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Take a walk back through time ou can almost hear the rattle of the streetcar as it runs down the middle of an unpaved Columbia Street on a cool fall day.


like a very early model car.

A buggy pulled by two horses is backed up to Adams grocery store, perhaps to pick up a pound of sugar, or a roll of twine for fishing. The store would have stocked everything from flour to fish hooks.

Less than a decade earlier the Great Fire of 1898 had razed this section of Columbia Street, and it would be another year or two before the Dominion Trust Block was built, placing this photo around 1906. The photographer, W.T. Cooksley, arrived in the city in 1905 and was known for his photo postcards. After 1911, Columbia is paved and cars start outnumbering horses.

A couple of children can be spotted at the far left, perhaps waiting for their parents, or to catch the streetcar home. A stray dog is farther up the street, and beyond – what looks

A moment in time is captured for eternity. A glimpse into a life that was, perhaps, simpler, but not necessarily easier.

It would be several more decades before this block would become part of the “Golden Mile” – a shopping and entertainment hub in the Lower Mainland. To say New Westminster has a rich and colourful history is an understatement. The city’s beginnings offer politics, romance, skulduggery and great compassion. In this special section commemorating New Westminster’s 150th year, we take a look at just some of the stories that have helped make the city what it is today. – Pat Tracy

NW02 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record


Sapperton Brewery 1879

Wesgroups The Brewery Disrict will break ground the first quarter of 2010

olonel Richard Clement Moody, of the Columbia Detachment Royal Engineers (also known as Sappers) and the Sapperton Brewery will forever be weaved in New Westminster’s rich past. As B.C.’s first Lieutenant-Governor, Moody was the one responsible for choosing the city as the province’s capital. It seemed fitting then that the suburb of Sapperton be named for his unit of men. At the time, the hub of this suburb was the Sapperton Brewery, which had the distinction of being the oldest existing brewery in the province. In 1879, James Gibson founded Sapperton Brewery, but it wasn’t until 1896 when a seasoned brewer by the name of Nels Nelson bought it. The brewery survived the Prohibition (from 1916-1920) because the astute businessman garnered a special license, allowing him to continue to make his brew. After Nelson, the brewery changed hands a few times. Then in 1958, Labbatt’s Brewing Company took over the operation, crafting its beers and other products until it closed its doors in 2004. In the New Year, this landmark brewery site, originally dubbed the Village at Historic Sapperton, will make room for a large, mixed use, high-density new development by Wesgroup Properties. The Labatt Brewery site had been listed in the New Westminster Heritage Resource Inventory. With the decommissioning of the Brewery, the City of New Westminster Community Heritage Commission identified artifacts from the site that have historical significance. Renamed the Brewery District, the new development will honour that history and legacy, merging elements from its past by incorporating them into present uses and activities. Artifacts such as the flagpole, iron gates, a street lamp, brew tanks, spiral staircases and a stone wall from the original breweries have been saved. Overlooking the Fraser River, this nine-acre site will be transformed into one of the most progressive, sustainable communities, while keeping its unique character and identity. Wesgroup’s vision for the Brewery District is to create a diverse, transit-oriented, urban community that responds to the needs of the current marketplace, while retaining the character of a complete neighbourhood. The Brewery District will also set a new environmental standard, targeting LEED Neighbourhood Development status for its multi-building project. As one of Western Canada’s largest private real estate companies, Wesgroup has the expertise and knowledge to build this exciting mixed use property, as well as the long-term interest of the community that the developer takes to heart, its vision fits seamlessly with the district’s overall plan. Meanwhile, the site will evolve in four phases over a three to five year period. In all, it will comprise of residential homes for more than 1,200 people and 175 commercial businesses. Wesgroup is breaking ground in the first quarter of 2010 with a 115,000 square foot building anchored by a grocery store, bank as well as various health care and retail uses – known as The Market Building. Visit or for more details on The Brewery District and other Wesgroup developments.

150 YEARS Our View Celebrating our city’s rich history The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW03


e welcome any opportunity to take a closer look at New Westminster’s rich heritage – and the city’s 150th anniversary year has offered The Record an abundance of such opportunities.

There have been numerous city celebrations – the Royal City Gala and Flag Consecration, both in May, the Heritage Trolley Tour in June and the Evening Under the Stars gala this autumn – that have reminded us of the community spirit, volunteerism and just plain gumption that

this city exhibits in times of are all still learning how to move success and adversity. forward without forgetting the past, but also using those lessons to It shouldn’t be surprising. improve the future. The city’s history is chock full of tales of overcoming It was extremely difficult tough challenges and bravely to winnow down 150 years of embracing new opportunities. fascinating history into but a few Editor’s Letter There are also historic pages. The stories that we did not lessons of how not to treat newcomers, or have space for were no less interesting than – as in the case of the First Nations peoples the ones in these pages. So we encourage – how not to abuse another culture’s readers to spend some time learning more welcome. about our city’s history and the people that Yes, the wounds are still there – and we came before us (for more resources see page


21 and 27). We also wish to thank Colin MacGregor Stevens, Barry Dykes, Rob McCullough, Cynthia Bronaugh and Sabrina Wong at the New Westminster Museum and Archives. Their work all summer and autumn was truly unbelievable, especially all their help and patience as they worked with us to choose the photos and answer our questions. We also want to thank Alfie Lau who wrote all of the stories in this section bringing history alive.

What would you put in the city’s time capsule? T he memories of a city are important and bundled up in those memories lies the future potential for success, good fortune, happiness and health.

Our museum and city archives are where lost memories are found. We collect, store and protect the objects, stories and documents that join our citizens with their city’s identity. They are stored in perpetuity for anyone who wants to see them and connect to our past. Museum staff work to make sense of our city’s history by continuing to collect touchstones of yesterday’s events, decisions and milestones. Curators combine this information with current events to help tell New Westminster’s story through a variety of perspectives. Museum programmers, tour guides and volunteers use these stories to engage visitors in active conversation and idea-sharing in

order to gain new perspectives.

Where might we be without a city museum and archive? Take a moment to think on this.


Visitors from all walks of life come to the New Westminster Museum and Archives. Authors and historians spend hours searching through our database of historic images, subject files and records; seeking that one story which has not yet been told, offering new understanding of our past.

Imagine someone who does not have the ability to Museum Curator create new memories. New experiences are lost to them, and his or her City planners visit the archives, looking identity is frozen in time. With this fate, how through historic city records and maps, could this person relate to the present day? finding insight from the past to help prepare Now imagine an entire city struck by a for the future. similar fate. The arrival of new people from Home owners, interested in restoring across the globe goes unnoticed, mistakes in their heritage home, look for inspiration in city plans don’t guide future decisions and the rooms of Irving House, built in 1865. the concerns of its citizens fall on deaf ears. They then visit the archives to find records Is this city able to cope with the presenton the people who once lived in their home day world? Can its people feel pride in their and evidence of the changes made to that accomplishments? Does this city have an home over time. identity? A museum and archives offers New residents, old residents, tourists and answers to these questions. We are the school children all visit the museum in order memories of a community. to learn about the city they are in and gain

understanding of why we are here and where we might be going. A museum and archives is far more than a storehouse for old things; it is like a book with countless unread stories, stories which are still being written. It is our responsibility to catalogue, store, enhance and tell these stories. This year the City of New Westminster turned 150 years old. To commemorate this occasion we are sealing a time capsule to be opened on the occasion of our 200th anniversary in 2059. What message would you send to the future? The New Westminster Museum and Archives is looking for suggestions on what should be placed into this time capsule and we need the voice of our community. If you have any suggestions please contact us at 604-515-3842.

• INSIDE • Politics






First Nations


Building a new life in a new country

How we lost the capital

This land was their land

Embedded in our past Cover Photo: New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 0902-08

PUBLISHER Brad Alden • EDITOR Pat Tracy • DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING Lara Graham • REPORTER Alfie Lau • PRODUCTION MANAGER Gary E. Slavin • GRAPHIC DESIGNER Helen-Louise Kinton • DISPLAY ADVERTISING SUPERVISOR Terri Rodger • ADVERTISING REP Don Michiel #201A – 3430 Brighton Avenue, Burnaby, BC V5A 3H4 MAIN SWITCHBOARD 604-444-3451

NW04 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

Proud of Our City's Rich Past... honoured to be part of a promising future!

BETTY McINTOSH, City Councillor


BILL HARPER, City Councillor

JAIMIE McEVOY, City Councillor

BOB OSTERMAN, City Councillor

JONATHAN X. COTE, City Councillor

Congratulations New Westminster on your 150th Anniversary!

150 YEARS Politics

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW05

The story behind city’s big loss Royal City was B.C.’s capital – but politics (and a bit of booze) changed all that


ew Westminster: Capital of British Columbia. While that statement was once fact, it’s now just a footnote in history. The story begins in September 1858, when the first contingent of Royal Engineers left Southhampton, England for the West Coast, arriving on Oct. 29. By Nov. 19, they had officially proclaimed the Colony of B.C. at Fort Langley. As settlement in the area began to take shape, the issue of what city would become capital became a source of disagreement between Governor James Douglas and Colonel Richard Moody. Douglas was looking at a site south of the Fraser River, near the current site of Fort Langley and even sold lots in that area to prospective settlers.

At the same time, he had his Vancouver Island surveyor J.D. Pemberton look at an island site where the capital could be located. Meanwhile, Moody was falling in love with the northern land that was right near the entrance of the Fraser River. In a letter to a friend, Moody talked about this great location: “It is the right place in all respects. Commercially, for the good of the whole community; politically, for Imperial interests; and militarily, for the protection of, and to hold the country against, our neighbours. ... It is a most important spot. It is positively marvellous how singularly it is formed for the site of a large town.” By Feb 1859, Moody’s argument was accepted by Douglas, albeit reluctantly. On Feb. 14, 1859, Queensborough, named to honour Queen Victoria, was declared the capital of the Colony of B.C. Understandably, the island residents who had lost the battle were not pleased and jealous of losing the capital

contest. They mockingly called the new capital, “The Phantom City.” They even objected to the name Queensborough, saying they had honoured Queen Victoria with their own city name. By the end of April 1859, Queen Victoria had agreed to change the name of the capital city to New Westminster. While there was some opposition to the name change, it was accepted and by July 1860, New Westminster was incorporated as a municipality. For the next eight years, New Westminster would be the capital. During this time, several notable things happened. On May 26, 1863, a legislative council was established, consisting of Crown officials, magistrates and elected officials from both the mainland and the island. By April 1864, Douglas had resigned his post and was replaced by a new governor, Frederick Seymour. Seymour discovered a city that was

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Governor Frederick Seymour and Lady Stapleton, shown in 1867. It was under Seymour’s tenure that New Westminster lost its status as provincial capital. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 2529

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150 YEARS The Great Fire NW06 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

A hell of roaring Áame rips through city “The murky dawn broke to find a distressed city in all the nakedness of her first grief”


ong before Sept. 11 became known as a day of tragedy in the United States, that day was known as the defining moment in New Westminster.

It was on Sept. 10 and 11, 1898 when the Great Fire roared through the city’s downtown core and devastated what was one of the region’s biggest business centres. It was a warm Saturday night, all part of the hot and dry summer that had hit the city. As the clock struck 11 p.m., the streets were relatively quiet after a night of busy commerce. According to a report in The Columbian newspaper on Sept. 17, here’s what happened next: “There was a dull boom on a nearby bell that startled everyone, and the word ‘Fire’ came ... A bright shower of sparks was seen to rise from the riverfront near the city market building. The clatter of hose carts along the almost deserted thoroughfares and the ringing of fire gongs rapidly filled the street again. “The firemen had located the blaze in a huge pile of hay, about 200 tons in all, which was stored on BrackmanKer’s wharf. The hay was as dry as tinder, for it had been

there since early in the season ... The whole roof of the Brackman-Ker building burst into a blaze and speedily fell in. The sternwheeler Edgar, which had tied up to the wharf shortly before 10 o’clock, was by this time enveloped by flames.” The Great Fire devastated New Westminster’s downtown, moving from Front Street diagonally up to Columbia Street. The Columbia Hotel was engulfed in flames, but the Powell Block escaped serious damage. The first building on Columbia to be destroyed was the Bank of British Columbia block, which included the Chinese store of Kwong Wing Lung Co. Not only were buildings destroyed, the city’s rail connection to the Canadian Pacific Railway was also gone, as the rail ties under the tracks were all burnt out. It wouldn’t be until 6 a.m. on Sunday that the fire was deemed “under control,” but the damage was already done. Here’s the newspaper account of the immediate aftermath: “Men and women were not tired. They were simply dead beat. The murky dawn broke to find a distressed city in all the nakedness of her first grief. On all sides, ruin and desolation had laid their deadly hand. The scene was appalling. “From the upper hills of New Westminster, the sight was one never to be forgotten. Where there had been a thriving, bustling city, there were only smoking ruins. Not one building stood in all the vast fire-swept space.”

The citizens of New Westminster pulled together to help each other, with the mayor organizing the relief effort from the armoury, which received food, clothing and supplies from the people of Vancouver. More than 3,000 residents were left homeless, with estimates of the losses at more than $3 million, of which only 50 per cent was insured. The citizens quickly started rebuilding and even carried on with a provincial exhibition that showed the people of British Columbia that New Westminster was not dead. Once the city was on its way to recovery, a Commission of Enquiry was convened to examine what went wrong on that fateful night. Perhaps most devastating was the news that in the early stages of the fire, acting fire chief Watson sent Alderman John Calbick to the uptown main water gate to connect the main hydrants to the fire hoses. Calbick couldn’t get the gate open and compounded the mistake by not telling Watson. As the firemen used up their water supplies downtown, they got no relief from the uptown water gate. The final report from Judge Eli Harrison revealed that New Westminster did not have adequate fire protection on the night of Sept. 10, 1898. – Alfie Lau

The view down Columbia Street in the aftermath of the Great Fire of 1898. The once bustling downtown core had burnt to the ground in mere hours. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 0163

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW07

Congratulations New Westminster on your 150th Anniversary

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NW08 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record


150 YEARS The loss of status for New Westminster was a serious blow to the economy FROM PAGE 5

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depressed and financially rocked. He was not impressed with the city’s facilities, including a decrepit public school and a Government House that didn’t meet his standards. The financial situation was dire, and the British government was looking for cost savings in the colony. By November 1866, Seymour had proclaimed the Act of Union between the two bitter rivals, Victoria and New Westminster. New Westminster would remain the capital, but the legislature would consist of 23 members, the majority of which were appointed positions. By April 1868, the new legislative council was littered with island appointees, and they passed a resolution, by a 13-8 vote, urging the capital be moved to Victoria. Seymour had the power to veto the vote, but he was drinking heavily and suffering

the effects. Instead of making a decision, he put the question to the legislative council again for a final vote and it passed by a 14-5 margin. Victorious Victoria-ites celebrated and on the Queen’s birthday, May 24, 1868, their city was named the new capital of the colony. The effects on New Westminster were immediate, as the population, which was more than 1,800 in 1862, fell to less than 500 in 1868. As the seat of government was dismantled and sent by boat to the island, a state of panic and depression descended over New Westminster; The Royal City was no longer the capital of B.C. On July 20, 1871, the Colony of B.C. joined Canada as a province and Victoria remained the capital. – Alfie Lau

In this 1864 photograph, members of the first Parliament of British Columbia pose outside the legislative building in New Westminster, the former main barracks of the Royal Engineers’ camp. Note the ghostly figure in the top right. Historians are still trying to figure out if that’s a person or a shadow. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 2583

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150 YEARS Immigrants

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW09

Racism greeted many newcomers to the city But immigrants worked hard and created communities that offered support and fellowship


he Cantonese name for New Westminster was Yi Fao, which literally translated to Second City.

But while Victoria was the capital of the province and Vancouver was fast becoming the first city of the mainland, New Westminster was the first choice for many Asian people who came to B.C. for a new life and new opportunities.

area of Chinatown. The Chinese came to New Westminster as a form of cheap labour, as their work was needed in the mines, on the rail lines, on the river dykes and almost anywhere where physical labour was needed. The Gold Rush, which attracted explorers of all ages, nationalities and races, also brought its fair share of Chinese immigrants, who called British Columbia “Gold Mountain.” The number of residents peaked at 1,000, almost 20 per cent of the entire population, but the turning point was the 1898 Great Fire, which destroyed many of those Chinese businesses.

The Wo Ham family, pictured in 1904, were part of the bustling Chinese community in New Westminster. The father may have worked on a steamboat on the Fraser but on land, the Chinese faced many racist comments. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 1042

The city’s Chinatown, centred around the McInnes Street area, was the first, and one of the largest in the 1880s. The Chinese Benevolent Association building that stood between Agnes and Victoria streets was the focal point of the area.

With fewer resources to rebuild, the Chinese landowners were shunted aside by the predominantly white business leaders of the day, who rebuilt quickly on that land, all but removing any remnants of the old Chinatown.

lived in the Riverside apartments in the 1000 block of Royal Avenue, but fire struck again and the last remnants of Chinatown died in the embers of that fire.

The building was a simple structure with a broad veranda affording excellent views towards the waterfront and the surrounding

With Chinatown now gone, many of the displaced Chinese residents moved northwest, up to Royal Avenue. Many Chinese people

Many years later, the story would be the same with the Chinese Benevolent Association office at 826 Victoria St. When

the association closed its doors for good in 1979, the building was donated to the city and demolished soon afterward. It wasn’t only the Chinese who lived in New Westminster and felt the sharp sting of racism. SEE PAGE 10


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NW10 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

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150 YEARS Immigrants Building a new life in a new country FROM PAGE 9

The Japanese also came to New Westminster to find their fortune, partially because of the abundant fish stocks in the Fraser River. In fact, one of the most prominent Royal City residents was Paul Okamura, who was known for his stunning photographs of early New Westminster. Okamura came to New Westminster in 1891 and quickly established himself as one of the best photographers in the business. His shots of the 1898 Great Fire show his tremendous eye for detail. He opened a photographic studio in New Westminster and became a mentor for future generations of shooters before his death in 1937.

New Westminster residents of Japanese background who were in the fishing and canning industry in Queensborough. Also in Queensborough were two other flourishing ethnic communities. The Indo-Canadian community built a Sikh temple on Boyne Street, and the Italian Mutual Aid Society built their own hall – now called Roma Hall – for the growing Italian community.

... each ethnic community has a different story about their struggle in their new homes ...

Okamura didn’t live to see the darkest days for the Japanese in New Westminster. After the 1941 Pearl Harbour attack that led to the United States entering the Second World War, the Japanese in B.C. and New Westminster were subjected to internment camps. Of the roughly 42,000 people relocated by November 1942, many were

The Indo-Canadians worked the land in Queensborough, farming and producing food not only for themselves, but for export. The Italians prided themselves on being the hardest working immigrants from Europe, and they could always find work in construction or heavy labour. While each ethnic community has a different story about their struggle in their new homes, the one binding characteristic is that they all came to New Westminster for a better life and weren’t afraid to work hard for that new life.

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We are honoured to represent New Westminster on its 150th Anniversary.

– Alfie Lau

150 YEARS Founders

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW11

The man who chose the site Colonel Richard Clement Moody fell in love with the city and its strategic location


istory books will say that Governor James Douglas held the title as most important politician in the colony of New Westminster but there’s no doubt that the most important builder in New Westminster was Colonel Richard Clement Moody.

Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works and Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. Moody arrived in Victoria on Dec. 25, 1858, with his wife Mary and their four children, and was charged with assisting in the physical development of the colony and the selection and design of the capital city of British Columbia.

Moody had a distinguished career that included stints as governor of the Falkland On Jan. 5, 1859, Islands, just off the coast Colonel Richard Moody boarded the Beaver Clement Moody of South America, and steamship for the trip up commander of the Royal the Fraser River to see the Engineers in Edinburgh. mainland settlements, which were centred in two spots: the current When he accepted his new appointment, his official titles were sites of Fort Langley and New

This 1862 picture shows the Royal Engineers camp in Sapperton. This group of men built the city under the direction of Col. Richard Clement Moody, who loved the strategic location of New Westminster. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 0623 Westminster. Moody fell in love with the latter and its strategic location at the fork of the Fraser River’s delta. In a letter to his friend Arthur Blackwood, Moody said: “My attention was at once arrested by

its fitness, in all probability, for a site of the first, if not the Chief Town, in the country. “It is a most important spot. It is positively marvelous how singularly it is formed for the site of a large town. It is not only

convenient in every respect, but it is agreeable and striking in aspect.” Moody’s love of the area spurred him to recommend the site as the new capital of British Columbia, and despite his SEE PAGE 12

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NW12 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

150 YEARS Founders City could have been Regina, Augusta FROM PAGE 11

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personal misgivings, Douglas accepted that recommendation in February 1859. Moody also played a part in the city getting its first name of Queensborough, named to honour Queen Victoria, in February 1859. When prominent island residents in Victoria opposed that name, Queen Victoria chose New Westminster as the new name for the city, over the two other choices of Regina and Augusta. Even if Moody was perturbed by the name change, his focus never wavered from building up the area he thought would make the perfect capital. Moody was in charge of the Columbian Detachment of Royal Engineers, better known as the Sappers, whose job was to physically lay out and build the city of New Westminster. Moody’s original design for the city concentrated on building the city from the river up, using a cross design. The main axis would be the Anglican Church, with the government offices and parliament buildings at the centre. Parks would be on either side, with upper-class housing to the east and lower-class and immigrant, predominantly Chinese, housing to the west. The waterfront would be the commercial hub of the city, and the rest of the city, as it grew to the north and the west,

would be laid out in a grid pattern. Moody worked the Sappers hard, but with the colony in financial distress, Douglas did not approve additional expenditures. Clearing trees and building on the steep hills took its toll on both Moody and his men. Moody also placed an emphasis on public squares and green spaces, revolutionary thinking in his time, especially when land speculators wanted to build as many residences and businesses as possible. By January 1860, Moody’s work became even tougher when Douglas imposed a duty on goods transported from New Westminster. That same duty wasn’t applicable to Victoria, so boats and the commercial benefits bypassed New Westminster, further hitting the already depleted treasury. The final straw for Moody came in November 1863, when the British government formally disbanded the Sappers and Moody returned to England. Moody’s legacy continues to this day, as Moody Street, Moody Park and Port Moody are named for him. Moody’s wife, Mary, was also honoured, as Mary Street was named for her. That street was later renamed Sixth Street. – Alfie Lau

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150 YEARS Royalty

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW13

City prides itself on royal history King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were greeted by thousands in Queen’s Park


or a city named first in honour of Queen Victoria and then by Queen Victoria, New Westminster has always stayed true to its status as the Royal City.

On July 16, 1860, Queen Victoria decreed that the City of New Westminster would be the capital of the colony of British Columbia. And even though the city would lose its capital status, it would never lose its royal roots. Perhaps no greater celebration of the Royal City took place than on May 31, 1939, when King

George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited New Westminster. The first Royal Tour of Canada was a month-long affair that started in Quebec, went west all the way to New Westminster and Vancouver and then finished with an eastward trip back toward Halifax. The visit was also timed to whip up patriotic fervour in the Commonwealth, as Great Britain was on the verge of entering what would be known as the Second World War. The visit created such a sensation that along the entire route of the royal motorcade, homeowners and business people decorated their buildings. It was described in the papers as “a flame of colour that runs like a river of fire through (the) city streets.”

undoubtedly the 28 welcome arches, each representing a different municipality in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, that were a sight to behold for the 150,000 people who jammed the streets of New Westminster. Just after 3 p.m., the royal procession, with the King and Queen in a 1939 McLaughlinBuick, made its way from Kingsway in Burnaby onto Twelfth Street in New Westminster. Within 12 minutes, travelling along Eighth Avenue, Eighth Street, Sixth Avenue and then Second Street, the King and Queen pulled into their final destination and another landmark named for royalty, Queen’s Park. There, more than 11,000

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CongratulaƟons to the City of New Westminster on their 150th Anniversary


From left: New Westminster Mayor Fred Hume greets Queen Elizabeth and King George VI during their Royal Visit to New Westminster on May 31, 1939. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 1140


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NW14 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

150 YEARS Royalty Names of city schools, landmarks reflect royal heritage FROM PAGE 13

school children were waiting, with 2,700 of them performing the Maypole dance – 24 beautifully decorated poles were used – and other celebrations on the field.

third, and, in the final car, the royal support crew, including a private secretary, medical officer and the chief press liaison officer.

As New Westminster Mayor Fred Hume welcomed the royal guests, his daughter Dorothy presented the Queen with a wreath of flowers.

As the silver-and-blue royal train took them across the New Westminster Bridge for their return trip across the country, the city would continue cheering and celebrating the most historic moment in the city’s history.

The King and Queen surprised the youngster by breaking from the prepared script and crossing the street to greet Dorothy, who for years had been confined to her bed, made a special effort to be present for the Royal Visit.

Other notable royal visits include Princess Elizabeth – currently Queen Elizabeth II – visiting in 1951. Her first visit as the reigning monarch was in 1959. She also came in 1971, and her most recent visit to New Westminster was in 1983.

It was only eight minutes in Queen’s Park for the royal couple, and, as they progressed south, they stopped at a platform where the King gave a brief speech. He acknowledged the large crowds, and he declared, “New Westminster is a beautiful city.”

Princess Margaret came to cut the ribbon for Century House in 1958.

By 3:33 p.m., the royal procession was on its way out of the city, arriving at the railway platform on Columbia Street, just below the B.C. Pen. On the train, the procession included four cars, with the King and Queen in the lead car, Prime Minister Mackenzie King in the second, a federal cabinet minister in the

One other Royal visit worth noting took place in 1912 when the Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria, visited New Westminster. Both the school and the area in the western part of the city, Connaught Heights, are named for him. As New Westminster eagerly awaits its next Royal Visit, it has a rich and proud history of treating royal visitors with the class and elegance you would expect from the Royal City. – Alfie Lau

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150 YEARS Crime

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW15

Robbery of the century Thieves made off with at least $258,000 in bills and 150 pounds of gold


hen New Westminster residents opened up their newspapers on the morning of Sept. 15, 1911, they were greeted by a headline telling them the Royal City was the site of the “robbery of the century.” The robbery was carried out at the Bank of Montreal on Columbia Street in the heart of downtown New Westminster, and thieves made off with at least $258,000 in bills and at least 150 pounds of gold worth $20,000. At the time, it was considered the largest bank heist in history. The thieves were led by “Australian Mac” or “Big” John McNamara and their plan was simple, yet effective. McNamara’s men cased the bank for days, knowing how many times the police passed the bank after midnight, the sleeping habits of the clerk who slept in a ground-floor bathroom, and they even had a copy of the cleaner’s bank key. At 4 a.m., that cleaner, a Chinese janitor named Hong, came to work for his regular shift cleaning up the bank.

The Bank of Montreal on Columbia Street was the site of one of the largest bank heists in history in September 1911. Thieves made off with more than $250,000 in cash and 150 pounds of gold worth more than $20,000. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 7859 When Hong got to the door, he was forcibly taken at gunpoint and hog-tied to a chair.

area residents, nor did it register with the police station that was only 15 metres away.

The robbers were just emerging from the bank after several hours of digging into the vault before blowing it open with nitroglycerine.

In less than 90 minutes, the robbers had crammed suitcases full of bills and were making their getaway. The bank needed all that money for the week’s scheduled payday for fishermen and millworkers.

Their stealth was so good that the blast didn’t awaken any




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150 YEARS - WOW!

150 YEARS Crime Bulk of stolen cash, gold was never recovered FROM PAGE 15

To make their escape complete, the thieves stole the high-powered roadster of T.J. Trapp that was housed in a Cunningham Street garage. The car, worth $3,000, had been rolled down Royal Avenue to get it started, but, because of a missing sparkplug, it was left abandoned at the foot of Royal Avenue. The thieves had disappeared with all their loot. Several days after the heist, the police made a discovery under an old boardwalk at Fourth and Carnarvon. More than $23,000 was recovered. Another break occurred on Halloween when Vancouver police arrested John Bozyk, who had $4,700 on him when he was taken into custody.

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Bozyk had stumbled upon the money in a ravine near Carnarvon Street. While it couldn’t be proven that he was a part of the original robbery, he was found guilty of possession of stolen money. It wasn’t until 1912 that McNamara and his cohorts were caught. McNamara was arrested in New York City in January, with $1,000 on him. Charles Dean was arrested in Los Angeles with a

larger amount of money on him. The two fought extradition back to New Westminster, but New Westminster Police Chief George Bradshaw had other ideas. Bradshaw, along with two Pinkerton agents, smuggled Dean over the border and back to New Westminster in August 1912, where he had his day in court. After two trials, Dean was acquitted of all charges in October 1913. McNamara was eventually sent back to New Westminster, where he avoided charges in the actual robbery. But he couldn’t avoid being charged with attempting to steal Trapp’s roadster. McNamara was convicted and sentenced to nine years in jail. Two other alleged thieves also had mixed results. Walter Davis was arrested in Toronto with $9,000 in his pockets. He was acquitted in New Westminster but pled guilty in Toronto and was sentenced to six months in jail. William McCorkill was found in possession of $4,000 in Canadian currency. The other $200,000-plus dollars, plus the gold, that was taken from the vault was never recovered. – Alfie Lau

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The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW17





Making wine at The Wine Factory is unbelievably simple. Here’s what you have to do. 1. Pick out your wine (by far the most difficult step) This can be very intimidating and that’s why we’re here to help. With over 200 wines it’s easy to get confused. Firstly decide on the quality, all of our wines are a combination of fresh and concentrated varietal grape juices. House wines are ready to bottle soonest (5 weeks) and ready to drink quickest (within a month after bottling) but they contain the most concentrate and the least juice. That’s not bad, but think of fresh orange juice versus concentrate – both are good for you, but which do you prefer? Our Premium wines have a lot more fresh juice and are what most of our regular customers drink, they take 6 weeks to make and are ready to drink about 3 months after bottling. Above that are the ultra-premium where the juice is from a specific vineyard, these wines take 8 weeks to make and require patience because you should bottle age 4 or more months before you drink them. After deciding on the quality you want, you need to pick the type of wine to make. This may or may not be easy depending on how much you know about wine. That’s why we’re here. If, for example, you’ve been drinking a lot of oaky Australian Shiraz lately and that’s what you want – GREAT! We can do that. If you’re just not sure, we can help you decide. Dry, off-dry, sweet, full, light...if you



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2. Come and start your wine. This is the money part. You don’t have to make an appointment to do this, drop in whenever it’s convenient for you (10-7 MondayThursday, 10-5 Friday, 9-5 Saturday, Closed Sundays). It’s simple and generally only takes a few minutes. We’re here to make this as painless as possible. At this stage you’ll have to pay for your wine and we’ll give you a rough idea of when your wine will be ready. 3. Wait… Here’s the tough part, it’s going to take 5-8 weeks for your wine to be ready for bottling. So, if you’re having a party next week you’re out of luck. But remember, good things come to those who wait. We’ll give you a call when it’s ready and you can book an appointment to bottle your wine. 4. Wine Bottling. This is where you get your hands dirty. No, it does not take all day - only about 25 minutes. Yes, it’s really simple anyone can do it, we have helpers from age 5 to 95. We’re ALWAYS here to help. First you’ll

sanitize your bottles (they must be clean before you bring them in). Then they get filled, corked and labeled. If you don’t have bottles you can buy them here and new customers get 30 free bottles with their first order of a Premium or better batch. * 5. Enjoy! Really it’s that easy. Your wine’s ready to take home, age and enjoy. We’re the largest wine making store in New Westminster. Here for 15 years and the perennial winner of New Westminster’s Reader’s Choice award. Your neighbours are doing it... Why aren’t you? * bring in this flyer to redeem your free bottles, cannot be combined with any other offers, limit 1 per household.

I’ve got more questions! Give us a call - there’s no question that we haven’t heard before. Try to stump us! FAQs Q. How long does it take to make the wine? A. Five to eight weeks depending on the wine. Q. Can I get some right now or a sample to taste? A. Nope, we’re not allowed to do that… it’s the law!

Q. But what if I don’t like it? A. You will. But if you don’t please bring it back. We’ll be happy to replace it. 100% Satisfaction guaranteed every time. Q. How much work do I have to do? A. The most work you have to do is during bottling, it takes about 25 minutes and almost anyone can do it. Q. How much does it cost to do a batch? A. Anywhere from $105 to $260 (or about $3 to $9 per bottle) depending on the quality of wine product you choose. Q. What does that include? A. Wine, taxes, our services, corks, caps and labels - everything except bottles . Q. How much wine do I get? A. Thirty standard (750 ml) bottles of one type of wine. Q. What if there’s a group of us who want to make wine together? A. Great, we are always happy to see groups enjoying the pleasure of making wine together. Give us a call to learn more. We feature premium products from RJ Spagnols. We use Premium Purified Water when making our wines to ensure the highest quality every time.


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At The Wine Factory some of our best sellers are classic Italian blends from famous regions in Italy. The following chart has some information on these famous wines: Obviously with prices as high as $381 per bottle there are some wonderful wines available at the BCGLS specialty stores. On the other hand, most consumers can’t afford even the cheapest of these wines on a daily basis. By making your own wine you can make these great wines affordably. As for quality, our customers tell us that many of our wines compare well with the middle to higher priced wines they get at the liquor store. At The Wine Factory we have at least 2 different selections of each of these classics. Each “batch” you make delivers 30 bottles of wine. As an example, for the price of about 2.5 bottles of the cheapest Brunello, or 5 bottles of the low end BC liquor store Barolo, you can make a batch of 30 bottles of our best of either variety. While these are more extreme examples, generally speaking wines you make yourself will cost you a half to a third what similar wines cost at the liquor store. Having said that, why shouldn’t you enjoy some of the best Italy has to offer? We’ve used Italian wines to illustrate this example but the same opportunities exist in more commonly known varietals like Merlot, Shiraz, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Grigio. No matter what your taste in wine we can help you economize on your wine budget. Why not explore the world of wine with us. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s fast and it will save you money.

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150 YEARS First Nations When the Sto:lo called it home NW18 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

First Nations people had thriving culture, communities before James Douglas ‘proclaimed into law’ the possession of all native lands


he earliest people to settle on the land we now know as New Westminster were the First Nations.

For thousands of years, the Sto:lo (river) people called New Westminster home. Their name for the area was Sxwaymelth, in honour of a legendary warrior who was turned to stone. The Sxwaymelth stone was believed to contain the warrior’s life force, and a stone landmark was located prominently on the banks of the Fraser River. The Qw’o:ntlan (Kwantlen) were one of the ancient Sto:lo tribes and claimed New Westminster as their ancestral home. Kwantlen, which means noble or high born, inhabited many different settlements all

along the river and inland, giving each place a different name. For example, the lower banks of Scuwiheya, the area where Burnaby Lake and the Brunette River are, was called Tsitslhes, while the area beside Stotelo, the Glenbrook area, had places named Statelew and Schechi:les. And, perhaps most importantly, the First Nations group that has come to be most identified with New Westminster is the Qayqayt (pronounced Kee-Kite), which means resting place. The Qayqayt lived on the New Westminster reserve, a 104-acre parcel of land on the banks of the Fraser River, just

SALMONBELLIES A SPORTS LEGEND! Folklore along the mighty Fraser River has it that during the 1880's, New Westminster was the centre of the fish canning industry. Ah, salmon was so plentiful; so much so that it was considered a food for native Indians but for the white folk, only the bellies of the salmon were considered a delicacy. One day, the New Westminster team trudged over to Cambie Grounds in Vancouver to take on

some Gassy Jack bruisers. During the bitter contest, a bruiser, in an effort to put down those hated swells from the Royal City, shouted: "Git there, salmon bellies!" The crowd picked up the chant but instead of being offended, the New Westminster boys liked the name. They rationalized that calling them salmonbellies was calling them the best.

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The Sto:lo First Nations were the first people to call New Westminster home. This picture, taken in 1866, shows a Sto:lo man in a homemade canoe on the Fraser River. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 0618 south of the Woodlands site. The history of the Qayqayt has many twists and turns. More than 170 years ago, the Kwantlen Indian Tribe settled on the banks of the Fraser River. The Kwantlen had two main villages: Skaiametl and Qayqayt. The Skaiametl village was on the Surrey side of the river, on the side of the current Fraserview subdivision, while the Qayqayt village was on the New Westminster side, on lands just south of the old Woodlands site.

The Qayqayt are Coast Salish Indians with strong familial ties to the Sto:lo Nation, the Musqueam, the Squamish and even some American tribes in the state of Washington. On Feb. 14, 1859, James Douglas proclaimed into law the possession of all native lands. In 1879, the federal government allocated three reserves to the Qayqayt Indian Band, including 104 acres of the South

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150 YEARS First Nations

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW19

Westminster Reserve, 22 acres on the north arm of the Fraser River and 27 acres on Poplar Island. The Qayqayt band had more than 400 members between 1879 and 1900. But after a smallpox epidemic and the McKenna McBride Commission reallocated the reserve lands, the Qayqayt were reduced to fewer than 100 members. Many of the remaining Qayqayt were assimilated into other local reserves, such as the neighbouring Musqueam band. The last two members of the band were thought to have died in 1975 and 1992. But when Rhonda Larrabee, current chief of the Qayqayt, applied for Indian status under Bill C31, she was recognized as an official member of the Qayqayt First Nation in 1994. In 1996, the Qayqayt were granted a permit to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes, on the Fraser River. In 1997, the Qayqayt hosted a traditional pow-wow at the Armouries in New Westminster Today, the Qayqayt First Nation has the distinction of being one of the smallest First Nations in Canada and the only one without a land base. As the provincial government continues with its native reconciliation efforts, it’s instructive to hear Larrabee talk about how widespread the native population and reach was 150 years ago. “According to our traditions, a band’s land is measured by the land we can walk for four days in all four directions,” she said. “We’d start from South Westminster and walk for four days.”

This photo, taken by Frederick Dally, shows a meeting of nine of the great First Nations chiefs in New Westminster in the 1860s. Irving House can be seen on the far right, while the central building was called John’s house and may have been owned by another member of the Irving family. New Westminster Museum and Archives IFP 0373

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As New Westminster celebrates its 150th anniversary, the accomplishments and history of our First Nations population cannot be forgotten. They were literally the first settlers, and their proud history is one that should continue to be told to future generations of Royal City residents. – Alfie Lau

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150 YEARS Business NW20 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

All in the family Copp’s Shoes is the city’s oldest business – founded in 1911


ew Westminster’s oldest business has been in existence since 1911 and in the same family since 1925.

What started as The Popular Shoe Store at 638 Columbia Street in 1911 became Copp’s Shoes in 1925 when Clarence W. Copp bought the store and renamed it. Four years later, Clarence traded the store to his brother Percy for the Vancouver Boot and Shoe wholesale company. Percy diligently ran the business, passing it down to son Ralph Brine. For 40 years, Ralph ran the store, emphasizing the same things his father taught him: good quality shoes at affordable prices and the best customer service. Ralph’s son Terry, who studied physical education at university, was all set to go into a teaching career, but the pull of the family shoe business had him selling shoes by 1972. “I’m the third generation of this family here,” said Brine. “I’ve got three kids, and they all have their own careers. They’re too smart for this business.” Brine hasn’t changed much in the 130-foot long store where almost all the shoes are in front of you or in the boxes that are on the walls going up to the ceiling. Four original ladders – for Brine and his staff to get shoes on the highest shelves – are still in use, as is the original brass and silver cash register, which features old wooden cash drawers that used to be the individual drawers for each sales clerk and had to be balanced at the end of each day. Brine said the business stays relevant because he orders shoes specifically tailored to his key customers. He said many of his customers are older and looking for walking shoes or boots. In addition, Brine has expanded his selection of large and wide-size shoes. “The big box (retailers) cream off the regular sizes, but it’s stores like ours that service those people,” said Brine. Copp’s has been a fixture in downtown New Westminster for so long, in part, because the family also owns the building. A shoe repair store on Mackenzie Street has been in operation for 50 years and gets Brine’s referrals.

Terry Brine, seen with the antique cash register at Copp’s Shoes on Columbia Street, is the third generation of his family running the store that has been in existence since 1911 and been in Brine’s family since 1925. Larry Wright/The Record Terry learned the value of hard work. “My dad worked my butt off,” said Terry. “He showed me that in order to keep doing business, you had to make sure you took care of your customers and gave them no reason to shop anywhere else.” And that’s what’s most satisfying to Brine. Even as he does the paperwork from his second-floor office that overlooks the entire store, he’ll have customers, who were served by his father or the children of the people he once served, ask him to come down and offer advice. “It’s the little things that count and keeping our customer number 1 is both the littlest and the biggest thing in this business,” said Brine. “We try to be as helpful as we can, offer the expert advice that people are looking for and treat them with respect so they come back and bring their friends with them.” Some of the other cool original touches at Copp’s include the pot belly stove – “It’s a replica of the original, but it really kept the place warm,” said Brine – the handwritten receipts and even some of the original footstools.

“There was a time when we thought of expanding,” said Brine, “but my grandfather “We’re open every day always said it’s better to but Sunday, and I also take have one good store than Thursdays off,” said Brine. 10 not-so-good stores. ... “This business will keep I’ve got a few colleagues running as long as our who expanded to customers keep coming back. multiple stores and they It’s been so much fun for me, ended up bankrupt. That Copp’s Shoes has been serving customers at the same location at 638 and it really is a pleasure each won’t happen with us.” day to come to work.” Columbia Street for almost 100 years. From his own father, – Alfie Lau Larry Wright/The Record

In this 1995 trade magazine story about Copp’s Shoes, Percy Copp is shown in 1941 while Terry Brine’s father Ralph is shown in the inset picture.

150 YEARS Resources Books abound on city

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW21

Congratulations! New Westminster is 150 years old and Cap’s Bicycle Shop has helped to keep things “rolling” for the past 77 years!

If you love New Westminster history, there’s no shortage of books and reference materials to find out everything you ever wanted to know about the Royal City. This is a partial list: Anderson, Edna. Queensborough Reflections. Published July 1989. Chambers, Lucy B. The Court House of New Westminster. Published by the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Foundation, 1979. Duncan, Michael. A Royal View: New Westminster. Published by the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, 1981.

Pullem, Hellen C. New Westminster: The Real Story of How It All Began. Published by the Hawkscourt Group, 1985. Rudolph, Elmer (editor). Memories are Made of This ... : Reflections of the West End and Connaught Heights Neighbourhoods. Published through the City of New Westminister Heritage Project, 2000. Sanford, Barrie. Royal Metal: The People, Times and Trains of New Westminster Bridge. Published by the National Railway Historical Society, B.C. Chapter, 2004.

Gatensbury, Steve. Queensborough: Images of an Old Neighbourhood. Sedge Publishing, 1991. Glavin, Terry. Amongst God’s Own: The Enduring Legacy of Saint Mary’s Mission. Longhouse Publishing, 2002. Graham, Stewart. Yeah College!: A Story of Douglas College. Published by Douglas College, 1992. Hainsworth, Gavin and Freund-Hainsworth, Katherine. Glimpses of the City As It Was: A New Westminster Album. Published by Dundurn Press, 2005. Hill, Beth. Sappers: The Royal Engineers in British Columbia. Published by Horsdal and Schubart, 1987. Julian, Terry. A British Lion: The Story of British Columbia’s Magistrate William Franklyn, MLA. Signature Publishing, 1998. Julian, Terry. A Capital Controversy: The Story of Why the Capital of British Columbia Was Moved From New Westminster to Victoria. Signature Publishing, 1994. Kerr, Dale. New Westminster: Mayors and Members of Council, 1860-1997. Published by WordCrafters Writing Services, 1997. Levy, Paul. River Queen: The Amazing Story of Tugboat Titan Lucille Johnstone. Harbour Publishing, 2006.

Sangster, J. Lewis. 75 Years of Service: A History of Olivet Baptist Church, 1878-1952. Published by the Olivet Board of Management, 1953. Scott, Jack David. Century House New Westminster, 1958-1988. Published by the Century House Association, 1989. Scott, Jack David. Four Walls in the West: The Story of the B.C. Penitentiary. Published by the Retired Federal Prison Officers’ Association of B.C., 1984. Scott, Jack David. Once in the Royal City: The Heritage of New Westminster. Published by Whitecap Books, 1985. Thirkell, Frank and Bob Scullion. Places Remembered: Greater Vancouver, New Westminster and the Fraser Valley. B.C. Heritage House Publishing, 1997. Usher, Dale. Policing the Royal City: A History of the New Westminster Police Service. Self-published, 2000. Wolf, Jim. Royal City: A Photographic History of New Westminster, 1858-1960. Heritage House Publishing, 2005.

Mather, Barry and McDonald, Margaret. New Westminster: The Royal City. Published by J.M. Dent and Sons, 1958.

Wolf, Jim and Owen, Patricia. Yi Fao: Speaking Through Memory: A History of New Westminster’s Chinese Community, 1858-1890. Heritage House Publishing, 2008.

McEvoy, Jaimie. The Life and Destruction of Saint Mary’s Hospital. Published by the Saint Mary’s Health Foundation, 2008.

Woodland, Alan. Eminent Guests. Published by the City of New Westminster’s Heritage Endowment Fund, 2003.

Miller, Archie and Kerr, Dale. The Great Fire of 1898. Published by A Sense of History Research Services, 1998.

Woodland, Alan. New Westminster: The Early Years, 1858-1898. Nunaga Publishing, 1973.

Pullem, Hellen C. Queensborough. Self-published, 1989.

– Compiled by Alfie Lau

A Toast to New Westminster on the 150th!

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Cap’s Bicycle Shop on East Columbia, 1940.

In 1932 Cap and Bert Hobbis started out in the basement of the family home taking apart bicycles to see what made them tick. Gradually they mastered the art of building wheels, welding frames and all areas of bicycle repair. Around this time, Cap made it his life’s ambition to own and operate his own bike store. He told his mother, “Before I am 25-years-old I will have a store of my own with my name in huge letters across the door.” It was a very focused goal for someone who was only 13 at the time, but Cap overcame the jeers and dire predictions of his school chums, and on November 10, 1940, moved his shop from the family home to a store on East Columbia Street in New Westminster. Above the door of the new shop was the sign in big red letters that he promised his mother he would have. Today, Cap’s youngest son Gordon continues the tradition of quality, service and selection that has been the hallmark of Cap’s for 77 years, and has served generations of British Columbians with all their cycling needs.

Cap’s second location on East Columbia, circa 1965.

150 YEARS In Brief NW22 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

• SNAPSHOTS IN HISTORY • Feb. 14, 1859

May 29, 1888

Governor James Douglas proclaims the city as the capital of the Colony of British Columbia. The title would not last last, within a decade, New Westminster would lose its capital city status to Victoria.

Queen’s Park is established.

Jan. 2, 1891 Let there be light. Electric lights along Columbia Street light up the city as the city’s electrical power plant begins generating.

Oct. 11, 1859 The Royal Engineers open a school for their children in Sapperton. The school may be the first school on B.C.’s mainland.

Dec. 14, 1859 The schooner D.L Clinch carries cargo from New Westminster to a foreign port for the first time. The cargo: 60,000 feet of cabinet wood and 50 barrels of cranberries.

Aug. 9, 1860

Feb. 14, 1891 Aug. 22, 1864 There’s gold in them thar hills. Captain William Irving arrives in New Westminster on his ship The Reliance. Irving has more than $200,000 in gold from the Cariboo region and part of that money went toward building the showcase house that still bears his name today.

Aug. 15, 1865 The New Westminster Public Library opens.

New Westminster municipal council holds its first meeting.

The Great Northern Railroad is linked to the city. Within 13 years, the line would extend into Sapperton, with the line going through a hillside that had to be dug out.

Nov. 24, 1902 If you blinked, it was over. New Westminster council holds its shortest meeting ever, clocking in at a scant 12 minutes.

Jan, 1903 The city’s homeless and less fortunate are given a helping hand with the formation of the Westminster Benevolent Society.

Oct. 22-24, 1944 Ernest “Smokey” Smith is awarded the Victoria Cross for securing another bridge in Italy. Smith would live until 2005, and a street in his honour is now part of the Glenbrook area.

March 11, 1954 The area’s biggest and best local department store, Woodward’s opens up. The chain would stay in business until the mid-1990s.

Oct. 29, 1962 New Westminster secures sister city status with Moriguchi in Japan.

Sept. 13, 1964

May 4, 1870 Sept. 13, 1860 The Vickeray, a ship from San Francisco, loads cargo at the New Westminster port.

Feb. 13, 1861 The first issue of The British Columbian newspaper is published in New Westminster.

The first May Day celebrations are organized. Each May, the tradition continues at Queen’s Park with Maypole and folk dancing by the city’s elementary school students.

Dec. 15, 1870 One of New Westminster’s most illustrious politicians is born in Sapperton. Richard McBride would go on to serve as B.C. Premier from 1903 to 1915.

March 10, 1873 The city’s first police officer, Const. John Morey is hired.

April 22, 1886 Feb. 23, 1861 Land is cleared for New Westminster’s first park. That site would host the cricket club but in later years, would be known as Woodlands, where mentally handicapped patients would be housed.

Construction for the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway begins in Sapperton.

Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and his wife visit New Westminster during their tour of Western Canada.

April, 1862

May 10, 1980 The B.C. Pen closes its doors for good

March 16, 1915

Aug. 22-24, 1917 Cpl. Filip Konowal of the New Westminster Regiment receives the Victoria Cross for his heroism at the Battle of Hill 70 in Lens, France.

Jan 3, 1986 SkyTrain joined up downtown Vancouver with New Westminster and Burnaby, just in time for Expo ‘86. The ride from end to end takes just a little more than 22 minutes.

Sept. 5, 1989 The next stage of SkyTrain, including the Skybridge, opens. The light-rail only bridge extends the SkyTrain line into Surrey.

Jan, 1928 May 24, 1887 The Sisters of Charity of Providence open up St. Mary’s Hospital. The facility would remain open for more than 100 years before finally closing for good in 2004.

Where’s North Westminster? Well, in 1928, Sapperton temporarily was known as that as the Sapperton Improvement Association tried to increase real estate sales. The name was changed back to Sapperton in 1934.

Nov. 15, 1937 The Pattullo Bridge opens as a toll bridge. The Pattullo would take some pressure off the railway bridge, as commerce from the south became a much more important part of the mainland economy.

Kaboom! The anvil salute welcomes new Governor Seymour. The anvil salute is still a part of New Westminster history, as each May, it is part of May Day and Hyack Festival festivities.

The world-class Canada Games Pool officially opens. In the summer, the Canada Summer Games would be hosted in the city, with the opening ceremonies at Queen’s Park Stadium.

The New Westminster Chinese Benevolent Society holds their first meeting. The society also sponsored the local Chinese hospital and Chinese public school.

April 30, 1926

July, 1862

April, 1864

March 9, 1973

Feb. 12, 1912 The first Sikh temple opens in Queensborough, as the growing South Asian community takes root on the island.

The City Market opens on Columbia Street and is heralded as the finest in the province.

Hyack Hall the city’s first fire station is completed on Columbia Street.

The Royal Columbian Hospital opens on Agnes Street and provides care to men only.

July 23, 1904 The New Westminster Railway Bridge opens, providing an important crossing over the Fraser River. It is still in operation, for railcars only.

Aug. 18, 1886

Brother, can you spare a dime? The Mint opens in downtown New Westminster, just off of Sixth Street and Columbia Street. The first coins minted in the province are struck in the Royal City.

Oct. 7, 1862

The New Westminster Museum opens. Three months later, on Nov. 19, Irving House opens.

May 12, 1888 The New Westminster Lacrosse Club is formed. The proud history of lacrosse has included Mann Cup and Minto Cup championships for the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

May 24, 1944 Major John Keefer Mahony is awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in securing a bridgehead in Italy. Mahoney wouldn’t be the only New Westminster native to receive the prestigious honour in 1944.

June 12, 1991 New Westminster gets another sister city; Quezon City in the Philippines.

June 10, 2002 New Westminster gets another sister city, Lijiang, China Except where noted*, all photos courtesy of the New Westminster Museum and Archives. In chronological order: Vickeray – IHP 0077 Cricket team – IHP 0404 Anvil salute – IHP 1111 Irving House – IHP 1377 May Day group portrait by Paul Louis Okamura* St. Mary’s Hospital courtesy of Jaimie McEvoy* Lacrosse team – IHP 0442 Railway bridge – IHP 2671 Smokey Smith – IHP 0846 SkyTrain – IHP 4590

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW23

Rotary’s objectives include: Development of opportunities for service and acquaintance; Highly ethical standards in business and the professions; International understanding and goodwill.

Rotary Part of the City's Fabric Since 1928 by Hilda Cliffe

The Rotary Club of New Westminster has been part of the fabric of the City’s history since March 1928 - 81 of the city’s 150 years. During those years many of its leaders were prominent business and professional men in the community. Some readers may remember Don McKenzie owner of McKenzie Confections Wholesale on 12th Street and Vic Mironoff (now deceased) of Mironoff Furs on Columbia Street. Both companies’ owners have been long serving members of the Club. Current members come from Accounting, the Auto Industry, Banks and Financial Institutions, Education, the Judiciary and Legal Professions, Local Government, Manufacturing, Medicine, Publishing, Real Estate, Restaurant Business and Security -all were and still are represented. This year’s President is wellknown realtor Dave Vallee. Many of these community leaders served the Club as Directors or Presidents. Under their leadership, projects designed to enhance some aspect of New Westminster and to be of benefit to its residents were completed by many hours of Rotarians’ volunteer work and fund raising efforts. Start a walk at Grimston Park and follow 7th Avenue throughout the city to Sapperton and notice the signs above the roads at the intersections - you’ll see CROSSTOWN GREENWAY and the Rotary symbol. Stop at the corner of Moody Park and Sixth Avenue and read the time from the Rotary Clock. In the summer time take the children into Queens Park and let them enjoy the Spray Pool. If that’s too energetic for you take a rest in the Rose Garden. Senior members of New Westminster may recall the Club’s Barrel Race. This major fund raising effort involved members taking a barrel up to Hell’s Gate and launching it into the Fraser River. Tickets were sold and guesses made on the time it would take for the barrel to reach New Westminster. The members involved in this escapade

enjoy recounting their experiences and dwell more on the misfortunes than on the amount of money raised. The Rotary Towers on Clute Street (an apartment block of affordable housing designated for Senior Citizens) was a major accomplishment and is a testament to Rotary members’ commitment to Rotary International’s mottos “Service above Self”. In 1994, Queen’s Park hospital received a Hydrotherapy Pool, I wonder what Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, would think if he were to attend a Rotary Club meeting these days, especially one of this club’s meetings. One big difference he would notice is that women are present as full members. These women are in management, at the top of their profession as administrators or managing their own businesses. Another difference would be apparent in the discussion of topics and projects “on the go”. At almost every meeting there is reference to one or other project which the club is sponsoring or supporting either internationally or locally. Paul Harris would feel comfortable with the atmosphere of friendship, support and mutual respect and the move to keep up with the times. He would be impressed by the generosity as fund raising projects are discussed. These attributes were the basis of the organization’s humble beginnings and continue to be the foundation. After graduating from Law School, Paul Harris settled in Chicago. There he built a successful law practice but missed the friendliness of the small New England town of his birth. He had the idea to establish a club in which a small group of men, one from each of the businesses and professions represented in the area, would meet for lunch on a weekly basis for friendship and mutual cooperation. Each week members met in one or other of their offices and this system of rotating the meetings led them to adopt the name ROTARY. Harris’s ideas soon caught on in towns across the States and before very long a club was formed in Winnipeg. By 1928 Rotary had found its way into New Westminster. The Rotary Club of New Westminster is still an active club looking towards the future as it reaches out to younger people through Student Exchange and Interact at the High School. Anyone interested in learning more about the Club may phone the number in the side-bar. More about Rotary International may be found on the web-site:

The Rotary Club of New Westminster, chartered in 1928 holds its weekly luncheons at noon, Thursdays at the Old Bavaria Haus, 233 6th Street. For information call Jennifer Peyton 604-339-8017. The Royal City Rotary Club holds its weekly breakfasts at 7 a.m., Wednesdays at the Westminster Club, 7th floor - 713 Columbia Street. For information call Nancy Nikolai, 604-524-2144. The Rotary Clubs welcome new members by invitation. If you are interested in joining please call one of the club contacts.


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NW24 • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • The Record

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150 YEARS The River

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW25

The heart and soul of the city L

ong before roads were the main form of transportation, the river was the lifeblood of any community, and in New Westminster, the Fraser River was the heart and soul of the city. The river defined the city, even in the days before New Westminster had become city, as the natives who lived here hundreds of years ago fished the river and set up camp along its banks. As New Westminster became one of the most important port cities in the Pacific Northwest, the river became filled with boats, whether it be multi-masted vessels carrying lumber from the Brunette Sawmill to ports abroad or steamboats that carried gold-seeking explorers up into the Fraser Canyon. These sailing ships sailed the river year-round, and along with exported wood products such as shakes, barrel staves, wood for cabinets and uncut logs, they also carried cranberries to places that placed a high value on these New Westminster products. The steamboat captains were also well-known for trying to get people with Gold Rush fever up the river as quick as possible. The more trips they could make, the more money they would make, and they would push their boats to the absolute limits, leading to cabin fires or boiler explosions. Even after the Gold Rush ended, the steamboats offered tourist trips to the Fraser Valley or to Richmond. The river was also abundantly filled with fish, most notably salmon, and canneries started sprouting up in New Westminster all along the river. The first canneries in New Westminster opened in 1871, and 10 years later, there were 10 canneries on the river that exported almost 150,000 cases of canned fish.

And since the river also defined the area we now know as Queensborough, one cannery owner, Alexander Ewen, made his mark on that community. Ewen opened Ewen’s Lion Cannery, one of the largest on the Fraser River, and he invested in the Queensborough community, both in money and in time, as a city councillor. His name now graces the most important street in Queensborough. Crossing the river was also important, as the land there, then known as Brownsville – we know it as Surrey now – was where more settlers started building. Commercially, the south was the gateway to southern markets such as the United States. Public vessels, such as the Kynvet de Kynvet, better known as the K. de K., started transporting people between New Westminster and Brownsville, with scheduled sailings every hour and passage prices ranging from 20 cents for an adult to 10 cents for a child and livestock. Even during the winter, when the air was cold and the river was filled with chunks of ice, the waterway was still passable, albeit with some difficulty. As roads became an increasingly important mode of transportation, bridges became increasingly needed. The Fraser River Bridge – now used as a railway bridge – was opened in 1904 and was called a marvel of civil engineering. The toll bridge was used by trains, trams, cars and pedestrians on two levels. It was also able to swing open to allow river traffic through. As utilitarian as that bridge was, a more permanent structure for vehicles was soon needed. After the Great Depression, work on the Pattullo Bridge provided jobs and one of the most modern river crossings in the Pacific Northwest.

In this 1889 photo, Sto:lo members are hard at work at a Fraser River cannery. The river provided many jobs in many different sectors for New Westminster and was considered the lifeblood of the city. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 0360 The Pattullo’s elegant arched design and use of expensive, cutting age materials made it yet another marvel of modern engineering. Mott Electric provided many of the materials for the bridge, including 35,000 feet of lead cable, 20,000 feet of conduit pipe and all the lighting. The Pattullo Bridge opened on Nov. 15, 1937, cost nearly $4 million and had four lanes, two in each direction. The Fraser River now had as much traffic going over it as it had sailing on it. – Alfie Lau

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150 YEARS The River

The Record • Saturday, December 12, 2009 • NW27

New Westminster

Museum & Archives • 1865 Irving House • City Museum • City Archives • Samson V Maritime Museum (maintenance) The NWMA has been a part of New Westminster’s history since 1950 and will continue to act as the community’s “Treasure Chest” and as its “Collective Memory” to ensure that we do not forget who we are or what events have happened here. The NWMA is home to over 30,000 artifacts and many thousands of archival items such as photos, maps, and records of citizens and groups within the City, including official City Records. Come and explore our resources!

Winter Hours: Museum & Archives Wed/Sun Noon to 4 pm Irving House Sat/Sun Noon to 4 pm This picture, taken in 1929, shows how cold that winter was. Local residents were skating on the frozen Fraser River with the New Westminster railway bridge in the background. The Pattullo Bridge would not be built for another eight years. New Westminster Museum and Archives IHP 2999

Check out city’s history online

302 Royal Avenue, New Westminster 604.527.4640

The Internet is a great place to find more information on New Westminster’s illustrious history. Here’s a list of some of the most helpful sites where Royal City’s stories can be found. • New Westminster Museum and Archives website: and follow the links for Parks, Facilities and Maps; Recreation Facilities; Irving House and Museum • New Westminster 150 website: • New Westminster Public Library website: • New Westminster Public Library website on heritage and local history, including information on Archie and Dale Miller’s A Sense of History Research Services: • New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society website: • City of New Westminster’s main website: – Alfie Lau

Proud to be part of New Westminster’s history for more than a quarter of a century Congratulations New Westminster on your 150th Anniversary!