Some odd stuff has happened in Vancouver's past. Here's a sampling (click to view):

· 1792 to 1899
· 1900 to 1922
· 1923 to 1930
· 1931 to 1935
· 1936 to 1940
· 1941 to 1946
· 1947 to 1954
· 1955 to 1960
· 1961 to 1965

From 1955 to 1960

For more details on these items see the Chronology for the year cited.

  • On May 10, 1955 Tommy Burns died in Vancouver at 74. He was the only Canadian to have been world heavyweight boxing champion. Four people attended his burial: a boxing fan and his wife and two grave diggers.
  • In December 1955 disgraced ex-police chief Walter Mulligan left Vancouver for the USA, while the commission of inquiry into his activities was still going on. He got a job as a limousine-bus dispatcher at Los Angeles airport.
  • Writes Tom Hawthorn: “In 1955, the Rev. E.C. Pappert flipped through a copy of the UBC student newspaper Ubyssey before pronouncing it ‘the vilest rag you can imagine.’ Of course, the student staff of the offending journal merrily adopted the clergyman's slur as a motto. To this day, it is used as a recruitment come-on.”
  • October 11, 1957 Earlier this year Anglican priest Stanley Higgs had told the newspapers that general manager Cedric Tallis of the Vancouver Mounties baseball club would be in contempt of law if he pursued Sunday ball games. Sure enough, the Mounties were found guilty today and fined for playing baseball on Sunday. (On April 28, 1958 the Supreme Court of Canada would uphold B.C.'s approval of a Vancouver City Charter bylaw amendment permitting Sunday sports.)
  • In 1957 numbered streets came to Surrey, consecutively upward from the 49th parallel. There is a “0” (Zero) Avenue in Surrey, right on the US border. Step off into the bush on the south side of O Avenue and you’re in Washington State.
  • In 1957 the Quilchena Golf Course in Vancouver was opened to provide a place for Jewish golfers to play. They had been denied entry to other clubs.
  • On January 1, 1958 David Jones Greenlees was born in Richmond at 1:01 a.m., the city’s first baby of the year. To mark the event the city named Greenlees Street.
  • On December 22, 1958 a French adventurer completed a swim of the Fraser River from Prince George to New Westminster’s Pattullo Bridge. (NOTE: in December!)
  • In 1958 a man named Fred Steiner sold his Toronto radio store and moved to Vancouver. He opened a shop here, and called it A&B Sound. Why A&B? A&A was taken. True story.
  • On February 5, 1959 a girl named Jennifer Granholm was born in Vancouver. Today, she’s the Governor of Michigan.
  • On May 15, 1959 Vancouver’s Harry Jerome broke the world record for the 220-yard dash. The record had been set 31 years earlier by Percy Williams, also of Vancouver.
  • On July 15, 1959 the Deas Island Tunnel (today the George Massey Tunnel) was officially opened. When you drive through the tunnel under the Fraser River you’re driving through the lowest point on a public road in Canada. The roadbed is 20 metres below sea level.
  • At the official opening of the tunnel, by Queen Elizabeth II and BC premier W.A.C. Bennett, an ancient and curious ceremony occurred: the premier handed the Queen a costly pair of silver scissors, and she gave him a dime for them. The coin-for-scissors trade is an old British custom, which holds that if the giver of a cutting implement does not receive a coin in return, the friendship between the giver and the receiver will be cut.
  • In 1959 the Lady Alexandra, built in 1924, became a floating restaurant in Coal Harbour.
  • In 1959 William Dale, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery, announced that there were only two or three works of art worth the name in the gallery’s permanent collection. William Jarvis, a former National Gallery director, called the VAG’s permanent collection, excepting Emily Carr, “pitiful.”
  • On January 29, 1960 Donna Yee was named Miss Chinatown in the first beauty contest ever held in a Canadian Chinese community.
  • On May 19, 1960 a statue of Lord Stanley, after whom Stanley Park was named, was unveiled by Governor General Georges Vanier in the park . . . and thereby hangs a tale. On October 19, 1889 a letter was written (we’re not sure by whom) promising a suitable monument to commemorate the naming and dedication by Governor General Lord Stanley of Stanley Park. The city archivist, J.S. Matthews, discovered that letter in 1950, more than 60 years after it was written, and realized the promise had not been fulfilled. So he began a fund-raising campaign. It took another 10 years, but finally he raised enough money to commission the work.
  • On July 3, 1960 Vancouver’s first five-alarm fire, largest in the history of the VFD, occurred when fire destroyed the B.C. Forest Products plant and lumber storage facility on the south shore of False Creek. The fire covered an area equal in size to four city blocks and took many hours to put out. Every available firefighter and piece of equipment was called out, including both fire boats. Twelve firefighters were injured.
  • In 1960 Vancouver’s Great Northern Way was named in honor of the railway company that donated much of the land the street is on.
  • In 1960, during construction of the Trans-Canada Highway through the Fraser Valley, a man named Charlie Perkins stood guard over his ivy-covered fir tree, directly in the path of the new road. He had dedicated the tree to fallen comrades in World War I, and the public outcry over the possible destruction of the tree resulted in the engineers curving the road around it. That may be a unique circumstance in the construction of a national highway. You can see that curve on the Trans-Canada to this day.
  • In 1960 a study showed that the average person in the Vancouver area was eating 23 dozen eggs (276) a year. That has dropped considerably since then.
  • In 1960 the figurehead of the Empress of Japan (a ship that sailed into Vancouver harbor many times between 1891 and 1922) was rescued from its Stanley Park location, where it had been exposed to the elements for decades, and given to the Maritime Museum for safekeeping and restoration. It is now on display in the Museum. It is a much more impressive work than the fibreglass reproduction now in the Park.

1961 - 1965 »