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Fonds 022 - Thompson family fonds
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- Source of title proper: Title based on the creator of the fonds.
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- Thompson (family)
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12.5 cm of textual records
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The Thompson family were active pioneers in West Vancouver who contributed to the development of West Vancouver, and establishment of the West Vancouver Ferry Company and the West Vancouver Municipal Transportation Department.
The patriarch of this pioneering family was W.C. (William Charles) Thompson who was born near Cambridge, England on January 21, 1855. In 1875 he married Rachel Matilda Carr. After suffering the deaths of their first two children in infancy, they immigrated to Canada in 1879 and settled in Ontario. Their third child, Charlie was born in 1880, but sadly Rachel died soon after the birth. W.C. Thompson suffered a profound depression which lifted when he met Grace Lawson who became his second wife in 1881. In 1887 they had their first child Harry, and would have four more children together, although two died tragically in infancy.
W.C. Thompson was a successful businessman in Ontario when his wanderlust was reawakened after hearing about the scenic beauty and opportunities in B.C. from Grace’s brother – John Lawson. He sold his business interests in Ontario, and after a cold and tedious trip arrived in Vancouver in March 1909. Delighted with the countryside and climate, W.C. Thompson and his family settled in West Vancouver. He found that selling land in B.C. was easier than selling lumber in Ontario, and first in partnership with John Lawson, then on his own account bought and sold many blocks of land in the area at substantial profits.
W.C. Thompson became active in public affairs and was one of the principals in the formation of West Vancouver as a separate municipality and in the building of the first Municipal Hall. He and three other men, including John Lawson, formed The West Vancouver Transportation Company in October 1909, which operated the ferry and bus system. W.C. Thompson and his family lived in a large gracious house at 2058 Argyle that featured a bay window of curved glass overlooking English Bay, and hot water heating. He was active in community life, headed Church committees, and was also a member of the first West Vancouver School Board. During World War I, he continued to be very active in the District managing the construction of road bridges and waterworks which was highlighted by the opening of Marine Drive to Caulfield in 1915.
His wife Grace died in 1920, at the age of 63. In his latter years W.C. Thompson was a keen motorist and enjoyed touring which he did with his third wife Anne Case, whom he married in 1922. His children – Charlie, Harry, James, William, Robert (Bert), Florence, and their families also contributed to the development of West Vancouver. They worked on several projects including municipal electric and water systems, setting up West Vancouver’s first service station at 14th and Marine Drive, and establishing the West Vancouver Girl Guides. W.C. Thompson died on December 24, 1938, at the age of 83.
Scope and content
The fonds consists of material relating to the Thompson family who were one of the original families in West Vancouver. A portion of the material also pertains to the West Vancouver Ferry Company, the West Vancouver Municipal Transportation Department, and the Pacific Great Eastern railway.
The fonds is divided into three series:
Series 1: Photographs
Series 2: W.C. Thompson autobiographies
Series 3: Bert Thompson transportation records
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Associated / related material
- Alpha-numeric designations: BCAUL control number: WVAN-245
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- Thompson (family) (Creator)
- West Vancouver Ferry Company (Subject)
- West Vancouver (B.C.). Municipal Transportation Dept. (Subject)
- Pacific Great Eastern Railway (Subject)