Not-So-Terrifically Respectful

tom-campbell - Vancouver Sun-2
Mayor Tom “Terrific” Campbell (1927-2012) captured by Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver’s 31st mayor (1967-72), Tom Campbell, was a pro-development, shoot-from-the-lip civic leader.

Campbell is best known to Vancouver heritage advocates and to the communities of Chinatown and Strathcona, as one of the most vocal proponents of the proposed downtown freeway system. Fortunately, community groups prevented Campbell (and others who favoured the freeway) from succeeding beyond the initial stage of that plan – the replacement of the old Georgia (McHarg) Viaduct with the Georgia/Dunsmuir Viaducts (which resulted in the near-total destruction of the predominantly black community of Hogan’s Alley).

In November 1967, a public meeting was called by City Council on the proposed freeway (evidently, Campbell wasn’t able to muster the votes necessary to prevent Council from taking that action).

Campbell responded publicly that the meeting would be “a public disgrace” and “a tempest in a Chinese teapot”.*

“The only purpose of the meeting is so that some politicians at city hall can appease people,”he said.

The Playhouse Theatre (part of the Queen Elizazbeth Theatre complex) was tentatively booked by Council for the meeting .

Campbell said, in response: “Do we have to hire a playhouse to put on a puppet show for objectors? All we’ll hear from are a few groups with vested interests who oppose the freeway.”

Exhibit at MOV: Your Future Home: Creating the New Vancouver. Photograph illustrates the freeway system envisioned by Tom Campbell and others. 2016. Photo by author.


*All quotations in this post are taken from Vancouver Sun, November 6, 1967, p. 16.

Charles S. Price: Healing in Vancouver?

cdm.chungphotos.1-0219927full Dr. Charlie S. Price evangelist campaign, Vancouver, B.C. May 1923 UBC CHung

CC-PH-00416. Dr. Charlie S. Price evangelist campaign, Vancouver, B.C. May 1923. Chung Collection. UBC Library Rare Books and Special Collections. Yucho Chow photo. Note: Mrs. R.’s “she-devil”, Miss Carvell, is second from left in front row. 

For three weeks in May 1923, Rev. Charles S. Price (1887-1947) held daily (and often twice daily) evangelistic meetings and faith healing services in Vancouver. Price had been in Victoria for several days in April 1923 before coming to Vancouver. According to one source, one-sixth of Victoria’s population went to hear Price speak at Willows Arena at Oak Bay.  Price held meetings in Victoria’s Chinatown, too, and many Chinese-Canadians went forward at his altar calls.

In Vancouver, the Price meetings were held at the Denman Arena, which could seat up to 10,000. Frank Patrick, owner of the Arena had this to say about the Price crowd: “[T]he evangelistic party addressed over a quarter of a million people in the space of three weeks. On more than one occasion, I could feel the very building tremble with the singing of the multitude who were unable to wait for the opening hymn.”

Ministers of Vancouver were more divided than had been the ministers in Victoria on the work of Charles Price and his claim to anoint people with miraculous physical healing. A number of Chinese pastors from Victoria came to Vancouver to lend moral support to Price in light of the less-than-overwhelming support of the Vancouver ministerial.

Price Before B.C.

Charles Sydney Price was born in 1887 in England*. Following completion of high school, he served in the British Navy for a couple of years and attended Wesley College and ultimately Oxford where he studied law. (Note: There is no evidence that the “Dr.” which he regularly used with his name was academically earned. Either it came from him being awarded an honorary doctorate, or it was tacked onto Price’s name by him as a way to seem more learned than in fact he was). In 1906, Price left England for Canada. He sought work with law firms in Quebec and Winnipeg, but to no avail. In 1907, he left Canada for Spokane. Shortly after arriving there, he came upon an evangelistic service at the Free Methodist “Life Line Mission”. He was converted there and took up a career in the Methodist church ministry.

Price drifted into the Christian ‘liberal’ movement known as modernism. “He quickly began to reason away his previous salvation experience, and his minstry from that point would be marked by the absence of altar calls and salvations for several years” (Enloe, 7). He pastored a number of Methodist churches in Washington and later was pastor of even more liberal Congregational churches in Alaska and California.

In 1921, he was pastoring First Congregational Church in Lodi, CA. He was told of revival meetings that would be happening at San Jose, led by Aimee Semple McPherson, which would include “divine healing”. He was determined to attend the meetings with the intention of debunking them from his pulpit. Instead of collecting evidence to condemn the McPherson meetings, however, Price was ‘converted’ to the ‘full Gospel’ of pentecostalism, with its attendant features of anointing with oil, faith healing, and speaking in tongues.

In 1922, Price accepted an invitation from McPherson to travel with her evangelistic troupe. In autumn of that year, representatives of some Ashland, OR churches invited “Sister Aimee” to lead revival meetings there. McPherson couldn’t go, but recommended that Price go in her place.

Price drew huge crowds in Oregon to hear him preach and to participate in his healing services. Price’s Oregon campaign led to Victoria and the Victoria campaign led to the 1923 Vancouver meetings (and to later sequel campaigns in both B.C. cities the next year).

Bill Carmichael’s ‘Search for Truth’

I recalled seeing a file in the Archives of First Baptist Church, Vancouver, labelled “Dr. Charles Price Evangelistic Campaigns”. Upon looking inside the file, I saw what appeared to be a couple of typewritten, contemporary accounts, of the experiences of people who had attended the Price meetings. Upon closer examination, however, it became clear that the two documents were written by the same person about a year apart; one of the accounts was written within days of the 1923 Price meetings; the second was written after the 1924 meetings. The author, it turned out, was  William M. Carmichael (1880-1947), a member of First Baptist Church.**

Carmichael had heard from FBC’s outgoing pastor, Rev. Gabriel Maguire, of Price’s meetings in Victoria and of the “wonderful cure, ascribed to the prayer of faith, anointing and laying on of hands.”

My experience of this reverend gentleman [Maguire] did not warrant me taking his statements at par value; his eggs, as the Scotch say, “had aye twa yokes” or, in other words, he had so developed the gift? of exaggeration that I never really knew, until I had tested his statements afterwards, where fact left off and fiction began.

Thus it was with a very critical but open mind that I first went to the meetings.

Carmichael attended the first meeting on Sunday night (May 6th) and went again on Monday. Carmichael returned on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. He described the message given on each evening as being “plain gospel”, but by the Friday meeting he added that “the address that evening was another plain talk but somehow it thrilled me. Quite unconsciously, I was clapping my hands and shouting ‘Hear! Hear’ [and] others were shouting ‘Amen!’ ‘Hallelujah!’ and ‘Praise the Lord!’

CVA 1399-523 - [Photograph of arena stage construction] ca 1925 Dominion Photo
CVA 1399-523. Denman Arena stage construction. ca 1925. Dominion Photo.

By the Tuesday of the third week of meetings, Carmichael was planning to go forward for healing. He had been hard of hearing in his left ear from an early age.

He received his anointing on Thursday night – the Victoria Day holiday***. He described his experience thus:

[Price] gave me a quiet look of discernment, then he raised his hand and anointed my forehead – that was all that I was aware of. A power came over me and I fell backwards. I felt someone catching me as I fell, I felt someone place something under my head…. As I lay on the floor I was perfectly conscious of the sounds. I was in a blissful state of rest or lassitude and through my mind surged these words, “Thank you Jesus, thank you.” This over and over again….. About a quarter of an hour passed when I opened my eyes and looking up saw Dr [George] Telford [former FBC moderator] standing guard over me. 

 Carmichael seemed to have had genuine restoration of hearing to his left ear.

When I went to the arena [on…] Friday, the second-last day of the campaign…I went to the furthest back and the highest seat in the whole building to test out my hearing; to my joy I heard Dr. Price in every word. 

He summed up his 1923 experience of Price and his campaign as follows:

There were Christians who would have given Dr Price the highest honour the Church could give; there were other Christians who consigned him to the lowest pit of hell where, they said, he belonged….Yet to all, friend or foe, Dr. Price…even in the hottest bombard of venom and criticism, like the Saviour, answered not a word. When he spoke of those who opposed him, it was in the most loving way. “If” as he told us, “you do not see the light as I see it, I have no condemnation for you. All I want you to do is follow the light you have.”


William Carmichael’s very positive reaction to the 1923 campaign was followed by more muted enthusiasm afterwards. He remained convinced that the Price campaign had been a spiritual “uplift” to the church (and not least for his own First Baptist congregation). But he wasn’t sure what to do with his personal ‘healing’ experience. For, although he experienced improvement to his hearing immediately after his anointing by Price, one month later, the deafness had returned.

Carmichael spoke with others of his acquaintance who had received anointing and healing at Price’s meetings. Two of these folks had had similar experiences to his of relapse of ailment (either within a month or within a space of 2-3 months).

I’ll allow Carmichael to relate the response to his inquiry of the third person of his acquaintance, who was more embittered than the others:

[N]ext I met a Mrs. R. “Excuse me, Mrs. R.”, I said, “but you were anointed at the Arena and fell under the power. Did you receive healing?”

She turned on me with a glare of anger, “No,” she fairly hissed. “I believe it was nothing more than that I was hypnotized by the wicked eyes of that she-devil, Miss Carvell.” (Miss Carvell was Dr Price’s singer and assistant.).

And before I could say another word, she shot out the door.

Carmichael went to the second Price campaign meetings in 1924, searching for answers to his questions about his lack of enduring healing.  At the end of it, he could only conclude:

Of Dr. Price’s gospel preaching there is no doubt of his sincerity and earnestness as far as I can see; as for his tenets on healing, while I could not say with certainty he is right, on the other hand I could not with positiveness say he was wrong.



*Background on Price comes mostly from “Dr Charles S. Price: His Life, Ministry and Influence”. By  Tim Enloe. AG Heritage. 2008.

**He was the author of FBC’s first authorized history, in celebration of the church’s Diamond Jubliee: These Sixty Years 1887-1947. Carmichael was the father of Mrs. Edna-May Slade, currently the oldest member of FBC.

***Victoria Day in these years, must not have been designated as falling on the 4th Monday of May, but rather as being on May 23rd – whatever day of the week that should happen to be.

Answers to “Find The Errors”

1. CVA 99-3791

The image is not the Marine Building (which is decorated with terra cotta marine features such as seahorses); it is the Georgia Medical-Dental Building (decorated with healthcare-related features (such as the nurse figure at the very top of the building).  

2. CVA 447-335

I don’t honestly know what is meant by the title wording associated with this image.

The Scope and Content portion of this record claims that the “Photograph shows the Dunsmuir Viaduct.” That is an error. There was no such thing as a Dunsmuir Viaduct in 1949; indeed, not until after the second Georgia Viaduct project was completed circa 1971. Prior to that, the Georgia Viaduct carried traffic both east and west. Only after the 1971 project was there a separate Dunsmuir Viaduct to carry  westbound traffic while the Georgia Viaduct carried traffic eastbound.

The Viaduct in the image is Georgia Viaduct.

3. Str P257

This is pretty clearly somewhere other than Georgia Street. It appears to be an image of Ceperley Playground in Stanley Park’s Second Beach. See a very similar image on CVA here.

Find the Errors

If you’ve been following VanAsItWas for awhile, you’ll recall that a few months ago, we played Name Those Streets. This consisted of me showing three images which were misidentified by the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) as to their street locations.*

Today’s post is a variant on that theme. However, the errors pertain more broadly to the info provided by CVA. The archivists may have erred in the street location, or in some other aspect of the photo’s description. I will play fair, however. I’ll provide all of the info that CVA provides so you can make a decision as to what the error is and (if you’re ‘on the ball’) what the correct info ought to be.


The facade of the Marine Building 1929 Stuart Thomson photo
CVA 99-3791
  • Title: The Facade of the Marine Building
  • Year: 1929


CVA 447-335 - CPR Team Tracks Pender St.  1959. W E Frost photo. %22Photograph shows the Dunsmuir Viaduct.%22
CVA 447-335
  • Title: CPR Team Tracks Pender St.
  • Year: 1959
  • Scope and content: “Photograph shows the Dunsmuir Viaduct.”


Str P257 - [View of buildings in the 300 block West Georgia Street looking East from Homer Street] 1948. Otto F Landauer.%22Photograph shows Hopps Sign Co. Ltd. (375 Georgia) and a street light.%22
Str P257
  • Title: View of buildings in the 300 block West Georgia Street looking East from Homer Street.
  • Year: 1948
  • Scope and content: “Photograph shows Hopps Sign Co. nLtd. (375 Georgia) and a street light.”

Answers will appear in tomorrow’s post.


*As of the date of publication of today’s post – 4 months after Name Those Streets was posted – none of the three errors then identified have been corrected.

Fine Work by Unknown Artist

Vancouver CPR: UL_1085_0030. Views of British Columbia and Alaska. University of British Columbia Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs. n.d. [1880-90]. Artist and photographer unknown.
I find engravings such as this one in a volume from the Uno Langmann Collection entitled Views of British Columbia and Akaska to be very appealing. Unfortunately, the artist responsible for the work isn’t known.

Views was published by M. W. Waitt & Co, an early Victoria bookseller. Marshall Wilder Waitt (1833-1892) succumbed to Smallpox in 1892 and sometime after that, Waitt’s son-in-law, Charles H. Kent, moved the business to Vancouver. The year that Views was published isn’t known, but the staff in UBC Library’s Special Collections department estimate it was between 1880-90.

I’m aware of there being several examples of B.C. publishers publishing their own work anonymously. As far as I know, that wasn’t the case with Views. However, Waitt’s daughter (who married Waitt’s successor, C. H. Kent) Georgina (1866-1933), was a portrait artist and may have been connected to a capable B.C. artist who she brought to her father’s attention (and who was just hungry enough to agree to M. W. Waitt’s terms of publication anonymity).

I take it that Views sold well because a smaller, “best of”, edition was published a few years later (1900?). There were only 20 or so prints in this little volume. The Langmann (188-?) edition – a first edition, presumably – has about 60 prints.

I am no art critic; mainly I know what I like. I like most of the work in Views, and I’m very interested in finding out who the unsung artist was behind the fine images within its covers. Permit me a brief ramble about my assessment of the art (and artist).

The artistic form is Realism (with a capital ‘R’). There is no hint of any abstract influence in this work at all. I’m convinced that the work in Views is by a single artist; it doesn’t look to me like a compilation of work by a variety of artists. That said, it seems to me that there is a difference in the maturity of the artist’s skill among the several examples in Views. I think that the work comes from different periods in the artist’s life – some of them from relatively early in his/her life; others from later periods. This is best illustrated by looking at the artist’s weakest artistic subject: human figures. In the print shown below (which I take to be an earlier one), the figure in the rowboat is rendered pretty crudely.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.39.07 PM
The CPR Crossing the Columbia River: UL_1085_0046. Views of British Columbia and Alaska. University of British Columbia Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs. n.d. [1880-90]. Artist and photographer unknown.
But here, in the image called “Indian Groups” the artist demonstrates a skill level vastly superior to that in the rowboat work. The human figures in this image are almost photographic.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 4.43.16 PM
Indian Groups: UL_1085_0028. Views of British Columbia and Alaska. University of British Columbia Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs. n.d. [1880-90]. Artist and photographer unknown.
I wish that there was much hope of me tracking down the artist/engraver who did this fine work. But I’m told that engraved work of this period was typically unsigned and that it is very difficult to pin down who was responsible from this distant remove.

West Cordova Unit Block*

CVA 780-768 - [View of West Cordova Street from Carrall Street] 196--2
CVA 780-768 – A View looking west down the Unit Block of West Cordova Street from Carrall Street. Photographer unkonwn. 196-.
It is a pity that we don’t know who made this photograph. To me, it is one of gems in the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA) collection. Why do I say that? The muted colour tones, for one thing, speak of a decade that was moving away from black and white images in favour of colour. The people in the image also are appealing to me. Nobody seems to be in a rush. Even the automobile traffic seems quiet. It could be a Sunday afternoon if this photo were made in an era when there was a good reason for pedestrians to be strolling in a retail area — Sunday shopping is two or three decades in the future.

The mix of businesses represented in the image is striking. Rainier Grocery is just visible at the southwest corner of Carrall and Cordova; the Army & Navy anchored the block then (as it does now) in the  Dunn-Miller block; there appears to be a loan service on the south side of the street, mid-way down; and, according to the 1969** Vancouver directory, there were assorted other shops plying trade in hardware, lock & safe services, sporting goods, tailoring, umbrella manufacture, and food service.

But if there was a dominant trade on this block, it was the hotel/SRO (single room occupancy) business. On the south side of West Cordova, at least two hotel signs are visible: the Cansino Hotel and the Hildon Hotel (for which, I have to believe, there must have been at least an informal slogan to the effect of ‘If you can’t afford the Hilton, stay at the Hildon!’). And on the north side of the street, there were Boulder Rooms, the Travellers Hotel (also known as the Fortin Building), the Stanley Hotel, the New Fountain Hotel, and Marble Rooms.

The iron fencing that seems discouraging to potential shoppers at retail shops on street level of current Stanley/New Fountain Hotel. 2016. Author’s photo.

There are some big changes in the future for the block. One of the most significant is the redevelopment of the Stanley/New Fountain Hotel. Plans are reportedly in the works for a “facadification” of these old hotels. If reports are accurate, the currently 2-3 storey hotels will be replaced with an 11-storey combo market- and non-market-housing structure. The time is ripe for changes to be made to these SROs and the retail businesses that crouch beneath them (behind a foreboding metal fence). I know that there are critics of the 11-storey profile of the proposed Stanley Hotel. But, frankly, that will put it only three stories higher than its neighbour, the Lori Krill Housing Co-Op.

I’m not sure what is going into the former home of Rainier Grocery, but it looks as though it will be a food service vendor of some description. Across the street, on the northwest corner of Cordova and Carrall, the Bauhous Restaurant has established itself on the main floor of what was once Boulder Hotel/Rooms. But it is pretty clear that there are few, if any, tenants on the upper floors, currently. That will probably change soon.

Meanwhile, there has been at least one change to the block that would have our forebears scratching their heads. The Float House (specializing in “floatation therapy and sensory deprivation”, no less) today occupies the space that once was the manufacturing site of the eminently practical BC Umbrella Co.



*A “unit block” is the block of a street or avenue numbered less than 100.

**I looked to the 1969 Directory because the 1960s are identified by CVA as the likely decade when this image was made. I have my doubts about that, however. I favour an early year in the following decade: possibly 1971 or 1972.

Canada’s First Drive-In Theatre

vpl 81172B - Cascade Drive-in Theatre and two automobiles with rain visors. 1950. Artray Studio. Rain visors to be rented for cars attending theatre at 3960 Canada Way, Burnaby.
VPL 81172B – Cascade Drive-in Theatre at at 3960 Canada Way, in Burnaby. Two automobiles with rain visors (rain visors were rented for cars attending the Drive-In). 1950. Artray Studio.
The Cascade Drive-In in Burnaby was B.C.’s and Canada’s first drive-in theatre. It was started by George and William Steel and Joe and Art Johnson (Steel-Johnson Amusements, Ltd.) in 1946, opening in August of that year. The theatre was built along Grandview Highway. 
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 5.23.21 PM
Cascade Drive-In. 1951. Vintage Air Photos.
Cascade Heights. Google Map Data 2016. The ‘footprint’ of the former drive-in was apparently preserved as a green space.

In 1977, the theatre was purchased by Don Soutar, Al Chappell and Norm Green and continued to operate as a drive-in until it closed in 1980 and was demolished two years later. The property was redeveloped into a condominium complex known as Cascade Village. The geographic area became known as Cascade Heights.

Cascade Drive-In. 1946. Heritage Burnaby.

Vancouver Arts & Crafts Association

Bu N135 - [O'Brien Hall, Metropolitan Block and the De Beck Building, southeast corner of Homer and Hastings Streets] 1940.
Bu N135 – [O’Brien Hall, Metropolitan Block and the De Beck Building, southeast corner of Homer and Hastings Streets] 1940. This was the site of the inaugural exhibition of the A&CA, July, 1900. Interestingly, R. M. Fripp, who was later president of the Arts & Crafts Association, was the designer of O’Brien Hall. The Hall was demolished in 1940, presumably shortly after this image was made.
image2-3The Arts & Crafts Association came into being in April, 1900 and lasted little more than a couple of years.* It had as its “chief aim . . . to encourage artistic feeling and knowledge and to bring the designer and the workman or craftsman into closer relationship.” (Brochure, Arts and Crafts Association. Vancouver, B.C., Evans & Hastings [Printer?], n.d. {190-?], CVA Collection off-line).

The Association offered classes in a variety of areas:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Modelling
  • Art Needlework
  • Design and Execution of Furniture
  • Architectural Drawing and History
  • Mechanical Drawing
  • Photography
  • Painting on China
  • Carving

An “annual exhibition” was held in which members were entitled to submit their works for show and sale. The first of these was held in September, 1900 at the Theatre Royal (also known as the Alhambra Theatre), located at Pender and Howe. The second annual exhibit was in 1901 at the Fairfield Building on Granville at Pender. (There was a third exhibit that wasn’t one of the “annual” exhibits. It was an inaugural exhibition at O’Brien Hall (Hastings and Homer) to help celebrate the creation of the association. It was held in July, 1900.)**

Judging from the handwritten list of members held by CVA, about half of the 60+ paid members were women. The gender distribution among the executive was consistent with the time in not being representative of the membership, however the one woman among the ten officers – Mrs. Balfour Ker – was a Vice-President (the other V-P was S. M. Eveleigh). The President and a major force behind the Association was Robert M. Fripp.

Port P552 - [Robert MacKay Fripp] ca1888 J. D. Hall photo.
Port P552 – Robert MacKay Fripp. ca1888 J. D. Hall photo.
After the 1901 exhibit, the Association seemed to run out of steam. Mention was made in the press that the Association came to an end with the move of R. M. Fripp to California (temporarily) and “the scattering of other important members.”

Some of the functions of the Arts & Crafts Association were assumed by the Studio Club***(1904) and by the B.C. Society of Fine Arts (1908).


*The Arts & Crafts Association was birthed from an even more short-lived organization: the Art Workers Guild. Not much is known about the Guild except that it was established in early 1900. It was replaced by the A&CA when it was created about three months later.

**A. J. Davis showed some of his artwork and carving at the inaugural exhibit.

***Emily Carr was hired (briefly) in 1905 or 1906 by the Studio Club to be a resource person for one of their painting classes. William Thom quotes Carr regarding her time with the Club in his thesis: “The [Studio]… Club was a cluster of society women who intermittently packed themselves and their admirers into a small rented studio to drink tea and jabber art jargon” (Thom, 30). It won’t be surprising to anyone familiar with her acerbic wit that Miss Carr was dismissed from her job with the Studio Club after just one month. Her impatience with her students was doubtless exceeded only by her students’ distaste for ‘her’ sort of (decidedly non-Victorian) art!


City of Vancouver Archives. Off-line file on the Vancouver Arts & Crafts Association.

William Wylie Thom. The Fine Arts in Vancouver, 1886-1930: An Historical Survey. M. A. Thesis. UBC. April 1969.

“What Food These Morsels Be”

Money's Former Slogan-What Food These Morsels Be
Money’s Mushrooms Former Slogan. On Prior Street a couple of blocks east of Main Street. 2016. Author’s photo.

This sign was painted on the side of a building on Prior Street many years ago. A friend, who is in his 70s, claims not to remember a time when the advertisement wasn’t there.

W. T. Money established W. T. Money & Co. (later, Money’s Mushrooms) in 1928. Its headquarters was at 631 Seymour Street; today, it is based in Surrey.

The slogan shown above was apparently adopted by Money’s in about 1940. It was in use by the company at least through the 1950s, and possibly through the 1970s. What Food These Morsels Be is an example of word play; in this case, the slogan plays with a quotation by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s line was “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”* The original Shakespearean line has also been adapted in a blues classic made popular by Etta James and released in 1969.

The elf figure on the left of the ad may be intended to represent the mischievous fairy, Puck, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The first apparent use of the current slogan, Money’s Makes Meals Mmmarvellous, was in an advertising campaign led by Canadian cooking personality, James Barber, The Urban Peasant. He the campaign for Money’s with the current slogan in the 1980s.



A Midsummer Nights Dream Act 3, scene 2, 110–115.

Risky Swinging in the ’20s

Couple on (Apparently Hand-Powered) Cable Tram (Over Seymour Creek?) UL_1184_03_0058. 1920-30? Photographer Unknown. From Possible Murray Family Album. UBC Library. Rare Books and Special Collections. Uno Langmann Family Collection of B.C. Photographs.

This couple appear pretty relaxed, given that they are suspended by a none-too-sturdy-looking cable over what I believe (but cannot prove) is Seymour Creek in North Vancouver. I’m led to conclude that it is probably Seymour Creek mainly from context. There are a couple other Seymour Creek images in the same album; and the water appears similarly calm in the other Seymour Creek photos. A friend has suggested that another possibility is the Lynn Creek headwaters.

There are three other similar images in the same album in UBC’s Uno Langmann Family Collection of Early B.C. Photos. The subjects in each of the other three photos are all different and they are not all as relaxed as this couple seems to be.

The photographs all appear to be made  by the same (professional, I assume) photographer. I assume that there was a parallel cable car on which the photographer was perched. Either that, or there was a bridge that ran parallel to where our brave pair were.

Ye Little Brown Inn

xx-2Yesterday, I was looking at a printout of Sheet 16 of Goad’s Fire Insurance Atlas of Vancouver (March 1920) when I noticed the name of a business that was new to me: “Little Brown Inn”. What could that be, I wondered?

The name of the commercial enterprise was, in fact, Ye Little Brown Inn, and appears to have been one of the legion lunch counters in downtown Vancouver in the early decades of the twentieth century (among its near competitors were the 800-block Granville outlet of White Lunch and the Old Country Lunch and Tea Rooms at 641 Granville).

YLBI was first established at 606 Granville in 1915 by three ladies: Anna Fletcher, Agnes McKay, and Mary H. Lawrence. It appears that two of the women dropped out of the enterprise sometime within the first year or so of operation. By the time the 1916 Vancouver City Directory was published, Mary Lawrence was the sole proprietor listed. By 1918, the business had moved a couple of blocks, presumably to somewhat less expensive digs, at 745 Dunsmuir (roughly where Holt Renfrew is located today).*

There is no way of knowing how well YLBI did against its many competitors. But by 1922, the business was finished. Mary Helen Lawrence succumbed to Tetanus and died on March 5th, in her 55th year (just five days after being diagnosed with the disease)**. According to the Immunize Canada page pertaining to Tetanus (aka Lockjaw), after 1920, “[t]he introduction of horse antiserum neutralized the effect of tetanus toxin and improved the care of wounds, leading to reduced cases and deaths in Canada and other industrialized countries.” By the 1940s, the serum was readily available and the practice of immunizing infants for Tetanus began.

However it was that Miss Lawrence contracted the disease (whether as part of her work at YLBI or elsewhere), if it had happened just a few years later, chances are good that she would have survived.


*I was unable to track down any images of YLBI at its Granville or Dunsmuir locations.

**The following details about Miss Lawrence’s life prior to owning YLBI are excerpted from her obituary, published in the March 6, 1922 edition of the Vancouver Daily World“Miss Lawrence, who owned and managed the Little Brown Inn, had resided in Vancouver for the past eight years. She came here from Paris, France, where she had lived for several years. She was born at Niagara Falls, Ont., and at an early age went to New York, where she trained as a nurse. She followed that profession first In New York, later in Paris, then in Rome, Cairo and again in Paris. She was appointed by the Italian government matron in charge of the hospital ship which was sent to Messina at the time of the big earthquake disaster there and was later decorated by King Emanuel for her services. Her only brother lives in Buffalo and her only near relative in this city is Miss M. A. Leith. The late Miss Lawrence was a member of the I.O.D.E. and the Woman’s Canadian Club. The body will be sent to Niagara Falls, Ont. for burial.”

A. J. Davis, Vancouver Painter

Blackfoot Chief Two Guns White Calf - Painting by A J Davis. n.d.
Portrait of Chief Two Guns White Calf. Painted by A. J. Davis, apparently from a photograph on a postcard (shown below). n.d.

The painting above was purchased by my good friend, Wes, at a thrift store, recently. He didn’t know who the artist was nor anything of his story. He just liked the painted rendering of the portrait. A bit of digging online revealed that the painting was made by Alfred John Davis (a Vancouver artist) – who was unknown to Wes or me – from a photographic postcard of Chief Two Guns White Calf.


A. J. Davis was born in England in 1868. He later immigrated to Canada and settled for a few years in Winnipeg. He came west to Vancouver in 1891, and he married Ellen Ann McCannell here in 1897. His occupation in Winnipeg and in Vancouver was as a railway coach painter for the Canadian Pacific Railway (later on, in Vancouver, he became foreman of the CPR paint shops here).

In a Vancouver Sun profile that was published just a couple of weeks before Davis’ death in 1933, the author noted that

“Mr. and Mrs. Davis are living in a veritable art gallery, wherein beautiful paintings, both in oil and water color, with huge pencil drawings adorn the walls throughout their well-situated home at 3741 39th Avenue West. Indian heads in oil is the chief subject for his brushes and over which has the most absolute control, so much so that he is recognized in artistic circles as the authority in such work.” (A Home Filled with Treasures. Vancouver Sun, January 7, 1933)

The indian subjects appear to have been paintings he did for his own amusement (and probably as an additional income source), although it is possible that his output for the CPR may also have included native american portraits. According to the Sun author, the Davis home was full of wood carvings in addition to oil and watercolour paintings. One of these sounds from the description as though it would have made a lovely piece for a local museum. Whether or not it was donated to the Maritime Museum or the MOV is unknown to me:

“The year 1863 marked the beginning of a new era in the history of British Columbia with the arrival on the Columbia River on March 19 of the first vessel, the historic Beaver, after a passage of 163 days from Gravesend, entirely under sail. Today, all that is left of the vessel* after sinking in the Narrows at Vancouver just forty years ago, is a beautifully carved scimitar and sheath brought to light from a trunk by A. J. Davis…This was carved from part of an inside cupola of the old vessel obtained at low tide after a lengthy scramble over barnacles  and sea refuse in the autumn of 1891 about three weeks before the vessel completely disappeared from sight. The Beaver knife sheath has a perfectly carved scroll-work. The curved blade contains a piece of one of the copper rivets used to fasten the old oak beams of the historic old steamer.”**

Although I’m very appreciative of the Sun for assigning a reporter (albeit, an anonymous one) to write the profile of the today-all-but-unknown artist, if I’d had my ‘druthers’, it would have been helpful to have more detail about A. J. Davis’ work for the CPR, including what exactly his job entailed. Was he responsible for any of the famous CPR posters? Was he responsible for painting scenes in railway coaches (in which case, most of his career art work must surely now be gone) or (more likely), was it his job to see that all CPR property was properly maintained with a fresh coat of paint, inside and out?

CVA 152-1.180 - [Construction progress photograph of the CPR Pier %22A-B%22 extension] July 1913.
CVA 152-1.180 – [Construction progress photograph of the CPR Pier “A-B” extension] July 1913. A worker is painting the exterior of the pier. Was this the sort of painting work with which A J Davis was principally concerned?
A. J. Davis died while still in harness with his employer of 45 years on January 25, 1933. His widow died in 1953 in Burbank, CA. What happened to the treasures in their former home is unknown to me.



AM1052 P-872 – The five Georges (ca 1910)
The above postcard (front and verso) is the only piece of art and information available at the City of Vancouver Archives pertaining to A. J. Davis. The drawing of the “Five Georges” is a reproduction of a painting, according to the note on the card’s face.


*This claim that the Davis item is the sole extant piece of the Beaver isn’t accurate. See here for an image of an auction mallet composed of wood from the craft and a reference to “a number of other such items” from the Beaver, including its boiler which resides outside of the Maritime Museum.

**I appreciate very much the information embedded here in an online request for help with additional details about her grandfather, A. J. Davis. Without the reference in her post to the newspaper article profiling Davis, I would have had very little to say about his life and vocation (and avocations).


April 19/16: I have just found a listing of a few others of AJD’s work; they were on display at the Theatre Royal (aka the first Orpheum Theatre), as part of the First Annual Exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Association, September 25-27, 1900.


Another Controversial Subject: Vancouver Housing

Traffic congestion and inadequate housing are subjects which are revisited regularly in Vancouver. The previous post was a look at how the City tried to persuade residents not to be ‘Traffic Peakers’ in the 1940s. This post is a reproduction of a News-Herald ‘Editorial in Pictures’ that deals with the editor’s views on the state of housing in Vancouver during the WWII era.

I have been able to find all of the photos, except one, used in the News-Herald editorial within the City of Vancouver Archives. Except for that missing photo, the content of the article is reproduced here just as it appeared in 1944:

Something Must Be Done

(An Editorial in Pictures)

The authoritative and detailed survey by the Vancouver Council of Social Agencies reveals that more than 2,000 Vancouver families are living in such “shockingly inadequate” housing that ordinary city slums would look like heaven to them.

The City Council has made nine “appeals” to Ottawa for more housing, but has taken no practical steps to deal with the emergency. “I don’t see what more we can do,” says the Mayor.

The Dominion government has accepted responsibility for only a limited amount of housing for actual war workers, and for some financial assistance for post-war housing projects.

The provincial government merely supplies a sheriff to carry out evictions.

But 2,000 Vancouver families – 4,000 men and women and more than 4,000 children – are living from day to day, NOW, as are those pictured here.

Says the Council of Social Agencies: “These conditions . . . are a damning indictment of the failure of the authorities.”


More than 12 families live in this double row of ramshackle and unsanitary tenements on Sixth Avenue in Fairview. They are less than a quarter of a mile from Shaughnessy Heights, but no proud citizens bring visitors to see Vancouver’s “line homes” HERE.

CVA 1184-639 - [Garbage and garbage containers at the slums in the 300 block East Cordova] 1943 Jack Lindsay photo-2
CVA 1184-639 – [Garbage and garbage containers at the slums in the 300 block East Cordova] 1943 Jack Lindsay photo.
Here is a Vancouver child. Here is his playground. Hundreds of youngsters, the hope of our city’s future, spend their waking hours at play in back alleys like this. This lane is one block from police headquarters and the city jail.

CVA 1184-2612 - [Tenement building] 1940-48 Jack Lindsay photo-2
CVA 1184-2612 – [Tenement building] 1940-48 Jack Lindsay photo.
War industry booms and Vancouver’s busy harbor seeths (sic) with activity less than a block from this row of hutches for human beings on Alexander Street. In such conditions as this live the city’s “pampered workers” – 20 of them and their families in this one ancient building. Notice the pathetic endeavor to grace its  tattered railings with flowers and vines.

CVA 1184-2615 - [View of the rear of a tenement house] 1940-48 Jack Lindsay photo-2
CVA 1184-2615 – [View of the rear of a tenement house] 1940-48 Jack Lindsay photo.
The city rejoiced when the Japs were moved out of the human rabbit warrens on Powell Street, hailing the end of our worst slum. But it was not the end. These wretched buildings are now filled with white families, in some cases, six and seven persons to a room.

“Traffic Peaker” vs “Polar Cap Melter”?

Vancouver Traffic Peaker (July 19:44 Sports Page)
Downtown Vancouver “Traffic Peaker” Ad. Vancouver News-Herald. Sports page. July 19, 1944.

This 1940s ad, which I’m assuming was a production of the City of Vancouver, makes use of all three of the classical rhetorical appeals. There is ethos in the use of statistics, figures, and a chart to persuade the audience that the persuader is credible. Pathos is applied by attempting to make the audience feel emotions (guilt, primarily). And logos is used to persuade the audience by presenting an argument which the persuader hopes will be seen as logical.

It would seem that there has been little improvement in downtown congestion between the 1940s and the 20-teens.* What sorts of rhetorical appeals are used today in the ‘battle’ to reduce automobile congestion? The same ones as were implemented in the ’40s, as far as I can tell. Only today, the appeal to pathos seems to be in the guise of guilt over contributions to global warming, rather than guilt over slowing down your neighbours’ trips home at rush hour.


*But there appears today to be at least a willingness, on the part of many Vancouver residents, to support alternatives to automobile traffic into downtown (the growing popularity of mass transit Skytrain options, for instance, and bicycles). This is in contrast with the apparent situation in the 1940s. The ad assumes that the automobile is the only viable means of getting into downtown. And this in a decade when streetcars were still an option (albeit, for a very few years more).

Henry (“Harry”) S. Van Buren

VPL 21209 North West Bldg, Nov 1921 Dominion Photo Co.
VPL 21209 North West Building (8-storey bldg.) and the site (as of 1939) of Western Manufacturers Salvage to the left at 525 Richards (roughly at the location where Albion Books is today; the building shown here is long gone). 1921. Dominion Photo Co.

Henry Samuel Van Buren (1885-1977) was a Vancouver business owner from the late ’20s until the late ’40s.  He seems to have had two principal businesses: VB Grocery (from 1926 until about 1935) and Western Merchandise Brokers (during the 1940s).

Henry Samuel Van Buren (often called “Harry” throughout his life) was born in 1884 in Morden, MB to Henry Cornelius Van Buren and Rosamond Law. He was the middle child of three; Abram and Hazel were his older and younger siblings, respectively. In 1905, Van Buren set out to homestead a piece of land in the area around Macleod, AB (today, Fort Macleod). A few years later, he moved to the Strathmore area (east of Calgary). What his occupation there was, isn’t clear.

Sometime between 1923 and 1925, Van Buren moved to Vancouver. He established his first business here, VB Grocery, at 1509 Commercial Drive. He packed it in as a grocer by 1935 and a couple of years later was proprietor of Western Merchandise Brokers, a salvage firm at 525 Richards (a couple doors south of Pender on the west side of Richards). By the late 1940s, he retired.

Henry Samuel married Clara Mabel Snell. The year they were married and the year of his wife’s death are not clear (one source shows her passing in 1935; another shows 1972). Henry and Mabel had one child, Henry Lloyd, who died in 2003. The Van Burens (at least as far back as H. S. Van Buren’s grandfather) had been Baptists.

Van Buren moved to Vancouver Island after retiring from the salvage business.* In his very late years, Van Buren returned to Vancouver, where he lived out his final days. He died at 92 at Pearson Hospital in 1977. Padre James Duncan (former Pastor Emeritus, First Baptist Church, Vancouver) led Van Buren’s memorial service.


*There is evidence of a Harry Van Buren living in Victoria from 1948. However, the Victoria Directory shows him living there with someone called “Enid”. Because I’ve found no other mention of an Enid in any Van Buren records, I’m inclined to treat this as being someone other than our Harry Van Buren.

The Past is an essential human dimension, and to ignore it utterly is a terrible evasion. — Jack Matthews


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