The Robert Marrion Family

CVA - Be P125 - Greer's Beach. 1897. [at the foot of Yew Street] 1897.

CVA – Be P125 – Greer’s Beach. 1897. [at the foot of Yew Street] 1897.

I find the photograph above to be a very charming early Vancouver vignette. It was made, according to City of Vancouver archivists, in 1897 at Greer’s Beach – which today is known as Kitsilano Beach – and shows (among others) Mr. and Mrs. Robert Marrion and their kids.

Robert Marrion was appointed as the City’s health inspector a couple of years prior to this image being made. He was, before that time, a master plumber. His reputation among the staff that grew around him over the years evidently was positive, witness the corporately self-congratulatory 1912 photographic assembly of the lot of them which appears below. (Salus Generis Humani, by the way, translates as “Salvation of the Human Race”!) Mr. Marrion’s reputation was not as great among the Chinese population of Vancouver, where he was known for enforcing health laws in a manner that today would be considered racially discriminatory. John McLaren and others have correctly pointed out, however, that Marrion was a product of his time (as are you and I in ways we cannot begin to imagine).

CVA - LP 344 - [Vancouver Health Department] Salus Generis Humani 1912 Western Photo Studio.

CVA – LP 344 – [Vancouver Health Department] Salus Generis Humani 1912 Western Photo Studio.

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