier W.A.C. Bennett. Her Majesty presided over the official
opening of the already-operational Deas Island Tunnel (now the George
Massey Tunnel), and took part with Premier Bennett in an ancient
and curious ceremony: The premier handed the Queen a costly pair
of silver scissors, and she gave him a dime for them. The coin-for-scissors
trade is an old British custom, which holds that if the giver of
a cutting implement does not receive a coin in return, the friendship
between the giver and the receiver will be cut. The Queen and Prince
Philip were busy during their brief visit here. Her Majesty also
graciously assented to having the Queen Elizabeth Theatre
named for her, then popped over to Victoria for a civic luncheon.
There the royal couple met Archbishop William Mark Duke, and Prince
Philip was photographed shaking hands with him . . . inspiring the
caption Duke meets Duke.
Later that evening, Her Majesty had dinner at UBCs
new Faculty Club.
Also July 15 The Delta Princess makes
her last 10-minute run from Woodward's Landing in Richmond to Ladner.
The construction of the Deas Island Tunnel has made the service
July Westwood Motorsport Park opened in Coquitlam,
at the time the only European-style race track in Canada. For 31
years the track would host local, national and international motor
racers. It would close in 1990 when the land was sold by the provincial
government for residential development.
September 14 A Russian rocket hit the moon,
the first time a man-made object had touched an extra-terrestrial
September 24 New Westminster Mayor Beth Wood
was presented with a gold key to the city of Long Beach, California
to commemorate a softball contest between the two cities. A
great many people, Mayor Wood later told a laughing New Westminster
council, didnt seem to know where New Westminster is,
but they placed it soon enough after I told them that Vancouver
was one of our suburbs.
October 9 Movie actor Errol Flynn arrived
in Vancouver with his teenage companion Beverly Aadland. Jobs for
Flynn were now few and far between and he was, understandably, continually
plagued with money problems. He came to Vancouver as a result of
a call he had received earlier from an old friend, stock promoter
George Caldough. It happens that at the time Flynn called Caldough
was in a financial bind himself. As he later wrote in Weekend Magazinea
long, cheerful piece he wrote in prisonCaldough was desperate
for some new vision to bail me out and put my company on an
equitable footingbut what?
Flynns call gave him the answer. The actor
wanted to know if Caldough was still interested in buying his yacht,
the Zaca. (Caldough had admired the boat extravagantly.)
He was, and arranged to meet Flynn in Hollywood the following week.
Caldough had recently read about an American company that intended,
through public subscription of $1.9 million, to finance a deep-sea
treasure-hunting expedition off the coast of Spain. Caldough, his
brand churning, began thinking about the Zaca, with ERROL
FLYNN at the helm, searching for sunken Spanish gold. That would
raise one hell of a public subscription.
In a fever of excitement and speculation Caldough
flew to Hollywood and met Flynn.
He was shocked by the actors appearance. We
hadnt met in two years, but he had aged 20 . . . He followed
me to Vancouver accompanied by his 17-year-old friend, Beverly
Aadland after about 10 days. If anything, his appearance
had deteriorated and he seemed to need help in just getting around.
But his personal charm was unabated . . .
Flynn and Aadland stayed with the Caldough family
on Eyremount in British Properties for several days during that
October 1959 visit. He seemed to be happiest when reminiscing,
watching TV or talking to my children, Caldough wrote. Even
though his glory days were done, Flynns visit excited Vancouver
mightily. He was delighted when Orpheum Theatre manager Ivan Ackery
went to great lengths to obtain and show a short film Flynn had
made about the Zaca in 1952, and phoned Ackery to thank him.
Flynn was supposed to go to New York for a TV show,
but his famed disregard for time was in full flower. The Caldoughs
half-heartedly tried for three days to get him on the flight to
New York, but they kept missing it. There was always another party,
more people to entertain, more Hollywood stories to tell.
Finallyit was October 14, 1959Flynn said
he really did have to go and suggested they leave for the airport
three hours early.
En route, Flynn began to experience severe pain in
his back and legs. Caldough, who was driving, veered off and headed
for the West End apartmentat 210-1310 Burnaby Streetof
a friend, Dr. Grant Gould. Astonishingly, not long after their arrival,
a few people materialized and another party began!
Flynn, who was standing against a wall to relieve
the pain in his back, regaled the group with stories of the Hollywood
figures he had known, especially John Barrymore and W.C. Fields
(both, tellingly, heavy drinkers). He was, apparently, a superb
story teller. But then he stopped and announced he was going to
lie down for an hour and then would take everyone out for dinner.
He moved into the doctors bedroom and lay down on the floor.
When Beverly Aadland looked in on him a little later
to see how he was, she found him trembling, his face blue. She could
hardly hear his heart. Her screams brought the doctor . . . but
it was already too late.
Al Gowan, a member of the inhalator squad (summoned
by one of the guests, Art Cameron, manager of the Sylvia Hotel at
the time), said Flynn was dead before we got there. The man
was a living skeleton. His liver was gone, his heart was gone.
The death certificate, dated October 23, indicated
myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, coronary atherosclerosis,
liver degeneration, liver sclerosis and diverticulosis of the colon
as the causes of death.
Flynns autobiography came out that same year.
It was titled My Wicked, Wicked Ways. They caught up with
him in Vancouver. He was 50.
See Backstage Vancouver page 106ff.
October 11 William Harold Malkin, who was
mayor of Vancouver in 1929 and 1930, died, aged 91. He was born
July 30, 1868 in Burslem, Staffordshire, England. Sandwiched
between L.D. Taylor's double terms of office, Donna Jean McKinnon
writes, merchant and importer William Malkin benefited from
public disillusionment with Taylor. He gained the distinction of
being the first mayor of Greater Vancouver following amalgamation
with Point Grey and South Vancouver in 1929. One of Malkin's campaign
slogans during the electoral race in 1928 was It's time for
a change. Another was When you vote for Malkin, you
vote for law and order, civic morality and fairness to labor.
Malkin established a committee to look into corruption and embezzlement
in the city's Relief Department and worked to bring about changes
in civic policy to benefit the working class. He later donated a
2.4 hectare park behind his Kerrisdale home to the city as well
as the money for construction of Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, the
latter dedicated to his late wife Marion.
November 5 Singing superstar Bryan Adams was
born in Kingston, Ontario. He came to North Vancouver in the early
1970s. Says Rolling Stone: Perhaps no other modern musician
is as synonymous with mainstream pop rock music as Bryan Adams.
Since embarking on a solo career in 1980, Adams has sold more than
45 million albums worldwide.
November 16 The Sound of Music premiered
November 18 It was announced by Dr. Norman
McKenzie, the president of UBC, that Leon Koerner, the retired chairman
of Alaska Pine and Cellulose Ltd., had given the university $400,000
to pay for the construction of a graduate students' centre. The
building was to be called Thea Koerner House in memory of Mr. Koerner's
wife, who had died in July.
The building would go up on the West Mall, just west
of the faculty club . . . which also was built with a Koerner donation
(of $600,000). The students centre, would be a meeting
place for students in different fields to exchange ideas and opinions."
It won the Massey Gold Medal for Architecture in 1961 as an outstanding
piece of Canadian architecture. Architects were C.E. Pratt
and P. Kattfa of Thompson, Berwick & Pratt.
Dr. Koerner lived in the penthouse of the building
during the summer months from the time the building was completed
in 1961 until his death in 1972. The buildingwhich today includes
a 1971 extension paid for by graduatesserves as a social and
cultural centre for students in graduate studies. The centre is
very active during the school year, with events sponsored by the
Graduate Student Society. Transcendence, the fountain sculpture
in front of the building, was sculpted by Jack Harmon.
November 26 With CBC Television soon to go
on air in Vancouver, the Province ran a multi-page feature
on the relatively new medium. One article, for example, told how
to read a test pattern. When the larger circle fills the screen
and still remains perfectly circular, the largest possible picture
is obtained and you still retain the proper aspect ratio (correct
height as related to width). If by chance the circles are ovalled,
picture distortion is occurring . . . and so on and so on
for three columns.
December 7 CHQM AM 1320 signed on at 6 a.m.
with an easy listening format. See this
Also in 1959
Tom Alsbury became mayor of Vancouver. The first
of our mayors born in the 20th century (1904 in Edinburgh, Scotland),
Alsbury, writes Donna Jean McKinnon gained notoriety with
his policy of closing Board of Administration meetings to the public,
saying he had no intention of taking a second look at the
policy. Despite his progressive goals and humanitarian interests,
(he'd worked for the CCF for 24 years before resigning upon election),
his abrasive, hard-nosed personal style alienated many would-be
supporters and eventually led the Non-Partisan Association (NPA)
to reject his candidacy for the mayoralty term of 1963-64. He later
became a lively radio commentator on civic and provincial affairs,
and became involved in improving the lot of senior citizens.
Major league baseball player Brooks Robinson, born
in Little Rock in 1937, was sent down to the Triple A Vancouver
Mounties by the Baltimore Orioles. "They sent me to Vancouver
in the Pacific Coast League," Robinson later recalled. "I
was shocked. That was the only time I was ever frustrated in baseball.
My ego was really hurt. I thought of all my friends back in Arkansas
talking about me being sent down. Yet it turned out to be the best
thing that could have happened to me. I did very well at Vancouver
and was brought back at the All Star break. And it was like night
and day. I could hit! I had more confidence and I had gotten stronger
physically, so I was no longer overmatched." Called the "ultimate
third baseman," and the "human vacuum cleaner," Robinson
was elected to baseballs Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in
1983, the only member of the Hall to play for a Vancouver team.
Dr Harold Rice at St Pauls Hospital built Canadas
first heart-lung machine.
The Barbie Doll was introduced. See this
The Powell River Co., a major forest products firm,
amalgamated with MacMillan Bloedel.
St. Paul's Boarding School on the Mission Reserve
in North Vancouver, consecrated January 22, 1899 by Bishop Durieu,
A residence for native girls, Durieu Convent, was
built next to St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church in North Vancouver.
It would be demolished in October 1982.
More than 1,000 people attended the funeral of Andy
Paul, Squamish native leader, at St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church
on North Vancouver's Mission Reserve. He had been honored by Pope
Pius XII in 1955 for his contribution to the Church and to the native
people of Canada. Paul was active for many years in the native land
claims question and was the founder of the North American Indian
Surrey Memorial Hospital opened.
Rezoning of 20 hectares in West Vancouver permitted
78 high-density apartments in Ambleside.
Tolls came off the Oak Street Bridge, opened July
The death penalty was abolished in Canada.
The Polish Community Centre opened on Fraser Street.
The largest Catholic church in Vancouver, Our Lady
of Sorrows, was built at 555 South Slocan Street. The crest of the
Servite Fathers was set in the floor of the sanctuary to honor the
parish's founding fathers. See this
A south wing was added to the Biological Sciences
Building (Botany, Zoology, Oceanography and Microbiology) at UBC.
The Centennial Pavilion, a cruciform-shaped, 12-storey
building opened at Vancouver General Hospital.
The Centennial Wing at Burnaby Hospital opened, bringing
the hospitals total to 250 beds, 63 bassinets.
The British Columbia Women's Hospital and Health
Centre, at 4490 Oak Street in Vancouver, had a new 99-bed wing officially
opened by Lt.-Gov. Frank Ross.
The British Columbia Medical Journal, a monthly
publication from the British Columbia Medical Association, began.
Canadian Literature/Litterature Canadienne: a
quarterly of criticism and review, with text in English and
French, began to be published by the University of British Columbia.
It is devoted to the study of all aspects of Canadian writing.
Winnipeg-born writer (May 8, 1912) George Woodcock,
who had moved to B.C. in 1949, accepted the part-time position of
founding editor of Canadian Literature, the first periodical
to be entirely devoted to Canadian writing. He did not,
writes Alan Twigg, instigate the publication that he edited
until 1977, as is sometimes assumed. See a long and admiring
article on Woodcock by Twigg at this
Geppo, a monthly publication for and about
the Japanese-Canadian Community, published by the Japanese Canadian
Citizens Association of Greater Vancouver, began.
The PIBC News, published five times a year
by the Planning Institute of British Columbia, began. It presents
articles and news of local events of interest to the practicing
urban and regional planners of British Columbia.
Prism International: a Quarterly Journal of Contemporary
Writing, published by the Creative Writing Department at UBC,
The University of British Columbia Law Review,
a semi-annual publication of UBCs Law Review Society, Faculty
of Law, began. It is dedicated to the promotion of legal scholarship,
with articles by judges, professors and practising lawyers.
The Union Steamship Company, active in BC from the
days of the Fraser River gold rush, was absorbed by Northland Navigation
The Lady Alexandra, built in 1924, became
a floating restaurant in Coal Harbour. Later (1972) she would be
towed to Redonda Beach, California, to become a gambling hall. Storm-damaged
in 1980, she was scrapped.
VanCity credit union offered Canada's first open
mortgage (a mortgage that can be prepaid or re-negotiated at any
time without additional interest.)
Annacis Island-based Industrial
Engines Limited was incorporated with the express purpose
of marketing industrial engine power products in the power generation,
industrial and marine fields in Western Canada.
Stan Leonard, once the pro at the Marine Drive Golf
Club, was named World Golfer of the Year by the Golf Writers' Association
in the U.S., the only Canadian to be so honored.
William Dale, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery,
announced that there were only two or three works of art worth the
name in the gallerys permanent collection. William Jarvis,
a former National Gallery director, called the VAGs permanent
collection, excepting Emily Carr, pitiful.
Sculptured murals, by Gordon Smith, were installed
at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Writes journalist Elizabeth Godley,
Smith, one of the Vancouver art community's grand old
men, had to learn to weld to produce this metal and enamel
Cycle of Flowering, a mural by Jack Shadbolt,
was installed in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Restaurant. It was
four feet high, 50 feet long. (1.2 metres by 15.2).
Author Guy Bennett was born in Cambridge, England.
He came to Vancouver in 1968. See this
Writer Audrey Thomas, born November 17, 1935 in Binghamton,
New York, came to Vancouver. (She lives on Galiano now.) Thomas
has written much, and would be the first winner of the Ethel Wilson
B.C. Fiction Prize for her 1984 novel Intertidal Life. She
has won many more awards. There is a long and interesting entry
on her (including a fine interview by Alan Twigg) at this
The Vancouver Folk Song Circle was started by Phil
Thomas, B.C.'s leading folk music historian, and his wife Hilda.
His books include Songs of the Pacific Northwest and Twenty-five
Songs for Vancouver 1886-1986. See this
Chief Dan George (birth name: Teswahno) began his
acting career at age 60. He would appear in the first production
of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe by George Ryga (1967). His funny
and dignified performance in the 1970 film Little Big Man
earned him an Oscar nomination.
Toronto-born Hugh Keenleyside, who had worked for
the UN in the 1950s, was named Chair of the BC Power Commission.
He would hold that post to 1961.
Arthur Laing, who had been elected as the first Liberal
MP for Vancouver South (in June 1949), then resigned from federal
office in 1953 to become B.C. Liberal leader, retired. It didnt
take. He would get back in the game in 1962 and become a federal
cabinet minister (Indian Affairs) under Prime Minister Lester Pearson.
Later, he became Public Works minister under Pearsons successor,
Pierre Trudeau. The Arthur Laing Bridge was named for him on his
70th birthday, September 9, 1974. He died in Vancouver February
Mildred Valley Thornton, artist and art critic, stepped
down after 16 years as art critic for the Vancouver Sun.
1959 Dodge Kingsway Sedan
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]