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


A new President

The January 19, 1938 Sun (Page 3) announced that “John Whittle, vice president of Vancouver Board of Trade for the past year, has been elected unanimously to the presidency for 1938, his being the only name put forward in nominations which closed on Tuesday night. Mr. Whittle will be installed at the board's annual dinner in Hotel Vancouver next Tuesday night. He succeeds Walter M. Carson who will remain a member of the council as past president.

“G. Lyall Fraser is the new vice president, also nominated without opposition . . .

“W. E. Payne is again elected by acclamation as executive secretary. He has held that responsible post since 1918 and is thus entering his twenty-first consecutive year in that job. He was on the staff for some years before becoming secretary.

Half-Century of Usefulness

In an editorial six days later the Sun (Page 4) commented: “Tonight at its annual meeting the Vancouver Board of Trade will have rounded out the first year of its second half-century of usefulness in Vancouver. A year ago it celebrated its Golden Jubilee.

“Congratulations are due to the Board—to its officers, to its permanent staff and to its 1,500 or more members. Membership nicely over 1,500 means that the Board, for twenty years or more with a roster proportionate to population that has kept it in the front rank among organizations of its kind in the Dominion, is back to pre-Depression strength.

“That in itself is a remarkable achievement. But that officers are able to report that of the 1,500 members, barely 30 were delinquent in payment of dues at the end of the year, is testimony not only to the splendid administration of its affairs and the co-operation of the membership, but to the general condition of business in Vancouver.

Cross Section

“The membership of the Board is a cross section not only of the business but also of the professional life of the city. It includes engineers and architects and doctors and bankers and financial men and realtors and chartered accountants as well as men engaged in commercial and manufacturing and sales pursuits.

“The Vancouver Board is unique in its bureau system—there is none like it in Canada, few if any anywhere. Members choose their bureaus which run the gamut of activity from foreign trade, transportation, civics, retail and wholesale merchandising, legal and legislative, to health and insurance. There are thirteen of these bureaus and they all hold regular luncheon meetings—and what is more important, they attend their bureau luncheons.

“Herein is, perhaps, the secret of the great success of the Board as a complete entity. Men meet who might not meet otherwise. Goodfellowship results, and understanding of common problems and the other fellow's point of view. This was particularly noticeable during the dark Depression days. The Vancouver Board of Trade is also unique in Canada in the day-in-and-day-out services it puts at the disposal of members: up-to-the-minute information of many kinds from airmail services and rates and schedules to customs regulations and statistical trade figures from all parts of the world are but a part.

“The Board, when it speaks as a Board, may generally be taken as the authentic voice of business and professional Vancouver in most matters.

“It has done much good work in the past in the interests of Vancouver as a whole. It can do even better in the future if succeeding officers keep to that course.”

Raw Milk

The Province of January 8, 1938 (Page 3) reported on a talk given to the health bureau of The Board by an official of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers Association. The first paragraph is illegible, so we can’t tell you the gentleman’s first name. His surname was Atkinson, and he was talking to the bureau about the safety of the milk coming in to Vancouver.

“He said that all precautions were taken in milk supplies sent to Vancouver: herds of sound, healthy cattle, handled under the most sanitary conditions, with a regular inspection of farm premises; but there still remained the supply of raw milk, which contained elements of potential danger to the consumer. Of the milk coming into Vancouver 85 per cent is pasteurized and 15 per cent, raw.

“After quoting cases of cities and figures where epidemics had broken out, traceable to raw milk consumption, Mr. Atkinson said Vancouver was fortunate that it had had not milk-borne epidemics. ‘But,’ he said, ‘can we continue to hope that we will not have them?’”

Pasteurization not enforced in BC

“Quoting experiments made as to the food value of pasteurized milk against raw, it was shown that pasteurized had equal value. He briefly described the process, which only killed harmful bacteria, with no taste left of heating and the natural flavor retained. Pasteurization of milk is rigidly enforced in seven towns and cities in Quebec, thirty-five in Ontario, three in Saskatchewan and none in Alberta or B.C. Despite that, the bulk of raw milk coming here for pasteurization is second to none in Canada, owing to the rigid standards here governing herds, handling and farm premises.

“William F. Jones, managing director of a raw milk dairy in the city, said he had come to the conclusion that pasteurization was the safest process for milk consumption, but he supplied the raw milk because of the demand.”

Salmon Industry Thriving

The January 18, 1938 Province (Page 5) told of an update on the salmon industry given to the advertising and sales bureau of The Board at its weekly luncheon meeting.

R.H. Hume, assistant manager at B. C. Packers, ran a movie that showed how the industry was doing. “The film took the audience through every phase of an industry which carries an investment of $21 million to handle an annual match valued at between fifteen and seventeen million dollars. Of this amount, said Mr. Hume, between ten and eleven million dollars is for salmon which goes into cans. All undergoes the most rigid inspection as to food value and weight.

“Fishermen and other workers receive $5.23 million; freight, cartage and rail charges take $1.125 million, and (illegible, but less than $1 million) goes in telegraph, telephone, wharfage and other expenses; cannery supplies, cans and boxes take another $2.5 million.

“Of the pack, only 2 per cent is taken by British Columbia, 23 per cent by other parts of Canada and 75 per cent is exported. Of this export 80 per cent goes to countries within the British Empire.

“Mr. Hume pointed out that the industry is under government supervision from catch to can, with scientific stations along the coast keeping tabs on salmon, all with a view to control and conservation.”

Gun Emplacements

It’s not a Board story, but this January 19, 1938 Province story (Page 3) is worth a look: “Plans for the gun emplacements at Stanley Park, between Second and Third beaches at Ferguson Point, near the Pauline Johnson Memorial, were received by the Park Board this morning from the department of defense at Work Point Barracks. Work will be started immediately.

“The work means removing the roadway at this point back 150 feet from the present road for a total length of 200 yards . . . The department of defense will construct the road on specifications supplied by the Park Board. The gun emplacements will occupy a space of about two acres. In addition to the gun foundations and guns, an underground magazine will also likely be constructed.”

How d’you like them apples?

A lady named Isabel Stillingfleet was demonstrating a special skill to Board members, as related in a Province story from January 25, 1938 (Page 12).

“SLAP-SWISH, slap-swish, slap-swish!

“Nimble white-gloved hands, a quick eye, a cool head, plus a wide experience at her daily task, and Isabel Stillingfleet packed a box of apples in two minutes and seventeen seconds, demonstrating before a joint meeting of the Advertising and Sales, and B. C. Products Bureaus of the Board of Trade Monday.

“Queen of the British Empire fruit packers, Mrs. Stillingfleet is in Vancouver as an added incentive to Apple Week, sent here by the Associated Boards of Trade of the B. C. apple-growing centres. With a brief explanation of packing methods by Bryson Whyte, district fruit inspector for BC, Mrs. Stillingfleet packed one box by slow motion, to give members a chance to see how amazingly simple and easy it is to pack a box of apples. At the second box, Queen Isabel ‘stepped on it,’ and left her audience thinking it was some kind of a conjuring trick, the way the fruit disappeared from the table into the box. If kept busy, Mrs. Stillingfleet admits to disposing of 150 boxes a day in this way.”

New Granville Street Bridge?

Here’s a good illustration of how the best-laid schemes gang aft agley. It’s from a Province story from January 26, 1938 (Page 6).


“While depleted civic finances prohibit immediate consideration of erecting the proposed $2 million high-level bridge to replace the present Granville street span, City Engineer Charles Brakenridge believes that necessity for the new bridge may make its construction imperative by 1943.

“The present Granville bridge was built in 1908, in the ‘horse and buggy era,’ Mr. Brakenridge points out, and is rapidly becoming obsolete.


“It is the engineer's conviction that aldermanic policy should point toward a new Granville span, rather than completion of the lower deck on Burrard bridge. The latter, he asserts, would not relieve navigation difficulties in False Creek or traffic hazards created by the swing-span trusses on the roadway of the Granville bridge. The span hazard is an important factor in the proposed replacement.

“Between 1929 and 1936 there were 163 traffic accidents, involving trusses of the swing span, according to records of the police traffic department. Since 1929 there were four deaths as a result of accidents caused by the trusses. In the last 16 years there have been twelve deaths in traffic accidents on the bridge.”

[Note: despite Brakenridge’s warning, that new Granville Street Bridge would not be opened until 1954, some 16 years after this story. The “lower deck” referred to on the Burrard Street Bridge, six years old in 1938, would never be built. You can still see the openings on that bridge where the lower deck was to go. The idea was that traffic would go in one direction on the top level, in the other direction on the lower.]

Alberta Oil

We think oil industry people will find this next item of special interest. It gives statistics that show the growth of the industry—and the change in its condition—over the last 70 years. The story is from the Sun of March 30, 1938 (Page 18).

“The urgent need of lower freight rates to provide outlets for the products of the Alberta oil fields and a more equitable system of proration of the present supply were strongly advocated by Walter S. Campbell, chairman of the Petroleum Producers Association of Calgary when he addressed members of the Mining Bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade in Vancouver Hotel today." [Note: proration is defined as ‘the limitation of production of crude oil or gas to some fractional part of the total productive capacity of each producer’.]

“‘We have standing offers from London for regular 100,000-barrel-shipments of crude oil by way of Vancouver,’ Campbell declared, ‘but it is impossible to enter into any contracts under existing freight rates.

Change Imperative

“‘With Canada supplying only 10 percent of its present requirements of some one and a half million barrels of crude annually of which approximately 70 per cent is imported from the United States, a revision in the existing proration now based on 42 per cent of a well's potential is imperative. Existing proration,’ he said, ‘is making it difficult for the independent companies to finance and is restricting their development. It is possible in a short time the field will be under the control of one or two companies.’

“Prairie requirements are approximately 14,000 barrels daily and the Valley's potential is now 30,000 and expected to reach 50,000 barrels by the end of the year, he declared, ‘and naturally we are looking to Eastern Canada and the British market by way of Vancouver to absorb a large part of this oil.’ In order to secure these markets the oil must be hauled by railways or transported through pipe lines, Mr. Campbell continued.

“Alberta crude is of a higher gravity than Oklahoma and Texas oils and should be moved as cheaply to Eastern Canada, he felt. In dealing with the potential Empire market, the speaker declared that the United States' 62 per cent of the world production may last for little more than 10 years at present rate of consumption.

“‘Less than 5 per cent of Britain's imports are of British origin and that is now coming mainly from Trinidad, Burma and India. It is this market, both for patriotic and economic reasons, that an outlet through Vancouver is needed and must eventually come.’”

The Big Bend

The “Big Bend Highway” ran from Revelstoke to Golden, but did so in a route that took it in a gigantic loop to the north. Still, it was the first road between the two towns and its completion would create the last link in the western section of a transcontinental highway. Construction had started in 1929, but the highway wouldn’t officially open until June 29, 1940.

Its imminent opening was interesting The Board in 1938.

The Province for March 19, 1938 (Page 5) had this:

“Friday afternoon in Hotel Vancouver members of Vancouver Board of Trade sat around the table with representatives of a dozen interior towns to discuss the completion of the Big Bend highway. The business meeting followed a luncheon at which Dr. A. H. Bayne of Kamloops, president of BC’s Trans-Canada Association, gave a vivid picture of the tourist possibilities next year when the Big Bend is completed. [Note: the highway wouldn’t open until 1940.] . . . Vancouver pledged itself to work, along with interior communities, toward the goal of a first class, safe highway which will lure tourists from Banff through six hundred miles of Canada's most attractive scenery to the shores of the Pacific . . .

80,000 cars a year

“F. H. Allwood, Revelstoke, vice-president of Trans-Canada Association, showed members expert evidence that 80,000 cars a year may be expected to use the Big Bend Highway, leading a flow of traffic from the great National Park area to the heart of British Columbia. This, he explained, is no guess, but the conservative estimate of men whose business it is to measure the tourist trend.

“Taking this conservative estimate as a base he estimated that each car would pay the Provincial Government in taxes and toll at least $5 between Revelstoke and Vancouver. Mr. Allwood estimated that the approach roads which would link Vancouver with Banff via the Great Bend could be improved to a satisfactory state for $1.5 million. He argued that such an expenditure would be good business if it brought in an annual revenue of $400,000 through gasoline, taxes and toll.”


From the Province for March 19, 1938 (Page 5): “Convincing proof that spring has arrived is reported by Mrs. A. N. Burnell of Caulfeild, who a day or two ago observed a snake and a lizard taking advantage of brilliant sunshine after a shower. It is uncommon for snakes to make their appearance this early in the year, say naturalists.”

H.R. MacMillan Defends the Export of Logs

“Addressing the foreign trade bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade Friday, Mr. MacMillan asserted that to prohibit the export of logs now would represent a breach of faith with overseas buyers and would almost certainly lead to reprisals harmful to this province's industries.”

That’s from the March 26, 1938 Province (Page 34).

“Mr. MacMillan outlined the distinction between crown grant timber, from which logs could be exported without interference from the Provincial Government, and the leased forests which were subject to provincial control. The crown grant timber, he said, was privately owned and as completely the property of the holders as homes and places of business could be. It was no more the concern of the government what was done with the timber on these lands than it was the business of government to interfere with what a home owner did with his lawn.

“Nevertheless there were serious implications to be considered in respect to log exports, which had increased substantially in recent years, especially to Australia. Mr. MacMillan recalled that Canada had negotiated a reciprocal agreement with Australia under which the latter placed a preferential tariff on British Columbia logs.

Repudiate the Agreement?

“‘A large vested interest has been developed in Australian industrial cities as a result of that agreement,’ said Mr. MacMillan. ‘Sawmills have been built there for the purpose of manufacturing into lumber the logs we ship there. If we pass legislation now, preventing the export of logs, we will be repudiating our agreement. Prohibition of log export to Australia would not result in purchase of finished lumber here. Instead, it would merely result in the diversion of Australia's purchase of logs to the United States.

“‘I can see where prohibitory legislation of this kind might lead us. The precedent would be established for the curtailment of all exports of frozen fish, instead we would be able to sell only the canned article. We would be prevented from shipping ore out of the country; the metal would have to be in the form of concentrates. The export channels for wheat would be blocked, instead we could sell only flour to foreign markets. Fostering such developments would be no more absurd than proposed restriction of our log exports.”

More MacMillan

From Page 34 of that same Province for March 26, 1938: EMPIRE MARKET ONLY SURE ONE

“Vancouver business men emphatically signified their interest in foreign trade when they attended in near record numbers a Board of Trade luncheon Friday at which H. R. MacMillan told of British Columbia's dependence on overseas commerce. The Oak Room of Hotel Vancouver was crowded, many tables in the balcony being occupied as well as those on the main floor. The attendance not only indicated Vancouver's consciousness of its destiny in overseas trade, but was a tribute to Mr. MacMillan, described by Chairman S. S. McKeen as one of Canada's outstanding industrialists.

“Apart from stressing British Columbia's reliance on foreign trade, Mr. MacMillan emphasized the vital economic relationship between this province and the Empire countries. ‘The Empire market is the open market—the only sure market,’ declared Mr. MacMillan. ‘One by one the other great consuming countries have withdrawn themselves behind tariff and other barriers. Anyone attempting to start a business selling its products overseas who does not appreciate the value of the British connection is licked before he starts. Our economics are as closely bound up with British trade policies as if we were a part of Yorkshire. Don't let anyone kid you that they aren't.’

“Because selling the British market meant so much to British Columbia, said Mr. MacMillan, it was imperative to give that market the best of service. He warned against the danger of trying to take unfair advantage of preferential tariffs by placing an unfairly high price on protected goods."

Defense Forces Below Standard?

The Vancouver Sun reported on Page One on a talk to The Board April 6, 1938 by Col. H.F.G. Letson, M.C., E.D., officer commanding the Fourteenth Infantry Brigade.

Speaking to a Board luncheon in the Hotel Vancouver, Letson—the senior military officer in Vancouver—said that “support of the present volunteer militia system by the civilian population of Canada is the only alternative to the two extremes of complete defenselessness or universal conscription.”

“He revealed that the present defense forces in B. C. are far below the 1913 standards in numbers, training and equipment; that they lack boots, decent uniforms, pay and modern equipment. ‘Our forces we know to be inadequate for our own defense,’ he declared. Colonel Letson, as a serving officer, insisted that he expressed his own opinions, not the views or policy of the Department of National Defense.


“Present defense forces are completely inadequate for their purpose, he declared.

  1. The Royal Canadian Navy with a personnel of 1,000 and four destroyers and three minesweepers, is ‘obviously not adequate without support.’
  2. The Royal Canadian Air Force, personnel 1,000, with a non-permanent branch of 500, ‘are well trained but lacking entirely in modern machines.’
  3. The Active Militia has a paper strength of 104,000, but an actual strength in all Canada of only 46,000, while only 14,000 receive camp training.

“The militia in 1937 received $1,604,000 for training expense, while in 1913 it had $2,029,000. BC and Yukon units, he stated, train a total of 408 officers and 2,142 men, with an average of 8.9 days annual training. Only 115 officers and 648 men are able to attend annual camps, at which the most valuable training is given.

“‘We trust,’ declared Col. Letson, ‘that the moral fibre of the Militia will be strong enough to carry it along despite public apathy and lack of support, despite lack of boots, shoddy and ill-fitting uniforms and lack of pay. The government allows the Militia 12 days pay, but all this is returned by individuals to regimental funds, out of which the year's activities are financed.

Spend Their Own Money

“‘The men not only give up their time, but sacrifice the pay they should rightfully receive. Many men and certainly all officers spend additional money out of their own pockets. Every officer must supply his complete uniform and equipment without a cent of government assistance.

“‘To train in camp, which is necessary for efficiency, the men must give up their time, lose their civil pay, and often find that their jobs have been filled in their absence. Some men dare not even ask for time off to attend camp.’

“Turning to his audience, Col. Letson asked, "I wonder how many sitting here today know how many militiamen they employ? I have heard responsible men say good men should not waste their time in the Militia. Yet when riot and insurrection threatened Vancouver three years ago, many businessmen suddenly evinced a great interest in the military forces.

“‘They remind me of a man running to an insurance company for coverage after he has discovered a fire in the basement.’"

Letson asked the businessmen in the Board of Trade to support a two point plan for the militia:

  1. General encouragement of the defense forces.
  2. Allow men for one week of field training annually with pay, not to be counted against annual holidays.

“‘By following such a course you will obtain the cheapest possible form of defense insurance,’ he declared. ‘You cannot afford to be without it.’”

[Note: the H.F.G. stood for Harry Franham Germaine.]

New National Harbors Board

“The National Harbors Board of Canada, since its organization in October, 1936," said the Sun on May 5, 1938 (Page 5), "has more than justified its existence in improved efficiency, both physical and financial, in the administration of the great harbors under its jurisdiction.

“This was the assertion of R. O. Campney, former Vancouverite, chairman of the Harbors Board since its inception, at the Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Hotel Vancouver yesterday. The board still has many problems to solve, and is studying and tackling them one by one. Until the Board took over, the Harbors were managed by local commissions, and comparative figures for 1935 and 1937 were cited to show improvement.

Higher Income

“Increase in total operating income of the harbors of Halifax, Saint John, Chicoutimi, Three Rivers, Montreal and Vancouver increased from $2,450,000 in 1935 to just under $4 millions in 1937, a net improvement of 63 per cent, which meant that the taxpayers of Canada in 1937 had $1.5 millions less to pay for operation of these ports. In every case there was either an increase in operating surplus or a former deficit was turned into a surplus.”

“Reduction in operating expenses contributed considerably to this.

“Port of Vancouver had an operating surplus of approximately $800,000 in 1935. In 1937 it was $925,000, up $125,000. The Second Narrows bridge, 1935 operating surplus was $32,000. The bridge had a surplus of $102,000 in 1937.

“Vancouver, he said, is the only port under board jurisdiction where most piers and wharves are privately operated. The board administers assets representing a capital investment of $225 millions and permanent employees number 1,600. Mr. Campney paid high tribute to K. J. Burns, port manager here, declaring that the Port of Vancouver is ably served by its manager.”

Big Bend Again

A number of members of the Vancouver Board of Trade saw the Big Bend Highway up close in June. (See the March 19 story above.) The story is told in the June 11, 1938 Sun (Page 14).

“Scenic beauties of the Big Bend Highway were revealed to members of the Vancouver Board of Trade here on Friday on their annual excursion and all agreed that the half has hardly been told about a road which a year hence will fill the last gap on the trans-Canada highway between Vancouver and the Great Lakes. [Another reminder: the highway wouldn’t actually open until June 29, 1940.]

“The visitors were enthusiastic about arrangements for the trip in private cars furnished by the local board of trade and their thanks was expressed at a banquet in the King Edward Hotel.

Few Curves

“The road to Mile 62 out of Revelstoke was found to be a model of engineering skill, with remarkably few curves, a fine solid roadbed which now needs only hard surfacing to make it compare with any in the province. Vistas of valley, mountains, waterfalls, glaciers and the rushing Columbia River combine to make the scenery unusually attractive for tourists.

“About 26 miles of road remains to be finished to complete the loop between Revelstoke and Golden.."

Three Wells At Once!

Oil men say to see three wells coming in at once is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It happened in June, 1938 in Alberta’s Turner Valley, and Board members saw it. The June 14 Sun (Page 23) told the story, compliments of staff reporter J.A. MacDonald.

“A show unprecedented in the history of oil development in Canada was enjoyed by members of the Vancouver Board of Trade tour party and a score of more of their Calgary hosts when they visited Turner Valley on Monday afternoon. No less than three new wells "blew in" during the visit and were still roaring and belching flame and smoke as the amazed Vancouverites reluctantly turned back for Calgary.

“Veteran oil men say the coincidence is absolutely without precedent. Dozens of the Calgary men told of having been to the valley a score of times hoping to see the blowing of a new well but never before without being disappointed. One oil official, George Watt, of British American Oils, who has watched and mothered the drilling of several famous producers, says that Mrs. Watt has gone to the valley more than a dozen times for even one blow-in and has yet to see one.

“Those wells are temperamental and you never can tell. Today was just one of those rare things,” he said.

Roaring Flame

“First the visitors arrived at the Vulcan-Brown, about a quarter-mile south of the famous Turner Valley Royalties, first well to prove that there was crude oil as well as naphtha gas in the southern end of the valley. Here, two hours after the well had been touched off because of growing pressure, they saw flame roaring in a steady vertical shoot of from 60 to 80 feet with a plume of smoke another 50 feet and unburned oil caught by the wind to splash on surrounding ground.

“Shortly after, just less than two miles farther south, they arrived in time to see the touch-off of United-Brown No. 5 even more spectacular in a growing and shifting breeze, shooting bursts of flame more than 100 feet in the air, with flame and smoke billowing over hundreds of yards so that onlookers had to run to avoid being showered.

“In between they saw Globe Royalties roar into action, all three new wells, all promising, but oil men awaiting their proving within the next few days and admitting that any guess as to ultimate production is as good as another . . .

“There are 33 other wells drilling but not yet down to limestone in the southern area of Turner Valley and most of them will prove good in the opinion of experienced oil men. Success of United No. 5 was quite expected as this well is on already proved ground with crude producers nearby.

“It was the blow-in of Vulcan-Brown that aroused most interest and enthusiasm among the oil men, as it is the first to prove up in its particular area. ‘That means another large section of ground with assured production,’ Mr. Watt said. R. R. Brown, who pioneered the south end when others could see nothing in it, was showered with congratulations as he watched the two new wells of his promotion ‘doing their stuff.’”

Alberta Wants to Work With Us

The 20th annual excursion party of the Vancouver Board of Trade, back from Alberta, were enthusiastic about cooperation with that province. The June 17, 1938 Sun (Page 15) told of “very definite impressions gained during their outing:

  1. That the business men of Alberta are eager for closer and more active co-operation in all matters mutually affecting the people of the two provinces.
  2. That Alberta is looking for a good crop with prospects so far very bright, especially in southern parts. Generally, the crop outlook is the best in years.
  3. That there is little spirit of sectionalism in the two provinces but rather a growing desire for unity and common purpose. This was as evident at Revelstoke and Golden as at Calgary and Edmonton.
  4. That the business and professional interests of Alberta are optimistic and confident of the future in spite of their outspoken criticism of uncertain political conditions. This criticism was voiced, sometimes humorously, often in deadly serious mood, in both Calgary and Edmonton.
  5. That the production potentialities of the southern Turner Valley oilfields have been proved beyond any guesswork. The problem remaining is to find a market for an output that could soon be stepped up to 40,000 barrels of crude a day if market and transportation can be achieved.
  6. That Alberta is as keen as British Columbia for completion of the Trans-Canada Highway and the people of both provinces are in no doubt of the great tourist business that will flow westward and eastward to and from Vancouver when the Big Bend Highway is completed. The section between Golden and Yoho National Park is improved and the Jasper-Banff north and south highway is finished.

Business Optimistic

“President John Whittle of the Board of Trade said he was delighted with the success of the trip. ‘I told members of our party at our little get-together on the train, that we had learned that there is no real provincial boundary between British Columbia and Alberta, but that we are more than neighbors, and all Canadians with a common outlook and purpose. What is more, we found that the people of Revelstoke and Golden feel that they are a part of Vancouver, just as we realize that all other parts of British Columbia must work together.”

No to Hollyburn Logging

Datelined Calgary, this Province story from June 13, 1938 (Page 6) told of a protest by the Board against certain logging.

“The Vancouver Board of Trade today pledged its support to Reeve J. B. Leyland of West Vancouver in opposing the proposed cutting of timber on Hollyburn Ridge. Board president John Whittle wired Reeve Leyland that the Board would be willing to act with other interests in a joint committee to present its views to the proper authorities. In a wire to Mr. Whittle, Leyland told of the proposal to log Cypress Creek, pointing out that the project threatened to rob the North Shore of one of its most valuable assets.”

A Visit to the Jasper Highway

“Members of the Vancouver Board of Trade were introduced today to the mother of rivers, the 110 square miles of ice and snow forming the Columbia Glacier, origin of mighty waterways that flow into three oceans.” That’s how Charles Shaw, the business editor of the Daily Province, began his June 16, 1938 story (Page 16.)

“Over a highway six thousand feet above sea level, traversing a territory of matchless grandeur which could be reached only by a ten-day pack-trail journey until this year, the Vancouver travellers reached their destination from Jasper Park lodge in less than three hours. They were impressed, not only by the scenic beauty of the trip, but by the excellent condition of the road, remarkable for the fact that while it courses over a mountain country six thousand feet above sea level, the grade is at no time severe and the direction at times is as straight as Granville street.

Link With Coast

“What particularly interested the Vancouver party was that the road to the Columbia ice field represents the beginning from the north of a road to Banff which eventually will tie in with a highway to the coast via the Big Bend, now being hurried to completion. If any one thing has dominated the present tour of the Board of Trade, apart from the Turner Valley oil fields, it is the question of communications, of better roads to serve the touring public, and thus stimulate what has become one of British Columbia's biggest industries and revenue makers . . .

“At Edmonton the Vancouver group listened to arguments for completion of the evergreen trail through the Rockies over the National Parks Highway. It was claimed by Charles Grant, good roads enthusiast, that $910,000 would provide an all-year road from Kamloops to Tete Jeune Cache and thence to Jasper and Edmonton. Only three gaps remained to be filled—from Tete Jaune to Blue River, thirty-eight miles, from Tete Jaune to Jasper, less than twelve miles.

Biggest Glacier

“Roads again were the big issue here at Jasper today. The drive to the Columbia ice field supported the contention already heard by Board of Trade members that British Columbia has more to offer in the way of mountain scenery than anywhere else in the world. Here, a mere seventy-five miles run from Jasper over a first-class gravel road, through the Sunwapta Valley, teeming with game, was the biggest glacier south of the Arctic Circle.

“This gargantuan precipice of ice, blue green and hundreds of feet thick, wedged between two massive mountains soaring 11,000 feet into the clouds, pours sustenance into the Columbia River, flowing to the Pacific; the Athabasca, whose waters finally reach the Arctic, and the Saskatchewan, which makes its way to the Atlantic via Hudson Bay.”

British Settlement Plan for BC

Jim Dyer of the Sun wrote August 22, 1938 (Page 1) of an interview with Brig.-Gen. Sir Henry Page Croft, C.M.G., M.P.

Sir Henry had just arrived in Vancouver after a tour of many hundred miles through interior British Columbia. He promised new work for the unemployed of BC cities if large-scale British settlement schemes in which he is interested go through.

“Sir Henry's prediction,” Dyer wrote, “opened up the possibility of large new orders for Vancouver's factories and wholesale houses—for building materials for the homes of 40,000 new settlers who may people the fertile unoccupied lands of the interior, for supplies of food and equipment to keep them both before and after they have become self-sustaining.

“British capital, Sir Henry said, will be behind any suitable scheme. And the scheme he visualized calls for large communities for which, as the result of his observations in the interior, he is prepared to say there are at least seven great tracts of land that are ideal.

“We are convinced that for each family settled permanent employment will be found for one of your unemployed in secondary industries, in transport, or in all those categories which supply the needs of the agriculturist, Sir Henry said later in a speech to the Board of Trade. For 10,000 heads of families, Sir Henry visualized these figures: 20,000 horses, 50,000 cows and cattle, 10,000 sows and 100,000 poultry, at least 20,000 machines and implements, and ‘all the hundred and one things necessary for civilized life.’ This demand, he conceived, will be filled in Canada.

“Sir Henry said he had had a wonderful trip and was greatly impressed.”

“‘Could you say what your settlement plans mean in terms of new capital in British Columbia?’ I asked him.

“‘There will be adequate capital to maintain the settlements," he replied. "Every settler will have enough capital to construct suitable buildings and to sustain him through two years, until he is self-supporting.’

“‘I said to him: "You understand, of course, Sir Henry, that there are large numbers of unemployed in our cities? What effect will new settlement have on them?’ ‘No plan such as we contemplate could aggravate unemployment," he emphasized. "On the contrary, a large influx of settlers backed by capital, must give immediate incentive to employment.’

“Sir Henry made it plain he has not come to Canada on behalf ‘of any corporation.’ . . .

“‘If the plan goes through,’ he said, ‘it will be on a large scale. For instance, 10,000 settlers and families could find openings in the wide open spaces we have passed through.’ . . .

“Sir Henry indicated that the scheme he is interested in calls for mixed farming operations on a community basis. J. Gray Turgeon, M.P. for the Cariboo, through a large part of which Sir Henry's party travelled in his company, declares that Central British Columbia is intensely interested in Sir Henry's scheme."

[Note: We did some further research on Sir Henry. He was famous in his time, had been the youngest General in the British Army in 1916. Eight days after this Province item appeared, he gave a speech to the Empire Club in Toronto. It’s an interesting talk, in which he tells of his visit to British Columbia and again promotes the idea of major British settlement in BC and Ontario. You’ll find his remarks here.

What happened to Sir Henry’s plans? The answer came from Margaret “Ma” Murray during a 1966 radio interview with Terry Bell found here.

“You must remember,” Ma said, “that we had a plan, in 1938, just the year before the war, where we were gonna settle 6,000 people from Britain, in around Smithers and Terrace and Prince George and, uh, Sir Henry Page Croft came out here. And it was all laid on. And then the war came the next year and knocked it all into a cocked hat.”]

There is a neat little caricature of Sir Henry on the web site of the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, on a 1929 cigarette card!

Into the Valley

“Thirty members of the civic bureau of the Board of Trade learned Thursday something about the importance of Vancouver's hinterland when they spent the day touring the Fraser Valley.” That was the story in the August 11, 1938 Province (Page 3).

“They visited two industries that have made an international reputation for themselves—Langley Greenhouses Ltd., which is said to be the most modern nursery plant in the Northwest, and the Delair plant of the Fraser Valley Milk Producers' Association, where the famous Pacific Milk is produced for export to all parts of the world. In addition, they saw two model Chilliwack valley farms, typical of the many well-conducted farms in the valley--that of A. S. Baker, who supplies Chilliwack with its raw milk, and the other belonging to Count A. F. Van Rechteren , a Hollander, who has brought to British Columbia some of the most modern farming methods of Europe.

“The civic bureau found many revelations of the surprising resources of the Fraser Valley. Capt. P.S. Williams of Langley Greenhouses told them how the plant is shipping flowers by air all through the West and as far east as Toronto, where Langley Prairie gardenias have a ready sale, the nurseries boasting as fine blooms of this exotic plant as are to be found on the continent.

“They wandered through the four acres of glass houses and eighteen acres of land and marvelled at the scientific achievements in floriculture, and enthused over the long list of customers that the plant enjoys all over the West.

“Travelling a few miles to Delair they were equally astonished to find an industry with more world-wide fame, shipping the famous Pacific Milk to all quarters of the globe. They inspected a factory giving employment to forty persons which turns out 48,000 tins of evaporated milk daily and with machinery that markets the only vacuum packed milk on the continent. They learned from manager Paul Chevalley how the product is irradiated to obtain vitamin D and the score of methods followed to produce the purest and best article possible.

“At the Sardis plant of the same company they saw the establishment that makes ice cream and delivers the by-products such as powdered milk and glue, all of which helps the Fraser Valley farmers and their buying centre, Vancouver.

“Journeying to Chilliwack, the travellers were guests of the Chilliwack Board of Trade at luncheon.”

Clean Up False Creek!

Jim Dyer of the Sun wrote on September 20, 1938 (Page 2) that Vancouver's business men had been challenged to get behind the “Clean-up False Creek” movement.

"The challenge came from G. G. McGeer, K.C., M.P. It was received with enthusiasm by his immediate audiences—members of the advertising and sales bureau of the Board of Trade at a meeting in the Hotel Georgia.

“Mr. McGeer injected the drama of the European crisis into his talk, declaring that ‘even if war does come,’ Canada, while doing its part in Empire defense, must not neglect essential tasks at home. He said he had been struck by the fact that while Hitler and Mussolini spent billions building up war machines without parallel, they still had vision, still found means, the one to build the world's greatest stadium, the other a new university.

“If Germany and Italy can do these things in the midst of war-like preparations, Canada, with its resources almost unscratched can likewise go forward to build and restore, he insisted.

“‘No citizen can travel over the False Creek area without feeling that the city dump there is Public Enemy No. 1 of this city,’ he said. ‘It is your job and mine to mold public opinion to demand the cleaning up of this cess-pool, to demand the building up of our city parks, to light up Stanley Park, build that highway to Garibaldi and to make the Capilano Canyon the real tourist attraction it ought to be,” he declared.

Tax Map

“The former mayor made dramatic use of a tax sale map of the area around False Creek. ‘These red spots indicate the properties that have fallen to the city at tax sale in recent years. In 1929 the assessed values in this area totalled $4,530,000. In 1938 the value is $2,659,000, a drop of $1,800,000, or 40 per cent.’

“Thanks to Ald. Harry DeGraves, he went on, a movement has been launched to convert this section into civic property and to make part of it into a playground. ‘It would cost probably half a million to do this, but I venture to say the city would recover this from re-established values and improved tax collections in this area.’ This, he said, should be made part of a program that will include extension of the exhibition grounds, completion of a proper entry into the city, building of the North Shore road to Garibaldi and Bridge River to tie up with the Cariboo Highway at Lillooet.

“Vancouver's greatest need is to publicize itself, he declared. Why, he asked, is this city not taking steps to publicize the splendors of its new First Narrows bridge and the new Hotel Vancouver?"

“Charles H. Joy, chairman of the bureau, presided.”

Drug Problems 69 Years Ago

The September 28, 1938 Sun (Page 24) told us there was “unceasing war against the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs in twenty-five countries subscribing to the Geneva convention, but every success brings a new problem, especially on the North American continent.

“Thus, Colonel C. H. L. Sharman, chief of the narcotics division of the Department of Pensions and National Health, Ottawa, told the health bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade on Tuesday, you can greatly minimize the illicit sale of morphine and heroin, only to find that codeine or marihuana (sic) or something less powerful takes their place.

“Vancouver, Colonel Sharman said, is a notable example. With the more powerful drugs almost eliminated, the sale of codeine, still legally sold from drug stores, leaped in volume, and this city became the largest per capita consumer of codeine in Canada, if not in America.

“But an amendment to the British Columbia Pharmacy Act cut the sale of codeine to one-third of its peak, and another problem bobbed up. This is the injection of opium, which followed almost total suppression of opium smoking. The department has asked other provincial governments to prohibit sale, including barbiturates, except on a doctor's prescription. ‘We know of 500 white addicts who take opium by injection in Vancouver, and many of them are criminals. Use of the drug in this way is almost unknown elsewhere in Canada or in the world,’ said Colonel Sharman, in a serious warning to business men as to the importance of the problem.

“The difficulty of curbing the illicit sale of any habit drug is that the price is twenty times greater than that of the legitimate supply. That is why drugs are kept in vaults to discourage burglary, and the country spends vast sums to prevent smuggling.

Illicit Sales Ten Times as High

“Addicts, at least 75 per cent of them, become so through chance association with previous addicts. The illicit sale price of opium in Vancouver today is ten times as high as ten years ago, proving the good work of the R. C. M. P. and city police preventive methods, to which Colonel Sharman paid tribute. No dangerous narcotic drug is manufactured in Canada. All are imported, and the strictest possible regulations are enforced on the legitimate trade.

“Marihuana, used in cigarettes, is a great problem in the United States because the ‘weed’ grows there in many parts. ‘It is not unknown in Canada, but the department hopes to have all Canadian growth exterminated by the end of this year,’ he said.”

Neville Chamberlain Lauded

“The world should thank God for Neville Chamberlain, a man who has been true to his dreams, a man with a purpose in life who has translated purpose into successful action.” Those were the words of H.H. Stevens, MP, speaking at the weekly luncheon meeting of the advertising and sales bureau of Vancouver Board of Trade in the Hotel Georgia.

The Sun for October 4, 1938 (Page 3) gives a quite different picture, thanks to Stevens, of Mr. Chamberlain from the image we have of him today as a vacillating leader, returning from a meeting with Hitler in Munich, and waving a piece of paper, the “Munich Pact,” as proof that Hitler’s intentions in Europe were peaceful.

“‘I take off my hat to Neville Chamberlain,’” Stevens told the Board’s bureau members. ‘He is the greatest figure in the world today. I simply cannot understand the slighting references to him.’

“A Great Statesman”

“‘Mr. Chamberlain long ago had a dream of what can be done in Europe. He visioned a comity of nations subjecting themselves to reason and negotiation rather than the force of arms in the settling of their differences. Many of the estimates of him that you hear are utterly wrong. Chamberlain is not a cold man, although he is cool-headed. He is not distant—he is kind, sympathetic, extremely courteous. He is an excellent, experienced and successful business man, and in the last twenty years since he entered parliament he has proved himself a great statesman. That is a rare combination.

“‘When Chamberlain became premier, Britain was far along on her disarmament policy in the hope that it might be an example to other nations. That policy was not working well. The other nations were taking advantage of Britain's apparent arms weakness. As Premier he set himself to the task of quick rearmament, not for war but for defense, and we have seen with what success. Within one year the tone of the belligerent nations was altered. Now he is being criticized. Many say that he has sacrificed the Czechs to attain his dream of a peaceful Europe. In that connection it is worthwhile noting that President Benes himself, and many other prominent Czechs, warned the treaty-makers of Versailles, in 1919, against including the preponderately German Sudeten area in the proposed boundaries of Czechoslovakia.

“‘Had Mr. Chamberlain failed last week, on this very day as we sit here we should be viewing the spectacle of Central Europe deluged with death and disaster, with Czechoslovakia the cockpit,’ Mr. Stevens emphasized. ‘Czechoslovakia will still have an area equal to that of Holland, its integrity guaranteed by the great powers just as that of Switzerland has been for decades. Of supreme importance, Mr. Chamberlain, working for a non-aggression pact among the great powers, visualizes and strives for the bringing together of France and Germany in common agreement.

“‘If there is even a quieting of that historic enmity which dates back to long before 1871, it will be an achievement such as no statesman in history has been able to bring about. Where the League of Nations fell down, there is the possibility, even the probability, that Mr. Chamberlain has laid the foundations for a new order in Europe.

“‘We must give him credit. He has saved the lives of countless thousands of men and women and children by his quiet, courteous, courageous, simple approach to the powers of Europe. His undisguisable simplicity and sincerity prevailed,’ Mr. Stevens said.

Well, you can’t always be right.

The New Lions Gate Bridge

“Scores of Vancouver business men, members of the Board of Trade's engineering bureau and others, crossed the Lions Gate Bridge Wednesday [October 5, 1938] for the first time, after a luncheon meeting in Stanley Park pavilion.”

That was the lead in an October 6 Province story (Page 9).

“For many members of the group it was the first visit to the bridge that for several months they have watched in progressive stages of construction from a distance. For them, the walk over the new pavement more than 200 feet from the waters of the First Narrows was a thrilling experience. It gave them a striking view of the city and the North Shore from a new angle and a first-hand glimpse of what is to be the Empire's greatest suspension bridge and the longest span in the world built with stranded cables.

“The party was guided over the bridge by Major P. A. Curry, general manager of the Lions' Gate Bridge Company, and James Robertson, Pacific coast engineer for Dominion Bridge Company, one of the contractors for the bridge. During the luncheon, presided over by City Engineer Charles Brakenridge, Mr. Robertson said that the pavement had now been 75 per cent completed, and that the entire job would probably be finished about November 8. [Note: the bridge opened to pedestrian traffic November 12, to public traffic two days later.]

“Building of the signal station and beacon from the tower of the bridge that will eventually control all navigation through the Narrows and the process of covering the cables with cedar filling, wire and three coats of paint to obtain maximum durability were matters of special interest to the visitors."

Gas Prices in 1938

The October 17, 1938 Province (Page 10) reported that the BC oil industry had suffered heavy losses in 1937.

“‘If all the service stations owned by oil companies in British Columbia--their number is much less than generally thought—could be disposed of and taxes and other charges eliminated, companies would still be operating at a loss in this province.’ So stated R. M. Pidgeon, division manager Imperial Oil Ltd., to members of the advertising and sales bureau of the Board of Trade at a luncheon meeting today.

“The oil industry of British Columbia is faced with the same problems as those of any other highly-competitive extractive industry, and must sell its products at a price basically dictated by competition, Mr. Pidgeon said. ‘We try to sell these products (all the many by-products of crude oil) at prices that will pay us for the crude oil we buy, for the cost of refining it, for the cost of making these products conveniently available wherever they may be needed and on top of that give us a legitimate profit—the only incentive we can possibly have to continue doing these things," he said.

“‘Unhappily, our experience in this province lately has been lacking in that incentive. I think it is no secret that, over all, the British Columbia industry sustained large losses last year, although no charges are made for interest on the large investment in refineries, ships, bulk stations and all the other equipment used to give adequate service in all parts of the province. Consumption of gasoline is less than 3 per cent of consumption in Washington, Oregon and California, but the area of British Columbia is substantially larger than the area of these states put together.’

“Mr. Pidgeon contended that a reduction in the selling price of any one produce, without a corresponding reduction in manufacturing and marketing costs, or without compensating increase in the price of some other product, would throw the industry from a profit to a loss position. ‘Today," he continued, " we get for gasoline roughly 4 1/2 cents less than we received for it in 1934, and we have [not?] been able to take up this slack by raising prices of other products, such as fuel oil; because if we did that, large consumers such as railway, steamship and pulp companies would be in a position to buy their requirements down the coast. We would be worse off than ever.’ [Note: the newspaper doesn’t have that "not" inserted up there, but the rest of the sentence seems to require it!]


Here, said Mr. Pidgeon, is where your gasoline dollar goes:

Road tax ........................23.50 cents

Other taxes ....................4.08 cents

Retail Vendor ................16.80 cents

Crude oil ........................38.02 cents

Refiner and marketer......17.60 cents

[Frustratingly, the story doesn’t give the retail cost of a gallon of gas at the time.]


Because of its location on the temperate Pacific coast, BC had been particularly hard hit by the Depression, as thousands of unemployed had descended on the province. That was one theme of a talk given to the Board of October 21, 1938. Our report is taken from the next day’s Province (Page 5).

“Federal Government policy is to reduce transiency and to control it, and in doing so to relieve British Columbia of a disproportionate burden, Hon. Norman Rogers, federal minister of labor, declared in a luncheon address to the Board of Trade at Hotel Vancouver on Friday. When the conservation camps were closed in the summer of 1936 the men were told that they should be able to find employment and shelter. It was the government's view that they should depend on their own resources in fine seasons.

“‘We must give relief in the name of humanity,’ he added, ‘but we must also preserve the initiative of men if Canada is to go ahead. We have tried to find a happy medium.’ Proof of the correctness of this view was shown the following year, he said, when 2,400 of the 5,400 men in the camps did not return, having obtained employment elsewhere.

“The men had asked for a programme of public works in B.C. he continued, but there was nothing to justify a works programme in this province.

Vancouver Marching On

“Vancouver has seen nearly $15 million worth of building activity since Jan. 1, 1937, a sure sign of civic recovery and progress, Mayor G. C. Miller informed the Vancouver Board of Trade when he addressed it at a crowded luncheon meeting in Hotel Vancouver at noon today.” So began a report in the Sun for November 2, 1938 (Page 5).

“The mayor made his speech an accounting of his stewardship in his first two years of office and pointed with pride to the fact that this upswing in building figures—a building ‘boom’ that has seen notable improvements in the city's appearance—has taken place during his incumbency.

“Other topics touched on by his Worship:

Tax sale properties ‘Civic revenues are being increased by the city's policy of disposing of ‘inside’ property on tax sale rolls. Since Jan. 1, 1937, $114,038 has been paid by purchasers of such properties and civic revenues will gain by $15,000 yearly. [Sorry, we don’t know what ‘inside’ property is.]

First Avenue Viaduct ‘This project was not accomplished without a great deal of hard work. In addition, we are able to announce the establishment of a very fine industry in that area—the Canada Packers—which I feel is only the start of a big industrial development in this section of the city.’

Lions Gate Bridge ‘In addition to the actual building of the bridge, long the dream of Vancouver and North Shore people, we have been able to clean up a traffic hazard at the entrance to Stanley Park.’

New Hotel [This was the new Hotel Vancouver, the present one] ‘It is a source of general gratification that my council, after lengthy negotiations, can look forward next year to the opening of one of the most magnificent hotels on the continent.’

“Council policy in securing financing for water and sewer facilities in new residential areas had been a factor in permitting uninterrupted residential building in the city, the mayor went on. The widening and repaving of Granville Street was another achievement in which, he felt, he and his council are justified in taking pride, and in the same class he placed the final settlement, after years of wrangling and misunderstanding, of the question of the taxation of occupants of Crown lands.”

Construction work had started on the Hotel Vancouver again after a years-long delay caused by the Depression. Members of the Vancouver Board of Trade were taken on an inspection tour November 14, a tour that made Page One of The Province. The hotel would open May 24, 1939, ten years after construction had started.

Pipe Line Pondered

“Possible development of the Turner Valley oil field into a major production field and of exporting petroleum from this source through Vancouver has been exhaustively surveyed by the mining bureau of the Vancouver Board of Trade.”

So reported the Sun for December 9, 1938 (Page 23). “Conclusions of the fact finding committee have been published in a 30-page booklet containing a comprehensive series of data on comparative figures and potentialities of Turner Valley. Production of the Turner Valley field for 1938 is estimated at $5 million of crude oil of high Baume gravity—almost double that of California oils imported into British Columbia.

Rail or Pipeline?

“Comparative costs between rail shipment by tank cars and pipeline construction are considered in the report with a recommendation that the provincial governments of Alberta and British Columbia study the possibilities of both methods. Roughly estimated costs of constructing a pipeline from Calgary to Vancouver, a distance of 650 miles, show this to be approximately $16 million. This is the bid made by a German firm which, it is understood, will accept payment in oil shipments.

“Against this plan is the present restricted production in Turner Valley, which is regulated by the Provincial Gas and Oil Conservation Board.

“At present the rail tank car rate from Calgary to Vancouver is 45 cents a barrel of crude oil, against 75 cents by pipeline to Port Arthur and tanker to Toronto. On this basis, the report states, all-inclusive pipeline cost of Alberta oil in Vancouver would be $1.85 per barrel against $2.15 in Toronto. A present danger exists, however, the report says, of a stalemate occurring in the Turner Valley field because curtailment of production tends to restrict development activity.

“To break this threatened stalemate, the survey recommends either an influx of capital for large scale development, or a widening of the market for Alberta oils by downward revision of freight rates. A third recommendation entails the construction of pipelines to the Pacific Coast or to the Great Lakes.

“British Columbia alone imports 165,054,125 gallons of crude petroleum; 20,379,589 gallons of fuel oil for ships' stores; 10,131,215 gallons of casing head gasoline for mixing purposes and 14,841,762 gallons of kerosene, diesel and fuel oil. The great bulk of this is shipped to the province from California in tankers, either owned by oil companies or on charter to them at rates far below pipeline costs or tank car rates.”

The Province coverage of the same story (Page 35) adds this interesting note: “In any consideration of railway or pipeline movement of oil from Turner Valley to Vancouver," states the survey, "it must be borne in mind that the field is at an elevation of about 3,400 feet, with the highest railway elevation (Stephen, B.C.) at 5,337 feet, and the terminal point at sea level. The gradient to the sea favors economical transportation.”

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

“Five hundred members of Vancouver Board of Trade at the annual Christmas luncheon of the Transportation and Customs Bureau in Hotel Vancouver today burst into sustained cheering as their chairman R. L. Maitland, K.C., M.L.A., read a personal birthday message from King George VI.” So reported the Sun for December 14, 1938 Sun (Page 26).

“The message came through the Governor General in reply to one sent by the Bureau Tuesday. The message to Ottawa, repeated to London, read: ‘Our annual Christmas luncheon being held in Hotel Vancouver Ballroom tomorrow featuring a British program towards international peace. Please convey to His Majesty our warmest birthday greetings and loyalty.’

“The reply, signed by the secretary to the Governor General, read: ‘The Governor General is desired by the King to convey to you His Majesty's thanks for your birthday message. His Majesty sends you greetings on the occasion of your annual luncheon.’

“Attendance at the luncheon was much the largest and most enthusiastic in the history of this annual affair. Ven. Sir Francis Heathcote, Archdeacon of Vancouver, was the principal speaker telling of ‘England As I Saw It.’ He made a lengthy visit to Britain in the late summer. The orchestra, in honor of the King's birthday, played the Coronation March composed by Arthur Ketelby for the Coronation and entitled With Honor Crowned. Philip Watts, baritone, was the soloist.”

What else was happening locally in 1938?

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

Next: 1939 »



































































































































The old Granville Street Bridge, replaced in 1954 by the present span (photo:
The old Granville Street Bridge, replaced in 1954 by the present span





















































Car on the Big Bend Highway (
Car on the Big Bend Highway
























































































































































































Early oil well at Turney Valley (photo:
Early oil well at Turney Valley








































































































































































































Gerry McGeer
Gerry McGeer































Opium poppy (image: www.ubcbotanicalgarden,org)
Opium poppy





























Neville Chamberlain bringing "peace for our time" (photo:
Neville Chamberlain
bringing “peace for our time”



































































O'Brien's Super Service, Home Oil station in Cloverdale, c. 1935 (photo:'Briens.html)
O'Brien's Super Service, Home Oil station in Cloverdale, c. 1935
[Photo: J.A. Brown]
































































































































King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, about the time of his greetings to The Board
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, about the time of his greetings to The Board