Category: Vancouver history

Inspector Vance and the Noir Magazines of the 1930s and ’40s

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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.

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Margaret Trudeau and the Daddy Long Legs Disco

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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.

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Bring Back the Streetcar!

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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.

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The Life and Death of Seaton Street

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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).

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Murder, Investigation, and a Dash of Forensics

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The first time I went to the Vancouver Police Museum was in the late 1980s. It was a breakfast meeting for a tourist organization called Vancouver AM, and we ate in the autopsy room. I fell in love with the place then in all its macabre glory, and nearly three decades later I still love going there.

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