You’ve heard of Show Biz. This is Biz Biz, the history of business in Vancouver, told through the activities of The Vancouver Board of Trade.

1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893
1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905
1906 1907 1908 1909 1910  
1926       1932 1933
1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940


Going with the Grain

The Council of the Board made Page One of the Province for January 2, 1907 with a request to Vancouver MP R.G. Macpherson “to do his best at Ottawa to induce the Government to establish a large terminal grain elevator in Vancouver for the handling of Alberta wheat.”

Board president R.P. McLennan said he understood the CPR “would be glad to give an advantage to Vancouver in getting the Alberta grain to flow in this direction.”

In 1905 Alberta grew 3,035,843 bushels of wheat. That had virtually doubled by 1906 to 5,932,267. Only a million of those bushels were exported, though, and they had gone east. To get the wheat to come west, freight rates would have to be improved (i.e., lessened).

J.E. Hall, manager of the Hall Elevator & Grain Co. (its location not given), told the Council members his company was willing to build a large elevator here if a profit could be made. “It would be to our interest and to that of the public if the Government would bring pressure to bear on the railway to make such rates that the business will come this way. A start in this direction would be to get the government to put in a terminal elevator and then go after the railway company for rates.” Hall encouraged the Board to get behind this arrangement.

The smallest elevator that would be practical, Hall said, would hold about 250,000 bushels and cost about $150,000. “If Alberta wheat could be laid down here under a freight tariff of 11 cents per hundred Vancouver could ship to the United Kingdom via the Horn [note: the Panama Canal would not open for another seven years] in competition with Fort William.” [another note: Fort William is Thunder Bay today.]

At its regular monthly meeting January 9 the Board passed a resolution asking the Dominion government to build an elevator of 250,000-bushel capacity.

Well, the first grain elevator on Burrard Inlet didn’t open until 1914. It would be financed by H.H. Stevens, encouraged by the construction of the Panama Canal.

That January 9 meeting also endorsed a suggestion from the Point Grey Improvement Association that the naval reserve in Point Grey be leased to the city as a park, and called for a marine driveway around the peninsula “as soon as possible.”

Car shortage

The shortage of railway freight cars arose at the February 12 meeting of the Board. It seems J.W. Leonard of the CPR had appeared before the Railway Commission and explained that merchants and others kept the cars for storage purposes, making them unavailable for traffic. That was not the case in Vancouver, Board member E.H. Heaps (who was at the Railway Commission hearing) said. “Here,” said the Province, quoting Heaps in its February 13 edition (Page 10), “it would take 500 cars to supply the immediate needs of the lumber mills alone.”

The CPR had been extending its mileage, but had not been enlarging its equipment in the same proportion. The Board decided to refer the matter to its car shortage committee, which would act jointly with the British Columbia Lumber and Shingle Manufacturer’s Association “and frame a strongly worded letter to the Commission explaining the situation.”

The Board declined to endorse a resolution of the Montreal Board of Trade in favor of the importation of Chinese labor and abolishing the $500 head tax. “Member James Henderson suggested that if Montreal wanted the Chinese they could be shipped through in bond.”

The Board did endorse a petition from the Toronto Board of Trade asking Ottawa to stop the entry of immigrants with tuberculosis.

Happy Birthday!

The 20th birthday of the Vancouver Board of Trade was coming up, and the March 6 edition of the Province announced the Board was planning a banquet. “The date,” the Province said, “of this, it may almost be said, epoch-making event, will be arranged by a committee to be named by Mr. W.J. McMillan, president of the board for 1907.” The 1906 president, Robert P. McLennan, stepped down amid much praise.

President McMillan spoke of the year ahead. “I think some action should be taken in connection with False Creek to the end of increasing the shipping facilities of the port.” He thought the provincial and federal politicians representing the city should be invited to an anniversary banquet at which False Creek would be discussed. The CPR should be represented, too. [By the April 2 meeting Premier McBride had informed the Board that he and the other members of the provincial cabinet “would have great pleasure in attending.”]

“There has lately been a sale of real estate in the vicinity of this city by the provincial Government,” McMillan went on, “and as the value of that property has been enhanced by the progress and prosperity of the city, I think the provincial Government can well afford to act handsomely by the city.” The newspaper story didn’t specify where that real estate sale was.

McMillan wanted details on railway tariff charges so that more informed discussion of freight rates—which our researches indicate was the most frequently discussed question at Board meetings of this era—could be made.

Heaps’ praise

Alderman E.H. Heaps, the newly-elected vice-president, who had been with the Board all those 20 years, told of its brief history and its growth in the face of adversity. He also referred to False Creek, saying nothing could be done in improving it until the city bought out the rights of the property owners at the head of the Creek. [Remember that the eastern reaches of the Creek had not yet been filled in, and still extended far past Main Street to the east, to present-day Clark Drive.]

“The city,” Heaps continued, “cannot build a bridge at Westminster Avenue [Main Street] till something is done, and something will have to be done soon, as the present bridge is in very poor condition.” The bridge he’s referring to had gone up in 1872.

He cited the need for a city market, which would bring produce to the city and encourage farmers to do their business in Vancouver. The BC Electric Railway was providing good service to the Fraser Valley, and that was very helpful.

“In view of the valuable services rendered the board by Mr. William Skene, secretary,” the Province report continued, “a motion by Mr. C.E. Tisdall that his salary be increased from $60 to $75 per month passed unanimously, and Mr. Skene thanked the members for their consideration.”

Member C.F. Jackson referred to the projected establishment of a “stock and share market” in Vancouver, and suggested that the scope of the undertaking should be extended to include the operation of an exchange “where members of the mercantile community could meet and secure standard commercial quotations.” Member D. Von Cramer, one of the promoters of the market, rose to say that aspect was being covered.

History of the Board

Former president McLennan had a few departing remarks for the March 5 meeting. He recalled a time when lots worth $100,000 now (1907) had sold for $1,000, and remarked on the immense growth of the lumber industry. “Although we may be justly proud of our trade and commerce returns for the last twenty years, we have scarcely as yet touched even the fringe of our possibilities.”

He then sketched in the beginnings of the Board. “The Vancouver Board of Trade was formed on November 24, 1887. Mr. David Oppenheimer was the first president, and continued as such for three years, and to this gentleman’s optimism, enterprise and ability was much of the success of this board due, and of the city itself in its early struggles. [David Oppenheimer had died in 1897.] Thirty-one citizens signed the original application for the organization of the board, of whom six only are now on the membership roll.

“It is interesting to note in the first president’s address available (1889) that whilst some of the objects aimed at have been accomplished, others are still in the future.”


Among the achieved objectives he cited were direct steamship connection with Australia and New Zealand, and a submarine cable between Australia and Canada. “Railway connection to the south is an actuality, but it was expected that Vancouver would shortly become the terminus of five railway systems. We have three transcontinental roads running into Vancouver now, but whilst the other two are not yet with us, they are tapping at our door.”

A new post office was needed and it was being built.

And it seems the late David Oppenheimer was instrumental in forming the British Columbia Fruitgrowers’ Association, “which was organized February 1, 1889 in the Board of Trade rooms. The seed sown at that time has brought forth abundantly, and plant growing is rapidly becoming one of our chief provincial industries.” [That name Oppenheimer has been prominent in this area for more than a century: the company that David Oppenheimer and his brothers began is still around. In fact, they’re right here.]

There was need for blast furnaces and rolling mills in the city. That need had been talked about, but nothing had been done.

He spoke of the lands at Point Grey. The Board had urged the provincial government, which owned the land, to have it laid out by a competent landscape surveyor before being placed on the market, and that a marine driveway two hundred feet wide be built around the whole property. “We have been actively assisted by the different associations in the city, and it is gratifying to be informed that it is the intention of the Government to lay out the grounds along the lines suggested . . . These lands at Point Grey can be made one of the most beautiful spots in North America, and by the means of drawing a wealthy class of people to reside with us who would contribute very materially to the advancement of the city, municipality and province in every way.”

Vedder or not

The reclamation of land in the Vedder River/Sumas Lake area was the main topic at the April 2, 1907 meeting of the Board. A company had been formed to drain 11,000 acres of the lake and make it available for cultivation, and they were asking the Board to support a request to the provincial government for financial assistance. The company claimed that a total of 30,000 acres would be “rendered fit for cultivation” by the scheme, but if no aid were received from the government the scheme might fall through.

The Board supported the concept, but member Jonathan Rogers said he was opposed to the government granting any money in aid of the work. He said, however, he thought the government might guarantee the bonds of the dyking company. (The government was already on record as saying it wouldn’t do that.) A resolution in support of the concept was passed, but a Rogers amendment requesting the government guarantee a certain amount of the company’s bonds was defeated.

[The reclamation work would not be completed until 1924, and then by another company.]

Freight rates again

Joseph Martin, KC, who had acted for the Board on behalf of local wholesalers in their battle with the CPR over freight rates, happened to be in Ottawa. The Board asked secretary William Skene to telephone Mr. Martin in Ottawa and ask him, once again, to inquire of the Railway Commission when its decision on rates might be expected.

Board of Control

The Board endorsed the principle of a civic Board of Control at its April 2 meeting. "In the opinion of Mr. Frank Baynes [a Board member]," the Province said in its April 3 report on the session, “thousands of dollars would be saved the city annually if its affairs were controlled by such a board.” [We looked up “board of control” on Google, found this: “In municipal government a Board of Control is an executive body of municipal government which usually deals with financial and administrative matters. The idea is that a small body of four or five people is better able to make certain decisions than a large, unwieldy city council. Boards of Control were introduced in many North American municipalities in the early twentieth century as a product of the municipal reform movement.”]

Time change

The April 2 session also decided that meeting times for the council of the Board would be changed to 5:00 in the afternoon on the last Thursday of the month.

Coal Strike

A coal miners’ strike in Alberta was causing suspension of “ordinary freight traffic” on the CPR, and the Calgary Board of Trade asked its Vancouver counterpart to endorse its appeal to the federal government to take immediate and strenuous action to end it. Because the strike was, in the words of the Vancouver Board resolution, “paralyzing all business in British Columbia,” the Calgary request was speedily granted at a special session. (Province, April 18, 1907, Page 18.)

Railway Commission invited to Drop In

There was, at last, some movement on the freight rates question . . . even if it was somewhat jerky. The Railway Commission had issued an order (on August 11, 1906) to the effect, wrote the Province on May 8, 1907 (Page 5) “that on shipments from Eastern Canadian points to the coast the differential of 5 cents per hundred pounds in favor of Seattle as against Vancouver should be removed. The railways are alleged to have backed and filled and upon one pretext and another put off issuing tariffs in compliance with the order of the Railway Commission until the sixth day of the present month.” The order became effective May 6.

At its May 7th meeting the Board of Trade passed a resolution to invite the Railway Commission to visit Vancouver during the summer to discuss the question of rebates. The Board wanted the Commission to announce that the differential had come into effect the moment they announced it. “During the interval between the issuance of the order,” the Province wrote, “and the date the tariff became effective, hundreds of carloads of freight have come into Vancouver from eastern points, and, as the difference in the cost of shipment under the old and new tariffs amounts to something between $15 and $20 for each car, the merchants of Vancouver figure that there are thousands of dollars coming to them in rebates if they can induce the Railway Commission to direct that its order of August 11 was effective forthwith.”

Member H.A. Stone declared that the railways showed no anxiety to meet the claims for rebates, and he contended that steps should be taken to compel them to pay up.

The matter of the freight differential paid by merchants in Winnipeg and Vancouver (the former paid less than the latter) was still active, and the Board’s freight rates committee was empowered to hire a tariffs expert to look into it.

Snail Mail

Mail service to Seattle via the CPR was, apparently, quite slow. In contrast, that of the Great Northern Railway, which operated two fast trains daily between the two cities, was rapid. “But,” said member Robert McLennan, “if one wants to mail a letter by that route, one has to put an American stamp on the envelope and take it down to the train.” It was decided to get Board secretary William Skene to get more details on the subject and report at the next meeting.

And another thing . . .

From the May 8, 1907 Province (Page 5), in its report on the previous evening’s Board meeting, the paper wrote: “If the Boards of Trade throughout Canada, and the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association have their way, the railways of the country will be forced to retreat from the arbitrary, and to many shippers galling, requirements which they impose in the case of every bill of lading now issued.”

(For the uninitiated, we Googled “bill of lading” to get a brief description: “A bill of lading is a type of document that is used to acknowledge the receipt of a shipment of goods. A transportation company or carrier issues this document to a shipper. In addition to acknowledging the receipt of goods, a bill of lading indicates the particular vessel on which the goods have been placed, their intended destination, and the terms for transporting the shipment to its final destination.”)

“Every shipper who has taken the trouble to look over a bill of lading,” the newspaper report continued, “with its thousand and one conditions and regulations must have realized that if anything happened to his goods in transit he had about as much chance of holding the railway responsible as he had of escaping the freight charges on the shipment. By imposing these conditions, which may or may not be good in law, the railways endeavor to shift responsibility entirely from their own shoulders.

“The time has now come, however, when the meek and lowly shipper has awakened to the fact that he possibly has some semblance of rights in this matter and his opinions are about to be forced home to the management of the various railways.”

(Note: this angry little passage isn’t ascribed to a speaker at the Board meeting; it appears to be the sentiment of the unnamed reporter.)

The Board endorsed a resolution of the Toronto Board of Trade asking the Railway Commission to authorize “a simple bill of lading bearing only one clause relating to conditions of transportation. The Toronto board announced that examination of the general terms and conditions of carriage showed some 29 clauses to be contrary to the Railway Act and calculated to relieve the railways from common law liabilities.”

With the Grain

“If the Dominion Government ever builds a custom grain elevator at the port of Vancouver,” wrote the Province May 8, 1907, “the credit will belong to the Vancouver Board of Trade.” The government had not responded to the call for such an elevator and, as a result, the Board’s committee on trade and commerce would conduct a vigorous inquiry.

Small debts

A proposal that cropped up at the July 3, 1906 Board meeting arose again at the May 7, 1907 session, with a recommendation to forward it to the province’s Attorney-General, to wit: to increase the amount recoverable in Small Debts Court from $100 to $200. Also to be sent to the A-G: a recommendation for legislation “to prevent dishonest merchants from disposing of their stock-in-trade without paying their creditors.” Washington State legislation (the Bulk Sales Law) was cited as a good model.

New member

Among the four new members elected to membership May 7: general merchant Charles Woodward. (He had opened his second store, the one on West Hastings, in 1903.)

New England Fish Company . . . just for the Halibut

At its regular monthly meeting June 4, 1907 the Board got tough. It petitioned the federal minister of Marine and Fisheries not to renew the halibut fishing licence of the New England Fish Company, which was operating three vessels out of Vancouver. The Board wanted to end the company’s special concession of shipping halibut in bond through Canada to the eastern United States. That concession was due to expire June 30, and the Board wanted the government not to renew it.

The Board also wanted the feds “to define what are territorial waters along the coast of British Columbia from the 49th parallel to Alaska.”

Why? “The intent of this request is to ascertain what, if any, rights American fishermen have to operate in the waters of Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance, where the American steamers running from Vancouver and from Seattle and Tacoma now find their best rewards. Should the Government declare that Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance are territorial waters, the effect would be that the American fishermen would have to be ousted from those lucrative banks.”

The motion that these matters be sent to the minister for consideration was made by Board member, H.O. Bell-Irving, who ran the province’s largest fish packing operation.

If the request to not renew New England’s licence was granted, said the Province in its June 5 report (Page 2), “it is possible, judging by remarks made at the board meeting, that a British Columbia company might step into the field.”

Clever scheme

A local fisherman named William Batson explained to the Board how the New England company operated. They annually exported to the U.S. “millions of pounds of halibut.” There was a duty of $20 a ton entering the United States, but the New England company overcame this “by using American bottoms to catch their fish and then, by means of the privilege of shipping through Canada in bond, landed them in the United States free.”

Against such competition, Batson said, Canadian companies could not compete and many companies had been driven out of the field. “If the unfair privileges granted to the New England Company were abolished, Mr. Batson said, he would be able to get into the halibut business again on a profitable basis. All he asked was that the laws of Canada be enforced in this matter.”

Mr. Batson was not kind to the CPR. “[He] charged that it was the influence of that corporation which assured the New England Fish Company its annual extension of the bonding privilege—the railway company, he mentioned, hauled all the fish landed at this port by the New England Company.”

A resolution advanced by H.O. Bell-Irving to petition the government to have these special privileges end with the scheduled expiration date of June 30 was approved.

Freight rates . . . again

The June 4 meeting also heard of the years-long delay by the Railway Commission in handing down a decision on the imbalance of freight rates paid by wholesalers in Winnipeg and Vancouver. And yet again a resolution was passed to ask the Commission when its decision could be expected.

The Board took up the question of the desire for a bridge across the Second Narrows. H.O. Bell-Irving commented on the very low turnout for the meeting, indicating there were too few members present to make such a weighty decision. It was referred to the Board’s committee on railways and navigation for further study. [In the event, the first bridge over Burrard Inlet—it was over the Second Narrows—did not open until 1925.]

Power Outage

The June 4 meeting read a letter from R.H. Sperling of the BC Electric Railway Company explaining why there had been a power failure on May 30 that lasted “a full 35 minutes.” His letter, the Province reported, said that the BCER’s power supply was “the best on the continent since the change from steam to hydro generation, and he thought that possibly the interruption cited was the more noticeable because of the general excellence of the service. He explained that the trouble had been caused by a 3,000 horsepower unit becoming suddenly useless through an inherent defect. There was no lack of power, Mr. Sperling pointed out, as the company is now using only 12,000 horsepower out of a possible output of 42,000. As the letter from Mr. Sperling satisfactorily met the board’s desire for information, it was filed.”

Anniversary Meeting

The June 5, 1907 Province reported that at the Board meeting held the previous night “the committee in charge of plans for the 20th anniversary banquet which the board proposes to hold had decided that it would be well for it to take place on September 23, the anniversary of the first meeting of citizens to arrange for the formation of the board twenty years ago.”


The September 4, 1907 Province, reporting on the regular monthly meeting of the Board the night before, said the Board had determined the “destruction of game in the vicinity of Vancouver out of season should be stopped. It was declared that farmers, Indians and white men holding miners’ licences may kill game out of season without fear of prosecution. The holder of a miner’s license is exempt from the provisions of the Game Law in respect to closed seasons.

“It was resolved that in the opinion of the board the whole of Richmond electoral district should be organized under the Game Act for the protection of game. At present only the southern half is organized.”

In its very brief report on that September 3 meeting, the Province also noted that a special committee was appointed to report on a request “from the editor of an eastern financial publication” (otherwise unidentified) for the opinion of the Board of Trade on the Asiatic immigration question. The members of that committee were named; it was a high-powered bunch, included among others: H.O. Bell-Irving, W.H. Malkin, Ewing Buchan and Charles Woodward.

It was moved at the September 3 meeting that the CPR be asked to place in service a morning train from Agassiz to Vancouver and returning in the evening. Member Charles Tisdall pointed out that such a service would be of immense benefit to the trade of Vancouver, and would greatly facilitate the introduction of garden truck and dairy supplies to the city.

20th Anniversary Celebration

In its September 24, 1907 issue the Province spoke effusively on Page One on the Board’s anniversary bash the night before. “In the Board of Trade’s banquet in celebration of the 20th anniversary of its birth, history was written as well as read before perhaps the most influential gathering and epoch-making occasion in the city’s bright, brief record.”

Fifteen of its 49 charter members were present, and three of them spoke: the Hon. Francis Carter-Cotton, Conservative MLA for Richmond, R.H. Alexander and the Board’s secretary William Skene.

The guest of honor was the Hon. Robert L. Borden. [Borden at the time was the Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament. He would become prime minister in 1911.] “He was brief and eloquent,” said the Province. “British Columbia,” said Borden, “shall surely become the richest and greatest, as she is the fairest, of the provinces of the Dominion.”

“Speaking of unity,” the Province continued, “Mr. Borden declared that there was no divergence either of sentiment or interest between the East and the western portions of Canada, and he added ‘there need be none’.”

Attorney-General Bowser (he’d become AG this year) responded to a toast given to British Columbia. “There is, as we all are aware, a deep-seated agitation against Asiatic immigration. Surely there are enough of our own race and blood in Great Britain to give British Columbia the laborers and the white population she needs.”

This was greeted, the paper noted, with an enthusiastic wave of applause.

A dissenting vote

Then member H.O. Bell-Irving spoke in the form of a toast to the invited guests.

“The workman of Vancouver is perhaps the best paid of any in any city of like age and size in the British Empire, and the reports in the East that there is danger in the Oriental starving him out are not true. There is no such danger . . . we need a cheap class of labor to do certain and necessary work, and until arrangements are perfected by the Government to bring labor from Great Britain, there should, in my view, if I may be permitted to express it, be a limited number of Orientals allowed in British Columbia.”

There was, said the paper, subdued applause.

Marpole promises

Richard Marpole, whose title was General Executive Assistant for the CPR, told the gathering that larger and faster vessels would soon be seen on the Vancouver-Orient and Vancouver-Prince Rupert routes, with piers and wharves costing two million here “in one of the finest harbors of the world.” [It’s not mentioned in this story, but six months earlier Marpole had announced that the CPR would be opening up a new subdivision in the city, which he said would be the “Nob Hill” of Vancouver. We know it as Shaughnessy.]

John Hendry called for more railways in BC, and particularly lines to the north.

“T.H. Worsnop, general manager of the new Canadian-Mexican Steamship Company, whose fifth vessel, loaded, is about to leave for Mexico, urged greater appreciation of the possibilities of Mexican trade. ‘President Dias recently told me at the Mexican capital,’ said Mr. Worsnop, ‘that he desired most a closer diplomatic and commercial union with that great country, Canada’." [A Spanish Internet site makes reference to a W.E.P. Worsnop, who on August 17, 1907—a month before the Board’s anniversary dinner—established the Mexican consulate in Vancouver. Could this be the same person?]

The newspaper reported that the banquet hall, “the spacious dining-room of the Hotel Vancouver, was a thing of beauty and a joy for five hours. Manager Cummings inaugurated an idea new in banquetting halls, round tables each seating five, the speakers being seated at one long flower-bedecked table.”

Later in the newspaper’s report, it was noted that Bowser spoke of the economic growth in the province. Revenue from land had increased from $918,000 in 1906, to $2 million in 1907. The cut of lumber had grown from 818 million feet three years ago to 570 million today. “The mining industry had vastly expanded, and the local industries enabled operations to be conducted in Alaska and Montana smelters.”

Awkward Silence

Mayor Alexander Bethune, the Province reported, was brief in his address to the gathering, “and the brevity painfully surprised the chairman.” (Board president W.J. McMillan.)

“I had fully expected His Worship to give us a glowing account of the city’s past and present,” McMillan said, “and to speak on the plans for deepening False Creek and other projects. I am indeed surprised.”

An awkward silence followed.

A Very Large B

“It does not require any imagination,” President McMillan concluded at banquet’s end, “to see that Vancouver is destined ultimately to be the great rival of the new San Francisco for the Pacific trade." [That reference to the "new" San Francisco was an allusion to the earthquake that city had experienced in April of 1906.] "In Vancouver the atmosphere spells business with a very large B. Vancouver is a city to be seen and cultivated like the delightful province of British Columbia. It has an element of charm which is all its own.”

A Digression

It has absolutely no connection with the Board of Trade, but the same Province that reported on the Board’s anniversary dinner also had on Page 15 this irresistible report from Ada, Idaho. “Because Amos Clark, aged forty, a farmer living on the Lewiston reservation, 20 miles south of Ada, openly defied the Lord, he was struck dead in his front yard last night. Clark had been known as an atheist for years, and last night in the presence of his family and several neighbors, said ‘There is no God.’ He then defied the Supreme Being to punish him. No sooner had the words left his lips than he was stricken, and died a few minutes later. His family is composed of Christian boys and girls who have been secretly trained and instructed by the mother.”

“It was a field night for the Vancouver Board of Trade,” wrote the Province of November 6, 1907, exactly 100 years ago today. “There was a volume of business that took over two hours to transact.” One of the items discussed was the safety of the city’s streetcar system. “The frequency of fatal accidents on the street railway has been previously considered by the council of the board and a committee has been appointed to interview the company . . . The danger was in people alighting from the cars and going round behind and then getting in the way of a car going by in the opposite direction.” One suggestion was made that an exit be provided at the front end of the car, “as this would enable the passengers to see an approaching car.” (Remember, too, that until 1922 traffic on our streets drove on the left.) Discussions with the street railway company would continue.

Winnipeg selfish?

Winnipeg’s selfishness was blamed for the news (on Page One of the Province of November 23, 1907) that new CPR tariffs—which would go some way to easing BC complaints about having to pay higher rates for no apparent good reason—slated to begin November 25 would be suspended. Winnipeg, it seems, had protested. The council of the Board of Trade held a special session on the morning of the 23rd and fired off a strong protest to the Railway Board. “The changes affecting Kootenay especially,” the Board’s telegram read, “if not brought into force will mean heavy loss on account of . . . contracts having been already made. The protest of Winnipeg to loss of trade by new tariffs seems untenable. We assume that it is not part of the jurisdiction of the railway board to fix tariffs so as to give Winnipeg the Kootenay business or any other business. We assume that the tariffs are fixed by the board on general principles, and that the effect on the trade of any particular place is something that the board is not concerned with. We understand that the railway board has on complaint of Portage la Prairie found that the old tariff is illegal.”

“Great indignation,” the Province reported, “was expressed by the members of the council, and it was pointed out that there would be great financial loss should the new tariffs fail to come into force on Monday.”

The Victoria Board of Trade telephoned during this special meeting to say that they, too, had sent a telegram to the Railway Board protesting against the interference of Winnipeg and requesting that the tariffs be put in force on Monday as proposed.

It would be interesting to read the Winnipeg newspapers from this same period to see how they handled this same issue.

End to Subsidy

Another strongly-worded telegram was sent by the Board on December 26, 1907, this time to Prime Minister Laurier and the seven BC representatives in Parliament protesting the cancellation of the subsidy to the Canadian-Australian line of steamers.

What else was happening locally in 1907?

For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.

Next: 1908 »













Immigrant settlers from the US crossing the prairies, heading for available wheat fields in Alberta, 1906." (photo: 11553 National Archives of Canada)
Immigrant settlers from the US crossing the prairies, heading for available wheat fields in Alberta, 1906.
[Photo: 11553 National Archives of Canada]






























































































































































































































Charles Woodward (photo:
Charles Woodward


A halibut (photo:
A halibut
















































































Robert Borden
Robert Borden









































Alexander Bethune
Alexander Bethune