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.
The Province for March 10, 1926 reported on the annual meeting
of the Vancouver Board of Trade held the night before at the Hotel
Vancouver. A.M. Dollar, the retiring president, gave an address
reviewing Vancouvers progress in 1925.
Mayor Louis D. Taylor, the paper told
us, installed the new president, Mr. F.E. Burke, and the new
vice-president, Robert McKee, both of whom were unanimously elected.W.E.
Payne was re-elected secretary.
Members of The Boards council were elected,
too. The results:
|R. H. Arnott
|A. W. Blake
||Insurance, financial and real estate
||Advertising and sales
||Legal and legislative
and non-chairmen on the council (including several very well-known
A.McC. Creery, A.M. Dollar, G.V. Holt, R. Kerr Houlgate, H.R. MacMillan,
J.K. Macrae, J.P.D. Malkin, Chris Spencer, Nichol Thompson, J.B.
Thompson, W. J. Blake Wilson and W.C. Woodward.
The report of the retiring president, Mr.
A.M. Dollar, the Province continued, was a most
complete review in summarized form of national, provincial and civic
progress. Underlying was a note of optimism for national and municipal
prosperity, and interwoven was business advice upon various matters
as seen by Mr. Dollar.
Taxes too high
The gist of Dollars message was that taxes
were too high, and that was caused because the government was spending
too much. Year after year, the burden is increased,
Dollar said, until today Canada faces one of the most serious
situations ever encountered by any country in the world . . . In
a country of nine million people, gentlemen, the burden is too great.
I feel that mine is a voice crying in the wilderness, but it is
my firm conviction that if, through the Dominion Board of Trade,
we can bring pressure to bear upon our federal government to start
the work of cutting our expenditures, and cutting to the bone, we
will have made a start in reaching the solution.
He followed this with a great number of statistics, all showing
that Vancouver was growing rapidly and prospering as never before!
A few minutes, the paper reported, were
devoted to a survey of some of the most important events of the
past year, in which Mr. Dollar referred to the completion of the
drydock at North Vancouver, the Second Narrows Bridge [note: not
the present structure], the new $2.5 million railway pier, the decision
of the B.C. Electric to spend $33 million in developing the Bridge
River project, the tram companys $3.735 million investment
in Stave Falls, and the projected new grain elevator on the north
Speaking of the improvement of harbor facilities
at Vancouver, Mr. Dollar paid a tribute to the work the commissioners
were doing, adding that he was glad to see that one of the boards
most active members, Mr. K.J. Burns, occupied the position of port
superintendent. He placed the amount of wheat that would pass through
the port this year at 60 million bushels.
As a comparison, the Port of Vancouver tells us that in 2006 we
shipped through 5,613,565 metric tonnes of wheat. That works out
to 206,178,896 bushels.
The Hudsons Bay was spending $3.5 million on an extension
of its store at Georgia and Granville, Spencers was building
a $4 million store on Hastings Street and Woodwards was spending
$1.5 million on its "programme." What that was isnt
The most astonishing development of the building
trade, however, the Province story continued, was
the number of dwellings erected in the Greater Vancouver district.
In Point Grey alone the number of houses built during the year was
1,113, valued at $4,446,000. [Thats an average value of just
under $4,000 a house.]
Satisfaction was expressed that the University
was now housed in its new buildings at Point Grey, and a pleasing
reference was made to the magnanimous offer of Mr. H.A. Stone to
provide the nucleus of an art gallery in Vancouver in a gift of
In a day when less than $4,000 got you a good house, a gift of
$50,000 was magnanimous indeed! Lets have a closer look at
Henry Athelstan Stone had been the president of The Board in 1909
and was very active. In 1931 Stone would become (appropriately!)
the first president of the Vancouver Art Gallery Association. The
23, 1935 issue of the UBC student newspaper, Ubyssey,
has an online story about Stone addressing students on Department
Store Management. Theres a picture of him.
In an October 7, 2006 story by Kevin Griffin in
The Vancouver Sun, Griffin writes about Stone: Born
in London, he came to Canada in 1882 and made his money in a dry
goods store called Gault Brothers. When his only son died in the
First World War, he decided to establish a memorial that would benefit
the whole city. In 1925, Stone and Jonathan Rogers devised a plan
that called for Stone to contribute $50,000 and Rogers and nine
other supporters $5,000 each. The money was offered to the city
to purchase works of art along with a request for a site and building
to house the collection, according to a history compiled by VAG.
The city declined the initial offer and refused a second time two
years later. Finally, after the start of the Great Depression in
1929, the city accepted $130,000 to cover the art, the building
and furnishings. Griffins entire story can be read here.
There is another interestingand heartwarmingsidebar
to the H.A. Stone story. Those of you who visit the West Vancouver
Memorial Library will have seen a magnificent stained glass window
there. Titled Harmony, it was created in 1931 by John Henry
Dearle. The Stones commissioned the window as a memorial to their
son, Lt. Horace Gordon Stone. Lt. Stone, a naval officer, died during
the First World War.
The windows inscription reads: To the Memory
of Lieut. Horace Gordon Stone, only son of Henry A. and Beatrice
H. Stone of the city, who died on Active Service December 15, 1918
The Fight Goes On
Back to outgoing President Dollars farewell
address. He promised that The Board would continue to fight for
fairness in freight rates (a sore point for virtually all of the
40 years of The Boards existence!), and for development of
the Peace River country. Locally, there had been work on the
embargo on cattle moving into this country infected with the foot
and mouth disease, on the principle of preference given to
trade between the dominions of the Empire, the modification
of the citys straw and fodder order, and the plans The
Board had in view for the development of Capilano Park.
The same issue of the Province (March 10,
1926) from which the preceding comes also included a short report
on the proposed Burrard Street Bridge. Mayor Louis D. Taylor would
be meeting with representatives of the provincial government, Canadian
Pacific Railway, B.C. Electric Railway and the Harbor Board.
And heres an interesting excerpt: Alderman
G.H. Worthington told the delegation he would endeavor to obtain
action on the paving of Broadway west in that section, where only
one side of the road is paved. He declared there was a possibility
the Provincial Government would assist as Broadway was a principal
route to the University site.
The August 30, 1926 Province had a funny
Page One story about a voyage made to Trail by five members of The
Vancouver Board of Trade. They were the guests of the Trail Board
of Trade, and they determined to play a prank on the guest speaker,
Mayor L.D. Taylor of Vancouver. Mayor Taylors custom
of wearing a red tie is well known, the paper reported, and
Donald McDonald, the president of the Trail Board, was made a party
to the conspiracy.
In introducing the mayor, Mr. McDonald said
it was not necessary to mention his name as he was well known by
reason of his red tie. Gentlemen, I now call on the mayor
of Vancouver,' he said.
Mayor Taylor stood up . . . and so did five
others scattered around the hall, each wearing a red tie. They all
began to speak at once, thanking the citizens of Trail for the welcome
extended. Mayor Taylor and the other members of the Vancouver party
were taken by surprise, while the Trail men looked on in puzzled
wonder, not knowing which was the real mayor.
L.D. rose to the occasion, and remarked he
did not know Vancouver had grown to such an extent that six mayors
were necessary. However, he said, despite their
red ties I think they are counterfeit. So I will sit down and let
them do their stuff.
President McDonald thereupon called on the
mayor of English Bay, the mayor of Chinatown, the mayor of False
Creek, the mayor of Kitsilano and the mayor of Stanley Park. The
jokesters all made humorous speeches, and then cleared the track
for Mayor Taylor, who made a thoughtful address on cooperation between
the various parts of British Columbia.
Off to the Okanagan (Kootenays, too)
The Province for August 21, 1926 told of
a 41-man delegation from The Vancouver Board of Trade leaving that
night to tour the Okanagan and Kootenay districts, with a projected
return date of Sunday, September 5. The trip is in line,
said the paper, with the practice of the board during the
past eight years in sending groups of its members to various parts
of British Columbia to become better acquainted with provincial
conditions and to cultivate a better understanding between Vancouver
and other portions of the province.
Then the paper lists the name of every member of the delegation.
(We counted just 40 names.) One of them was F.E. Burke, The Boards
The Delegates Astounded
That Board delegationsaid a story by C.A.
Sutherland on Page One of the Province for September 1, 1926was
astounded by the Sullivan mine at Kimberley, one
of the greatest silver-lead-zinc producers in the world.
It was a tour, said Sutherland, that inspired
in all who made it a new realization of the extent of the mineral
possibilities of British Columbia . . . Located in 1892, the Sullivan
mine met with the usual vicissitudes of mining ventures until 1909,
when the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company took it over.
[That would be Cominco. There is an interesting history of the company
In 1910, the paper continued, 310,000
tons were shipped, and in 1925 the total reached 1,163,705 tons.
By 1914 the Sullivan had become the largest producer of lead ore
in Canada, and in 1925 the largest in the world.
Many of the processes involved in extraction of
the various ores at the Sullivan had been developed by Canadian
technicians. There is a description in the web site just cited.
In the operations at Kimberley and the other holdings controlled
by Consolidated, the Province commented, it is
satisfactory to learn that young Canadian technical men are occupying
all the important positions, and judging from the results, making
an immense success of their work.
"The Vancouver visitors had a never-to-be-forgotten visit
into the heart of the Sullivan mine. Equipped with miners
lamps . . . they boarded electric cars and rode at a depth of 700
feet underground for two miles through the tunnel into the mine.
A marvellous tunnel it was, splendidly ventilated, well lighted,
and with very little timbering, so firm is the rock through which
it is cut.
Arrived at the end of this journey, thrilling
to the layman, they were given a practical illustration of mining
methods in the Sullivan. Passing through a crosscut into one of
the stopes [a 'stope is the excavation left after the ore
has been extracted], they learned that nearly all the mining operations
are carried on by machinery. After the ore is blown down it is mechanically
hauled to the chutes on cars by a scraper, an invention of one of
the blacksmiths in the mine. Where loading is necessary a mechanical
mucker is employed . . .
There are approximately 600 men employed in
the mine, and the best of relations exist between employer and employee.
The men are paid a flat rate plus a metal bonus, and also an efficiency
bonus . . . [He doesnt give any numbers.] The mine is one
of the safest on the continent, and it is doubtful if there is another
on the continent that has had as low a death rate for several years.
In the last two or three years but two fatalities have occurred.
After a tour of the powerhouse the delegation were
guests at a luncheon hosted by the Kimberley Board of Trade. Following
that they visited the immense concentrator . . . Portrayal
of this wonderful giant beggars description. An hours time
was occupied in going through the various buildings and in that
space there is just time to pause a moment at a few of the hundreds
of intricate pieces of machinery and marvel at the ingenuity and
skill of the men who designed and fashioned it.
Here again one is informed that men in the
employ of the Consolidated carried out the work. Nearly every piece
of machinery is Canadian made, not a little of the equipment being
turned out at the Consolidated shops at Trail.
The town of Kimberley had grown immensely because
of the success of the Sullivan mine. More than 4,000 persons
reside there. The growth of the town was a revelation to those in
the party who had not visited the camp in recent years.
And the prospects for further growth were great:
Near the Sullivan mine are the Stemwinder and the North Star
mines, promising properties which are being steadily developed.
The Sullivan has a body of ore blocked out that will take a lifetime
to mine, and the other mines are also said to have deposits that
are equally as extensive and rich.
Kimberley residents, the Provinces
report concluded, are wont to poke a little fun at Cranbrook
on account of the rapid growth of their community, but Cranbrook
citizens are not disturbed. They know that the greater the development
at Kimberley the greater the development at Cranbrook, the distributing
point for the entire area and but nineteen miles distant.
The Board party next reached Fernie, where
they are being showered with hospitality by the citizens of the
coal centre of East Kootenay.
Fernie to be the Pittsburgh of the
In a follow-up to the preceding story, the Province,
on September 2, 1926 (Page One) ran a story about the Boards
delegates visiting Fernie in the East Kootenay.
Bear with us as we reproduce, in full, the 89-word
sentence with which the papers C.A. Sutherland begins his
report: Fernie as the centre of great industries, employing
thousands of Canadian-trained experts, and giving employment to
many thousands of workmen, and also Fernie as one of the largest
shippers into the port of Vancouver, where she would market her
steam and domestic coal, was foreshadowed in an announcement here
on Wednesday night by W.R. Wilson, president of the Crows Nest Pass
Coal Company, in an address at a dinner tendered by the Fernie Board
of Trade to the members of the Vancouver Board of Trade now touring
Wilson declared, the paper continued, that
there was lying within a short radius of Fernie sufficient iron
deposits to start and support industries equal to at least 50 per
cent of the immense operations conducted at Pittsburgh. [The
paper misspells it as Pittsburg.]
Unfit for Commercial Use?
Wilson went on to say that years ago he had been
told there were certain chemical properties in the iron deposits
of the district that made it unfit for commercial purposes. He had
learned, however, that there was iron ore in Montana which, if blended
with the Fernie iron, was capable of producing the best iron and
steel in the world. We export many of our natural products
to the United States, he said. Why should not we import
some from the United States also, and help make Fernie what it was
intended to be? He added that he hoped to see the day when
crude iron, possibly steel rails, and other similar things, would
be manufactured right at Fernie, where lay inexhaustible supplies
Fernie, Sutherland wrote, has
passed through troublesome times in the last few years [citing fire,
strikes, mine disasters and other handicaps], but is again getting
on its feet. At present the output of the Coal Creek and Michel
Mines is about 4,000 tons daily, and 1,400 men are employed . .
. When one realizes that Fernie is situated in a district
over which there are rich coal deposits extending over an area of
230 square miles, there is good reason to believe that Mr. Wilson
may yet realize the fulfilment of his vision.
During its 26 years operations the Crows
Nest Pass Coal Company has paid out $65 million in expenditures
of various character and, in addition, $18 million to transportation
companies in freight rates. It has employed on average 1,800 men
and paid more than $2.5 million to the Provincial Government in
taxes and $220,000 to the federal government. In 1925 it paid out
$3,106,000 and employed on an average 1,460 persons. The average
wage to contract miners was $7.05 a shift, and to all employees,
both surface and underground, the average was $4.55.
[We cited Fernies troublesome times
above. They make a grim litany: on May 22, 1902 a Coal
Creek Mine explosion killed 128 men, one of the
worst mining disasters in Canadian history. on August 1, 1908
a vast fire in the Kootenay Valley destroyed three towns: Elk River,
Fernie and Michel. More than 80 people perished. Details here.
And in 1917 a coal
dust explosion at the #3 Michel Mine killed 34.]
The Board of Trade delegation, reported the Province
September 3, 1916, next visited Invermere in the Windermere Valley,
the scenic beauty of which is unsurpassed in British Columbia.
The visitors were the guests of the Windermere Board
of Trade and were enjoying a stay at Fairmont Springs, where
they are golfing, motoring and otherwise taking advantage of the
many facilities the district provides for recreation. They
heard of modest mining and agricultural advances made in the area,
but what they mostly took away were memories of the areas
beauty. Mr. F.E. Burke, president of the Vancouver Board of
Trade, wrote C.A. Sutherland on September 5, declares
that, from a scenic standpoint, there is no place he has visited
on the present trip that surpasses what Windermere has to offer.
Other members of the party support this opinion.
Windermere, wrote Sutherland, is a district
that only poets should describe . . . Perhaps this is why so many
literary men have made their homes in the district and why so many
writers come here for their initial summer vacation. After two weeks
of investigating prosaic industrial and commercial potentialities
the Vancouver visitors found Windermere restful, satisfying and
soothing. It felt good just to step off the train in the morning,
gaze at the glorious view of mountain, lake, and light and shadow,
breathe the beautiful air and thank God that one was able to enjoy
Sutherland waxes poetically about the areas
agricultural products. Its potatoes had won the blue ribbon at the
Provincial Potato Show for three years running. Its garden peas
excelled, and it produces splendid crops of hay and alfalfa.
The dairying industry is no mean one . . . Ayrshire cattle are the
favorite, although Holsteins are numerous and the Jerseys are gaining
The Board of Trade delegates attended the Windermere
District Fair to see fine exhibits of poultry and all kinds of vegetables
and flowers. The Dominion Experimental Farm here had an impressive
exhibit . . .
And, reports the Province, many of the delegates
paid a visit to Radium. The story says Radium was formerly
known as . . . but that former name is illegible on the microfilm,
and a Google search didnt help. Anyway, its known as
Radium Hot Springs today, and it has an interesting history that
you can read here.
The owner in 1926 was a wealthy Manchester businessman named, says
the paper, H.P. Holland. This is likely an error. It probably should
be W. Heap Holland, and we cite him only because he reserved one
of the hot baths for the local Indian people. (They, of course,
had been using the hot springs for centuries for their curative
The Board of Trade delegates thoroughly enjoyed their visit here!
More on 1926 Biz Biz to come.
What else was happening
locally in 1926?
For a once-over-lightly look at the history of The
Vancouver Board of Trade, go here.
Next: 1932 »
The Hudson's Bay Store today
Harmony, by John Henry Dearle
[Photo: West Vancouver Memorial Library]
Sullivan Mine, Kimberley, 1926
(B.C. Archives Call Number B-05345)
Photographer M. Chabot captures the beauty of Invermere in