I’m a nut for trivia and lesser-known facts. I also love feeding my brain with all kinds of nuggets of information especially when it comes to our fair region. I recently found a new section of my favourite Vancouver history website that features “Oddities“: bits of news that probably weren’t news at the time, but are certainly entertaining (and somewhat puzzling) nowadays. Here’s a sample:
- People were a lot more brave 50 years ago, “On December 22, 1958 a French adventurer completed a swim of the Fraser River from Prince George to New Westminster’s Pattullo Bridge. (NOTE: in December!)”
- One of my first blog pieces that I sought to write about was regarding the Nine O’clock Gun, “In 1898, on October 15, the Nine O’Clock Gun was fired for the first time in Stanley Park . . . at noon.”
- Yikes! “In 1925 a Vancouver branch of the Ku Klux Klan, the racist organization that had originated in the southern USA, used the Tait Mansion in Shaughnessy (aka Glen Brae) as their headquarters. Rent was $150 a month. Today that building is the children’s hospice, Canuck Place.”
- We’ve filled in a lot of what used to be ocean and waterways around here ie. False Creek, “In 1924 Lansdowne Track in Richmond opened, named for a former Governor General. The peat bog on which the track was built acted like a sponge and horses ran slower at high tide.”
- On March 29, 1949 the sale of margarine was approved. However, the lobbying dairy industry who feared that sales would hurt the butter industry, urged that it be sold yellow and not white like butter. When it hit store shelves on April 22nd, margarine in Vancouver was sold white, in bags, with a colour pill that had to be popped and kneaded in to make it yellow.
- “In 1909 Vancouver took its first mechanized ambulance out for a test drive and ran over and killed an American tourist.”
- Ever wondered just how many tunnels there are under this city? “In 1965 the tunnel at Vancouver’s main Post Office, built to carry mail to the CPR station, was closed permanently for that purpose, having proved impractical. It will be used for storage and creepy movie scenes.”
- “In 1930 a world record for egg-laying was set by No Drone, No. 5H, a hen from the Whiting farm in Surrey. She had laid 357 eggs in 365 days. No Drone was preserved for posterity and her stuffed form put on display at the World Poultry Congress in Rome.”
- There’s always a petition to be signed in Vancouver (and now on Facebook) and back in 1947 it was about candy bars. School children circulated a petition calling for an end to wartime taxes on candy. As a result, the price of chocolate bars dropped from 8 cents to 7 cents.
- This might make you feel better about our gloomy spring so far. Rain poured down on January 6, 1953 and didn’t stop for 29 days. It’s still Vancouver’s longest wet spell.
- The Vancouver Grizzlies were a semi-professional football team that only played one season, in 1941.
- I’d still buy my CD’s there if I could, “In 1958 a man named Fred Steiner sold his Toronto radio store and moved to Vancouver. He opened a shop here, and called it A&B Sound. Why A&B? A&A was taken. True story.”
All of these and more can be found in the Oddities section of Vancouver History.