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


The January 10, 1935 Vancouver Sun (Page 2) indicates that British financiers were leery of investing in BC’s mines. Our mining industry, the Brits said, needed “house cleaning.”

“Voluntary action,” the Sun said, “towards purging the mining business in British Columbia of dubious and sometimes deliberately dishonest promotion schemes has been under way for some time, it was revealed at a meeting of the Mining Bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade in Hotel Vancouver Wednesday.

“F. M. Black, bureau chairman, who was re-elected for another term, told of a joint committee of 15 men from five organizations representing almost all phases of the mining business that has been studying the problem for some weeks and is already able to report good progress. Reputable promoters, brokers, engineers, mine operators and others are represented on the committee on which there are three representatives each from the Board of Trade Mining Bureau, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the Mining Association of B. C., the Vancouver Stock Exchange and B. C. Chamber of Mines . . .

Great Potential

"’British Columbia has mining potentialities such as no one has yet been able to estimate. Already their development has made mining one of our foremost industries. But the public faith in mining promotions must be maintained and in order to get continued support of investors an end must be put to dubious schemes’, Mr. Black said."

“What definite action may be taken is not yet indicated. It is intimated that the general trend of the movement is towards a ‘house cleaning’ within the industry itself.

“The announcement by Mr. Black came with added interest because it coincided with an address by F. P. Burden, former agent general of B. C. in London, who told frankly and bluntly of his mostly unsuccessful experiences in endeavoring to interest British capitalists and mining corporations in the opportunities awaiting them in British Columbia.

“Listing the reasons, as he found them, Mr. Burden said: “The history of Canadian mining promotions in London is not good and there is much to be lived down. British mining investors, with little knowledge of Canada, were ‘taken in’ by improper schemes, usually advised by unscrupulous acquaintances and ‘friends’ who had been in Canada, and these failures were still charged back to Canadians generally.

“Many of these London promotions of some years ago were ‘out and out swindles.’

Won’t Gamble

“It is useless to try to interest British capital on the basis of maps and plans and glowing prospects, because mining in Canada is different from South Africa or Australia. British investors are willing to ‘invest’ heavily in a proved property, but they are not used to ‘gambling’ on the uncertain future of a prospect.

“Canadian mining issues of proved worth are almost unknown in London because they are usually financed in Toronto or New York, and the London market thus lacks the ‘background’ of successful Canadian mines that creates public confidence. British people have hazy ideas of distances in Canada. When urged to send their own engineers or representatives to look over a proposition in British Columbia they reply that they have a representative who usually turns out to be in Montreal or New York, and who knows as little about British Columbia as themselves.

“‘We have got to keep hammering at them to send their own engineers out here to see for themselves what we have. Once (we) get them into the field so that they will learn what we have here the amount of capital they would furnish would be unlimited,’ Mr. Burden said.”

T.S. Dixon President Again

“Vancouver Board of Trade members at their annual dinner meeting in Hotel Vancouver on Friday night will acclaim a new president for 1935, but he will not be new to the job,” reported the Sun for January 18, 1935 (Page 18).

T. S. Dixon, managing director of Gault Bros. Ltd., was the one nominee for the presidency when nominations for the three chief officers of the board closed on Tuesday, and is thus elected by acclamation. He was president in 1928, one of the youngest and most aggresive presidents in the history of Vancouver's chief trade and business organization.

“The honor of the vice presidency, also by acclamation, goes to J.Y. McCarter, prominent architect . . . W. E. Payne, popular and perennial secretary, was also re-elected unanimously and after Friday night's meeting will be entering his eighteenth year in that post. He joined the staff of the board in 1910 and became secretary in 1918.”

[Incidentally, in 1935 a special committee of the BC Medical Association had been formed to investigate what could be done about an increasing incidence of cancer and lack of treatment facilities. The committee worked with the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Greater Vancouver Health League, and the first meeting was chaired by T.S. Dixon, president of the Board of Trade. See our 1935 chronology for more on that story.]

[The reference above to Gault Brothers reminds us that that company, a dry goods store, was one of the original contributors to the establishment in 1931 of Vancouver’s first civic art gallery. The October 7, 2006 Sun has a good article on the subject by Kevin Griffin.]

Better Rates, Better Roads

“Fight to keep and to build up Vancouver's grain trade.

“Better roads for British Columbia.

“These were two of the aggresive policies laid down for Vancouver Board of Trade at its annual meeting Friday night by T. S. Dixon, incoming president,” according to the Sun for January 19, 1935 (Page One.)

“Mr. Dixon spoke briefly but vigorously of the coming year's work as he took the chair.

“‘One of the most important duties of the year,’ he said, ‘would be the fight to retain for Vancouver the present position as one of the world's greatest grain ports in the face of the apparently unfair attitude of other interests. There is too much at stake in the Port of Vancouver to allow anything to prevent the natural flow of Canada's grain crop to the Pacific Coast.’

“He also said that one of the chief objectives of the board would be to back up public demand for road improvement in the province, so important to increased tourist traffic. And he spoke hopefully for the movement to resuscitate the Associated Boards of Trade of British Columbia so that there might again be a central body qualified to speak to governments with the voice of all the business interests of the province.”

“Progress due to Dictatorship”

The January 19, 1935 Sun, in a Page One story, reported on an address (described as ‘comprehensive and brilliantly analytical’) about Russia by J. W. DeB. Farris, K.C. He was speaking at the annual meeting of The Vancouver Board of Trade.

“Russia has undoubtedly made great strides since the revolution,” he said, “but the essential fact is that the progress which has been made, and which will be made in the future, is not due to Communism, but to dictatorship.

“‘Democracy would not have done it, because democracy is not for people like the Russians, any more than dictatorship is for a free people like those of Canada, Britain and the United States. Dictatorship would not work in the latter countries because the very idea is abhorrent to free people. They would never stand for it.

“‘Russia's problem is entirely different from that of Canada and the other countries named. Russia was, and is, backward industrially and needs food and consumer goods. Russia is trying to solve this problem. Canada's problem is that production of goods of all kinds has outrun demand and consumption.

“Primitive, Cruel People

“‘Russia's problem thus amounts to building up production of goods to reach a certain standard of living. Canada's problem is to dispose of and distribute a surplus of goods which can be produced in abundance, thanks to her technological advance. So far as Russian Communism is concerned, it is inconceivable that Canada could ever accept her doctrine, or in any way turn backwards to learn, from this primitive and cruel people.

“‘The problem of the world today is not between Communism and Capitalism, but between Democracy and Dictatorship. The great question is "Can Democracy endure?"

“‘Russia is the world's great object lesson in Dictatorship. Italy and Germany have learned the lesson from Russia. Is Democracy capable of standing against this force? There is a ruthless efficiency about these modern fanatical dictatorships that should cause every lover of liberty, freedom and individual rights, to take heed to the future,’ the speaker declared.

“‘There are important reasons at the present time why we should take some interest in Russia,” he said, “and have some understanding of what is happening in that country.

Russia Larger than North America

“‘Russia is the largest country in geographical extent in the world. It extends from the Baltic Sea—which is an arm of the Atlantic—to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of over 5,000 miles—practically as far as from here to Europe. It extends north to south for a width of 2,500 miles. It has an area of over eight million square miles. The area of Canada is 3,730,000 square miles; of the United States 3,027,000; Mexico 767,000 square miles. So that we find Russia is larger than the North American continent, including Canada, U. S. and Mexico.

“‘It has as part of its water boundaries the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. By land it is bounded by Finland, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Persia [note: now Iran], India, China, Korea and Manchuria. It borders on China alone for over 3,000 miles. [Note: that map of Russia shown is what it looks like today.]

“‘It is a popular idea that Russia is a frozen sort of place. We object to that being said of Canada—yet there is much more reason to say this of Canada than of Russia. Both countries have their cold parts. Russia, however, has as great a variety of climates and zones as the North American continent. There are five zones in Russia from the Arctic to the Sub-Tropic. Russia is one of the most self-contained countries in the world.

Fertile Plains

“‘Extending eastward from Moscow there are great plains which contain the richest agricultural land in the world. From stretches in the lower Volga area the rich black soil extends downward from 50 to 70 feet. The significance of this may be better appreciated when I tell you that the average depth of soil in the U.S. Prairies is six inches. The population of Russia is over 160 million people.

“‘In this vast country things have been happening during the past seventeen years. During that time there has been a revolution—a revolution which has been political, social and industrial. The revolution has turned the government from the autocratic and aristocratic rule of the Tsar and his Court to an entirely different form of autocracy and a new type of aristocracy.

“‘The autocrat is now a Bolshevik by the name of Stalin.’”

Mines Worth $48 Per Capita

“The per capita value of metals produced in British Columbia last year was $48.87, while the whole of Canada produced metals worth $19.20 to every man, woman and child in the Dominion.”

That was the lead on a story for February 28, 1935 (Page 3). The report was on a luncheon talk given by Sidney Norman, mining editor of The Vancouver Sun, to The Vancouver Board of Trade. The title: "What's Mining Worth to You?"

“‘During 1933,’ Mr. Norman said, ‘the production of metals was worth $14.44 to every person in the Dominion, while the per capita in the United States was but $1.38. In other words, metals were worth over ten times as much to each person in Canada as in the United States.’

“Canada's production in 1934 reached $19.20 per head, but United States complete figures are not yet available, though it is believed that approximately the same proportion was maintained. British Columbia's 1934 gold production averaged $15 for every man, woman and child, while the proportion throughout Canada was $10.20; in the United States 82 cents and in California, the largest producer of the States, $4.14.

“It was also shown, by figures recently completed, that the mining industry led the other three creative industries with $42 million, or $60 per capita; agriculture coming second with $39.5 million, or $56; forestry third with $39.2 million, or $55, and fisheries fourth with $13.3 million, or $19 per inhabitant.

“The speaker pointed out that the industry had done more than any half-dozen others to meet the ravages of the Depression and that relief rolls had been wiped out in the gold mining districts.

11,000 Employed

“Annual wages paid to over 11,000 men engaged directly in mining were placed at $18 million, with another $8 million spent in supplies, largely furnished by Vancouver. Allowing for as many more engaged indirectly in the many branches of business affected by mining, Mr. Norman estimated that practically one-seventh of the total population of B.C. was supported by the industry.”

Slums Coming?

“There are no slums in Vancouver, but the city is headed in that direction, unless action is taken to relieve the over-crowding conditions and furnish low rental homes for the poorer laborer, the Parliament Housing Committee was told today by J. Y. McCarter, a Vancouver architect, past vice-president of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and vice-president of the Vancouver Board of Trade.”

The report was in the Sun for March 13, 1935 (Page 3).

“In 1927-28-29,” the paper continued, quoting Mr. McCarter, “‘the mortgage companies in Vancouver made loans for construction purposes on building and property of 100 to 110 per cent of the value of the two’, said Mr. McCarter. In many cases, the mortgage company provided the money that purchased the property and built the home.

“Through the ease of money in this period, the speculative builder developed a condition in which, at the end of 1929, the community was over-built with reference to homes and apartments.

“This speculative builder, building only for sale, developed a large amount of second-class space, that is, space without proper light and ventilation in his buildings. The type of construction was poor, with no permanency, and the minimum of depreciation not being considered. This second-class space during the Depression reduced the rent of first-class space, whether in home or apartments, and also tended to reduce the assessment.

Urged Strict Zoning

“The City should protect itself by having a sound City plan, with strict zoning and building regulations to protect the investment of its citizens and itself. These regulations, said Mr. McCarter, should aim at establishing a class of citizen in a given area so that this area would support the class of citizen for which it is designed for a long period of years, with a minimum of depreciation. This necessitated an exterior construction in the home or apartment that would not deteriorate with the weather and compelled the use of brick, stone or concrete.

“In Vancouver, with the frame constructed house, if the owner of one house failed to paint his home, his home slips and the block of homes depreciates and the whole district loses the value that it had a few years previous. This was the case with the West End in Vancouver, adjoining Stanley Park. The houses in this area today were largely poor-class rooming houses, occupied by three to five families, which means overcrowding in very many cases.”

City Saves $1

We like this story a lot! It appeared in the March 13, 1935 Sun (Page 3).

“A credit item of one dollar per year was chalked up Tuesday by the City Council against its expenditure, under Railway Commissioners' orders, of almost $500,000 toward the construction of the CPR cross-town tunnel.

“Because the tunnel eliminated level-crossings at Pender Street near Carrall, the city didn't have to keep a signalman there. Because no watchman is needed, no shelter for him is necessary. Because no shelter is required, no lease for the necessary land from the CPR need be continued. Because the lease can be surrendered, Council, in Board of Works, authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to sign the necessary legal forms.

“Because the city is no longer a CPR tenant, it doesn't have to pay the $1-per-year rental.”


British Columbia salvage companies are the most efficient on the Pacific Ocean, J. H. Hamilton, manager of the Merchants' Exchange, told the engineering bureau of The Board of Trade at a  luncheon Wednesday, February 6, 1935 in an address on “Salvaging.”

The Page 3 story said the speaker “gave graphic descriptions of big salvage jobs on the coast from Mexico to Alaska in all of which British Columbia salvage companies made noteworthy achievements. Practically the only mode of transportation along the several thousand miles of coast indentations in BC is by steamer, Mr. Hamilton said, and for that reason the amount of coast-wise trade here is out of proportion to the size and population of the province.

“‘The fact that there are so few casualties in shipping along the coast, despite frequent fogs and the rocky formation of the routes, is a tribute to the skillful navigation of our mariners,’ Mr. Hamilton said. As typical examples of the high class of salvage work done by British Columbia companies, he referred in some detail to the coffer dam built around the steamer Prince Rupert when she went ashore at Swanson Bay and was successfully floated.

“Mention was also made of the salvage job on the steamer Princess May, when she stranded in an unusual position on Sentinel Island in 1910, the salvage company blasting the rock that had punctured the hull. Praise was also given the company that took the Catala off the rocks outside of Fort Simpson in 1927. On this occasion 300 tons of rock were blasted away of which 100 tons were inside the vessel, he said.

“Successful efforts of another B. C. salvage company in 1922 in rescuing a former British "Q" boat from the sandbanks off the Mexican coast were described. A racy description was given of the work of Mr. Percy Sills, a Vancouver lumberman, who with a fine group of longshoremen salvaged lumber off the wrecked steamer Canadian Exporter on a sandbar off Grace Harbor.”

“Every Tourist Meal an Export”

"Every tourist meal is an export; and every article or service we can sell to our visitors will help to overcome the unbalanced condition of British Columbia's trade.

“In these words,” reported the Sun for March 15, 1935 (Page 20), “Dr. W. A. Carrothers, chairman of British Columbia's Economic Council, in an address before the B.C. Products Bureau [of The Vancouver Board of Trade] at a Hotel Vancouver luncheon Thursday, emphasized the importance of encouraging the Tourist Industry as one of the three things which British Columbia can do for herself in fighting her way out of the Depression.

“The three policies he stressed are:

  1. Development of small industries employing from 5 to 15 men
  2. Promote the use of B. C. products at home
  3. Build up the Tourist Industry in every possible way.

UnBalanced Trade

“One of the first jobs undertaken by the B. C. Economic Council, said Dr. Carrothers, in opening, was to obtain an accurate picture of the trade of British Columbia in relationship to the rest of Canada and to the world. And the figures obtained after tremendous research reveal a seriously ‘unbalanced situation.’

“‘British Columbia,’ said the speaker ‘is for the most part a primary producer, consequently we have to export a major part of our production and import most of the things we desire to consume. And furthermore, for the most part our primary products have to be shipped abroad where in selling we come into competition with the producers of the world, whereas, we buy most of our domestic requirements from Eastern Canada, where in buying we have to cope with the adverse influence of Canada's protective tariff.’

“Dr. Carrothers gave the following statistical picture of British Columbia's trade situation:

B.C. Purchases in Canada............$88 million

B.C. Sales in Canada.....................$14 million


“In other words, we send $74 millions more east from Vancouver to purchase goods than we get from the sale of B. C. products in other parts of the Dominion.

“The foreign situation Dr. Carrothers gave in the following figures:

B.C. Products exported...........$51 million

Imports from abroad...............$26 million

FAVORABLE BALANCE.....$25 million

“So that our trade with the world nets us only $25 millions with which to meet our adverse balance with eastern Canada.

“This unbalanced trade situation is one requiring carefully devised policies to correct, Dr. Carrothers said. This, among other vitally important questions is one of the matters that will have to be dealt with next fall when the great Dominion-Interprovincial Economic Conference takes place. ‘No doubt,’ he declared, ‘the forthcoming Ottawa Conference will bring a solution to many of our major problems, but in the meantime there are things we can do and must do to help ourselves.

“‘One of the things we have learned in the present depression is that we depend more and more upon our own efforts. And another lesson is that we will emerge from this depression by emphasizing the importance of small things. Creating a job for a man here and there will cumulatively do an immense amount of real good while we are waiting for the major adjustments which inevitably must be made. But in looking for these major adjustments we must not lose sight of those things which we can do for ourselves.’”


“In elaborating on his three-way program of suggested self-help for B.C., Dr. Carrothers emphasized the vital importance which small industries have been in the south of England. In the north, with its large industries, he said, depression effects have been most severe. ‘There has been hardly any depression at all in the midlands and south of England,’ he declared, ‘because small industries, with five to fifteen men, have a stabilizing influence, particularly those producing domestic requirements.’

“With reference to stimulating the consumption of home-made products, the speaker said there are many things now imported which there is no reason to import, although it must not be assumed that everything we can produce here should be discouraged in the local market. Such a policy has to be carried out with due regard for the fact that where we would sell we must also buy.

“The Tourist Industry, Dr. Carrothers thought, can be made one of the most outstanding influences in correcting unbalanced conditions. ‘Every tourist meal and every article or service sold to a tourist is equivalent to an export,’ he said.”

Pleading for Anyox

The Province for March 19, 1935 (Page 18) reported that “Following representations from the British Columbia Chamber of Mines and the B.C. branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, the executive of Vancouver Board of Trade on Monday afternoon decided to ask the Federal and Provincial governments to make every possible effort to prevent closing down of the Granby Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. mine and plant at Anyox. Present plans call for closing down the community in June.

“Closing down the plant, the Board of Trade states, will have the following effect: Loss of employment to 1,000 men, throwing a total of possibly 2,500 persons on relief, probably in Vancouver.”

[The Board’s efforts were in vain. Anyox, run by the Granby mining company, would close in June of 1935. Incidentally, the late Sun columnist Denny Boyd was born in Anyox in 1930.]

Early Telegraphy

“An almost forgotten page in British Columbia's history, a page telling of a gigantic scheme, boldly planned and energetically prosecuted, was reviewed by Judge F. W. Howay of New Westminster, before the transportation and customs bureau of the Board of Trade on Friday, when he dealt with the Collins overland telegraph line of the late fifties. [Note to readers: That’s the 1850s!]

The Province of April 27, 1935 (Page 7) told the tale:

“The story had to do with the ambitious plan of eastern capitalists to run an overland telegraph wire from San Francisco to Europe via British Columbia, Alaska and Siberia, following the failure in 1851 and several subsequent years of other companies to lay a workable cable across the Atlantic. The Collins wire, or what was in reality the Western Union telegraph wire, was actually run from San Francisco northward to New Westminster, and on to Stuart Lake, but the mammoth undertaking was abandoned in 1866 when a cable was successfully laid across the bed of the Atlantic.

Subsidy Refused

“Judge Howay's address was confined particularly to the work of the Western Union in British Columbia, and his several interesting stories gave an informative picture of the efficient manner in which the company tackled its great enterprise with a force of 1,500 men and thirteen ships.

“The speaker, in giving a background of the British Columbia part of the work, told how the crown colony of British Columbia turned down the proposal to subsidize a telegraph line from Eastern Canada but readily gave a charter to the Western Union which required no payment. On April 17, 1865, the overland wire reached New Westminster and the first message received over it was an account of the assassination of U.S. President Lincoln. Judge Howay described how the company took the wire to Hope by June 1 and reached Yale by August 1, cutting a wide telegraph trail through the virgin forest, a no mean undertaking. Work progressed until the following year saw Skeena reached, and by July 1, 1866, the trail reached a point on Lake Fraser.

Native People Objected

“How the Skeena Indians, under provocation of a medicine man, opposed the work, and how they were at last brought into line, was told by the speaker. In October, 1866, all operations ceased, he said, as news of the successful Atlantic cable was flashed across the wires. By that time the company had expended $3 million and, Judge Howay said, stockholders were told that if they returned their stock they would be given their money back. This contract was actually carried out, he said.

“For a time the Western Union tried to operate the line as far as Quesnel, even extending it into Barkerville, but it lost money. In the end the colony of British Columbia bonused it, but the venture still lost money and finally it was offered to the British Columbia Government. When the government did not want it, the line was abandoned, but in 1869 the government reconsidered and opened negotiations for possession of the line. Eventually it passed to the Dominion Government, he said.”

Harbor Bosses Gather

In a Page One story in the May 10, 1935 Sun we learn that “International Harbor and Port Day is being celebrated in Vancouver today under auspices of the Transportation and Customs Bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

“The chief event was a noon-day luncheon in Hotel Vancouver with the Oval Room presenting a unique appearance, gaily decorated with national flags and the house flags of practically all shipping companies operating to and from the Pacific Coast. Representatives from 11 ports on both sides of the border attended the luncheon presided over by Bureau Chairman D. R. MacLaren, and at which Harold Brown, managing director of Union Steamships, was the chief speaker, his subject being ‘The Spirit of the Pacific.’

“The address featured a strong plea for better understanding and co-operation between the nations of the Pacific basin and a warning to the western nations to be prepared for the inevitable developments of the next quarter century.

“Following the luncheon, the large delegation of visitors were guests on a harbor trip in the harbor aboard the yacht Fispa.”

Hmm. Would have been nice to have had more details of Brown’s talk.

Before Health Insurance

“The Vancouver Board of Trade,” the Province reported September 23, 1935 (Page 8), “in a brief presented at Victoria today, strongly recommends that the whole proposal of health insurance for British Columbia remain in abeyance until the Dominion Government has issued a report. It further recommends that B.C. should not adopt any measure of health insurance until all the provinces have agreed on a uniform method.

“The Board of Trade recognizes that there is a definite need for some form of state assistance for people who are unable to obtain necessary medical attention, but it is its opinion that 3 per cent is too much to take from employees in view of other taxes which they must pay.

“As an example, the board points out that an employee earning $1,000 per year will contribute $30 yearly to this plan, in addition to $10 income tax and $13 for the new federal unemployment insurance tax, making a total of $53 a year.

Unemployment Insurance

“The Dominion Government has passed an Unemployment Insurance Act,’ the paper continued, ‘and has appointed a commission to study unemployment and health insurance. ‘It would appear desirable for all the provinces to wait until the report of that commission is issued. The federal investigation will, no doubt, embrace in its activities the entire Dominion of Canada, and it is our understanding that the commission will endeavor in its findings to develop a Dominion-wide conception of health insurance, which will obviously be an improvement upon a consideration of local requirements only, undertaken by separate provinces.

“Without a Dominion-wide agreement in health insurance, it is reasonable to suppose that British Columbia, favored as she is climatically, would attract a large number of the people from other provinces. An influx of population seeking advantages here which do not exist in other localities would add considerably to the total burden which this province proposes to assume. We have enough examples in our unemployment relief situation to illustrate this point.

Export Business Affected

"’We view with apprehension any additional tax on commerce and industry, and it is obvious that an extra impost of 2 per cent on business payrolls will add to the cost of production. This will further seriously affect not only British Columbia's position in interprovincial trading, but her export business, upon which we so much depend.

“‘An increase in production costs must of necessity increase the cost of living, which, more than any others, affects the employee class, who represent the bulk of our population. It must not be forgotten that as increased costs of production can not be added to the value of exported goods in world markets, the additional cost of these must be reflected in still higher prices of goods produced for local consumption.

“‘The chief need for assistance arises from major sickness and injury, because it is undoubtedly serious ailments and prolonged sickness which cause the greatest distress rather than minor ailments. The bulk of the employees may not desire to pay the high premium proposed, because it is reasonable to suppose that they are able to pay for the cost of minor ailments.

“There is the possibility, almost a certainty, that much greater hospital accommodation will be required than is at present available. We understand that the Vancouver General Hospital is working at full capacity and any additional requirements for space could not be met without a very large capital expenditure to enlarge the hospital, which would fall upon the City of Vancouver. The financial situation of the City of Vancouver is well known to you." [Note: this is a reference to the Depression, which was vigorously continuing.]


“Dr. Weir surprised the meeting by asking Mr. Reeve bluntly if the Board of Trade would favor instead of health insurance a system of state medicine on a socialized basis. [This story doesn’t explain who Dr. Weir and Mr. Reeve are. From 1933 to1941, George Weir was the Liberal MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. He was Premier Duff Pattullo's Provincial Secretary and Minister of Education. Mr. Reeve may be D.W. Reeve, who’d been elected President of the Vancouver Real Estate Board in 1928, and would likely have been a member of the Board of Trade in 1935.]

“Mr. Reeve said the board was opposed to the government going ahead on any policy which would mean that it took care of the people in all phases of life instead of allowing them to exercise their own initiative. He strongly condemned too much paternalism.

“To this Dr. Weir retorted that health insurance was designed to cut down paternalism. At present, he said, British Columbia was paying huge amounts in taxes to make up the deficits of hospitals because many patients did not pay hospital bills. These amounts came out of taxes on all citizens, and represented paternalism of an extreme sort.”

The Friendly Yukon

The October 17, 1935 Province (Page 13) told of a talk to the engineering bureau of the Board of Trade at a luncheon meeting in the Hotel Georgia by J.P. Forde, B.C. superintendent of the federal engineering department, who has travelled extensively throughout the Yukon in his work

“The speaker described the hospitality of Yukoners and some of the conditions under which they live, in addition to giving informative facts on the hydraulic and dredging operations in the mining areas. He registered a vigorous protest against the misuse of the word ‘Alaska’ in referring to things pertaining to the Yukon, declaring that even the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways and some Canadian magazines fell into the same error. He objected, he said, to railway advertising under the title of Alaskan scenes including pictures of Dawson and other Yukon centres.

“The Hon. George Black, in supplementing what Mr. Forde said, declared that the Yukon gold camps have lasted longer than any gold camps in the world. He predicted at least another twenty years of activity for the gold dredges in operation in the territory.”

Britain a Big Market for BC

One of the biggest export items from BC to Britain in the 1930s: doors!

That was one of the facts unearthed in an October 5, 1935 story in the Sun (Page 26) on trade with the Mother Country.

“England's great housing program,” said the paper, “which has meant so much business for British Columbia lumber exporters in the past 18 months is not nearly completed but only started. It will last five years, and barring any war upheaval it will be carried out with every opportunity for more lumber business than ever, H. R. Poussette, Canadian trade commissioner at Liverpool, told members of the Foreign Trade Bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade at luncheon in the Hotel Vancouver Friday.

“The British market beckons with opportunity for Canadian exporters, Mr. Poussette declared.

“An example is the fact that in 1932 British Columbia wooden doors were almost unknown in England. In the past year Vancouver factories alone have shipped over 800,000 doors and the total for the province, including New Westminster and Vancouver Island mills, has been one million.

“B.C. canned salmon has a preferred place in the British market, also pilchard oil, canned milk and canned apples. Britain can take all the ‘gallon can apples’ that the province can produce. Fresh apples are accepted as second to none. ‘You have the ball at your feet. England is Empire-minded about buying because England has come to realize that it must look to the Empire in the future for most of its own export business. So you should never be satisfied with any success you gain. it is always possible to make it greater. The British market is almost illimitable. Give John Bull what he wants, give him service with attention to every detail, and you will find an enormous amount of business if you only go after it,’ Mr. Poussette declared.

“Britain's recovery since 1932, when the country went off the gold standard, has been notable, the speaker declared. Unemployed number one million less than in 1933, and coupled with that is the fact that in spite of the loss of foreign markets the number gainfully employed is the largest in the whole history of the country.”

[We don’t know what “gallon can apples” are.]

Canada-Australia Trade Good

Australia was in the news on October 18, 1935. The Province for that date (Page 2) reported on a talk at noon before the foreign trade bureau of the Board of Trade by Mr. L. R. Macgregor, Australian trade commissioner in Canada.

“The speaker explained that since Australian federation in 1901 the country has always extended substantial tariff preferences to the United Kingdom with the result that during the post-war period Australia was Britain's second best customer. This favorable British preference was extended to Canada in 1931, and as a result Australia has become Canada's third best customer, he said.

“‘As far as England is concerned, Australia believes in a free and open market in the Mother Country,’ said Mr. Macgregor. ‘Approximately one-half of the finance required for Australian development during the last century and a half has been obtained from Britain, and the meeting of commitments for interest, redemption, dividends, shipping charges and such like in England could only be effected by the export of goods, apart from the necessity of paying for imports from Britain in the same way. Accordingly, Great Britain has been Australia's greatest market; over a term of years nearly half of Australia's exports went to the Old Country.’”

“Mr. Macgregor explained that notwithstanding this, Australia, like the Empire as a whole, is dependent on foreign markets for the sale of a considerable portion of her export commodities.”

Jobless Must Apply for Work

“Jobless citizens on relief in Vancouver must make application for work at least once every two weeks at the Employment Service of Canada, it was decided today by the City Council's relief committee.”

That was the lead for an October 21, 1935 Sun story (Page 5).

“This is an alternative,” the Sun continued, “to setting up the city's own employment bureau, which Relief Officer W. R. Bone said would duplicate the work already being done by the Dominion Government. After conference between Bone and J. H. McVety, Employment Service superintendent, the Relief Officer advised that each relief recipient be obliged to carry a Service card, which must be stamped at the bureau at least fortnightly.

“The Relief Officer's report showed that the number of cases on relief, including 5,126 families, declined by six during the past two weeks, from 7,177 to 7,171. Cost of supporting those on direct relief for the period from Oct. 2 to Oct. 16 was $87,711, of which the city paid $33,341 and the Provincial and Dominion Governments $54,370.

Mining Needs Ink!

“At the weekly luncheon meeting of the Advertising and Sales Bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade, at the Hotel Georgia Monday, Sidney Norman, mining editor of The Vancouver Sun, spoke on ‘B.C.'s Best Seller,’ expressing the opinion that the Bureau could do more to bring the mining opportunities of the province before the world than any other similar organization in the city.”

The story appeared in the Sun on October 29, 1935 (Page 2).

“Norman urged his audience to feature the industry's possibilities, as a patriotic and selfish duty, all the year round and deprecated inclination to devote generous space to it only when the stock market is active, pointing out that the physical condition of mines is of greater importance than speculation in securities based upon them.

“The industry was pictured as the most important in the province, not only in actual results so far as uninterrupted sale of products is concerned, but as the mainspring of buoyant optimism so necessary in these times. With an area of 366,000 square miles and a population of less than two to the square mile, Norman argued that extension of the productive areas of the province must always be the work of the miner, the promoter and the operator.

British Columbia produces:

* 10% of Canada's gold

* 13% of her copper

* 55% of her silver

* 83% of her zinc

* 98% of her lead

Canada contributes to the output of the Empire:

* All the nickel

* 49% of its zinc

* 34% of its lead

* 45% of its silver

* 13% of its copper

* 10% of its gold

“During the past twelve months 14 new gold milling plants have been constructed, with total capacity of over 1,200 tons of ore daily; total cost of over $1.5 million and potential producing capacity of an additional $2 million per annum.

“Gold production is now $1 million a month, an increase of over 250 per cent since 1925. Four major gold-mining areas, all directly tributary to Vancouver, are producing $11 million annually; paying $7.5 million for wages and supplies and distributing $2.6 million in dividends.”

'Vancouver City of Million in 15 Years'

This isn’t a Board of Trade item, but worth including. It’s from the October 29, 1935 Sun (Page 18).

“A great future for Vancouver was forecast Monday when R. Rowe Holland, chairman of the Park Board, addressing the Gyro Club, reviewed events of the past 35 years.

“‘In 15 years,’ he said, ‘we can expect a population of 1,000,000. We will be able to drive over the First Narrows Bridge and along paved roads to Garibaldi Park, and up to Grouse Mountain and Hollyburn Ridge. >From there we will see great paved roads leading off to the farming centres in the Fraser Valley, and bridges across the Fraser to Ladner. There will be ten times the present population in the Fraser Valley.’"

Grouse Mountain and Hollyburn Ridge Mr. Holland visioned as a great winter playground, drawing tourists from all parts of the continent and comparable with Switzerland. He urged particularly the purchase of a 25,000 acre tract there for development and operation by a metropolitan Parks Board.

“Mr. Holland sharply criticized the provincial and Dominion Liquor Act. It is idle, he said, to ask tourists to come here from the States, where their sumptuary laws are less strict, and to expect them to appreciate similar laws here that are much stricter and vary from province to province.”

[Note: Sumptuary? We looked it up. “Designed to regulate habits on moral or religious grounds.”]

Old Days in the Cariboo

“The gripping story of the Cariboo,” said the Province of November 1, 1935 (Page 8), “was related by Louis Lebourdais of Quesnel to the mining bureau of the Board of Trade on Thursday at the Hotel Vancouver. Some priceless original photographs were shown of the hardy, bewhiskered men of the period and the courageous women to whom Mr. Lebourdais paid tribute.

“While every picture shown held its own interest, perhaps the one which most intrigued the mining men, many of whom are familiar with Cariboo's later development, was an authentic photograph of one of the camels which for a short time were used to pack supplies along the romantic Cariboo Road. The pictures were gathered during the past twenty years, the speaker explained, and he tried to obtain pictures of first scenes -- arrival of pack trains, stage coaches and other transportation contrivances down through the years up to the modern train and the latest transport, the airplane.

Mining scenes, historical roadhouses, pack trains, stages and humans passed quickly before the rapt gaze of the audience, interrupted frequently by chuckles at Mr. Lebourdais' humorous remarks.” [None of which, unfortunately, the unnamed reporter shared with us.]

You can read about the Cariboo camels here.

Lumber Trade Booming

The November 28, 1935 Province (Page 7) told of big gains in the BC lumber trade, thanks to China and Australia.

“Mr. J. H. McDonald, managing director of B. C. Manufacturing Co. Ltd., gave an interesting review of the British Columbia lumber export situation, past and present, before the wholesale bureau of the Board of Trade at a luncheon meeting Wednesday.

“A few years ago, he said, two mills, one at Vancouver and the other at Chemainus, were engaged in the export business. Peak of production was reached in 1929, when it was obvious the lumbermen would have to go farther afield for markets, he said. The first field tackled was Australia, where a B.C. lumbermens’ delegation gained a sympathetic hearing. Then the Bennett government [note: the federal government of R.B. Bennett] made a reciprocal agreement as result of which the export trade grew from 41 million feet in 1929 to 128 million in 1934. The first ten months of this year, he said, have seen Australian shipments reach 108 million feet.

Gains in China

“‘'Some time was then spent' on the market in China, Mr. McDonald continued, and, while Canada has no preference there, the government subsidized shipping, with the result that by 1934 Canada was obtaining 22 per cent of the foreign lumber business to that country. In ten months of this year Canada's share has been 29 per cent, he stated.

“‘The market in China is not likely to wane, and we intend devoting more attention to it,’ the speaker said. ‘We expect to place a man there permanently to represent our interests.’

“The Japanese market has shrunk until British Columbia is practically doing no business there, he said, but lumbermen are hopeful of opening up more trade there shortly.

“Adoption of a modern tariff policy in England in 1932 gave a preference to Canadian lumber in that country, Mr. McDonald continued, and following the Ottawa conference Canadian lumber representatives visited that country. In consequence shipments of 81 million feet to United Kingdom in 1931 grew to 455 million in 1934. The first ten months of this year have seen 365 million feet shipped to the United Kingdom.

“‘Despite this big increase, Canadian shipments to the United Kingdom do not equal those of 25 years ago, when the Maritime provinces alone shipped one billion feet of lumber to the Old Country,’ he said.

“Referring to the trade with South Africa, the speaker reiterated much of what he has said on previous occasions regarding the fine reception British Columbia lumbermen received in that country two years ago. ‘No country trades more within the Empire than South Africa,’ he said, ‘and she is anxious to buy all she can from Canada.’

“Mr. McDonald expressed the hope that under the new reciprocal agreement with the United States Canada will regain her lumber trade in some measure with that country, although Canadian lumbermen have still a substantial handicap to overcome. In closing, the speaker emphasized the benefit of the lumbering industry to the country as a means of taking up the slack of unemployment when good lumber markets were offering.”

What else was happening locally in 1935?

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

Next: 1936 »

























































































































































"A Bolshevik by the name of Stalin" (Image:
“A Bolshevik by the name of Stalin”







The old gold mine at Hedley, once abandoned, now a tourist attraction (photo:
The old gold mine at Hedley, once abandoned, now a tourist attraction

















































































































































































































































































Dr. George Weir (photo:
Dr. George Weir






















































































































































Camels in the Cariboo (BC Archives A-00347)
Camels in the Cariboo
(BC Archives A-00347)











Map of Australia