Category Archives: biography

Bolivia Bound: The Story of Howard & Mary Plummer

Howard’s Early Years Arthur Howard Plummer (1900-1970) had his first taste of a mission career when he was 8 years old. In 1908, he accompanied his parents from their home in England to Wenchow, China, where his father, Dr. William … Continue reading

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Early Submariner Dies in Hospital

What an odd assortment of people to see with a work party in Burrard Inlet’s First Narrows! I would expect to see most of the men here pictured, but not the four young women and three kids. We are able to … Continue reading

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Lionel Haweis: Artist

Lionel T. J. Haweis (1870-1942) was born in England to Rev. Hugh Reginald Haweis (1838-1901) and Mary Eliza Haweis (nee Joy) (1848-1898). Hugh preached at St James Church, Marylebone in London, but was known widely as a lecturer and author … Continue reading

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Rev. Arthur J. Hadley: “Let’s Go!”

My very good friend, Art Hadley, died on Christmas Day, 2016. He had a special connection with Vancouver, although he and his wife, Edna, spent relatively little time in the Greater Vancouver area, recently. In their retirement, they settled in Mississauga … Continue reading

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Fate’s Temptress

Mary Warburton (ca1871-1931) was a Vancouver nurse with a penchant for walking where she needed to go, regardless of distance or season. Two of her trips were reported in the news – one from Hope to Princeton in 1926; the … Continue reading

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John Goss: Baritone, Art Advocate, Politician, and Marxist

John Goss (1894-1953) was an Englishman by birth, but for most of his later years, he made Vancouver his home. In the 1920s and ’30s, Goss toured in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada as a recital singer, gradually building a … Continue reading

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Charles Schooley: City Paymaster and Prominent Baptist

Charles Abraham Schooley (1850-1931) was born in Port Colborne, Ontario. He studied law for a couple of years but ultimately withdrew from that course of study due to illness. He then was one of the first men to enter into the moss trade (of … Continue reading

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An Audi Baritone: Update

Originally published October 2014. Who is the apparent rock star above? A fellow who, in his day, was a household word: American opera baritone, John Charles Thomas.  Today, his vocal stylings are not quite forgotten (although his name is all … Continue reading

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Cecil Akrigg and Stan Lowe Go for a Climb

Cecil Akrigg and Stan Lowe were in their 20s when they made these images to remember their adventures in and around the Lion’s Gate Bridge ca 1939. No mention is made as to whether their climb up the bridge tower (of … Continue reading

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Ye Little Brown Inn

Yesterday, 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 … Continue reading

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A. J. Davis, Vancouver Painter

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 … Continue reading

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Henry (“Harry”) S. Van Buren

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 … Continue reading

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Mudge the Poultry Man

William Mudge’s business was known in early Vancouver as Mudge & Son and (probably better) as Mudge the Poultry Man. As indicated in the latter name, he specialized in providing chicken products to hard-working, hungry Vancouverites. He hung his shingle … Continue reading

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Val Quan

Late-breaking information on Val Quan (June 13, 2016): See comment from Bonnie, Val’s grand-daughter. She kindly provided some additional details. The information she supplied has been incorporated below.  Val Quan (sometimes spelled Quon), his second wife, Pauline, and their family … Continue reading

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Jean Fuller, Entertainer

There was a nightclub on Seymour Street in the 1930s popularly known by those who went there as “Nigger Jean’s”. Ivan Ackery, in his memoirs, Fifty Years on Theatre Row (1980), had this to say about the club and its proprietress: … Continue reading

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J. Q. A. Henry Declines FBC Vancouver’s Call

This post is a footnote to the history of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. Neither These Sixty Years (1947) by W. A. Carmichael nor Our First Century (1986) by Leslie J. Cummings (the two official histories of the church) makes mention of a call from … Continue reading

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John Morton

  John Morton (1834-1912) was one of the first residents – arguably the first resident, although others have laid claim to the distinction – of modern-day Vancouver. He came to British Columbia in 1862 hoping to strike it rich in … Continue reading

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Rev. Dr. Elbert Paul, First Baptist Pastor

This is an image of a Senior Minister of First Baptist Church, Elbert Paul (1902-1985). He served the church for nineteen years (1932-51), the longest period to date. He took on the pastorship in a time of significant challenge: it … Continue reading

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Vancouver DIDN’T Need Vander Zalm, as it Turned Out.

This image is from one of three Non-Partisan Association TV advertisements made for Vancouver mayoral candidate in 1984, Bill Vander Zalm, and the other NPA candidates for City Council that year. You may well have forgotten (or not realized) that ‘the … Continue reading

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Concert Pianist, Conductor, Theatre Manager…

Maynard Joiner lived a long and fruitful life. He was born on one coast of North America (in Boston) in 1894 and died on another (in Vancouver) in 1990. By the time he was 10, he was considered a child prodigy. His forté was as … Continue reading

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Early “Black Friday”

The cover of the pamphlet shown above speaks to an earlier – and, frankly, to a more logically negative – meaning associated with the term “Black Friday” than is typical in 2015. The text in the pamphlet (shown below) makes it … Continue reading

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Dr. Telford

There were, in fact, three men known as “Dr. Telford” in early Vancouver and the three were brothers – dentist George (1876-1920); James Lyle (1889-1960), an M.D. who was CCF MLA for Vancouver East and later became the 24th mayor … Continue reading

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George Marsden, Early Photographer

George Marsden was a young Vancouver photographer with his own local business, for a brief time.  There are just two images in the City of Vancouver Archives online collection (none in Vancouver Public Library’s historical photos) that are attributed to him, … Continue reading

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Nominee for Silliest Pioneer Surname…

While I was riding a city bus across Greater Vancouver this afternoon, I was looking for inspiration for this post from a PDF copy of the ca1908 Elite Directory of Vancouver. Among the items I spotted is my nominee for one of the … Continue reading

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The Gifted Mr. Bradbury

A real pleasure for me in this photo-historical adventure I’ve called VanAsItWas is in discovering and re-discovering crisp, well-exposed images that speak of an attention to detail and a real concern (whether consciously or not) for issues that would ultimately be … Continue reading

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Reg Rose

Reg Rose was born in England in 1901 and came to Canada in 1912. After serving in the Royal Canadian Volunteer Reserves, 1916-19, and taking several short-term jobs, he began working for the YMCA, serving in Calgary, Lethbridge and Edmonton as the Secretary of that organization. In … Continue reading

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Zukerman’s Bassoon

This portrait shows Greater Vancouver solo bassoonist, George B. Zukerman, in his prime in 1951. There are online bios of GBZ available here and here (and elsewhere). Here is Zukerman playing his “calling card”, Mozart’s Bassoon Concerto in B-Flat Major (First Movement), among a … Continue reading

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Remembrance Services Past at First Baptist Church

I was browsing through images in the Vancouver Public Library historical photos database this morning; I saw the image above and almost immediately recognized it for what it was (and what had, apparently, been forgotten or mislaid in the institutional … Continue reading

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Congregational Church Picnic?

The image below is an early one from the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA). On the glass positive of the image, there are notes; these are difficult to make out, but I’m pretty sure it reads as follows, starting at the … Continue reading

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A Man of Influence from UBC

The undergraduate pictured third from the left in the UBC photo above would become an Ottawa ‘mandarin’ within a few years of the date this exposure was made. In 1929, Norman Robertson joined the Department of External Affairs in Ottawa, and by 1941 … Continue reading

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J. H. Carlisle: A Man of Firsts

J. H. Carlisle (1857-1941) accomplished several “firsts”. He was the first Sunday School Superintendent of First Baptist Church (FBC), before it was formally organized; his name was the first listed among the charter members of FBC when the church was organized; he was the … Continue reading

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We’re Here for Joe

This image was made during the 1978 Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) at Hastings Park. It takes me back to the beginnings of my political awareness, Joe Clark’s all-too-brief period as the last of the Red Tory leaders of the Progressive … Continue reading

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Banjo King at Tea for Opening of Burrard Bridge

This image puzzled me at first. When I first saw it, I assumed that the people were at the head table of the tea following the opening ceremonies of the Burrard Bridge. But why would world-renowned vaudeville banjoist (centre), Eddie … Continue reading

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Aimee Semple McPherson in Vancouver

The image above shows Aimee Semple McPherson with a welcoming crowd shortly after arriving in 1930 at Vancouver’s Great Northern Railway Depot (demolished in 1965, the GNR Depot was just north of the CN Rail Depot which still stands and today serves as the long-distance bus … Continue reading

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The Unsung Legacy of Eliza Chalk (1862-1915)

 The following article was written for the 125th anniversary of First Baptist Church in 2012. It was one in a series called “Who Was Who in the Pew”. It is reproduced below with a couple of minor edits, but is … Continue reading

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Precursors

Charles Bradbury (1871-1950) is the amateur photographer who made this image. Camera Workers has this to say about him: Originally from Great Britain, Bradbury emigrated to Canada from Borneo. A telegrapher, he photographed throughout the Vancouver region as well as along the … Continue reading

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Story Behind a Cavity

Behind the real estate cavity shown above, there is the beginning of a story about a Vancouver personality. The cavity is, I’m convinced, the location in the 1920s of the Hotel Martinique Smoke Shop at 1184 Granville Street. Today, the wall on … Continue reading

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Joe

The Right Honourable Joe Clark was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, a member of parliament for many years, minister of foreign affairs, minister of constitutional affairs during the debate over the Meech Lake Accord, and – all-too-briefly – … Continue reading

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Rheumatic Olympian (1928)

 In 1928, at the Olympic Games in Amsterdam, 20-year-old Vancouver native, Percy Williams, won the 100-metre race on July 30th and the 200-metre on August 1. As Ivan Ackery recounts in his memoirs of a life in Vancouver theatres, Fifty … Continue reading

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Jack Peach

Jack Peach (1913-93) was, I now realize, an  important early influence on my love of historical subjects. Growing  up in southern Alberta, my bedroom radio was typically tuned to CBC Calgary in the morning and I remember hearing Jack Peach’s historical … Continue reading

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Dal Richards (96 in 2014!)

This gallery contains 8 photos.

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The Helliwells

This image shows an interior room of the home at 916 Cardero Street in Vancouver in about 1908. The BC directory for that year indicates that this was the home of John F(rederic) Helliwell. (An exterior photo of the home appears at the … Continue reading

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A Few Names to Faces at Lynn Valley Picnic, 1888

The image above was made by  an unknown photographer in 1888. It is unclear just what brought this group together, but what seems clear is that they are on a picnic and (according to CVA) the location of the picnic is … Continue reading

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“Just like the money in a Canada Savings Bond.”

Famous American crooner, Bing Crosby, drove a Caterpillar earth mover for the groundbreaking ceremony in 1948 of the Sunset Memorial Community Centre in south Vancouver. Crosby came to the city to record his Philco radio show as a fundraiser for the centre at the request … Continue reading

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PET at MOA: 1976

I’ve been remembering, recently, the dominant national political personality during my formative years, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I could not find any images of Trudeau in the City of Vancouver Archives, but I found this rather good photo in UBC Library’s Digital Collection of his June 1976 visit … Continue reading

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Tweedsmuirs in Lotusland: A Few Notes

John Buchan (b. 1875) was raised in Scotland. He was a writer of many novels — including, most famously, The 39 Steps — biographies, histories, articles, and poems. He was invited by King George V to become his representative in Canada (on the advice of then Canadian Prime … Continue reading

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Harding, His Memorial, and the Vulcan Invocation

I have been reading a well-written book by Robert A. Hood entitled By Shore and Trail in Stanley Park. This volume, published in 1929, is a charming and helpful collection of Hood’s poems and vignettes pertaining to the Park. (1) … Continue reading

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1885: View of Brockton Point from Foot of Thurlow

This photograph (CVA Wat P38) was the work of Lauchlan A. Hamilton. In my judgement, it is one of the most attractive early images available from the digital collection of the City of Vancouver Archives (CVA). Mr Hamilton lived in … Continue reading

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