Chronology Continued

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February 27, 1900 Last big battle of the Boer War at Paardeburg.

May 10, 1900 First meeting of the recently incorporated Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society (Dantai) at the Phoenix Cannery in Steveston.

May 12, 1900 The ferry to North Vancouver began operation as the first ferry with a regular service between North Vancouver and the south shore of Burrard Inlet. It was later renamed North Vancouver No. 1. After many adventures the boat will later become a private residence, beached on a small island near Tofino.

June 9, 1900 John Oliver, a future premier, began his political career as the MLA for Delta.

July 1, 1900 A fishermen's strike on the Lower Fraser. Overfishing by Americans is partly to blame for depleted salmon stocks, as fish traps are still legal in Washington State (until 1934). During the strike there was hostility between the white fishermen's Union and the Japanese fishermen who lived in cannery houses and depended on the canneries for food. Four hundred armed soldiers arrived to protect the Japanese.

August 5, 1900 A letter to the Editor of the Province: “There are few residents in the city and particularly in the West End who are not disturbed in their slumbers from 5 a.m. by the fearful and nerve-killing noises made by the crows. A vote should be taken as to whether the people want crows or not.”

September 5, 1900 River frontage lots in Surrey between 10 and 13 acres are advertised at “$105 per lot, irrespective of acreage.” An 80-acre farm, partly cleared, with farmhouse and small orchard was advertised at $40 per acre. A school teacher's salary in Surrey at the time was $60 to $100 a month.

September 6, 1900 W.A.C. Bennett born in New Brunswick.

October 21, 1900 The bells at Holy Rosary Church (it was not yet a cathedral) were blessed by a papal delegate visiting Vancouver. The church was built (in 490 days) of sandstone from Gabriola Island.

October 26, 1900 The Collector of Votes in Vancouver, Thomas Cunningham, refused to put Japanese, including naturalized citizens, on voters list. See next item!

November 1, 1900 A ball was held at the Hotel Vancouver by Mrs. Shimizu in honor of Her Imperial Majesty, the Empress of Japan.

December 15, 1900 The Hudson’s Bay Co., after a few years in other locations, opened a four-storey emporium at Granville and Georgia in downtown Vancouver. They have been at that corner ever since.

December 30, 1900 A big civic parade in Vancouver welcomed home troops from the Boer War.

Also in 1900

The Canadian Pacific Railway financed a film to promote Canadian immigration to the west. It took two years to film because the film-makers weren’t allowed to show snow.

At the turn of the 20th century fish canneries are largely responsible for the ethnic diversity in the Fraser delta area. Chinese men, often brought to Canada as indentured laborers by a “China boss,” butcher and can the fish; native and Japanese women clean the fish and fill the cans; and native, Japanese and European men fish. More than 200 cannery and fishery workers are needed to process 1,200 cases a day (57,600 pounds, about 26,000 kilos.)

Cannery owners formed the Fraser River Salmon Canners Association to protect their interests against dissatisfied fishermen.

The Dewdney Trunk Road was built on the north bank of the Fraser.

The name of the West School was changed to Dawson School.


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Vancouver’s population was 29,000, up from 13,709 ten years earlier.

January 22 Queen Victoria died. Edward VII became King.

Also in January The CPR bought out the Canadian Pacific Navigation Co.

March 25 Vancouver requested and was granted $50,000 from US steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to build a library. Carnegie agreed to give the funds only if the city furnished a site and agreed to spend $5,000 a year. The city council accepted the Carnegie gift and its conditions. A site was chosen at the corner of Hastings and Main Streets for the new Carnegie Library which will open in October 1903.

June 23 SNOW in South Vancouver!

July 23 Mr. and Mrs. B.T. Rogers had a housewarming party at their new mansion, Gabriola, on Davie Street. It was the grandest home in the city. Benjamin Tingley Rogers was one of the city’s leading industrialists, founder of the sugar refinery. Today, the mansion is a restaurant, Romano’s Macaroni Grill.

July 24 The Province reported that in the year from June 1, 1900 to May 31, 1901 St. Paul's Hospital had admitted 561 patients, had discharged 506 of them, and still had 35 in beds. Some 25 patients had died, 11 of them within three days of entry. Catholics numbered 153, Protestants 383 and other religions 25. Males? 393. Females? 165. (The last two figures add up to 558, three short of the total. Hmm.) Fifty patients had been admitted with typhoid fever, and seven of them had died. The statistics go on for two long and detailed columns.

September 30 Vancouver's first royal visit began with the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later George V and Queen Mary). “The city was gaily bedecked with flags and bunting, the display being the most spectacular the young city had ever seen.” Events included a visit to Hastings Sawmill, “at which latter place they saw a forest giant being cut up.”

October 6 Musician Harry Adaskin born.

November 19 Headline in the Province: KLONDIKE REVOLUTION? “The San Francisco Call,” the paper reported, “this morning devoted its entire front page to the story of the unearthing of a huge conspiracy. It declares that a plot exists to overthrow the Yukon government and establish a republic with Dawson as the capital. It is said that the conspirators are at Dawson, Skagway, Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle, and that 5,000 miners are awaiting a signal to overcome the mounted police.”

We checked the date of the story. Yes, it was November 19, not April 1.

The Province went on to report that other San Francisco newspapers later denounced the story as “a gigantic fake.”

Also in 1901

The census recorded 365 people living in North Vancouver, and the British Columbia Directory described the area as a “suburban townsite.”

This was a peak year for salmon. Forty-nine canneries operated on the Lower Fraser, and nearly a million cases were packed.

The Moodyville Mill closed after being the largest single source of export income for B.C. for 20 years. It was cheaper to move the mill to the source of logs than the other way round.

John McLagan, founder and editor of the Vancouver Daily World, died. His widow, Sara Ann McLagan, became the first woman publisher of a daily newspaper in Canada. (She was also managing editor, editorial writer, proof reader and occasional reporter.) Sara McLagan was an interesting woman in her own right: she came here from Ireland in 1858, age 3. Her father taught her telegraphy. When she was 12 a major forest fire threatened their Matsqui home, but Sara tapped a message through to New Westminster and that brought help. At 14 she took over the New Westminster telegraph station!

As a result of pressure from the Vancouver Board of Trade, a five-day steamer service from Seattle to Skagway, with a stop at Vancouver, was inaugurated.

The City Hospital became incorporated under the name of the Vancouver General Hospital.

William Shaughnessy was knighted, will become first Baron Shaughnessy in 1916.

W H Malkin Co. was founded, with premises at 115 Water Street. “In those days, the water came right to the warehouse door.” Later they’ll move to #57.

1901 Rochet
1901 Rochet


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January 20 The Royal Brewing Company took over a small brewery at Cedar Cottage and started brewing heavy English ale.

March 29 With Mayor Thomas Neelands presiding, Grand Master F. M. Young of the B.C. Grand Lodge of Masons laid the cornerstone of the Vancouver Free Library, now Carnegie Centre, at Main and Hastings.

May 27 Vancouver's baseball team beat the University of California team 4 to 2 at Powell Street grounds (now Oppenheimer Park, and still used for baseball).

Also in May The British Columbia Packers Association began with the purchase of 42 canneries, and Alexander Ewan became the first president. Today B.C. Packers is western Canada’s largest seafood company. Among its most famous products is Clover Leaf salmon, first sold under that name in 1889.

June 25 The Province reported that “grave fears” had been expressed over the rapidly deteriorating condition of King Edward VII, with death expected at any time. The story took up the entire front page. The king pulled through, lived another eight years.

June 27 The Vancouver Information and Tourist Association—precursor to today’s Tourism Vancouver—began operations at 439 Granville Street. A shingle hanging outside reads: “Headquarters for visitors and tourists - Free information bureau.”

July 1 The Vancouver & Lulu Island Railway, operated by the CPR, began. Built principally to serve the canneries, the first train arrived in Steveston today. The line became known as the “Sockeye Limited,” although it was not used to export the canned salmon, as the canneries still preferred shipping by boat. The line ran along today's Arbutus Corridor between False Creek and the Fraser River to the foot of Oak Street, where a trestle bridge crossed to Richmond; the rails then proceeded through the countryside to Steveston's salmon canneries. The railway will serve Steveston for 50 years.

July 28, 1902 Al Larwill got notice to move from the Cambie Street Grounds. “He has lived,” reported the Province, “in the small cottage on Cambie Street Grounds since the year of the fire [1886]. Every game known to Britons has been played on the grounds, and Al was the father of them all. Baseball gloves, lacrosse sticks, footballs, cricket bats and all kinds of athletic paraphernalia found a ready storehouse in his shack. Al’s dining room was the dressing room for every team that played on the grounds. Now that Vancouver is to buy the land from the CPR and enlarge, grade and level the park, it will be necessary for ‘Old Forty’ to move.”

We haven’t yet learned the reason for his nickname, but you’ll be pleased to learn that the grounds were renamed Larwill Park. For many years the “park” was the site of Vancouver’s bus depot, and then it was converted to a big parking lot.

August 9, 1902 The first B. C. Chapter of the IODE (International Order of Daughters of the Empire) was established in Vancouver, on the occasion of Edward VII’s Coronation Day.

September 12 Charles Woodward (who had opened a small store on Westminster Avenue-Main Street-in 1892) incorporated Woodward's Department Stores. Three days later excavations began at the northwest corner of Hastings and Abbott Streets for the eventual construction of a four-storey emporium.

The lot itself (big enough to hold a building 66 feet wide on Hastings and 132 feet long on Abbott) hadn't cost Woodward much: it was a swamp eight feet below the sidewalk elevation. The city drained it for him. The new store would open November 4, 1903.

October 31, 1902 The Pacific Cable was completed from Vancouver to Brisbane, Australia, with the first message sent by Sir Sandford Fleming. The “all red” cable is so called because it linked the British Empire around the world. Vancouver’s mayor, Thomas Neelands, wired greetings to King Edward VII. The Vancouver Board of Trade had lobbied hard for this connection.

November 21, 1902 Entertainment seekers were informed they could see THE ERUPTION OF MOUNT PELEE—BY ELECTRICITY at the Electric Theatre on Cordova Street. (This was a reconstruction, in a studio, of an actual natural disaster.)

November, 1902 Edward G. Prior became premier of B.C. He will be in office until June 1903, about seven months. Prior Street in Vancouver is named for him.

December 17 “The Privy Council of Great Britain,” The Province reported on Page 1, “has reversed the decision of the Full Court in British Columbia, and has decided that it is within the power of the Legislature of the province to prevent Japanese from voting." The case had been launched by a Vancouver man named Tommy Homa, a naturalized British subject. "He applied to the Collector of Voters in Vancouver to have his name placed on the list, but the Collector refused . . . The Electoral Act provides that no Chinese, Japanese or Indian shall have his name placed on the list.”

Also in 1902

Capitol Hill in Burnaby is logged by L.I. Dundas using oxen.

John A. Cates launched the Terminal Steamship ferry fleet, the new name for his Howe Sound ferry service. The Britannia is added to the fleet. Built in the shipyard of his brother George E. Cates in False Creek, the Britannia can carry several hundred passengers and has plush covered seats.

Work restarted on Keith Road on the north shore, but two bridges were swept away by creek flooding just after completion.

The District of North Vancouver opened its first school at 4th and Chesterfield, and the influx of new residents meant two teachers were needed. Renamed Central School, it grew rapidly.

Peter Larson built the Hotel North Vancouver on West Esplanade. It became the community centre where public gatherings were held. Larson Avenue in North Vancouver is named for Peter Larson.

Canada's first permanent cinema was believed to be the Edison Electric Theatre, opened in 1902 on Cordova Street in Vancouver by John A. Schulberg. “It offered,” wrote movie historian Michael Walsh, “the latest in novelty entertainment—short, silent pictures that moved and occasionally told stories.”

James Skitt Matthews, 24, who will eventually become Vancouver’s first official archivist, fell ill with typhoid and spent three months in Vancouver General Hospital. There he met the woman who years later will become his second wife.

Moodyville, a small independent place on the north shore of Burrard Inlet that began as a settlement around Sewell Moody’s sawmill (1874), was absorbed by North Vancouver City.

The first European resident in Kitsilano, realtor Theodore Calland, built the mansion Edgewood (now demolished) just west of the CPR property at Boundary Street, now Trafalgar Street.

Construction was completed on the Church of the Holy Redeemer on McMillan Island at Fort Langley. “This historic Roman Catholic church,” wrote architectural historian Harold Kalman, “was built for the StÇ:lo Nation under the supervision of the Oblate Fathers from St. Mary's Mission in Mission. Logs were cut across the Fraser River, on reserve land near Ruskin, and rafted to the Royal City Mill in New Westminster. The sawn lumber was then brought to Fort Langley by scow. The pointed-arched windows give the attractive church Gothic Revival airs. It remains the church of the Langley Band, administered by St. Joseph's Parish in Langley City.”

The Marpole Bridge, a low-level rail bridge carrying the Vancouver and Lulu Island Railway (a CPR line), was built over the North Arm of the Fraser River. Today, the bridge and track are leased by the Southern Railway of B.C.

Thomas Fletcher Neelands became mayor of Vancouver. “After being burned out of the flour and feed business in the Great Fire,” wrote Donna Jean McKinnon in The Greater Vancouver Book, “he became involved with the Pacific Building Society offering mortgages by lottery to members who paid dues to build up the fund.”

Burnaby pioneer Charles F. Chaffey built his family home, Fir Grove, at Kingsway and Chaffey. Chaffey-Burke Elementary School in Burnaby is partly named for him, partly for another pioneer, William Burke.

New Westminster pioneer James Kennedy, born in Ireland in 1817, died. Both an architect and a builder, Kennedy designed and constructed many of the city's first buildings. His wife was the first white woman in New Westminster. Kennedy Elementary is named for him.

The first union of women workers, a local of the Shirt, Waist and Laundry Workers International Union was formed in 1902. In that same year, researcher Randy Wick wrote, the Trades and Labour Council heard a complaint that a local hatmaker had employed a woman apprentice without pay for a year, then offered her $1 a week at a time men workers were making $10 to $15 and other women workers made $2. “No young woman could live a virtuous life on $2 a week,” the Labour Council declared.

The first B.C. table tennis championship was played in Vancouver. Men, women and boys competed.

The building at 333 Chesterfield Avenue in North Vancouver City opened. It was originally a school, then became City Hall, including a court room and jail cells. Finally it became Presentation House Arts Centre, primarily a rental facility. The building is also home to a gallery which specializes in photo-based exhibits, the North Shore Museum and Archives and the North Vancouver Arts Council.

Governor General Lord Aberdeen commissioned artist James Blomfield to work on a modified version of Vancouver's coat of arms and in 1902 he presented this work to the visiting Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Today’s arms are a modified version of Blomfield’s design.

John Hendry, manager of Hastings Sawmill, telephoned Imperial Oil, managed by Charles Merle Rolston, for gas for his new automobile. Rolston provided it in four-gallon cans, the first sale in Canada of gasoline for cars.

William Lamont Tait, lumberman and financier, opened Rat Portage Lumber, a shingle and saw mill on False Creek. Tait’s Shaughnessy mansion, Glen Brae, is now Canuck Place.

1902 Mercedes Simplex
1902 Mercedes Simplex


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January 6, 1903 Vancouver Business College opened with four students.

January 29, 1903 From the Province: GOOD WORK OF THE TOURIST ASSOCIATION ALREADY SHOWING RESULTS “. . . it is confidently expected that during the month of June there will be 5,000 visitors to the city. The chief attraction during that month will be the meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, which will convene here on the 10th.”

March 6 The Province reports on a “Handsome Book on Vancouver” It’s a 1903 publication by the Tourist Association, titled Vancouver, The Sunset Doorway. “The . . . booklet is a credit to the city. From the handsomely lithographed covers to the smallest detail of illustrating the art-mechanical work has been well done. In its hundred pages there is every possible detail of information, from the physical features of the city and its environments, to sketches of its growth and history since the days when Vancouver was a hamlet . . . special articles, like those on Coast Indians and Vancouver’s Chinatown, present descriptions of native and Oriental life in original and striking character. There are dozens of photographs . . . By the end of the week 5,000 copies of the booklet will have been mailed by the secretary to all parts of the world.”

March 10, 1903 The Fraser River Sawmills company was formed and operated out of the old Ross McLaren mill in Port Coquitlam. It will grow to become the largest lumber shipper in the British Empire.

April 15 Union activist Frank Rogers was shot and killed on a Vancouver street. His life, and the end of it, is the focus of a really interesting article by Janet Nicol that appeared in B.C. Historical News Vol. 36, No. 22. The City of Vancouver has reproduced the article here. It throws light on union activism at the time, and why working conditions led to union agitation. Rogers' killer got away with it.

Summer A steel cable suspension bridge, the first commercial tourist attraction in North Vancouver, was built over the Capilano Canyon. It replaced an earlier, rougher version.

August 26 The Vancouver Museum was created out of The Art, Historical and Scientific Association.

Fall The first North Vancouver District Municipal Hall was built at the corner of First Street and Lonsdale Avenue. Since incorporation in 1891 the Council had been meeting in various buildings over in Vancouver, except for one obligatory meeting a year in the District.

October 1 The Vancouver Public Library, now with more than 8,000 books, moved into the Carnegie Library building at Main and Hastings Streets. Sparked by a $50,000 grant from U.S. steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, this was the city’s main library until 1954. Today, it’s a community centre for the Downtown Eastside, a very busy place, and contains, among other things, a library! For a history of Vancouver's Public Library, go here.

Also on October 1 A fascinating story from the Province of an event that occurred at the corner of Burnaby and Cardero Streets in the West End. Mr. W. S. Holland, who lived at that corner, heard a disturbance at 3 a.m. in the chicken shed in the rear of his residence. His “entire poultry colony,” he said, began to squawk. Mr. Holland got out his shotgun and blasted away at what looked like a large dog chasing his chickens. Then he went back to bed. When he got up later that morning he found a dozen dead hens, and one big, dead timber wolf. Repeat: at the corner of Burnaby and Cardero!

October 8 The first Mission to Seamen, a social centre for sailors, was established in St. James Hall in Vancouver.

November 3 Crows made the news with a plan to allow sportsmen into Stanley Park “to exterminate the pest.” A bounty of “five cents per head up to 5,000 head” was offered and the park was closed to the public. Although a by-law banned the discharge of firearms within the park, officials said they would look the other way. (And today? Every day near the Willingdon exit on Highway 1 in Burnaby, about 5,000 to 8,000 crows gather as dusk falls.)

November 4 Charles Woodward opened a four-storey department store at the northwest corner of Hastings and Abbott Streets. That's the site occupied by a Woodward's building to this day.

November 12 The Province reported on the Royal Bank’s new building at Hastings and Homer. The building was put up by Jonathan Rogers, after whom the Rogers Building at Pender and Granville was named, and one of the architects was Sydney Morgan Eveleigh, after whom a tiny downtown street is named. The new bank had the first safe-deposit box in the city, and two, count them, two teller’s cages.

November 13 The secretary at Vancouver General Hospital reported that the hospital’s expenditure during the past month was $2,492.16. The house surgeon reported that there were 38 patients (26 males and 12 females) in the hospital at the beginning of the month.

November 18 The first military cadet corps in Vancouver, the Vancouver High School Cadet Corps, was gazetted to the militia as a unit.

December 17 When Vancouver’s first streetcars went into service in 1890 the electricity required to run the system was generated by a little steam powerhouse on what is now Union Street (a block south of Georgia, east of Main.) As the city and the service grew, more power was needed. So the BC Electric Railway Co. started looking for a spot near the city where hydroelectric power could be generated. They found it at what was then called Trout Lake (or Beautiful Lake), just east of Port Moody, and built a tunnel to carry water there from Coquitlam Lake. The difference in water levels between the two lakes — Coquitlam was nearly 10 metres higher — would provide the motive force to generate the power. An annual rainfall of about 3.7 metres didn’t hurt.

The BCER’s general manager, Johannes Buntzen, a Dane, supervised the construction of the system, the first hydroelectric powerhouse on the mainland, and it went into operation today. Buntzen’s work didn’t end there: he went before Vancouver city council and urged them to attract new industry that could use this new source of power. He’s been called the “grandfather” of electricity here.

Everyone was so pleased with the results they renamed the lake for Buntzen

Also in 1903

The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club was formed. It catered to both power and sail.

The first taxi was driven in Vancouver by H. Hooper. It was described as a “wheezy, two-cylinder Ford.”

A recession ended, and North Vancouver District Council at last raised enough money to rebuild the Capilano and Seymour bridges, destroyed 10 years earlier.

Ladner's Landing changes its name to Ladner. Ladner was never incorporated as a town or village but has always been a part of Delta. It has never had a government of its own, and has no official boundaries.

A new railway line connected Cloverdale and Port Guichon, near Ladner, making it possible to travel from Brownsville in North Surrey to Victoria by railway. The trains are infrequent and often very late.

The population of Delta reached 2,000; 350 of those are Chinese, mostly cannery workers, who live in a Chinatown along the dyke.

Thomas Sullivan and his brother Henry acquired the timber rights to the land at Johnston and Bose in Surrey; the area is known to this day as the Sullivan District.

Alfred Graham Ferguson, the first chairman of the Vancouver Parks Board, dies in San Francisco.

Nicolai Schou, the first elected reeve of Burnaby, died in office.

The three Latta brothers scaled both peaks of the Lions. Hearing that climbers often used ropes for mountaineering ascents, they packed some along, but had no idea of how to use them, finally threw them away. Their technique was to grasp the small shrubs and bushes growing out of the cracks in the rock, a style that would be considered rather poor form today!

Construction began on Vancouver General Hospital. (See November 13 item above).

The head tax on Chinese immigrants was increased to $500 per head. The result (intended): immigration virtually stops.

The Princess Victoria arrived in Vancouver from England. As a fast and luxurious liner, she set the pattern for the B.C. Coast Steamship Service.

Saba Brothers open a shop near Woodward's.

The Pacific Coast League (baseball) begins.

Stained-glass depictions of Spenser, Milton and Shakespeare are installed in the main branch of the Carnegie library. They’re there to this day, beautiful things.

Henry John Cambie, Canadian Pacific Railway engineer, moved to Vancouver. He was in charge of CPR surveys from 1876 to 1880. His survey from the Yellowhead Pass to Port Moody set the route to the lower Fraser. Cambie Street is named for him.

John Wallace deBeque Farris came to Vancouver at age 24 as the city’s first Crown prosecutor.

Harvey Hadden, philanthropist, bought 160 acres in Capilano Canyon, sight unseen, from architect Sydney Morgan Eveleigh. He will build Hadden Hall, “a sort of Garden of Eden in the forest.” Today it’s Capilano Golf and Country Club.

John Lawson, the “Father of West Vancouver,” came west from Ontario as a conductor with the CPR.

Future poet Robert Service ended up in Vancouver, flat broke, after a temporary job on a Duncan dairy farm. He got a job with the Canadian Bank of Commerce here.

Road builder Francis V. Guinan moved to Vancouver.


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January 20 The Canadian government disallows a B.C. Act restricting Chinese immigration.

April 19 It's not local, but the item is irresistible. A great fire in Toronto caused $10 million damage (likely equivalent at the very least to 10 times that today) and destroyed great sections of the city. Remarkable film footage of the blaze, made 102 years ago, can be seen here.

May 11 Future provincial archivist W. Kaye Lamb was born. He will have an extraordinarily distinguished career: Provincial Archivist and Librarian of British Columbia from 1934 to 1940, University Librarian of the University of British Columbia from 1940 to 1948, Dominion Archivist of Canada from 1948 to 1968 and, overlapping with the previous, National Librarian of Canada from 1953 to 1967. He died August 24, 1999 at age 95. There is a terrific appreciation of Kaye Lamb and his accomplishments, by Basil Stuart-Stubbs (University Librarian Emeritus, and former Director, UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) here.

May 20 A small schoolhouse with 18 pupils is opened in Lynn Valley.

June Konstantin “Alvo” von Alvensleben, Prussian count and financier, arrived in the city. He made a living here first by painting barns, repairing fish nets, and shooting ducks and geese which he sold to the Vancouver Club at 35 cents each. He will become a stock promoter, make a fortune, and be a prominent social figure.

July 23 The first bridge to span the Fraser opened. It joined New Westminster to Brownsville (North Surrey). Hailed as the engineering feat of the century and built for $1 million by the provincial government, it carried trains on the lower span and vehicles and pedestrians on the upper, just wide enough for two hay wagons to pass.

July 25 The Bank of Nova Scotia opened its first branch in Vancouver at 418 West Hastings Street.

September 10 Bill Miner was one of those outlaw figures who becomes a favorite of the public. The “Grey Fox,” so named for his white hair and sly ways, jumped into B.C. history dramatically when he held up a train today at Silverdale, near Mission, and escaped across the line into Washington’s Whatcom County.

November St. Andrews Presbyterian Church was built on Lower Keith Road in North Vancouver, and Rev. J.D. Gillam became the first minister of any denomination to settle on the north shore.

Also in 1904

Frank and Fred Begg start the first auto dealership in Vancouver, and the first gasoline-powered car was bought by industrialist John Hendry.

Frank Kerr opened the first movie house in New Westminster. He frequently had to glue the film together when it broke.

The Steveston Land and Oil Company was formed to drill for oil on Lulu Island.

Charles Cates built a wharf in North Vancouver and handled cargo from California destined for the Klondike.

Pioneer settler Miss Harriet Woodward opened her private school on the northeast shore of Deer Lake. She also started a post office in her home which she will operate for 45 years.

The number of wards in Vancouver was increased from five to six.

Jack London’s novel The Sea Wolf was published. It’s cited here because Wolf Larsen, the title character, was based on a B.C. sealing captain, Alexander McLean, who sometimes lived in Vancouver.

After buying up a number of the smaller telephone companies throughout the province, the Vernon and Nelson Telephone Company changed its name to the British Columbia Telephone Company.

1904 Cadillac Model B
1904 Cadillac Model B


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January Vancouver High School (later King Edward) opened.

March 5 UBC administrator Walter Gage was born.

June L. D. Taylor and “others” buy the Vancouver World.

July 4 The first interurban tram arrived in Kerrisdale.

July 10 Construction started on the first buildings at Colony Farm, the agricultural arm of the Coquitlam Mental Hospital, informally called Essondale (now Riverview Hospital). The farm won contests across Canada for the quality of its produce and livestock.

September 4 The family of Chris Peters was thrown into a panic by the visit of a large brown bear. The Peters’ resided and Mr. Peters had his shoe store at the corner of Westminster and Ninth avenues in Vancouver, now the corner of Broadway and Main. Not too many bears are seen at that intersection these days!

Labor Day The first auto club race around Stanley Park. Eleven cars start, five finish; all the finishers are Oldsmobiles.

September 14 In a report on activities at Stanley Park, the Province noted that the “superintendent reported the following animals had been donated to the park’s zoo: A monkey, Roy G. Stephens, 1700 Ninth avenue; a large seal, W. Swallow, 664 Granville; four grass parakeets, Mrs. Bulwer, 1728 Georgia street; a fawn, W.T. Massey, 833 Pender street; a raccoon, W. Selp, 621 Sixth avenue east; a canary, Mrs. Clark, 1555 Robson; a seal, Mayor Buscombe; a black bear, G.W. Wagg, 108 Water street ... ”

September 16 A newspaper report: “The Fraser River is full of sockeyes, and ten canneries are packing to-day to the full capacity of their respective plants, according to reports received from Steveston and other cannery centres this morning. The average catch of sockeyes last night was probably two hundred fish to the boat ... fishermen reported that the water is teeming with salmon.”

Also in 1905

Glassware merchant Frederick Buscombe became mayor of Vancouver.

The first professional baseball team, the Beavers, was formed in Vancouver.

Construction began on a new Main Post Office. Today it’s part of Sinclair Centre.

Alfred Wallace began Wallace Shipyards. By the end of WWII, under his son Clarence, it had become Canada’s biggest shipbuilding firm.

Charles Kingsford-Smith, aged 8, arrived in Vancouver with his family. (They weren’t here long.) Later he will become the first man to pilot a plane across the Pacific Ocean. A school in Vancouver is named for this Australian aviator.

The first bathhouse was built by the Parks Board at English Bay at a cost of $6,000.

McDowell's Drug Store opened next to McMillan's Grocery at 1st Street and Lonsdale in North Vancouver. It will continue to be run by the same family until 1973.

One branch of Delta's Taylor family opened a post office in Ladner and will operate it for 56 years, to 1961, passing it on from father to son to daughter-in-law.

A tract of land between White Rock and Crescent Beach (formerly known as Blackie's Spit) is named Ocean Park by Surrey pioneer H.T. Thrift. He buys the land on behalf of a wealthy Winnipeg philanthropist who wishes to develop it for the Methodist Episcopal church.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants was established in Vancouver.


1905 Cadillac
1905 Cadillac

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