- 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 1 Norm Grohmann got into radio at
CHWK in Chilliwack in the 1950s, and joined CKNW today. For four
decades he cut a goofy swath through local radio in a range of voices,
culminating in a daily bit with NWs morning man, Brian Frosty
Forst, where he played a vast variety of peoplenone of them
normal, all of them loud and funnydiscussing the weather.
BCTV asked him to do the same, and viewers loved him. He stayed
25 years. Then Grohmannborn August 13, 1935 in Vermilion,
Albertamade a career switch into acting on stage. He was a
hit (singing!) as Fagin in the Royal City Musical Theatre version
of Oliver!, another hit in Sylvia, and keeps returning to
the Arts Club Theatre as fussy, neurotic Felix Unger in The Odd
Couple. He was recently in the cast of The Music Man
as Mayor George Shinn.
January 14 Gertrude Guerin became the first
woman to be elected chief of the Musqueam Indian Band. The Musqueams
make their home on the north shore of the Fraser near the university.
January 15 The Coquitlam River floods, prompting
an extensive dyking and drainage program.
January 27 The anchor from a 19th century
sailing ship was found near Centennial Pier.
March 1 Ian Dobbin became manager of the Queen
March 15 Broadcaster Ted Field was born.
April 13 The Soviet Unions Yuri Gagarin
orbited the earth, the first human into space.
April 22 North Vancouvers Lions Gate
Hospital, the fifth largest in the Greater Vancouver Regional Hospital
District, opened at its current site with 285 beds.
May 3 An 11-day B.C. International Trade Fair
opened at Exhibition Park.
May 8 Businessman Jimmy Pattison began his
rise in business when he bought a GM dealership (Pontiac/Buick)
with a $40,000 bank loan from the Royal Bank, using his home and
life insurance policy as collateral. Today, Pattison runs B.C.s
largest privately-owned company, the Jim
May Originally housed downtown at the corner
of Richards and Davie, CHAN-TV moved to a sprawling complex in Burnaby's
Lake City. See October 31 below.
June 1 In the Province: A permanent
sales force has been set up by the Greater Vancouver Tourist Association
to sell Vancouver as a convention centre... staffed by a man and
2 women, financed by district hotels and motels.
June 5 Direct distance dialing began in Vancouver.
July 1 Emily Carr Elementary School in Vancouver
Also July 1 Michelle Wright, Canadian country
July 28 Dal (Albert Edward) Grauer, former
president of the B.C. Electric Railway, died in Vancouver, aged
55. He was born, writes Constance Brissenden, January
21, 1906 on Sea Island, Richmond. He was the sixth son of pioneer
John (Jacob) Grauer (1861-1936) He attended King Edward High School,
earned a BA in Economics at UBC and a PhD at Berkeley. He was named
Rhodes Scholar in 1927, earned a BA at Oxford. As a young professor
and head of social sciences at the University of Toronto, he assisted
the Bank of Canada and the Rowell-Sirois Commission. He was appointed
secretary of the BCER in 1939. Later, as president, Grauer took
the company (now B.C. Hydro) through major expansion. At various
periods he was chairman of the Vancouver General Hospital Board;
president of the Vancouver Symphony Society, and chancellor of UBC.
His daughter is artist Sherry Grauer.
August 1 The British Columbia Electric Company
became a new provincial crown corporation, B.C. Hydro and Power
Authority. Dr. Gordon Shrum was the first Chairman. Hugh Keenleyside
stepped down as chair of the B.C. Power Commission to become co-chair.
He would hold that post until 1969.
At the time the tallest building in Vancouver, the
21-storey B.C. Electric Building at 970 Burrard at the corner of
Nelson, the first highrise built south of Georgia, was renamed the
BC Hydro Building. (Province columnist Eric Nicol, noting
the monumental Saint Andrews-Wesley United Church across the
street, called the intersection The Power and the Glory.)
This was the first post-war structure in Vancouver to become a heritage
building. Today, its a 242-unit condominium called the Electra.
August 27 Harry Schiel started a short-lived
series of midnight shows at the Majestic Theatre, 20 West Hastings
(formerly the Pantages, now gone). The last show was February 11,
Summer Radio CKLG, which had gone on the air
in 1955 in North Vancouver, was taken over by new owners, who moved
it to Vancouver.
September 18 Alexander Russell Lord, educator,
died in Vancouver, aged 76. He was born June 27, 1885 in Merigomish,
Nova Scotia. Lord attended Queen's (BA, 1910). Principal of Kelowna
Elem. (to 1916), then school inspector for Prince Rupert/Peace River
districts, Okanagan and Vancouver. Joined Vancouver Normal School
(1924-50), retiring as principal. Special lecturer, College of Education
(1950-58). Member, UBC senate (1936-50). LL.D (UBC, 1948). President,
Canadian Educational Association (1948-49) and Children's Aid Society.
Educational advisor to the UN. Awarded Fergusson Memorial Award
(1950) for outstanding contribution to education in B.C.
LL.D (UBC, Queens). An elementary school in Vancouver is named for
October 9 Anna Ethel Sprott, radio school
founder and alderman, died in Vancouver, aged about 82. She was
born c. 1879 in Norwood, Ontario. She attended the University of
Toronto. Writes Constance Brissenden: She came to Vancouver
as a young widow in 1911 and attended Sprott-Shaw Schools of Commerce,
Radio and Telegraphy. In 1918 she married its founder, R.J. Sprott.
After his death in 1943 she became president of the company. She
was the founder of the West Coast Radio School. The first woman
candidate put forward by the civic Non-Partisan Association, she
was elected a Vancouver alderman in December 1949, and served on
council to 1959. She was the first woman alderman elected for three
terms, served longer than any woman in the citys history.
Sprott was the first woman to serve as acting mayor (September 1953).
On her retirement, she admitted to writing secret letters on council's
behalf to those celebrating their 50th and 60th anniversaries and
90th or 100th birthdays.
Also October 9 Alice Frances Crakanthorp (née
Patterson), a pioneer student, died in Haney, aged 97. She
was born February 26, 1864 in Alberni, Constance Brissenden
writes, the first white girl born in the Alberni area. At
age 9 she moved with her parents to the shanty town beside Hastings
Mill. She was the last surviving student of the first class at the
mill school, located at what is now the foot of Dunlevy Street.
Alice's dancing slippers, worn to the opening ball of the first
Hotel Vancouver , were donated to Vancouver City Archives.
October 13 The RCMP raided Vancouver bookstores
and the main library to seize copies of Henry Millers novel
Tropic of Cancer. Today, you can buy the book at any bookstore.
October 31 Vancouver's first private television
station, CHAN-TV, began broadcasting on Channel 8.
November 2 Sam (S.W.) Randall, thoroughbred
racing promoter, died in Vancouver, aged 79. He was born September
25, 1882 near Toronto. In 1908, Randall left Toronto for Vancouver
with his wife Sarah Catharine (d. 1951). Two friends got him involved
in racing; he took over Exhibition Park in 1920. He operated Lansdowne
Park on Lulu Island from 1924 to 1945, then managed Victoria's Willows
Track until 1947. For 35 years he was president and director of
the Ascot Jockey Club and Vancouver Thoroughbred Association. Randall
was the first Canadian track owner to adopt the photo finish, and
the first western manager to install an electric starting gate (1939).
He sold Lansdowne Park and the Randall Building (535 W. Georgia)
in 1945, reportedly for $1 million. He established the S.W. Randall
Plate. He has been inducted into the B.C. and Canadian sports halls
of fame, was called Mr. Racing in BC. See
November 12 Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci
was born in Onesti, Moldava in Romania. She was the star of the
Montreal Olympics in 1976 at age 14 when she became the first gymnast
in Olympic history to be awarded the perfect score of 10.0. See
December The Christmas Carol Ships tradition
Also in 1961
By 1961 the metropolitan Vancouver population had
climbed to more than 800,000, double the figure of 20 years earlier,
and pushing Vancouvers share of the population down to 46
per cent. For the first time there were more people outside the
city proper than in.
David Suzuki, born in Vancouver March 24, 1936, earns
a PhD in genetics from the University of Chicago. More at this
UBC opened the School of Rehabilitation Medicine
to help relieve a shortage of therapists.
The West Coast Railway Association was incorporated
as a non profit society. Its goal is the Preservation of Railway
Heritage in Canada, particularly British Columbia and the West.
It is one of the larger non profit societies in the province, having
over 1,500 active members who restore, preserve and maintain vintage
railcars as well as administer and volunteer in the Association's
UBCs Dr. Frederick Soward, 62, was named dean
of graduate studies. He will hold that post to 1965.
One branch of the Taylor family of Delta ends a 56-year
tradition of running the post office in Ladner. They began in 1905,
passing control on from father to son to daughter-in-law.
Burnaby holds its final May Day celebrations. With
one interruption because of the Second World War, the annual event
has been held since 1925.
Surrey municipal employees went on strike for the
The Crescent Apartments was West Vancouver's first
In 1961 60 per cent of Richmonds population
was of British descent. That now began to change.
Milltown to Metropolis, a history of Vancouver
by Sun journalist Alan Morley, was published to commemorate
the city's 75th birthday. This is an excellent book. It went to
three editions, the last in 1974. Morley died in 1982.
Writer Sean Rossiter says 1961 was an architectural
turning point for Vancouver. The history of Vancouver architecture,
he wrote in The Greater Vancouver Book, consists of
everything before Arthur Erickson, and everything since. In 1961
Erickson and Woodruff Wilson Bud Wood were teaching a
more design-oriented architectural approach at the University of
Oregon. Erickson was already designing houses in Vancouver that
he regarded as experiments; one, for example, entirely out of concrete
blocks. Wood became perhaps the most important design mentor at
UBC's architecture school over three decades.
Ron Thom, the outstanding designer in Vancouver
before Erickson, Rossiter continues, was off to Toronto
that year to build Massey College and thus become the first local
architect with a national practise. Thom was a protege of the most
influential architect ever to work in Vancouver, C.E. Ned
Pratt, whose firm, Thompson Berwick Pratt & Partners, had by
then become the dominant office in the city.
The founders of many of today's important firms
were either working for Pratt or about to work for Erickson in 1961.
Transcendence, a bronze sculpture by Jack
Harman, was placed at the Thea Koerner Graduate Student Centre at
UBC. Cast at his North Vancouver foundry, this piece was the sculptor's
first commission. When he suggested the design should be larger
to balance the bulk of the building behind it, journalist
Elizabeth Godley wrote, the Koerner family doubled his budget.
The Sopron Forestry School at UBC, its faculty and
students refugees from Hungary, closed its doors when the last of
its 140 students had graduated. See January 24 in the 1957 chronology
for a fuller treatment.
The census showed there were 2,200 Hungarians living
There were 15,223 Chinese in Vancouver (298 of them
in Richmond), double the number of a decade earlier. The number
would double again by the 1971 census.
Surreys Senator Reid Elementary School, named
for Scotland-born Senator Tom Reid, opened. Reid was a Surrey pioneer.
He gave the municipality land that is now Bear Creek Park.
John Henderson (1880-1968) was named Vancouver's
Good Citizen this year because of his long service in a score of
organizations and many personal accomplishments. He would be a Vancouver
School Trustee for 21 years, beginning in 1943.
The Chemical Engineering Building was built at UBC.
UBCs Department of Asian Studies was founded.
It offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Asian
Library there is the largest Asian-languages library in Canada with
more than 300,000 volumes in Chinese, Japanese, Urdu, Sanskrit and
other Asian languages. It has an important collection of Chinese
rare books and manuscripts dating as early as 986 A.D.
UBCs Graduate Student Centre (Thea Koerner
House) was completed. The Centre was a gift to UBC from Dr. Leon
Koerner, the founder of Alaska Pine Co., and was named in memory
of his wife who died in 1959. Dr. Koerner lived in the penthouse
of the building during the summer months from the time the building
was completed until his death in 1972. The buildingwhich now
includes a 1971 extension paid for by graduatesserves as a
social and cultural centre for students in graduate studies. The
original structure received the Massey Gold medal for outstanding
architecture. (Thompson, Berwick and Pratt).
The Commons Block of Place Vanier, a housing centre
for single students at UBC, won the Massey Silver Medal for Architecture.
The B.C. government approved a plan to establish
the province's first technical training institute. Not until the
spring of 1964, however, would BCITthe British Columbia Institute
of Technologyopen its doors in Burnaby.
The last lobotomy was performed at Riverview (Mental)
The ANZA News, a publication of the Australia
- New Zealand Association, began. It featured news of Australia
and New Zealand and happenings of the club.
The Chinese-Canadian Bulletin, a monthly publication
with text in English and Chinese, began.
The WCRA News, a monthly publication of the
West Coast Railway Association, began. It provided updates on Association
activities, rail stories of interest, rail travel and tours.
Trans-Canada Airlines and Canadian Pacific Airlines
bought pure-jet DC-8s this year.
The switch by the worlds airlines to jets would
mean a major overhaul of Vancouver International Airport. A figure
of $100 million was cited. The city voted to sell the city's share
of the airport to the federal government for $2.5 million.
Mohawk Oil began, led by entrepreneur Hugh B. Sutherland.
It is now the largest retailer of alternative fuels in Western Canada
with more than 270 retail and bulk sales outlets.
The Bank of Commerce bought the Imperial Bank of
Canada. The new entity became the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Mountaineer Elfrida Pigou, most well known of local
female climbers of the 1950s, was killed in an avalanche on Mount
Lansdowne Park was sold for real estate development
and all Lower Mainland racing was concentrated at Hastings Park.
Under its choir master Charles Findlater, Vancouvers
Elgar Choir (established in 1934) was the first Canadian cultural
group to visit the USSR.Their previous trip to Europe was in 1957.
Landscaping in the second quarry at Queen Elizabeth
Park was finished.
The Vancouver Ballet Society (established in
1946), dance reviewer Max Wyman has written, launched
a workshop in classical repertoire, with the intention of developing
a Vancouver ballet company as a joint endeavor by the city's teachers.
Until the late 1960s, the VBS workshop mounted substantial productions,
featuring many dancers who went on to professional careers (including
Reid Anderson, eventually head of the National Ballet of Canada).
What they did not produce, however, was a company.
Gordon Hilker was appointed artistic director of
the Vancouver Festival. He held that post until 1967.
Calgary-born (1914) Marianne Linnell won her first
civic election, running as an alderman for the NPA (Non-Partisan
Association). She served five terms to 1974, was influential inside
and out of city hall.
Author Ethel Wilsons last published work, Mrs.
Golightly and Other Stories, appeared this year. She also received,
this year, a special Canada Council medal for contributions to Canadian
literature. B.C.'s top fiction prize is named for Ethel Wilson.
No other writer has more successfully evoked British Columbia
as a place or its inhabitants as a strange and unique people than
Ethel Wilson. -- George Woodcock.
1961 Porsche 356 Cabriolet
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]