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


Parthian Shot

The dredging of the First Narrows “received fresh impetus” at the Board’s first meeting of 1908. The January 7 session heard from member J.E. Macrae that the dangerous state of the Narrows made the work imperative. The Burnaby Shoal was of particular concern to the Board, and Macrae thought a light should be placed there, and that “telephone communication between the light houses and Vancouver” should be established. [That reference to light houses in the plural is interesting. Anyone know where they were exactly?] An Internet search informs us the Burnaby Shoal was southeast of Brockton Point.

Member Charles Tisdall, in agreeing with Macrae’s concern, added a comment on the “serious danger arising from the presence of floating logs.” Macrae was added to the Board’s Trades and Navigation Committee.

A letter, warmly received, came to the Board from D.E. Brown, General Superintendent of the CPR, who supported the request for dredging, but also said the “Parthian Shoal” was a greater danger than the Burnaby Shoal. (The present name appears to be Parthia Shoal. If you go here and type in ‘Parthia Shoal,’ you’ll see exactly where it is.) Brown’s letter described it as a “serious danger to shipping in these confined waters . . . until this shoal is removed it will continue a serious menace to the increasing number of ships trading in and out of this important and growing port. The number of tows also, not always under control, going in both directions, which are constantly met between Brockton and Prospect Points necessarily increases the danger of accident, and this will certainly not be lessened when more and larger ships, soon expected, are running into this port.”

Brown added that he thought dredging on the north side of the harbor was important, too, because “the strong tides through the Narrows are washing and lodging additional obstructions in that vicinity.”

Winnipeg conciliatory?

Joseph Martin, KC, who was representing the Board at the sittings of the Railway Commission in Winnipeg, sent a telegram saying that Winnipeg would push for a reduction of freight rates to Kootenay from both Winnipeg and Vancouver. President McLennan told members he had wired a reply that “if it created no change in the present relative rates there was no objection to the reduction.”

Land Clearing

A subject that had arisen before, the lack of information on land availability in BC on the part of the provincial government, came up at the January 7 meeting. The Surveyor General wrote the Board, reported the Province, to say that “every effort had been made to survey lands and meet the needs of the settlers, but that if the board knew of any instance where it had been neglected, prompt investigation would follow upon reporting the matter.” (We’re not sure what the “it” in the previous sentence refers to.) A member, Mr. Quigley, “believed that if the Dominion Government appointed a land agent in British Columbia, it would greatly facilitate matters.”

On the subject of grain elevators, the federal Deputy Minister of Agriculture responded to the Board’s suggestion that the government build a grain elevator on Burrard Inlet, “stating that all elevators in Canada were owned by private companies, and while he appreciated the importance of a grain elevator at Vancouver he suggested that it be taken up by private or municipal enterprise.”

Bond. Goods Bond.

The Board, the Province reported, wanted Canada on the same footing as the US in regard to the shipping of goods in bond. “At the present time goods coming in bond from an American point through Canadian territory can be taken in American ships, while goods from a Canadian point through American territory can be taken only in American bottoms.” The federal customs department responded by enclosing a copy of the law. Not much help. “The matter was referred back to Ottawa with the request that conditions should be made reciprocal.”

An Astonishing Item

The January 8 edition of the Province (Page 18) told of a letter to the Board from a Capt. Miniger of the United States “revenue cutter service at Port Townsend.” The Board voted to send a letter of thanks to Capt. Miniger.

His astonishing letter reads, in part: “The revenue cutter service has two vessels on the Sound, ready for duty, and it is part of their duty to render aid to distressed vessels. We are now, and have been handicapped in the receipt of news of disaster to vessels; we do not receive the information, except through the daily papers, [emphasis added] and it is noon here before the papers are received.

“If your association would advise me of disaster to vessels, as soon as the information was received by you, it would enable me to dispatch a vessel of the service to the aid of the distressed vessel at once, and possibly 24 hours before the receipt of the information through the papers; this action might mean much to the disabled vessel and to the people on board.”

We tend to agree!

Tokyo Exposition

The Japanese consul wrote to the Board, letting them know that an exposition would be held in Tokyo from April 1 to October 31, 1912. “The exhibits would cover an area of 212 acres of land and would be open to the public.” [That exposition was later cancelled by the Japanese government because of a lack of funds.]

That’s dear!

A Murdo Maclean of Scotland wrote the Board with details of the cost of travelling for emigrants from Scotland to Vancouver and to Sydney, Australia. “A farm laborer,” the Province reported, “could go from the Old Country to Sydney for $30, while a girl could go for $25. Ten dollars of this was returned when work was secured. The rates from the Old Country to Vancouver were $89. Thus it was shown how an effort was being made to turn the trend of emigration from Canada to Australia.”

The story didn’t specify what line or lines the emigrants used.

Streetcar safety

The subject of streetcar safety had apparently arisen, because the January 7 meeting included a report by Board secretary William Skene on the results of letters he had sent to 76 cities in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Ireland asking a series of questions about their methods of ensuring safety. Highlights of the 54 replies:

  • Speed limit for streetcars was eight miles an hour within the city, half speed at turnings and from 12 to 16 mph in suburban districts.
  • Two thirds of the systems responding discharged their passengers at the rear of the car, as did Vancouver.
  • About half the systems had their cars stop at intersections to load and unload passengers on the near side, the other half on the far side. But in the larger cities, “where the traffic is great, and the streets uniformly paved,” the cars stopped on the near side. Cities cited were London, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Montreal and Toronto.
  • “When the cars are discharging, other cars may pass, but speed limit must be reduced so as to be fully in hand and gongs must be kept going until the cars are quite clear of each other.”

There’s a reference to the use of “lifeguards,” but no indication of what they were. They weren’t people! They’re likely what we’d call “cowcatchers,” or “pilots”: devices attached to the front of the streetcar to deflect anything or anyone on the tracks. “The Liverpool plough lifeguard,” the Province report went on, “which has been mentioned in use in that city since 1901, and in that time has saved 190 people, up to the end of 1906, who had actually fallen under the cars from death or serious injury. [The grammar’s clumsy, but we get it.] During 1906 there were 44 people so saved. Four fatal accidents occurred in that year, three of which were from people stepping off cars in motion and falling on their heads, and the fourth was concussion by a drayman falling on his head in a collision.”

A resolution was passed unanimously on motion of Alderman McSpadden and another member, H.A. Stone, to recommend to the city council that the BC Electric be required at once to adopt the Liverpool pattern of plough lifeguard. Then member Charles Tisdall moved, and Alderman Cavanagh seconded, that the gong system be used when one car passed another that was discharging passengers.

President Heaps

E.H. Heaps became Board president in March, 1908 and on the 25th he hosted a luncheon for members. Standing committees were appointed for the year, and it’s interesting to note how influential these people were. Just a skim over the names listed in the Province for March 26, 1908 (Page 2) finds:

  • R.H. Alexander, a prominent forestry industry figure and a mayoral candidate in Vancouver’s first election (1886).
  • Ewing Buchan, the manager of the now-vanished Hamilton Bank, and the man whose words for O Canada were sung locally for many years.
  • W.H. Malkin, a major food wholesaler and future (1929 - 1930) mayor.
  • R.P. McLennan, a prominent wholesaler, and one of the founders of "Mc and Mc," as McLennan, McFeely & Prior was fondly known.
  • C.E. Tisdall Charles Tisdall was another future (1922) mayor of the city.
  • D. Von Cramer One of the first organizers of the Vancouver Stock Exchange
  • C. Gardiner Johnson A major shipping agent, called “the father of Vancouver’s shipping industry”
  • R. Kelly Food wholesaler. His firm Kelly Douglas introduced Nabob Coffee.
  • H. Bell-Irving The country’s biggest salmon exporter. (His son H.P. “Budge” Bell-Irving would be Board president in 1974, and a Lieutenant-Governor of the province.)
  • R.V. Winch Another major fish exporter. The Winch Building, part of Sinclair Centre, is named for him.
  • John Hendry A well-known city industrialist, and owner of the Hastings Mill. [There is a very interesting 1890 biography of Hendry here]
  • Frederick Buscombe A retailer of fine china and allied goods and mayor in 1905.
  • E. Odlum That would be Edward Faraday Odlum, scientist and teacher, and the author of a history of British Columbia published in 1906. His son was Victor Odlum.
  • Frederick Carter-Cotton Newspaper publisher (the News-Advertiser), first head of the Vancouver Harbor Commission, first Chancellor of UBC.

Many of these gentlemen also served, or would later serve, as presidents of the Board. They include R.H. Alexander, Ewing Buchan, W.H. Malkin, R.P. McLennan, Charles Tisdall, H. Bell-Irving, John Hendry, Frederick Buscombe and Frederick Carter-Cotton.

A digression

We had thought the disrespectful word “Jap” wasn’t used in the newspapers until the Second World War, but there is frequent use of the word in the newspapers of this era. The same page that brought us that distinguished list of names above has a small story below headlined: New Jap Liner is Speedy Craft. (It was the Tenyo Maru, on the San Francisco route, which “easily made 20.6 miles an hour.”)

Busy meeting

The Board held a special meeting March 27, the main agenda items being the coasting and timber laws. (The latter is discussed below, in the item headlined Timber!) Member Charles Tisdall introduced a resolution relating to the former, the effect of which was to ask for an amendment to the existing law, so that “no goods should be carried by water from one port or place in Canada, either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the voyage excepting in British ships.”

Speaking to the motion, Tisdall said it was "more urgent at the present time in view of the fact that millions of dollars are to be spent in railway construction in the northern part of the country.

“The people of Canada are contributing 80 to 90 per cent of the cost of this work, and it is only right that the money should be spent amongst ourselves. As far as possible, all goods needed in the construction of the GTP [Grand Trunk Pacific Railway] should be routed over Canadian railways and shipped through Canadian ports.”

Member Charles Woodward demurred. He contended that the matter was too large to be dealt with locally. Other parts of Canada would be affected as well as British Columbia. “Take the carrying of grain from Manitoba and the other Western provinces across the Great Lakes to the east,” Woodward said. “Supposing that there were not enough Canadian boats to carry the grain across the Great Lakes, the result would be that it would have to lie idle unless transported in American ships.”

Fair’s Fair

Then R.B. McLennan spoke up. “All we are asking is that the Canadian boats have the same rights as the Americans. Take goods being shipped from Montreal to Prince Rupert via Seattle. At the present time the bulk of it is placed in American ships at Seattle for the rest of the journey. What we want is that these goods will be put in British ships at Seattle.”

Member H.A. Stone, pointing out the wonderful advantages gained by Seattle by virtue of her northern shipping, regarded the matter so seriously that he recommended sending a man to Ottawa. “Mr. Stone’s last suggestion,” said the Province, “was taken up and discussed and action may follow.”

“The question is,” asked Charles Woodward, “have we the ships?” He didn’t think the amendment would ever be granted, and if the measure was aimed as a slap at the States it was a big mistake.

“President Heaps pointed out,” the Province continued, “that if the trade was to go to Prince Rupert from Seattle, and if Seattle was to become the distributing point for the North, it would result in great loss to Vancouver. There was a possibility that Vancouver would become as great a shipping port as Liverpool if she could retain the trade of the coast.”

The resolution carried unanimously. (We surmise that means Woodward voted for it, too.)

We did a bit of Googling to discover that in 2004 (the only recent year for which we could find statistics) the Port of Liverpool had a throughput of 32 million tons. In 2005 (the only recent year, etc.) the Port of Vancouver’s throughput was 76 million tons.

Alaska-Yukon Exposition

The March 27 meeting passed a resolution urging the federal government to give a grant of $100,000 to the upcoming Alaska-Yukon Exposition, to be held in Seattle in 1909. “The importance of the exposition to the whole of Canada, and the urgency of having a creditable Canadian building were cited in the resolution. W.H. Malkin, who introduced the matter, scored the British Columbia members in the Dominion Parliament for their apparent indifference in the matter.” (The subject came up again briefly at the May 5 meeting, at which it was mentioned that an attendance of three million was expected.)

And see the notes below on the Board’s November 3 meeting.

Imperial Press Service

The Board discussed the desirability of having a Britain-based press service. Board secretary William Skene had written several Chambers of Commerce in the Old Country and they all favored it. “The great grievance,” said the Province in its March 28 issue, “seemed to be that the press service from Great Britain to Canadian papers was filtered through American channels.” A representative of the London Times happened to be in the city, and he had promised to submit the matter to his paper as a business proposition.

President Heaps said that great cost was involved. “The American papers had an advantage over the Canadians in view of their greater number, thus ensuring a cheaper service per paper.” The matter was referred to the Board’s Trade and Commerce committee.


The Dominion government had passed recent regulations calling for holders of leased timber lands to cut, each year, 60,000 feet per square mile leased. The Board, spurred by President Heaps and a petition from BC lumbermen, wanted those regulations cancelled. “This was not only a hardship,” the Province quoted Heaps, “but it would mean the useless cutting of timber. At the present time there was sufficient timber on hand to supply the market for six months. The Government probably intended that settlers on the prairie should be supplied with rough lumber as cheaply as possible. The Government owned a large tract between Lake Winnipeg and the Rocky Mountains, and the wholesale cutting of this rough lumber for the prairie market would mean the forcing of British Columbia rough lumber out of the market.”

The resolution was carried and would be brought to Ottawa’s attention.

Cartage Charges

The Guelph Board of Trade asked for endorsation of their protest against the practice of the CPR and Grand Trunk Railway of increasing cartage charges without notice. They urged that the Dominion Railway Commission be requested to demand that notification of increase be given. The Vancouver Board agreed and suggested a time limit for notification of 60 days.

Lands Office Move?

The Board, at its May 5, 1908 meeting, urged that the provincial land office be moved from Victoria to Vancouver. Said the Province, in its May 6 story (Page 11), “Incoming settlers, every day increasing in number, expect to find in Vancouver all the necessary information regarding available lands. But the inquiries, and in many cases those who make them, are sent on to Victoria..” The provincial government was making new surveys, particularly in the north, and the Board formed a committee to study the subject and make recommendations.

International Fisheries

“The urgency,” said the Province May 6 (Page 11), “of the province being represented on the proposed International Fisheries Commission . . . was briefly discussed and communications upon the subject referred to the Fisheries committee of the board. ‘It is a matter which vitally affects almost every merchant and member of this board,’ said President Heaps.”

University of the North

There was a time when the provincial university was going to be located in the north of British Columbia. We’re reminded of that, thanks to the Board’s May 5, 1908 meeting. The subject came up during discussion of the request of the Board that the provincial land office be moved from Victoria to Vancouver. A letter had been received from Mr. MacKay, the province’s Surveyor General, in which he gave the latest information on the government survey work at present being done in the interior and coast districts.

“The letter showed that nearly 150,000 acres have been surveyed by the Government in the last two years. In the valley of the Kispiox, a tributary of the Skeena River, 25,645 acres, of which 6,000 acres have been reserved for the purposes of the provincial university. [Emphasis added.] In the Bulkley Valley last year, 53,936 acres; in the Cariboo district, Mud, Nechaco (sic) and Fraser River districts 54,520 acres, and in Ootsa Lake district 13,000 acres, while the coast district survey party is now at work on Vancouver Island.”

Member E. Odlum, said the paper, “told of the difficulties of settlers in other provinces as well as in British Columbia obtaining the information they required. He had known settlers in the East to experience many discouragements, falling into the hands of land agents, losing nearly all their money in journeying about, nine out of ten not seeing one per cent of desirable and available Government lands, and finally drifting into the cities and securing such employment as could be found. This might be overcome by the appointment of Government guides to take intending settlers to the places desired.”

President Heaps suggested permanent government guides in newly surveyed districts. “I think there should also be a Bureau of Information in the chief cities . . . we are going to have an immigration movement, and probably a very heavy one, in the next year or two.”

A committee would be formed to handle the matter.


On the same page as the item directly above was a big advertisement, about 60 per cent of the page, placed by W.J. Kerr of New Westminster, offering five-acre fruit farms at Kerton in the Fraser Valley. They were $500 each, with a down payment of $100, the balance to be paid within three years. “Such easy terms as these,” the advertisement read, “enable the man with small capital to get started without spending too much money in purchase of the property." He notes there is time this year to get in a crop of potatoes, "and potatoes on three acres will more than repay you the price of the property, plus the cost of seed and labor.”

We did a Google search and looked through Walbran’s Coast Names, but failed to find Kerton.

Bridge Wrestling

The meeting of June 2, 1908 was mainly devoted to “wrestling”with the Granville Street bridge project. (This was the second of the three bridges of that name.) The story doesn’t indicate what the problem was, but there is a reference in the Province’s story to an injunction! Member Frederick Buscombe, a former mayor, declared the work a “crying necessity.” A solution was apparently found, because we know the bridge opened September 6, 1909. In fact, Governor General Earl Grey—the man after whom the tea is named—officially opened it, and Lady Grey cut the ribbon. The bridge extended from Pacific to 4th, east of the original 1889 bridge.

Another item discussed June 2: “A resolution asking the Dominion Government to make an appropriation this session for starting the work of providing a permanent ship channel from the mouth of the Fraser River to New Westminster was adopted.”

Telephone service

“The regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trade, held last night,” the Province reported July 8, 1908 (Page 5), “was poorly attended, only 14 members being present. The question of a telephone system between Point Grey, Prospect Point and Vancouver was the first matter discussed, and a letter from Captain Gaudin was read, stating that such a service would require the services of two watchmen, and as the Board of Trade would be chiefly interested, he would be glad to know what assistance that board would be ready to grant toward the expense of such a service.”

This letter threw the cat among the pigeons. “The board were of the opinion that two watchmen were not necessary as the lighthousemen could do the work, and Mr. Shallcross considered that Capt. Gaudin must be writing in ignorance, or treating a serious matter as a joke, by asking for the Board of Trade to contribute toward a matter that concerned the safety of the port and public. The chairman and secretary were appointed to communicate with Victoria and Ottawa on the matter.”

What the Heck is a Free Port?

The July 7 meeting also considered at some length the idea of Vancouver being a “free port.” President Heaps said he’d glanced over the proposition (no details on its source in the story) and considered that if Montreal thought it a good thing for their port it would naturally be a good thing for Vancouver, too. He suggested the Board form a committee to study the question. “He said that the proposition was to draw a line round Vancouver and to have a huge bonded warehouse within that line. Anything used or manufactured in Vancouver would come in free of duty, but anything that went beyond the line would pay as usual. It would probably lead to the establishment of many industries.”

Other members weren’t so sure. Member W. Murray thought the board was starting to discuss a question “they knew nothing whatever about. As far as he was concerned, he was in a state of complete fog as to what this proposition really meant. He had seen it mentioned in the press, and it seemed to him to be a catchy and popular cry, and he had consequently carefully searched the newspapers of the city for some explanation or some details, which would say something more than merely that it was a splendid thing for Vancouver . . . ‘Why,’ he asked, ‘does the press not come forward and explain what is meant by a free port?’”

There was a public meeting being held on the question the next day and Murray thought the information should be given to the people before they were asked to attend a meeting to consider it.

Member James Ramsay said he had carefully scanned the press “but had been unable to find a word of explanation as to the meaning of a free port. He had hoped that someone at this board meeting would be able to tell the members exactly what it did mean, but apparently everybody was as much in the dark as he was.”

Member Murray wished to know more about the requisition for a public meeting, and who had signed it. He had never seen it. “Those men who bring round those requisitions don’t do it for nothing,” he said.

Eventually the members decided to follow a suggestion of Murray’s that literature about the Montreal situation be asked for, and that no decision be made until that had been read and discussed.


Some issues of the old, old Province are missing and some are virtually impossible to read from the microfilm, so our next 1908 Board report jumps from July to November.

More on the Halibut Fishery

The November 3, 1908 meeting of the Board once again looked at the difficulties faced by the halibut fishery. Member H.H. Watson informed the meeting that “while formerly the shipments of halibut arriving in Vancouver weighed 60 pounds per fish, recent shipments had declined as low as eight and 10 pounds. This was due to the rapid depletion of the fisheries owing to the invasion of American poachers. He stated that no less than 130 vessels were poaching in northern waters. No less than 39,000 tons of halibut caught in Canadian waters were last year shipped east from Seattle, the shipments from Vancouver amounting to only 13,000 tons . . . Mr. H. Bell-Irving stated that the late Emperor William (Wilhelm) in 1872 gave his award that Hecate strait and Dixon entrance were in Canadian territorial waters. This had been ratified by treaty in the following year. Mr. W.G. Harvey held that the treaty had never been enforced.”

[This, incidentally, was the same 1872 decision that gave the San Juan Islands to the US.]

A resolution to be drafted by the Board’s fisheries committee would be sent to Ottawa.

The December 24, 1908 Province has a brief Page One item about that resolution: "It expresses the opinion that the waters between Queen Charlotte islands and the mainland, ranging from Dixon entrance in the north to Hecate Strait are wholly within the jurisdiction of the Dominion. If this view is taken by the Ottawa Government and recognized by the United States Government, American fishing boats will be driven out of the industry, and Vancouver and Prince Rupert will become great fishing ports.

“The local Board of Trade has pressed this matter for two years, but thus far has been unable to obtain more than a formal acknowledgement from Ottawa. In the forthcoming memorial the establishment of a more efficient fisheries protective service by fast cruisers will be urged.” [A reminder that “memorial” back then simply meant “memo.”]

Exposition woes

“Another formal resolution,” the Province reported (November 4, 1908, Page 3), “will draw attention of the Dominion Government to the fact that it has been left unrepresented at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exposition. It was submitted by Mr. W.H. Malkin and was strongly supported by Mr. J.B. Mathers, who deplored the ignorance prevailing in the United States respecting Canada’s possessions in the north.”


Still with the November 3 session: more urging of the need for dredging of the First Narrows was transmitted to Ottawa, this time with the backing of the Shipmasters’ Association. “They affirm the necessity for improving the harbor entrance owing to the increasing size of vessels entering this port.”

Grain dance

The Board’s December 1, 1908 session dealt with a subject that had come up before: the storage and shipping of Alberta grain.

Member Charles Woodward compared the cost of shipments from eastern and Pacific coast ports on the American side of the border. “From these he arrived at the deduction that grain could be shipped to Europe from Vancouver for about 5.5 cents less per bushel than was possible from St. John or other ports on Canada’s eastern seaboard.”

Member Y.E. Hall contended that Albertans were anxious to have their grain moved through Vancouver. “Of course,” he said, “it must be understood that it is very difficult to interest private capitalists. We will be taking the grain out of the channels along which it has been moving for the past 25 years. Another difficulty that confronts us is the lack of vessels to carry the grain in bulk. However, if united action were taken, I have no doubt that these difficulties could be overcome.”

Elevators needed

Member R.H. Alexander thought the city should take up the matter of public grain elevators and get a grant from the government for this purpose. H.A. Stone reminded the group that the CPR had expressed its willingness to come to some agreement on freight rates if the grain were forthcoming. Charles Woodward said that “if the business people of Vancouver did not take hold of the matter immediately that Prince Rupert or some other town along the coast would, and then everybody would be kicking themselves because they had allowed the opportunity to pass.”

We like this passage in the Province’s story: “C.S. Douglas created some amusement by passing along a statement he had heard that wheat in a long voyage like that around the Horn to Europe gained enough weight by absorption of moisture to cover the cost of shipment.”

Capt. F.W. Evans, the Province continued, “said that tramp steamers could take grain in 67 days from Vancouver to European ports for 20 or 21 shillings a ton. ‘If we have the grain for them,’ declared the captain, ‘there will be no difficulty in getting the steamers.’”

A suggestion from H. Bell-Irving was followed that the Board obtain all the information it could gather on the subject from American ports on the Pacific coast where conditions are much the same.

This and That

The BC Electric Railway wrote to say that a new kind of fender invented by Mr. Watson of Toronto was being brought to Vancouver for tests, and invited Board members to witness the tests. (This would be a device installed at the front of the company’s streetcars to shunt aside anything or anyone trapped on the tracks.)

The president of the BC Fruitgrowers’ Association in Ladner wrote to say that the year had been a very poor one for fruitgrowers, especially up the Fraser Valley, and a reduction in freight rates from the Interior to prairie and coast points was needed. The Board agreed and passed the matter on to its freight rates committee. Charles Tisdall commented that, besides the question of freight rates, complaints had been received about the irregularity of the service.

The subject of the Agassiz local train popped up again. The CPR had been asked to reinstate this service, and had declined. (See the September 3, 1907 entry.) The Board thought it might be an idea to have this train run through from Revelstoke. President Heaps interjected that CPR officials had claimed the Agassiz local was not a paying proposition. “It was always crowded,” someone chimed in. This matter was also referred to the freight rates committee.

Bills of Lading

There’s a surprising fact about Canadian industry in 1908 in this item. Read on!

Two gentlemen from the Toronto office of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association (CMA), Mr. Walsh and Mr. Breadner, spoke to the Board about the contentious issue of railway bills of lading. “We wanted,”said Walsh, “to draw up an unconditional bill of lading by which the railways should be forced to receive, carry and deliver all traffic.”

That, apparently, didn’t fly. They drafted a new version, the principal clause of which “would make the railways responsible for the loss of any goods consigned to them for transportation, not only while the goods are on their own line, but until they get to their destination. The other clauses of the bill try to place the onus for negligence in the handling of the goods upon the railway company.”

[The May 8, 1907 entry shows that many Canadian shippers were unhappy with the over-complicated bills of lading then in use by the railways. They appeared to have been fashioned to get the railways out from under any responsibility for the goods they carried.]

The subject of the tariff on woollen goods came up. The present tariff on tweeds and other woven fabrics was from 22.5 to 30 per cent, “and so far as pure wool was concerned [Breadner] had no objection to this tariff. Insofar, however, as the shoddy materials were concerned, while the manufacturers did not desire an exorbitant tariff, they felt that some measures should be taken to protect the Canadian manufacturer, especially as the textile manufacture was the third largest industry.” (Emphasis added.)

[That word “shoddy” wants further investigation; it can actually refer simply to a type of wool.]

The Province report (December 2, 1908, Page 2) ended with: “Mr. Breadner thought that the reason British Columbia was not receiving as much attention from the CMA as the other provinces was simply because she had not spoken up for herself.”

What else was happening locally in 1908?

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

Next: 1909 »

























































































A streetcar in Vancouver, c. 1908 (photo: Philip Timms, courtesy Vancouver Historical Society)
A streetcar in Vancouver, c. 1908
[Photo: Philip Timms, courtesy Vancouver Historical Society]























Ewing Buchan (photo: Vancouver Historical Society)
Ewing Buchan
[Photo: Vancouver Historical Society]







John Hendry
John Hendry