The 1912 mansion Kanakla, now on the UBC campus and known
as Cecil Green Park. A nice visual tour of the mansion (available
for functions) is at
- 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 5 The first professional hockey game
ever played in Vancouver was enjoyed by the crowd at the Patrick
brothers Denman Arena. The Vancouver Millionaires beat the
New Westminster Royals 8 to 3.
January 28 Vancouver Alderman R.P. Pettipiece
addressed a crowd at the Powell Street grounds on unemployment.
The meeting was broken up by mounted police.
February 12 The Vancouver Morning Sun first
appeared. Later, it will become an afternoon newspaper, the Vancouver
February 27 The Pacific Great Eastern Railway
was incorporated to build and operate a railway from North Vancouver
to Prince George. North Vancouver hoped thereby to become the major
railway terminus on the west coast. (The PGE was named after and
partly funded by Britain's Great Eastern Railway, hence the odd
March 15 The municipality of West Vancouver
was incorporated. The population was 700. Land for the city hall
was donated by John Lawson, called by some the "father"
of West Vancouver. (Population in the summers went up to 1,200.)
March 25 Constable Lewis Byers responded to
a "drunk annoying" call on Powell Street. The drunk had
a gun and Byers was shot and killedthe first Vancouver police
officer killed in the line of duty. Police closed in around a waterfront
shack where the drunken Oscar Larsen had holed up, and shot him
March 30 The Vancouver local of the International
Longshoremen's Association was formed, with 60 charter members.
March Emily Carr, back from a sojourn in France,
exhibits paintings she created there in her gallery at 1465 West
April 6 In the first municipal election in
West Vancouver Charles Nelson is elected reeve (mayor).
April 8 The West Vancouver ferry service,
which had fallen on hard times, was taken over by the municipality.
It would lose money for another 12 years.
April 14-15 The Titanic sank.
April 18 John Morton, one of the Three
Greenhorns, died in Vancouver at age 78.
April 21 A public memorial service was held
at the Vancouver Opera House in aid of widows and orphans of the
seamen of the Titanic.
April 23 A group of concerned, forward-looking
men gathered in the council chambers of Vancouver City Hall, formed
the Vancouver Mining Club, and elected its first president, Robert
R. Hedley. The group was later named the British Columbia and Yukon
Chamber of Mines. On December 8, 2005, the name of the association
would be changed to the Association for Mineral Exploration British
BC). The web site has a very detailed chronology
on the development of the mining industry in BC.
April 24 Billy Stark was the pilot for the
first passenger flight in B.C. Passenger James Hewitt, a Vancouver
Province sports reporter, was flown for six miles and eight minutes,
soaring up to 600 feet. The plane travelled at 40 mph, and Hewitt
rode on a board strapped to the lower wing.
May 6 The memorial drinking fountain dedicated
to King Edward VII was unveiled at the courthouse. In the beginning,
little bronze cups were left for drinkers . . . but they kept getting
stolen. The first drink was taken by Mayor James Findlay. Today,
the fountain is on the east side of Hornby next to the Art Gallery.
May 7 West Vancouver appointed its first police
constable. There is a history of the force here.
At this website we learn that early police officers, when called
to points west of town, had to take the bus.
May 8 Writer George Woodcock was born in Winnipeg,
later settled in Vancouver. He became British Columbias most
prolific author, producing about 150 books. See this
May 24 The first parachute jump in Canada was made at a two-day Aviation Meet (tickets 50 cents, children 25 cents) at Hastings Park by Prof. Charles Saunders. He had jumped from balloons before, but this was his first leap from a plane. The Province of May 25 explained that Prof. Morton (no first name given), who was supposed to have made the jump, had fallen ill and Saunders was called in at short notice. He leaped from 3,500 feet, and didn’t open the parachute until after falling 1,000 feet. Needless to say, the crowd was thrilled. Both days of the meet were marked by aerobatics and races.
May 30 Cedar Cottage property owners voted
for annexation by Vancouver.
May Enrolment commenced of the 6th Field Engineers
of North Vancouver, under the command of Major J. P. Fell. The unit
would become a training and recruitment depot in the two world wars,
and saw action on D-Day.
June 24 Newspaper report: The roads
are getting crowded: the total number of automobiles . . . in Vancouver
July 1 Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway of
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is leased by the Canadian Pacific.
Also July 1 Peter Greyell, a White Rock builder,
opens a 50-room, four-storey hotel there with a lunch for 300 guests.
July 9 Vancouvers progressive police
department now has a chief's car, a detective car, a paddy wagon
and an ambulance. And, even more important, they hired their first
women: Nancy Harris and Minnie Miller. (Today, Vancouver has well
over 100 women police officers, in almost all ranks.) Their salary
was $80 a month. Another source gives a spelling of Lurancy Harris
and Minnie Millar.
A Justice Institute paper reports: Even as
late as 1912 there was no police training college or any kind of
instruction course. Police worked 8 hours a day, seven days
a week. They were expected to attend court on their own time and,
in addition, any celebrations or parades where their attendance
In this same year the VPD got its first police boat.
July 12 William Hailstone, another one of
the Three Greenhorns, died at age 82 in Newcastle-on-Tyne,
July 16 Splash Day in Burnaby
celebrated the completion of the municipal waterworks system.
July 24 The B.C. Electric Railway Company
held its first annual picnic at Hastings Park.
August 10 A story in the Province reported that the
clock on the Vancouver Block, the brand new tall white terra cotta
office block on Granville Street, is the largest in Canada. The
four faces of this clock are each twenty-two feet in diameter. The
glass contained in the dial weighs four tons and is seven-eighths
of an inch in thickness. The minute hands are eleven feet long and
the hour hands about eight feet . . . The clock was erected by the
Standard Electric Time Company of San Francisco at a cost of more
August 11 Chalmers Presbyterian Church,
at the southwest corner of 12th Avenue and Hemlock Street in Vancouver,
was dedicated today. The new church, the Province
reported, has been specially planned to take a helpful
part in the social life of the community. It has been planned and
equipped as a seven-day-a-week church for the people. A gymnasium,
swimming and shower baths, reading rooms and social parlors are
Today, this is Anglican Holy Trinity Church.
August 21 The first UBC convocation.
August 13 VANCOUVERS GREAT AUTO SHOW
opened as part of the Vancouver Exhibition (what we now know as
the PNE). The man who is completely ignorant of the working
of a car, the Province wrote, and who would be
unable to steer it even if his hand were placed on the wheel, will
have an opportunity of learning in a few minutes the exact method
by which auto locomotion may be effected ...
August 23 (25?) Street car service started
on Nanaimo Street between Hastings and Broadway. (Broadway was so
named this year; it had been plain old 9th Avenue.)
August 24 From the papers: In order
to more than double the present size of their store at the northwest
corner of Abbott and Hastings street, the Woodward Department Stores
Limited have bought eighty-six feet fronting on Hastings street
and adjoining their present store on the west for the sum of $400,000,
or $4500 per front foot, which is said to be a record price for
inside property in that section of the business district of Vancouver
. . .
August 27 Thomas Wilby and his driver, Jack
Haney, left Halifax to drive across Canada.
August 28 A Canadian businessman named E.
G. Rykert, who was well enough known in 1912 to be quoted on the
country's future, spoke in Montreal after his return from a business
trip to Europe. Mr. Rykert, the Province reported, declared
that Canada was taking an increasingly important place before the
eyes of the British public. When I was in London, he
said, I noticed one day that the newspaper bulletins announced
in huge type that Borden would arrive at such and such an hour;
not Premier Borden of Canada, but just Borden.
This shows that the Canadian premier is now a British public character
. . .
Also August 28 Hardial Singh Atwal was born
in Vancouver, the first Canadian-born Sikh.
September 2 Burnaby's Oakalla Prison Farm
was officially opened. Its first inmate was William Daley, sentenced
to serve a year of hard labor for stealing some fountain pens.
September 14 Lynn Valley Parktoday its
called Lynn Canyon Park, one of the most popular parks in the lower
mainlandwas officially opened in the District of North Vancouver.
Band concerts were given by the North Vancouver City Band. One piece
of more than usual interest was entitled The Echoes of the Lynn,
composed by Miss G. Strickland, age 15. The 6th Field Engineers
of North Vancouver made their first appearance as an Honor Guard.
There is a small suspension bridge there, 50 metres above Lynn Creek.
September 15 From Page 1 of the Province:
The provincial police has received from Ottawa the apparatus
required for registering the marks of human finger tips, and hereafter
this method of identification of criminals will be part of the regular
procedure at the provincial capital. The apparatus is extremely
simple, consisting merely of a glass plate, a roller and paper.
The prisoner places the finger and thumb of each hand on the plate,
on which a special ink has been smeared. The moistened tips are
then placed upon the paper and the record is made. All records will
be photographed and a copy sent to Ottawa so that the Dominion police
will by and by have a complete collection of impressions of the
finger tips of the criminal section of the travelling public.
September 18 Canadas Governor General,
the Duke of Connaught (a famous soldier and a son of Queen Victoria),
visited Vancouver with the Duchess to officiate at the ceremony
naming the brand-new Connaught Bridgea name that never caught
on. Everyone called it the Cambie Street Bridge. (It was demolished
in 1985, replaced by the present bridge.) The royals were accompanied
by their daughter, Princess Patricia, the woman for whom the Princess
Patricias Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) is named; she was
the regiments colonel-in-chief.
The Connaughts officially opened the provincial courthouse,
too. James Findlay was the first Vancouver mayor to wear the new
gold civic chain of office. That was for the royal visit.
Also September 18 The original Lumbermens
Arch (note the plural, not Lumbermans) loomed
over the intersection of Hamilton and Pender Streets to honor the
visit to Vancouver by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. The Arch
was built and donated by the B.C. Lumber and Shingle Association
for the royal visit. A huge Douglas fir, bark left on, was sawn
into eight logseach four feet in diameter and 20 feet longwhich
were stood on end and topped with a flag-bedecked pediment. It straddled
Hamilton Street at Pender. It was asserted that there was
not a nail in the whole of it. After the royals left it was
disassembled, taken to Stanley Park, and put back together again.
By late 1947 it had deteriorated, and so was demolished. The present
much simpler versiona single leaning logwas put in its
place in 1952. (Incidentally, the Archs designer was Captain
G.P. Bowie, who was killed at Ypres on July 7, 1915.)
September 20 Famous French actress Sarah Bernhardt
performed in Vancouverin French.
October 14 Thomas Wilby and his driver Jack
Haney arrived in Vancouver. They were the first people to drive
across Canada in an automobile. They had left Halifax August 27
in a brand-new Reo. They carried on to the Pacific Ocean after leaving
Vancouver. With the roads the way they were then it really was an
epic: the trip took 49 days. Wilby was a journalist who mostly wrote
magazine travel features. He wrote a book about this trip called
A Motor Tour Through Canada.
See more detail at the bottom of the page.
Fall The architectural firm of Sharp and Thompson
won the competition for the contract to design the new Point Grey
site for the University of British Columbia. The firm built the
first four original campus buildings and became the official architectural
firm to the university. Over the years the firm would evolve into
Thompson, Berwick, Pratt and Partners.
November 25 The existing Point Atkinson Lighthouse
"flashed into being" today, replacing an older version
installed by the Dominion government in 1875. The lighthouse horn,
sounding every 53 seconds in foggy weather, would come to be called
Old Wahoo by the locals. Lighthouse Park was originally set aside
as a timber preserve to provide fuel for the lighthouse and its
steam fog alarm, so the Park has never been logged and retains many
of its original native trees and plants.
December 7 The first exhibition of the North
Vancouver Kennel Club.
December 12 Richmond's Town Hall burned to
the ground. A new Town Hall will be built in Brighouse in 1919.
December 20 The Rex Theatre, described in
the papers as the most modern movie house in the world,
opened on Hastings Street.
Also in 1912
Construction starts on the Birks Building at the
southeast corner of Georgia and Granville. The handsome structure
was designed by architect Woodruff Marbury Somervell. Its demolition
in 1974 caused an uproar.
Chalmers Church opened at 2801 Hemlock.
Construction began on the Vancouver Club at 915 West
The 270-foot (82.3-metre) tall World Building went
up at 100 West Pender. We know it today as the Old Sun Tower. John
Coughland and Sons of Vancouver fabricated 1,250 tons of steel for
what was then the tallest building in the British Empire. It held
that title for two years. (The caryatids on the building, the Nine
Maidens, were created by sculptor Charles Marega.)
The Sylvia Hotel, a West End landmark, was erected.
The Only Restaurant, famed for its humble surroundings
and generous helpings of seafood, opened on Hastings Street.
B.C. Breweries Ltd. built a new brewery at West 12th
Avenue and Yew on the wooded outskirts of the city beside
a creek flowing through a duck-filled marsh (now Connaught Park.)
Shannon, the B.T. Rogers mansion, went up at 7255
Sharp & Thompson, architects, won a competition
to design the University of B.C.
The Lee Building at Broadway and Main went up. Thats
the one with the huge billboard atop it.
The CPR Station opened at 601 West Cordova. Contractor
was Westinghouse, Church, Kerr & Co. Today the beautiful old
building is the western terminus for the SkyTrain and the West Coast
Express, and the southern port for the SeaBus.
A group of Vancouver-based businessmen conceived
a plan to build a 15-metre high dam across the Second Narrows. Port
Moody, which would have been flooded, protested. It never happened.
Richmond, anticipating the opening of the Panama
Canal, proposed to create a gigantic seaport, with 35 kilometres
of ocean frontage of the west end of Lulu Island. That never happened,
The Shaughnessy Heights Golf Club opened at West
37th Avenue and Oak Street.
The Vancouver Curling Club is formed.
Teddy Lyons began his spieling for the B.C. Electric
Railway. Thousands of people over the decades listened with fascination
to Teddys tales of the citys history, and groaned and
laughed at his jokes as he pointed out the sights of the city from
specially constructed open streetcars. Theres the richest
bird in Vancouver, he would tell his sightseeing passengers,
pointing to a seagull flying overhead. He just made a deposit
on a brand-new Cadillac. He kept it up for a jaw-dropping
39 years, knew every historical corner of our town. Teddy retired
in1951, died February 27, 1955.
Lumber magnate Robert Dollar established the Canadian
Robert Dollar Company, and set up a sawmill and dock on a 75-acre
site on the North Arm. His ships were famous for their $ symbol
on the stacks. Dollarton was named for him.
Seven Indo-Canadian mill workers are killed in Port
Moody when a freight train is routed onto a siding in error, where
the workers are loading freight cars.
Surrey got a spacious new municipal hall, designed
by C.H. Clow and built in Cloverdale. Today, its a cultural
and seniors centre.
Burnaby, which had had a population of 800 four years
earlier, as a result of a real estate boom now had 15,000. A new
Municipal Hall was built this year. It would be shared by the RCMP
from 1935 to 1956, then by the library. It was torn down in 1972.
Delta opened a new municipal hall, a Tudor-style
structure designed by A. Campbell Hope. It is now the Delta Museum
and Archives, 4858 Delta Street.
The Great Northern Railwaynow the Burlington
Northern Santa Febuilt a station in White Rock. Today, the
building is the citys museum and archives, at 14970 Marine
Drive. (When passenger service was withdrawn from White Rock in
1975, the BNR gave the station to the city.)
The Burnaby branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses
(VON) was formed to provide community nursing care at a time when
there were few doctors and a rapidly expanding population.
The Board of Harbour Commissioners was formed to
monitor traffic on the north arm of the Fraser.
US-based Imperial Oil, established in Ontario in
1880, built a storage and shipping plant on the north side of Capitol
Contracted by North Vancouver, Francis (Frank) Guinan
cleared and graded the Ambleside area. That neighborhood was named
this year by pioneer settler Morris Williams, who had earlier lived
in Ambleside in the Lake District in England.
The Clachan (Gaelic for meeting place) tea room was
built at Dundarave in West Vancouver, and run by Jessie and Helen
Stevenson. In 1914 a second floor allowed for overnight guests.
Later the Clachan became a restaurant called Peppi's, and today
is the Beach House.
The Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia
was founded. Everyone wishing to practice as a registered nurse
in British Columbia must be a member of the Association.
Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel performed in Vancouver
with a music hall troupe from England, Karno's Comedians.
Lawyer E.P. Davis built a mansion, designed by architect
Samuel MacLure, on extensive grounds near the tip of Point Grey.
Davis named it Kanakla, a West Coast native word meaning
house on the cliff. It was renamed in honour of Dr.
and Mrs. Cecil Green, who bought the house in 1967 and generously
donated it to UBC. The complex is now known as Cecil Green Park.
The Stanley Park causeway was built.
A portion of the University of British Columbia lands
was subdivided and laid out on town-planning principles. Its
now known as the Dunbar-Southlands area.
Coquitlam formed a volunteer fire brigade.
The Vancouver Fire Department, always in the forefront,
took delivery of its first motorized pump, a 1,250 gallon-per-minute
engine that remained in service for almost 40 years.
The Shannon Dairy was founded in Marpole, and continued
operating until the early 1950s.
General Gordon School was built.
Construction began on pedestrian tunnels under Vancouver
General Hospital. The first tunnel was built to connect laundry
services to the hospital. Total length of the various tunnels now:
about a mile. (1.6 km)
The Wallace Shipyards in North Vancouver opened,
replacing an earlier version that had burned down in July, 1911.
The B.C. Electric Railway Company increased its trackage
in Vancouver from 21 kilometres in 1900 to 170 kilometres this year,
opening up vast areas of undeveloped land for single family housing.
The Number 17 streetcar line was established to run
down Oak Street to connect Marpole with the built-up city. It was,
apparently, a bumpy ride. And a streetcar line was established to
connect Kerrisdale to the downtown, and service to Point Grey was
J.M. McCallan built a home at the northeast corner
of West 67th Avenue and Hudson Street. In 1927 it would be converted
to become Vancouver's first Children's Hospital.
The lovely old Parker carousel, now at Burnaby's
Village Museum, was built this year in Kansas.
No. 19 Company, Army Service Corps and No.19 Company,
Canadian Signal Corps were formed locally.
The first Welsh society in the lower mainland began
with formation of the Cambrian Society, named for Wales Cambrian
The oldest Catholic parish in Burnaby is St. Helen's,
and the parish's first church was built this year.
Expansion at St. Pauls Hospital as construction
began on a 120-bed hospital.
The Elks of Canada were established. In the Lower
Mainland there are approximately 20 lodges with about 1000 members.
The Mastodon began dredging the entrance to Vancouvers
The Standard Bank of Canada opened a branch in Vancouver.
The bank would be acquired by the Bank of Commerce in 1928.
Quebec-based Eastern Townships Bank, which had opened
a Vancouver branch in 1905, amalgamated with the Bank of Commerce.
Con Jones, an ex-bookie from Australia, built an
east end enclosure bounded by Renfrew, Oxford, Kaslo and Cambridge
Streets as a home for his Vancouver field lacrosse team. Later it
will be known as Callister Park. Soccer would be played there for
more than 50 years.
A 250-pound Vancouver policeman, Duncan Gillis, became
the first Olympic medal winner from B.C., winning silver at Stockholm
in the hammer throw. (48.39 metres.)
MacLean Park was named for Vancouvers first
mayor, Malcolm MacLean. Bounded by Heatley and Hawks Avenues, and
by East Georgia and Keefer Streets, this was the first supervised
playground for children in Vancouver.
A large piece of land98.7 hectaressurrounding
Essondale mental hospital was landscaped with the help of provincial
botanist John Davidson. It was the first botanical garden and arboretum
to be built in British Columbia.
An area by Brockton Oval in Stanley Park was set
aside for an Indian village. Two totem poles and the
Thunderbird house-posts were donated at the time.
The Vancouver Opera House on the west side of Granville
just south of Georgiawhere Sears is nowwas sold to the
Orpheum Theatre circuit and renamed the Orpheum (not the present
The Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW, called
the "Wobblies") were in their heyday. Even some other
unions considered this group too radical.
Nine metres below VanDusen Botanical Gardens is an
enormous abandoned reservoir that was built in 1912. Its rust-stained
concrete vaults once held three million gallons of city drinking
water. The reservoir was abandoned and sealed in the early 1970s.
Pauline Johnson published Flint and Feather.
Price Waterhouse & Co. opened a Vancouver office.
Today, the company is known as PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP.
Leon Ladner began his Vancouver law practice.
H.R. MacMillan was named B.C.s first chief
Father Edmond Maillard returned to France, and the
French-speaking community here he was so instrumental in establishing
named it Maillardville in his honor.
A.J.T Taylor founded Taylor Engineering, involved
in many large-scale projects throughout B.C. He would go on to promote
development of British Properties and construction of the Lions
Gate Bridge in the 1930s. West Vancouvers Taylor Way is named
Construction began on the Trapp Block on Columbia
Street in New Westminster, owned by businessman Thomas John Trapp.
This 1912 Reo, the same model used by Thomas Wilby in his
1912 trip across Canada (cited in the October 14 entry above), has
been carefully reconditioned by local car enthusiast Lorne Findlay.
In 1997 Lorne, his wife and son, and writer John Nichol recreated
Wilby's trip, travelling right across the country in this gallant
little car. See CBC-TV coverage of that journey here.
- 1884] [1885 - 1891] [1892
[1900 - 1905] [1906
- 1908]