One of the many fascinating things that Inspector John Vance packed away when he retired from the Vancouver Police Department in 1949 were several true crime magazines. He appeared in all of them. Reporters were intrigued by this scientist who was able to convict criminals through the tiniest piece of trace evidence, or determine death by poison, or through his forensic skills in serology and firearms examination.
If you live in North Vancouver you may have noticed the old Tudor-style house at Chesterfield and Osborne in the upper Lonsdale Area.
It’s hard to see these days, because several years ago we allowed developers to build two large “carriage” houses, in what was once a magnificent garden filled with hollies, laburnums, cedars, black walnuts, a cherry tree, a rose garden, and a large rhododendron.
On May 28, 1989, we blew up the Georgia Medical-Dental Centre, a building on West Georgia designed by McCarter & Nairne, the same architects behind the Marine and the Devonshire Apartments. *
The Devonshire was first, designed as an apartment building in 1923. Next came the 15-storey art deco medical building—and the Marine Building was completed in 1930—the only one left standing.
It’s hard to fathom how anyone could think that a belly flop competition was a good idea, but Tom Butler did back in the ‘70s, and as it happens, it was.
Former Sun reporter, turned PR guy, Butler was the master of the photo op. Having Margaret Trudeau turn up to the opening night of a small North Vancouver disco scored national attention for his client.
Last Christmas, my friend Jason Vanderhill gave me a card showing a couple of disco dancers from the ‘70s. The caption explained that the photo was taken at the opening of something called Daddy Long Legs in North Vancouver.
The only thing I could find out about the Daddy Long Legs disco was from a Globe and Mail article dated August 4, 1979 which focused on PR superstar Tom Butler rather than the venue he was promoting.
My friend Angus McIntyre was a Vancouver bus driver for 40 years and often took photos of heritage buildings, neon signs, street lamps and everyday life on his various routes. His photos are always so vivid and interesting (see his posts on Birks and elevator operators) and when he sends me one, I stop whatever I’m doing and nag him for the back story.
On September 3, 1906 the first North Vancouver streetcar began its journey at the ferry dock, travelled up Lonsdale and stopped at 12th Street. Jack Kelly was the conductor aboard that inaugural run. Everything went smoothly on the way up, but on the way back down, the brakes failed and Car 25 came crashing into another streetcar waiting at the bottom.
Last week I wrote about the oldest house in Vancouver—well at least that’s what they called it when it burned to the ground in 1946. It was built in 1875, and until 1915, its address was Seaton Street.
Unlike most of Vancouver’s streets that are named after old white men, Lauchlan Hamilton, the CPR surveyor, named this one in 1886 after pulling it at random from a map (the town of Seaton is long gone, but used to be near Hazelton in northern BC).