- 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 12 The Vancouver East Cinema opened.
See their web
January The Knowledge Network, a B.C. government-funded
educational channel, debuted on-air.
April 1 The Fraser Valley college district
served by Douglas College was divided into two smaller regions,
one on the north shore of the Fraser River another on the south
shore. When the division officially came into effect today, Douglas
College retained its campuses in New Westminster, Coquitlam, and
Maple Ridge. The new collegeKwantlentook charge of the
campuses in Langley, Surrey, and Richmond.
A contest was held to find a name for the new South
Fraser region college. From over 200 names suggestedincluding
Tillicum, Dogwood, Surdel-Langrich, and SalishKwantlen was
the clear winner. The winning entry was submitted by Stan McKinnon,
news editor of the Surrey Leader. The name Kwantlen means
tireless runners and refers to the native people who
lived in the South Fraser region.
Today, its known as Kwantlen
University College, a degree-granting undergraduate
university college with four campuses. The main campus is in Surrey;
the three others are in the Newton area of Surrey, Richmond and
Langley. In January 2006 Kwantlen began offering a limited number
of courses at a new location in White Rock.
April 19 Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin
Skywalker (the future Darth Vader) in the Star Wars movies,
was born in Vancouver.
May 2 The diving charter vessel Huntress
exploded in Coal Harbour, killing two and injuring eight.
May 29 The Vancouver Indian Centre Society
opened its new centre, with Chief Simon Baker officiating. Today
its known as the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre. On
the VAFC Society says: The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship
Centre Society (VAFCS) was established in the early 1950s under
the name of Coqualeetza Fellowship Club. After this it moved to
West Broadway under the name of the Vancouver Indian Centre Society.
From 1970 to 1979 the Centre was located at 1855 Vine Street. A
survey of the City of Vancouver indicated the majority of Aboriginal
people lived between Cambie and Nanaimo Street (the population estimated
to be 40 to 45 thousand). The Board of Directors subsequently moved
the Centre to the present location at 1607 East Hastings in 1981.
The new location is easily accessible for the aboriginal community
and provides social, educational, cultural, spiritual and sports
Spring Canadian Union of Public Employees
(CUPE) members went on strike and garbage piled up at tennis courts
and other makeshift sites throughout Greater Vancouver.
June 2 300 inmates seized control of Abbotsfords
Matsqui Institution and set fire to seven prison buildings causing
millions in damages. Actions taken by Corporal Patrick Aloysius
Kevin McBride during the riot to rescue eight staff members from
a burning roof led to his receiving a second medal of honor for
heroism in the same year from the Governor General.
There is a funny story buried in this next item:
June 5 The Asian Centre opened at UBC. To
quote its web
site: The purpose of the Asian Centre is to promote
and encourage greater awareness and understanding of the many Asian
cultures so richly represented in Canada and particularly in the
Lower Mainland. Completed in 1981, the Asian Centre has an interesting
history. A UBC Religious Studies Professor, Shotaro Iida who went
to Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan thought the Sanyo Electric Company Exhibit
building would make a great Asian Centre for UBC once the fair was
over. He asked Sanyo for the donation of the building, and succeeded!
The building was donated to the people of the province of British
Columbia in honor of B.C.'s Centennial. In addition to the Sanyo
Corporation, sponsors for the Asian Centre included the Canadian
and Japanese governments, business, industry and private individuals,
many from Japan.
Since the cost of shipping the entire dismantled
building would have been astronomical, only the supporting beams
and girders were sent. UBC, however, did not know about the shipment
and only learned of it when Canada Customs called saying they had
some white pipes waiting to be picked up by UBC! The
dismantled pieces were numbered to make reconstruction easy and
efficient. Unfortunately, the beams were left on the site for a
few years while UBC recruited sponsors for the construction, and
when construction finally started, it was learned that rain had
washed the numbers off! Putting the beams together was rather like
trying to solve a 172-ton jigsaw puzzle. The puzzle did eventually
materialize into the unique Asian Centre. Construction started January
8, 1974, and the building was officially opened June 5, 1981. The
Centres distinctive roof shape is inspired by a traditional
Japanese farmhouse. When you enter, the huge white beams from the
Sanyo Pavilion are immediately noticeable.
The Department of Asian Studies, founded in 1961,
with 21 faculty members, offers both undergraduate and graduate
degree programs. Total enrolment, including both undergrads and
graduates, is about 1,500 students. The Asian
Library 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. It also has
one of the best collections of Japanese woodblock and copper engraved
maps of the Tokugawa Period (1600-1867) . . . in the Special Collections
division of the Main Library.
The exhibition hall displays works of local and international
Asian artists. On the adjacent wall is a classical Chinese scroll,
a gift from the People's Republic of China. The photographs on the
wall were collected from museums and archives and show members of
the Asian Community in Vancouver before 1950. These photos indicate
the great contribution of Canadians of Asian descent to our society,
especially here in the Lower Mainland.
June 28 Terry Fox died at dawn in Royal Columbian
Hospital in New Westminster, one month before his 23rd birthday.
His family was at his side. Canada mourned a genuine, and a beloved,
hero. Flags on all federal buildings were flown at half-mast all
across Canada. Terrys campaign had raised $23 million for
the fight against cancer. His dedication, courage and selflessness
are perpetuated through the annual Terry Fox Run and the Terry Fox
Foundation. His parents, Betty and Rolly Fox, work today to keep
the Marathon of Hope alive. See the September 13 entry.
June A new floating dock arrived at Burrard
Dry Dock from Japan.
July 1 The Hongkong Bank of Canada, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of HSBC Holdings, based in London, England, received
its federal charter. On November 27, 1986 it will buy substantially
all the assets and liabilities of the Bank of B.C. See the July
5 entry below.
July 5 The Devonshire Hotel opened at the
northeast corner of Georgia and Hornby Streets in 1925. It took
two years to put the building up. It took 6.5 seconds to bring it
down. On Sunday morning, July 5, 1981 hundreds of people crowded
(prudently distant) onto adjacent streets and waited for Arrow Demolitions
big bang. The windows of nearby buildings, including the Vancouver
and Georgia Hotels, were jammed with onlookers. At 7:05 a.m. Chris
Charles, the wife of Arrows Brian Charles, pushed a delicate
finger down on a button and, with a muffled crack from a hundred
kilos of dynamite, the hotels central elevator shaft began
to collapse. The rest of the seven-storey building fell inward,
and a vast cloud of white dust rose up as the crowd cheered. Not
long after the dust settled, work began on building the HSBC Bank
July 20 A fixture on the Vancouver club scene
for decades was The Cave, whose dark interior and famous papier-mache
stalactites were a setting for acts ranging from Mitzi Gaynor, Milton
Berle, Mel Torme, Lena Horne, Jack Carter, Henny Youngman and Louis
Armstrong to Eric Burdon and the Animals and The Doors. The Cave,
run in its heyday by the towering Ken Stauffer, closed its doors
today with a farewell performance by the Bobby Hales Orchestra.
The club was demolished the next day. Actually, the demolition started
early: Before the day dawned, Joy Metcalfe wrote, every
mirror, stalactite, showcase, sink and toilet that had not been
auctioned off earlier had been demolished by the mob.
August 14 Clifford Olson, 41, a self-employed
contractor from Coquitlam, was arrested and in a few days will be
charged with the murder of 14-year-old Judy Kozma. On August 31st
he will be charged with nine counts of murder in a Burnaby court.
The charges include the murder of Judy Kozma and eight other children.
August 18 Delegates visited from Vancouver's
sister city, Odessa, in the Ukrainian SSR.
August 21 Nanaimo-born (1902) band leader
Charlie Pawlett died, aged about 79. Constance Brissenden has written
that he began playing trumpet and violin in Vancouver clubs in the
1920s, and from 1936 to 1939 was band leader at the Commodore Ballroom.
His shows were broadcast on CJOR radio. He played in the RCAF band
during the Second World War. Pawlett played at the Strand Theatre,
Howden's Ballroom, Arcadian Ballroom and Narrows Supper Club. Playing
with Jackie Borne in the Peter Pan Ballroom, he retired at age 68.
September 13 The first Terry Fox Run, named
for the late cancer fighter, was held in more than 880 Canadian
communities with more than 300,000 participants. They ran, walked,
cycled, roller-bladed, swam and wheeledand raised $3.5 million.
Still an annual event more than 20 years later, the Run, now held
in many countries, has raised millions of dollars for cancer research.
September 23 Chief Dan George died in Vancouver,
aged 82. He was born July 24, 1899 in North Vancouver. His birth
name was Tes-wah-no, but he was known in English as Dan Slaholt.
At age five, he entered a mission boarding school where his surname
was changed to George. The little boy, along with the other native
students, was forbidden to speak his native language. He worked
as a longshoreman and logger. In 1959 he began his acting career
(TV, stage, Hollywood films). He appeared to great acclaim in the
first production of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe by George Ryga
(1967). His films included Little Big Man (1970) (a wonderful
performance, for which he received an Oscar nomination) and The
Outlaw Josey Wales (1975). He was the chief of the Squamish
Band from 1951 to 1963, and honorary chief of the Squamish Nation.
To many, he embodied the dignified elder. He wrote My Heart Soars
(1974), My Spirit Soars (1982). There is a good brief biography
by Mel James here.
September 25 A new courthouse opened on Begbie
Square in New Westminster.
October 16 The Canada Post Corporation was
created as a Crown corporation, successor to the Post Office Department.
October 17 Vancouver police broke up a Ku
Klux Klan rally celebrating the assassination of Egyptian leader
Anwar Sadat. It was the first Klan activity in the city for nearly
October The national edition of the Globe
and Mail is extended to Vancouver, via its satellite printing network.
November 17 Elected as mayor of Vancouver
was a 38-year-old Edmonton-born (January 6, 1943) lawyer named Mike
Harcourt, who defeated the incumbent, Jack Volrich of the Non-Partisan
Association, with 50,203 votes to 47,107. Vancouver,
wrote the Provinces Jan O'Brien, will never be
the same after the weekend's upset civic election. A ward system
in 1982, more housing and an immediate push for light-rail transit
are on the agenda of the new city council . . . Topping the
aldermanic vote with the largest number of votes (64,817) ever cast
for a Vancouver civic politician: lawyer Harry Rankin. Well down
the list of aldermanic hopefuls who didn't make it was a fellow
named Philip Owen. His turn would come. (The ward system's wouldn't.)
Writes Donna Jean McKinnon: Although working
closely with council members of left-wing COPE (Committee Of Progressive
Electors), Mike Harcourt ran as an independent in his bids for mayor.
During his terms, civic policies and positions came into focus in
terms of their relationship to the provincial (Social Credit) government's
policies. Harcourt's mayoralty crystallized grass roots opposition
to the province, most notably during Solidarity 83, a broad-based
protest against provincial cuts to social programs, health and education.
Harcourt was mayor during Vancouver's Centennial activities, but
was criticized for his lukewarm response to Expo 86. He later became
the leader of the New Democratic Party in B.C. and then premier
in a landslide victory over Social Credit.
December 8 Pier B-C, on the citys central
waterfront, was being prepared as a downtown convention centre.
The facility, to be funded by three levels of government, was initially
projected to cost $25 million. By 1980, with construction not yet
begun, it had soared to $52 million, then, within months, $80 million.
By November 1981, it was $135 million and politicians were panicking.
On Dec. 8, 1981, Premier Bill Bennett postponed construction indefinitely.
December Poland's Communist government began
its crackdown on the Solidarity trade union and more seamen jumped
ship in Vancouver. About 1,000 demonstrators, chanting Solidarity
Forever marched from Robson Square to Pier B.C.
Also in 1981
1981 census figures: (1971 figures in brackets)
|North Vancouver City
North Vancouver District
University Endowment Lands
By 1981 two-thirds of Greater Vancouvers population
lived outside the central city. The 1981 census was sobering for
Vancouver: it showed a drop in absolute numbers, with 12,000 fewer
people in the city since the 1971 census. That was only a three
per cent drop, but it was a drop. That was new. In contrast, most
of the suburbs were leaping ahead: Langley Township had more than
doubled in population in a decade, Surrey had grown by more than
50 percent, Richmond by more than 55. Delta was now five times bigger
than it had been 20 years earlier. Only New Westminster joined Vancouver
in bucking the trend: its population dropped 10 per cent during
A deep and protracted recession began in BC. The
recession made it clear, wrote economist Michael Goldberg, that
British Columbia had to diversify its resource-based economy.
A decline in house values began and would continue
into 1982. Chartered accountant Don Young comments: House
values in Vancouver declined by 30 per cent or more and many people
were hurt, some bankrupted, because they were caught with two homes
(bought one and couldn't sell the one they owned) when interest
rates were at an all time highfirst mortgages at 20 per cent
and moreand the demand for new and used homes plunged from
the unrealistically high levels achieved by the end of 1980. Other
people had mortgage renewals come due and found it difficult, sometimes
very difficult, to keep up the new higher monthly mortgage payments
with current interest rates.
Julia Levy formed Quadra Logic Technologies, now
QLT Inc., a biotechnology company. It was while teaching microbiology
at UBC that Dr. Levy first became interested in the idea of using
photo-sensitive drugs to treat diseases. On its web
site QLT describes itself as a global biopharmaceutical
company specializing in developing treatments for eye diseases as
well as dermatological and urological conditions. Dr. Levy
served as the companys president and CEO from 1995 to 2002.
The Inventive Women web site in its page on Dr. Levy describes the photodynamic therapy she developed
as an innovative, two-step process that starts with the administration
of a specifically tailored drug by intravenous injection. Once the
drug enters the bloodstream, it spreads throughout the body, concentrating
where abnormal blood vessels are being formed. The second step is
to activate the drug with a dose of non-thermal laser light of a
particular wavelength. Neither the drug nor the light exert any
effect until combined.
Theatre director Larry Lillo left the Tamahnous Theatre
and became a freelance theatre director. For more on his career,
see his entry in our Hall of
The research areas in the Vancouver Public Aquarium
were consolidated at the north end of the building into the Van
Dusen Aquatic Science Centre.
Quintessence Records in Kitsilano closed. Staffer
Grant McDonagh, using the same location at West 4th and Burrard,
opened Zulu Records. He also created the Zulu record label. Check
web site for some interesting stuff about Zulu
The theatre in the Surrey Art Centre, built in Bear
Creek Park in 1967 as a federal Centennial project at a cost of
$225,000, was rebuilt by the municipality and the province. It holds
405 seats. Tab: $2.1 million.
Now a Canadian classic, Joy Kogawas novel Obasan
appeared. It was the first novel to deal with the internment by
Canada of its Japanese citizens during and after the Second World
War. The writers periodical Quill & Quire would publish
a survey of English Canadian literature in 1999. Second only to
Alice Munro in the BC authors noted was Joy Kogawa. See a fine brief
biography at this
The book Headhunter, by Michael Slade, appeared.
Slade proved to be three people, Vancouver lawyers Jay Clarke, John
Banks and Richard Covell. The book was a success, so Clarke and
Banks, while carrying on their respective law practices (more than
100 murder cases), also continued their literary collaboration.
In 1996 they would give us Evil Eye.
The book The boom years: G.G. Nye's photographs
of North Vancouver 1905-1909, by Donald J. Bourdon, appeared.
The book Chuck Davis 1982 Vancouver Appointment
Book appeared. One page had space for a weeks appointments;
the facing page featured an historical vignette.
Writer William Gibson, who had come to Vancouver
from North Carolina in 1972, sold his first science fiction story
to Omni magazine. There was much more to come.
George Wainborn, former Vancouver Park Board Commissioner,
started the Stanley Park Christmas Train, with strong support from
the Mt. Pleasant Legion.
The non-profit B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre
was created. Its website
explains that the BCPIACs creation reflected the fundamental
belief that it should not only be the rich and powerful that are
represented before our courts and regulators. Their lawyers
will, for example, intervene when companies like B.C. Hydro apply
to raise their rates. BCPIAC is financially supported by the Law
Foundation of BC. Its executive director is Dick Gathercole.
UBCs Crane Resource Centre, named for the late
Charles Allen Crane, began in 1968 as a repository for his huge
collection of Braille books to benefit blind and visually impaired
students. By 1981 it had expanded to house nine sound-proof studios
with state-of-the-art professional recording equipment and high-speed
duplicating and editing equipment to produce talking books.
Today, the Crane Resource Centre and Library, to quote its web
site is the principal resource for people who
are blind, visually impaired, or print-handicapped. Technical resources
include an eight studio book recording and duplicating facility,
dedicated computers which convert print to synthesized speech, adapted
computer work stations with voice synthesis and image-enlarging,
a computerized braille transcription facility, a talking on-line
public catalogue, closed circuit TV magnifiers, and much more.
The British Columbia Nurses Union (BCNU) came into
existence. Its predecessor, the Registered Nurses Association of
B.C. (RNABC) obtained its first certification at St. Paul's Hospital
in 1946. Today, the BCNU
has more than 22,000 members.
Vancouvers St. Pauls Hospital introduced
a computerized medication service that became a model for other
acute care hospitals.
These publications debuted in 1981:
AABC Newsletter, a quarterly, published for
its members by the Archives Association of B.C.
Canadian School Executive Published 10 times
a year by Xancor Canada Ltd. for The Canadian School Executive,
it was Dedicated to promoting effective leadership, management
and instruction in schools.
National Radio Guide: Guide to CBC radio and CBC
stereo, a monthly publication from Core Group Publishers Inc.
Until 1981, the B.C. Supreme Court decided how many
notaries public were needed in a given area. While seldom more than
300 B.C. notaries were registered to practice at the same time,
the number of practising lawyers in the province quadrupled from
fewer than 1,000 in 1947 to more than 4,000 in 1981. Over the years,
many ad hoc groups of lawyers had tried to block notarial appointments:
They argued there was no need for independent notaries where lawyers
were available. Legislation this year liberated notaries public
from the control of the Law Society of B.C., which previously had
had the power to block any appointment.
The Port of Vancouver processed 22,800 cruise passenger.
The total will pass 170,000 in 1981; 423,000 in 1991 and 600,000
The land at the east end of Smithe Street occupied
by the Sweeney Cooperage, one of the oldest industries in False
Creek (1923?), was expropriated by the provincial government for
the construction of B.C. Place. The cooperage, one of the citys
major industrial landmarks, was torn down. For more on the cooperage
see the entry on Leo Sweeney in our Hall
MacMillan Bloedel began producing Parallam at a pilot
plant on Annacis Island. MB had spent $45 million over 20 years
on research and development of this parallel strand lumber product,
which created large beams out of small trees. (An efficient sawmill
may only recover 15 per cent of a log as high-grade lumber, and
another 35 to 40 per cent in lower-grade lumber products. The rest
of the log becomes wood chips or fuel. With Parallam, MB used 70
to 80 per cent of a log.) Parallam was manufactured by bonding long
strands of wood, under pressure, into uniform structural beams with
a waterproof adhesive. The bonding resin is cured with microwave
energysomewhat like cooking in a kitchen microwave. In 1987
MB would spend $100 million to bring the Annacis Island plant into
full commercial production and to build a similar plant in Georgia.
A curious and attractive use for Parallam is seen
Zool Suleman, a Richmond High School student, won
the top Canadian debating championship. He was the first BC high
school student to win that championship, held in Montreal. Today,
hes a busy immigration lawyer in Vancouver.
A Richmond civic employees strike lasted three months.
Richmond received 188 days of rain in 1981, the highest
annual level since 1939. Farms produced only 56 per cent of normal
St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church in North Vancouver
was designated a National Historic Site.
Chief Louis Miranda received the Honorary Degree
of Doctor of Laws from SFU this year for being the instigator of
the Squamish Nation's written language program in 1975.
The West Vancouver Seniors' Activity Centre was awarded
the Canadian Architects' Award of Excellence. It also received the
Canadian Parks and Recreation Association's 1985 Facility Excellence
A 1981 peace march against nuclear arms in Vancouver
was a success, drawing nearly 10,000 participants. The march would
attract 35,000 the next year, more than 100,000 in 1983. The annual
event grew to become the largest of its kind in North America.
In 1792 Lt. Peter Puget, one of Capt. Vancouvers
staff, named a small point near the tip of Point Grey Noon
Breakfast Point. The name was not officially adopted until
According to federal census data, the population
of Vancouvers West End remained static during the 1980s: there
were 36,950 residents in 1981, 37,190 in 1991an increase of
just 0.6 per cent. The population of Shaughnessy Heights declined
slightly during the 1980s: there were 9,345 residents in 1981, just
9,035 in 1991a decline of 3.3 per cent.
Minnekhada Farms in northeast Coquitlamonce
the homesteaded property of Obe and Bertha Pollardwas made
a regional park. Covering more than 200 hectares, the park is home
to the Minnekhada Lodge, one of the GVRDs premier heritage
buildings and the site of many weddings and other functions. Tours
of the park are welcomed, but know that there are bears there. See
Maple Ridges municipal hall opened at 11995
Haney Place. Architects were Henriquez and Partners. The same architects
designed the Maple Ridge Courthouse (1994).
Burvilla, a handsome Queen Anne house that once belonged
to the Burr Family, was moved to Deas Island Regional Park in Delta
from the south side of River Road. There are several other historic
buildings in the park. The front part of Burvilla is furnished with
antiques and collectables, many of which are for sale.
The Burlington Northern Railway (originally the Great
Northern Railway, now the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe) discontinued
passenger service. The line went through White Rock, and passenger
service to and from that point had ended in 1975. The railway gave
its station to the city of White Rock that year. Passenger service
between Vancouver and Seattle would be restored by Amtrak in 1995.
Amtraks trains pass by the old stations door, but the
train doesn't stop there anymore. In 1991 the station would become
the White Rock Museum and Archives.
The Bentall IV office building opened at 1055 Dunsmuir.
The 36-storey building is 137 metres high. Another lofty structure,
the Stock Exchange Tower at 609 Granville, opened this year. Its
24 storeys top out at 100.2 metres.
Robert Stewart became Chief Constable in the Vancouver
Police Department, and would be in that post until 1991. He succeeded
Donald R. Winterton (1974-1981.)
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]  
[Photo: Correctional Service Canada]
The Asian Centre, UBC
Mike Harcourt wins the mayoralty
[Photo: National Speakers Bureau www.nsb.com]