- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
This year is sponsored.
You'll note that this year includes events listed under "Also
in . . ." These are events for which we don't have a specific
date. If YOU know the
specific date of an event shown there, please
notify us . . . and cite the source! Many thanks!
January 4 Finning Tractor & Equipment
Company Ltd. was incorporated.
January 17 The Vancouver Sun turned
its newsroom over to students from the University of British Columbia.
Staff of the Ubyssey, the student newspaper, took over the layout,
placement of stories, the editorial and sports pages, and more.
The Page One story with the most space devoted to
it asked several distinguished citizens whether a university education
gave a person an advantage in the workplace. The answer, not surprising
given that all the people interviewed were UBC teachers, was that
it did. Number two story, in terms of space, told how the university
was still managing although its budget had been cut. (We were in
the depths of the Depression.) Other Page One stories told of a
holdup at the Mount View Beer Parlor, a pending visit to the Chicago
Worlds Fair by the Kitsilano Boys Band, the funeral
of Premier Tolmies wife, and the return from Europe of lumber
executive H.R. MacMillan.
Familiar names pop out of the Ubyssey roster
of 30 who worked on the paper that day: Norman Hacking, Dick Elson
and 19-year-old Stu Keate, who would become its publisher 31 years
Also January 17 The general manager and the
president of the Canadian Bank of Commerce had given speeches January
10 in Toronto. We cite this here only because it illustrates a phenomenon
that is, happily, no longer extant in our newspapers: the Sun
filled a broadsheet page with tiny print, giving every word of the
two talks. Come to think of it, perhaps the Depression warranted
extra interest in what bankers had to say.
January 27 Blackburns Farmers Market,
with more than 40 stalls, opened at the corner of Seymour and Robson
Streets in Vancouver. (We also have a date of January 21.)
January 28 James Hewitt, future minister of
agriculture, was born.
January 30 Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor
March 12 Philip Owen was born in Vancouver.
Owen became the citys 42nd mayor in November 1993, served
to 2001 when Larry Campbell took over. Owen got into politics in
1978 as a park board commissioner, was on council by 1986.
March 17 Future judge J.V. Clyne appeared
as Adam in Shaws Back to Methuselah. Eve was played
by Betty Clyne.
April 24 The first issue of the Vancouver
News-Herald appeared, operated largely by editorial staff
fired by the short-lived Star. The new paper faced formidable
competition: the Provinces circulation at the time
was 90,265, the Suns somewhere in the 60,000 to 70,000
range. The News-Heralds started at 10,000 and peaked
at 40,000, but it would last until 1957.
A lot of well-known local newspaper people worked
for the News-Herald in its 24 years of life: Pierre Berton
was its first city editor, at age 21, and there were Barry Broadfoot,
Himie Koshevoy and Clancy Loranger, to name a few.
Editor Pat Kelly: "Everybody kept telling us
what we were already pretty sure ofthat it would require about
half-a-million dollars to carry out our plan. In the winter of 1932
they might just as well have made it a billion." But some of
the editorial staff canvassed local business people and astonished
themselves by securing signed pledges totalling $5,000. That was
$495,000 short of the ideal, but they started anyway.
From its first four-page issue the paper struggled.
Reporters sat on orange crates and two or three would share one
typewriter. The second-hand press quit, and the first issue had
to be cranked out manually. The staff used their pocket combs to
fold the sheets. They rented a tiny building (its still there)
at 426 Homer Street, and knocked a hole in its wall to get to the
typographical shop next door.
On September 20, 1954 the paper shortened its name
to the Herald and moved into a new, larger building on Georgia
Street. Then newspaper magnate Roy Thomson bought the paper and,
in less than three years, citing expenses, shut her down.
Last issue was June 15, 1957.
April 30 Singer Willie Nelson was born.
May 29 Vancouver boxer Jimmy McLarnin won
the world welterweight championship, kayoing Young Corbett.
May 30 A publication called Unemployment
and Relief, City of Vancouver (available in the City Archives)
had this note on 1933 shopping: Vancouver offers the greatest
inducement to the family working-man . . . the cost of living there
being the lowest among eight of the chief cities of Canada for which
complete data is available. For slightly less than $15 a week the
working-man with a family of five can pay rent for a six-roomed
house with modern conveniences, fuel and food bills . . .
June 9 Vancouver City Council voted to allow
men to go topless on city beaches.
June 13 Major James Skitt Matthews began the
Vancouver City Archives. June 13 is unofficially called Vancouver
Day, because a number of events important to the city occurred on
June 13. In 1792, for example, Capt. George Vancouver explored and
named Burrard Inlet. (He named it for a navy friend, Harry Burrard,
back in England. Burrard was never here.) On June 13, 1859 a seam
of coal was discovered at Coal Harbour, which is why it has that
name. The seam was quite small. On June 13, 1886just two months
after incorporationVancouver burned to the ground in the Great
Fire and, most recently, on June 13, 1933 Major James Skitt Matthews
declared the Vancouver City Archives officially open. (His appointment
had actually been approved several days earlier.)
July 3 In mid-Depression Burnaby, police were
called out when more than 100 unemployed people interfered
with a sheriff's order to evict a family from its house in the 4200
block Eton Street.
August 7 The comic strip Alley Oop
August 10 Mrs. Victor Spencer introduced her
eldest daughter Louise at a fete at Aberthau, their
Point Grey residence. Guests mingled under a specially erected marquee.
(Today, Aberthau is the Point Grey Community Centre.)
August 14 J.S. Woodsworth, leader of the brand-new
political party, the CCF (Co-Operative Commonwealth Confederation,
precursor of the NDP) spoke to crowds in the Arena about the new
August 25 A non-stop flight began from Vancouver
to Kingston. The flight ended on the 26th.
August 30 Air France was founded.
September 21 The first Vancouver Folksong
and Dance Festival began. From a 1943 book titled The Ports of
British Columbia, by Agnes Rothery, published by Doubleday,
comes a warm reminiscence of an event that began in 1933: the Vancouver
Folksong and Dance Festival. We quote it at some length because
its nicely done, and gives a fine sense of the citys
people at the time.
There is, however, a better way than by the
printed page to grasp the diversity of races that here, as in other
cosmopolitan cities, meet and mingle in Vancouver; a better way
than by statistics to judge of their numbers and cultural influence.
For every year there is held, for a week in
October, a Folk Festival which is not only a panorama of colour
and music and movement, but one of the most successful social experiments
on the North American continenta festival which started, not
as a tourist attraction, but from a genuine desire to create from
this complexity of races a unity of understanding, endeavor, and
The desire was conceived in the heart of Mrs.
John T. McCay, and it was born in 1933 with such a fanfare and with
such lasting and constructive results that it has been honoured,
repeated, and augmented every year since then.
Mrs. McCay came from the prairies. She was
the daughter of a farmer and had long pondered why people who were
willing to send money to foreign countries to teach people conduct
and morals should, as soon as those people came to live in their
midst, be unwilling to associate with them.
She found that Vancouverites wanted segregation
in the public schools. She found that Chinese girls were not allowed
to train as nurses in the hospitals. She found that even after foreigners
got their papers and legal rights they remained, socially, foreigners
and were so designated. She found that even the third and fourth
generations were registered in the nationality of their foreign-born
progenitors. She found that she herself had no existence, technically
speaking, as a Canadian; that she was merely a British subject
resident in Canada.
Mrs. McCay had already become friends with
many foreigners in Vancouver before she definitely enlisted the
leaders of 29 different national groups. Perhaps it was the Sea
Music Festival held by the C.P.R. in 1929 which gave her an idea.
Perhaps it was the pioneer spirit of her prairie ancestors which
inspired and sustained her. At any rate, by reassurance, cajolery,
and blandishment she persuaded each of these groups to lend to the
festival some article they had brought from the old country: a shawl,
a copper bowl, a rug, a basket.
"They said they had nothing; that their treasures
were treasures only to them; that they possessed nothing worth exhibiting;
that they didnt remember where they had stored such things.
"She persisted; she coaxed; she won her point.
Finally the day arrived, and at four oclock
groups began to straggle into the festival rooms, with bundles in
their hands. Was this embroidered shawl good enough? Would this
hand-hammered copper bowl do? Was it possible anyone would care
to see this basket?
Would they do?
Each group was given a section and told to
arrange the things they had, with such trepidation, unpacked from
chests and trunks and boxes, and which had been for so long shamefacedly
By midnight there was such an array of embroideries,
textiles, and laces; of silver and copper and jeweled heirlooms;
of pottery, porcelain, glass, and china; of rugs, musical instruments,
and illuminated books as had never before been seen on the west
All Vancouver came to see them. Vancouver had
never imagined such a display. Vancouver saw with astonishment that
Croats and Czechoslovakians and Yugoslavs and Hungarians had a heritage
Not only the Vancouverites were astonished.
The Greeks admired the Scandinavian weaving. The
Mexicans and Armenians approvingly examined each others silverwork.
The Austrians and the Estonians, the Chinese and the Poles marveled
at one anothers treasures.
It was an enormousa spectacularsuccess.
But it was only the beginning of the Folk Festival.
There are other arts beside the handicraft.
The next year there was singing, with each group in the native costumes
they had put away in embarrassment when they arrived in the New
This year, and every year since, the American
Indians were made the hosts. Visitors walked first through the Indian
section, hung with blankets and featherwork and baskets and carvings
in stone and wood. Before they had time to examine all the other
sections came a sound of singing.
In surged various groups: Russians, Icelanders,
Rumanians and Serbs, clad in their bright costumes, singing as they
came down the room, singing as they took their places on the platform,
singing as the amazed audience listenedand then applauded.
The Jews marched in, intoning their solemn
plain song. The Negroes marched in, and their sweet and mournful
spirituals swelled to the roof. German lied followed French chanson.
It was a festival of music.
But singing did not complete the program.
There was folk dancingvigorous Swedish
rhythms, wild gypsy tangos, Spanish fandangos, languorous East Indian
And now Vancouver rubbed its eyes and sat up.
Every year since then the Folk Festival has
swept through its triumphant week. Even in 1941 every single group
which had ever been represented sent its delegatesprobably
the only place on the globe where peoples whose countries were at
war came together without enmity.
Not all the groups danced. Some have confined
themselves to handicrafts, some to singing, some to dancing, and
some have excelled in all three.
The last people to join were the English. They
offered no distinctive handicraft. A little self-consciously they
put on a morris dance. But finally, as the festival gathered prestige,
even the English succumbed. A group of them got into Elizabethan
costumes and sang madrigals.
The Folk Festival was complete.
October 21 The first suicide jump off Vancouvers
Burrard Bridge was made. There were many to follow. (We were living
through the Great Depression, which explains a lot.) Reading back
through the files, at times it seems there were line-ups of people
waiting their turn to leap off. Because the bridge isnt quite
high enough to guarantee a speedy end, the more usual result was
November 2 Future politician Bob McClelland
November 5 The American entertainer Texas
Guinan, a big star in her day, died of amoebic dysentery at Vancouver
General Hospital, failing to rally after an operation. She was just
43, was in town with her show. (She had appeared here years before.)
She was a singer and nightclub owner, famous in the 1920s for greeting
her club patrons with Hello, sucker! Her clubs were
continually being shut down and she was continually being arrested.
Im natures gift to the padlock makers, she
once said. Somehow in Prohibition days you could always get a drink
at Texas's clubs.
November 15 Thomas Dufferin Pattullo (1873-1956),
Liberal, became premier. Duff will serve to December
November 26 Singer Robert Goulet was born
in Lawrence, Mass. He will be a star in Vancouvers Theatre
Under The Stars (TUTS).
December 5 Prohibition in the US, which began
in 1920, was repealed.
December 14 The Canadian movie Crimson
Paradise (but made by an American) had its world premiere at
the Capitol Theatre in Victoria. The movie maker had trouble getting
bookings for the film in local cinemas, which were dominated by
US product. We cite this Victoria event because Ivan Ackerylater
the famous manager of Vancouvers Orpheum Theatrewas
the manager at the Capitol at the time, and insisted on showing
it. Vancouver film historian Michael Walsh writes that they gave
Ackery three nights, nights chosen because they were traditionally
the worst in box office terms. Ackery turned the local showing into
a smash, and the movie had to be held over. (Crimson Paradise,
incidentally, was the first Canadian feature film with sound. It
has disappeared without trace.) It was promotional savvy such as
this that would eventually lead to Ackerys elevation in 1935
to manager of the Orpheum.
December 15 Future politician Tom Waterland
December 16 Voters approved a plan to build
a bridge across the First Narrows.
Also in 1933
In the 1932-33 season Vancouver shipped out 96,869,841
bushels of wheat, making it the worlds largest grain port.
The Canada Rice Mill in Richmond was built, a new
source of tax revenue and employment in the midst of the Depression.
Dan Sewell of Horseshoe Bay converted a Briggs and
Stratton household appliance motor to his boats and began one of
the first power boat and sports fishing operations on the coast.
Construction of the Bessborough Armoury, which had
started in 1932, was completed. The official opening, however, was
not until March 27, 1934, when the Earl of Bessborough, The Governor-General,
dedicated this structure that was named after him. It is headquarters
today for the 15th Field Regiment. Built of reinforced concrete,
the voluminous drill hall has two storeys of administrative offices
on the south side. The main entry is on the south facade, leading
by a vestibule into the armoury offices and the vast drill hall.
Similar to the other drill halls in the city, a high steel-truss
roof system is used to span the drill field. The regimental museum
is on the north side of the hall.
Radio CJOR moved to the Grosvenor Hotel, 840 Howe
Street, and operated for years out of the hotel's basement. The
station became a real force in local radio in the 1930s, with broadcasters
like Ross and Hilda Mortimer, Dorwin Baird, Billy Browne Sr. and
Jr. and Vic Waters. Waters eventually became program director and
hired future broadcasting stars like Red Robinson, Jack Webster
and Brian Frosty Forst. See this
Dominic Burns died in Vancouver at age 74. The penthouse
of the Vancouver Block was Burns home from 1912.
Marion Malkin died. Her husband, former mayor W.
H. Malkin, will finance the building of Marion Malkin Bowl in Stanley
Park as a memorial.
Carnegie Library closed for a couple of months in
1933. There was no money. (In 1935 the librarys appropriation
would be nine cents more than it had been in 1934.)
Stimson and Co. failed, and their Marine Building
was sold to the Guinness family for $900,000, little more than a
third of its cost.
The Gregory Tire and Rubber Company, which had started
in 1926 in Port Coquitlam, went into receivership. (It would be
purchased March 23, 1935 by Huntington Rubber Mills of Canada.)
Nat Bailey's White Spot No. 1 restaurant opened on
Granville at 67th Avenue. He had opened a drive-in hotdog barbecue
stand at that location in June 1928.
Albert O. Koch became president of Beth Israel Synagogue
at 4350 Oak. He will hold the post until 1934, then become president
again in the 1940s.
1933 Lincoln KB Convertible
(photo: Richard A. Wright)
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]