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authority records

Gee, George

  • Person
  • 1908-1987

George Gee was born on July 22, 1908 in Virden, Manitoba where he lived with his parents and 9 brothers and sisters. After his father's death in 1909, the family's financial situation worsened until foreclosure forced the family to scatter across Canada in search of employment. Gee stayed in Manitoba working as a labourer until the stock market crash of 1929 forced him into the ranks of the unemployed. He then moved to Princeton, British Columbia to join his brothers.

While in Princeton, Gee and his brothers supported themselves with odd jobs and George increasingly came under the influence of his brother Bill, who had joined the communist party in 1932. He also became affiliated with well-known communist organizer Arthur "Slim" Evans while helping with the Tulameen Coal Miner's Strike in 1933. In March of 1934, Gee married Lillian Smith-Mitchell of Princeton, B.C.
Gee left Princeton in 1935 and took a job with Peterson electric in Vancouver, B.C. Soon after, Gee was laid off and joined the communist party. In 1936, he left Vancouver for Seattle, Washington where he found steady work and joined the Local 77 chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.).

In 1937, Gee moved back to Vancouver and worked for B.C. Electric. This same year, George and Lillian had their first daughter, Joyce. The Gee family welcomed their second daughter (Shirley) in 1939. On August 4, 1939, he began his career with the Local 213 of the I.B.E.W, where he went on to serve as a business agent from 1946-1955. During these years, the Gees had two more children, a daughter (Bonnie) and a son (James).

Gee was expelled from the union in 1955 due to his political affiliation, where after he returned to his job at B.C. Electric (from which he had taken a leave of absence from 1946 on). After only working a half-day, Gee was fired because of his expulsion from the I.B.E.W. Five days later, close to 300 electrical workers walked off the job in protest to Gee's dismissal.

From the date of his firing in 1955 until 1957, Gee made a series of attempts within the I.B.E.W. to be reinstated. The attempts all failed and were eventually followed by a trial in the Supreme Court, which rejected Gee's charges against the I.B.E.W.

After Gee's defeat in The Supreme Court, he ran a small heating business called G&B Heating until 1960, when he, his wife Lilian, and their son James moved to Edmonton, Alberta. He worked there as the western representative for The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (U.E.). In 1967 Gee moved back to Vancouver, B.C., and continued to fulfil this position until his retirement in 1974. By 1974, The Gees purchased property in Davis Bay, Sechelt. Gee was actively involved in political affairs, civic affairs and was one of the founding members of the Sechelt Communist Party.

Turnbull, William James

  • Person
  • 1886-1982
 William (Bill) James Turnbull, the son of a Presbyterian Minister was born in Ontario in 1886. He began his career in the lumber industry as a tally boy at the age of 14, and moved West to Edmonton in 1912. After managing a lumber yard in the Prairies for nearly a decade, Bill moved to Vancouver in 1924 to work for the Vancouver Lumber Company, which owned a mill in North Vancouver. The mill often delivered lumber to West Vancouver, and Bill realized there was a demand for lumber in the area. After the North Vancouver mill was destroyed by fire, he decided to pursue the opportunity.

He moved to the muncipality in August 1925 to start the West Vancouver Lumber Company Limited. His lumber yard was located at 15th Street and Marine Drive. It was a prosperous operation for the first three years, but the company struggled after the depression and during the war years. Despite taking on two partners, the company went out of business in 1944.

Bill Turnbull's personal interests included tennis, and he was a member of the West Vancouver Tennis Club for many years. He also used to curl outdoors on the Prairies, and missed the sport, and so in the early 1930s, he invented a special table, and rocks for an indoor curling game which he patented in Canada, the United States, and Great Britain. In 1947, he had an indoor curling club, of about 50 members, that played above Ambleside Drugs, at the corner of 14th Street and Marine Drive. In 1949, Bill Turnbull registered his indoor curling equipment business, ROXX Manufacturing Company, which was in business until 1961. William James Turnbull died on October 2, 1982 at the age of 96.

Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire

  • Corporate body
  • 1889-1958

The Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire was organized in 1900 as a patriotic, non-sectarian non-partisan philanthropic organization of women who were British subjects. As such, the IODE provided assistance to the Imperial armed forces during the Boer War, World War I and World War II. They also provided civilian relief aid to the people of Vietnam. In addition the organization has provided assistance to the infirm and poor, and to university students (in the form of bursaries). They have also been active in civil defence, providing help to new immigrants, and funds and materials to schools across Canada.

Belmont Avenue United Church (Victoria, B.C.)

Belmont Avenue United Church was formed in 1925 when Belmont Avenue Methodist Church entered church union. In 1891, Pandora Street Methodist Church began a Sunday School in the Spring Ridge area of Victoria, and this became known as the Spring Ridge Sunday School. In June 1895, a Sunday School hall was opened, after some years of the school meeting in various homes and halls. This hall was expanded in 1902, and in later years to accommodate the development of a congregation. In 1909, worship services began to be held, and in 1912, Belmont Avenue Methodist Church was formally organized. Finances were very precarious, and in 1923 Belmont Avenue joined with Hampshire Road Methodist and Oaklands Methodist to co-operate in sharing a minister among them. Oaklands Methodist Church was closed in 1924. In 1926, the Hampshire Road Church joined with St. Columba Presbyterian Church to become Oak Bay United Church. Belmont United Church was left to carry on its own, when the neighboring Knox Presbyterian Church voted not to enter church union. Belmont Avenue United Church disbanded on June 25, 2000.

Victoria College (B.C.). Registrar's Office

The Registrar's Office was established in 1924 to administer admissions, and maintain student records. The incumbents were: E. Howard Russell, 1912-1927; John Marr, 1927-1930; Walter H. Gage, 1930-1934; Jeffree C. Cunningham, 1934-1945; and Dorothy M. Cruickshank, 1945-1963.

Moscrip, Enes, 1928-

Enes Moscrip (nee Mitchell) was born in Victoria, B.C., June 8, 1928. She was educated in Esquimalt, B.C. schools and at Sprott Shaw Business School. Enes Moscrip has been a homemaker, stenographer, accountant and partner in a retail used furniture store.

First Narrows Bridge Company

The First Narrows Bridge Company was created in 1930 through a merger of two companies, both of which had plans for the development and construction of a bridge across the First Narrows, connecting Vancouver with West Vancouver and North Vancouver. From December of 1931 the controlling interest of the First Narrows Bridge Company was held by British Pacific Properties Limited. The Company was to construct a bridge without any cost to the affected municipalities. The Company also maintained the bridge and collected the toll. An agreement between the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver and the First Narrows Bridge Company was signed April 27, 1934, wherein the District of West Vancouver agreed to the plans and proposals made by the Company. The Provincial Government of British Columbia (British Columbia Toll Highways and Bridges Authority) bought all shares in the First Narrows Bridge Company in 1955 for $ 5,959,060.

Concentus Corvinus

Concentus Corvinus is a western Canadian music ensemble formed by Music Director and Conductor, George Corwin. The ensemble performs music chosen from standard repertoire and contemporary or unusual works of established twentieth century and Canadian composers. Corwin studied music at Ithica College, and joined the Ensemble Department of the Eastman School of Music in 1960. In 1967, he was awarded a Ph.D. from Eastman in conducting, performance and pedagogy. After teaching at Ball State University in Indiana until 1969, he joined the Music Department of the University of Victoria, where he remained until his retirement in 1995. During his tenure at UVic, Corwin conducted the University Orchestra and Chorus, and the University Chamber Singers. Since retirement, Corwin has been active as a guest conductor at home and abroad, and acts as a clinician and adjudicator at music festivals across the country.

Pearson, Edith Eleanor

  • 1867-1959

Edith Eleanor (Major) Pearson was born on November 4, 1867, the eldest daughter of Charles George Major and Mary Elizabeth (Clarkson) Major, both of New Westminster. In 1887, she married Thomas Robson Pearson, a prominent New Westminster businessman and her father's partner in Major and Pearson, a real estate company. Major and Pearson was incorporated with the Dominion Trust Company in 1906, and Thomas became a director and local manager of the firm's New Westminster office. He was also a director of several other businesses on the Lower Mainland, including the Pacific Loan Company, the Royal Agricultural and Industrial Society, the Pretty Timber Exchange, and the Vancouver Harbour and Dock Company. Edith and Thomas R. Pearson had three children, Thomas Roy, Leslie, and Geoffrey. The family lived at 715 Royal Avenue in New Westminster until 1920, when they moved to "Hillside", a rural property in South Westminster. The Pearsons were active in the Methodist Church in New Westminster and in musical and community organizations. Thomas was for forty years the leader of the Queen's Avenue Church choir; he was also secretary of the Choral Union and honorary president of the Choral Society. He served the City of New Westminster as alderman for two years. Edith was a talented pianist who taught music for fifty years and served as the organist of the Queen's Avenue Church for forty years. She was a life member of Post Number 4 of the Native Daughters of British Columbia. Edith was an enthusiastic amateur photographer, developing and printing her own photographs of her family, friends, and community events. Thomas died November 24, 1947, four months after he and Edith celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary. Edith died Aughts 14, 1959, at the age of 92.

Smith, Peter L.

  • 1933-2006

Peter Smith was born in Victoria, and later attended Victoria College. He received an MA and PhD from Yale. He was appointed to the Classics Department at the University of Victoria in 1963, and retired in 1998. Smith made a major contribution to University administration, including the Ceremonies Committee, Campus Planning Committee, Archives Committee, and Senate Committee on Academic Planning. He was Chair of Classics (1963-1969, 1988-1993), Acting Chair of Philosophy (1969); Associate Dean of Arts and Science (1970-1971); Dean of Fine Arts (1972-1980); and Acting Chair of Visual Arts (1972-1974). He served for many years on Senate, and on the Faculty Association executive. He has researched and written widely on the history of Victoria College and the University of Victoria. His publications include: Come Give a Cheer: 100 Years of Victoria High School, 1976; The Development of the Gordon Head Campus, 1988; and The Multitude of the Wise, 1993.

Edwards, George, b. 1877

George Edwards was born in Victoria and served in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. Edwards served on both the HMCS Rainbow and the merchant ship Niobe. He was an engineman and Stoker Petty Officer.

Canada. Dept. of Transportation

  • Corporate body

The Department of Transportation employed Walter Graf, an Osoyoos orchardist, to record temperatures and precipitation at the Osoyoos weather station.

Woolliams, Nina G.

Nina Woolliams was a resident of Douglas Lake, B.C., and author of "Cattle Ranch: history of Douglas Lake Cattle Company".

Norwest Seniors Curling Club

  • Corporate body

The Norwest Seniors Curling Club was founded in October 1975 by a small group of men, including original members Jack Mackenzie, Toots Phillips, and Bus Lowery. At the time of its creation, the club curled out of the Capilano Winter Rink.

Since its inception, the curling club has actively fund-raised and expanded its membership base. The club has grown considerably from its small beginnings, but has consistently remained very local, engaging mostly in friendly competitions, such as those supported by the Royal Canadian Legion. The Norwest Seniors Curling Club continues to be a successful West Vancouver organization.

West Vancouver Transportation Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1852-1931

The West Vancouver Transportation Company was formed in October, 1909 by John Lawson, Robert McPherson, John Sinclair and W.C. Thompson. They purchased the launch "Aline" for $1900.00 and on November 4, 1909 started regular runs from Hollyburn Wharf to the North Vancouver Ferry Wharf in Vancouver. The service was a combined freight and passenger service.

The West Vancouver Transportation Company was incorporated as a joint stock company on February 22, 1910. The first meeting of the Directors was held on May 17, 1910. John Lawson was elected President, Mr. Robert McPherson Vice President, John Sinclair Director, and W.C. Thompson Secretary Treasurer. By 1911, John Lawson was the major share holder of the company.

The company very soon started experiencing financial difficulties, and not long after West Vancouver was incorporated as a municipality in March 1912, Mr. Lawson and Mr. Thompson approached the council with a proposal that the muncipality buy out the private transportation company. Later that year the West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited was formed. The ferry company was a joint stock company as well, but with the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver as the majority shareholder. John Lawson then became manager of the West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited, for a yearly salary of $500.

At a meeting on August 9, 1915 it was decided to offer all the assets of the company to the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver for $ 8,000. The Municipality agreed to the offer, and it was approved by the shareholders in April of 1916. company as well, but with the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver as the majority shareholder. John Lawson then became manager of the West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited, for a yearly salary of $500.

At a meeting on August 9, 1915 it was decided to offer all the assets of the company to the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver for $ 8,000. The Municipality agreed to the offer, and it was approved by the shareholders in April of 1916. and the district of North Vancouver was approached with an offer to buy the assets of the company. But in February of 1912 West Vancouver had been incorporated as a municipality and the West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited created. West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited purchased the assets of the West Vancouver Transportation Company in 1912. The Ferry Company was a joint stock company as well, but with the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver as the majority share-holder. John Lawson became president of the West Vancouver Ferry Company. At a meeting on August 9, 1915 it was decided to offer all the assets of the company to the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver for 8,000 dollars. The Municipality agreed to the offer, and it was approved by the shareholders in April of 1916.

West Vancouver Ferry Company

  • Corporate body
  • 1912-1916
 The West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited was the successor to the West Vancouver Transportation Company Limited. The company was created in 1912, and was a joint stock company with the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver as the majority share holder.

John Lawson was the first president of the West Vancouver Ferry Company Limited. At the Annual General Meeting on January 25, 1915 he was succeeded by George Hay.

On March 1, 1916 the Corporation of the District of West Vancouver offered to buy the Ferry Company, subject to the passage of a by-law sanctioning this purchase. The by-law was passed on March 16, 1916. The final meeting of the West Vancouver Ferry Company was held on May 8, 1916.

Leyland, Joseph B.

  • Person
  • 1888-1969

Joseph Bentley Leyland, known to all his friends and colleagues as “Joe”, was born in Forest Hill, London, England, on January 11, 1888, the younger of two sons born to John and Fanny Julia Leyland. Joe was educated for nine years in private school and then at St. Mary's College, Woolhampton, Reading, Berks, England. In 1904 he sat for the Civil Service Commission Examination for Assistant Clerkship in the Royal Navy. He passed, but had become interested in Canada and decided to leave England.

Joe Leyland arrived in Halifax on March 17, 1905 with 40 dollars in his pocket and went to Manitou, Manitoba to work on a farm. From March to September 1906 he served as subscription agent for the Winnipeg Telegram in Portage La Prairie; then from September 1906 to April 1907 he worked as a bookkeeper in the law office of Arthur Meighen, who later became Prime Minister of Canada. From April to October 1907 he was bookkeeper in the law office of E.A. McPherson, later Chief Justice for Manitoba. In October 1907, Joe joined the head office staff of the Great West Life Assurance Company in Winnipeg, eventually moving up to Head Office Special Representative, which meant he had to travel regularly across the country, from Montreal to Vancouver.

In 1914, Leyland married Margaretta Barber of Regina, Saskatchewan, a co-worker at the Great West Life Assurance Company. The couple honeymooned in Vancouver, picnicking in West Vancouver and visiting the “Clachan” in Dundarave. They returned to Regina, where their daughter Josephine Frances was born on June 9, 1915. By 1919 they had become permanent residents of West Vancouver, and their waterfront home at 2848 Bellevue Avenue was a popular setting for garden parties, dinners, and special meetings. Their son John (Jack) was born on June 7, 1922.

Joseph Leyland’s municipal career began in 1926 when he was elected President of the West Vancouver Conservative Association. He ran for and won a seat as Councillor in the civic elections, serving as Chairman of Finance, Fire and Publicity.

In 1927, again as Councillor, he was Chairman of Transportation and Health, serving a second term as member of the Cemetery Board, and is credited with naming the Capilano View Cemetery. He won a seat on the School Board the following year.

Joe Leyland took a great interest in community sports and recreation, and was a charter member of the West Vancouver Tennis Club, serving as President in 1929. He was a co-founder of the West Vancouver Regatta, Director of the Children’s Memorial Park Playgrounds, and an honorary member of the Hollyburn Pacific Ski Club. Joe was also an early advocate of parks, and one of his dreams was to see Hollyburn Ridge become a provincial park, and Garibaldi a national park. Both eventually became provincial parks.

In 1929 he ran for the position of Reeve of West Vancouver, but was defeated by V.V. Vinson. In 1930 he ran again, this time defeating Vinson and assuming a position he would hold for eleven years -- three years by elections and eight by acclamation.

One of Joe Leyland’s first undertakings was to introduce a Town Planning Policy, changing the Municipality of West Vancouver from a summer camping area to a well-developed residential area with zoning, building, plumbing, and other regulations, and bylaws firmly outlined.

In 1931, he became a Director of the forerunner to the British Columbia Automobile Association, becoming President in 1932, and remaining a Director until 1944. Also in 1931 he began negotiations with British Pacific Properties Ltd. for the development of the British Properties, the development of a golf club, and the construction of a new bridge at the First Narrows crossing. The Lions Gate Bridge was finally opened to traffic on November 12, 1938.

Joe Leyland was appointed to the British Columbia Economic Council in July of 1934, and in 1936 became a Director of the Vancouver Tourist Association.

Leyland’s achievements over the years were recognized with the creation of Leyland Park in October 1939. He was also honoured by being elected President of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, a noteworthy achievement for the Reeve of such a small community.

In 1940, Leyland stepped down after eleven terms as Reeve of West Vancouver, but his dedication to public service continued in his private life. From 1941 to 1945 he was Executive Director or Chairman of the War Service campaigns. From 1941 to 1944 he was a Director of the Vancouver Entertainment Council, serving as Chairman in 1944. In 1942 he served as Vice President of the Vancouver Council of Social Agencies. From 1942 to 1944 he served as Director of the Vancouver Welfare Association and Director and Vice President of the B.C. Natural Resources and Conservation League. In 1962, he acted as Chairman of West Vancouver’s Fiftieth Anniversary Committee.

Joseph Leyland died on September 25, 1969 at the age of 81. His wife Margaretta died in 1973.

Dawson, Joseph

Joseph Dawson was a labourer in Nanaimo, and worked in various places in B.C. through the year.

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