In 1971, Greenpeace was making waves, there was a riot in Gastown and the CBC started filming a very popular series on the Sunshine Coast.
By Chuck Davis, The History of Vancouver
1971 census figures for Metropolitan Vancouver
The 1971 census showed the metropolitan Vancouver population had topped the million mark for the first time. One remarkable finding of that census was that Delta’s population had more than tripled in 10 years.
Bowen Island 350
Coquitlam 53,225 (includes Fraser Mills, pop. 157, annexed this year)
Delta 45,860 (1961 pop. 14,597)
Langley City 4,680
Langley Township 21,935
Lions Bay 396 (incorporated this year)
Maple Ridge 24,480
New Westminster 42,835
North Vancouver City 31,847
North Vancouver District 57,861
Pitt Meadows 2,770
Port Coquitlam 19,560
Port Moody 10,778
University Endowment Lands 3,536
West Vancouver 36,440
White Rock 10,349
Greenpeace and Amchitka
The Greenpeace sailed from Vancouver September 15, 1971 to the island of Amchitka to protest a nuclear test on the remote Aleutian island by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. The Greenpeace—the original name of which was the Phyllis Cormack, an 80-foot fishing vessel named after skipper John Cormack’s wife—had been chartered by the Don’t Make a Wave Committee.
“Environmentalists feared,” the Province reported, “that the underground blast might touch off an earthquake or tidal wave and that radiation might leak to the surface or into the sea.”
The test occurred while the Greenpeace was still en route, but the protest sparked a huge anti-nuclear demonstration in Vancouver by high school students and the Don’t Make a Wave Committee—renamed Greenpeace—stepped onto the world environmental stage. While the Greenpeace was en route the atomic blast they were planning to protest—a five-megaton explosion detonated under Amchitka Island—went ahead. A second ship was organized, and left Vancouver October 6. This was the converted Canadian minesweeper Edgewater Fortune. She was named the Greenpeace Too. She passed the Greenpeace near Campbell River and carried on north to Alaska—first to Juneau, and then outward bound across the Gulf of Alaska to the Aleutians. The detonation of November 1971 was the last nuclear test to take place at Amchitka.
The Gastown Riot, or “The Battle of Maple Tree Square” on August 7, 1971 drew more than 1,000 people to Gastown as a protest against the illegality of marijuana. But police on horseback were called in to break it up, arresting 79 and charging 38. A later judicial inquiry headed by Justice Thomas Dohm criticized the action, characterizing it as a “police riot.”
A “Gastown Festival,” exactly one week after the riot, and meant to repair the area’s image, drew 15,000 peaceful participants.
On October 6 more than 10,000 secondary school students from all over the Lower Mainland massed in the 1000-block Alberni—near the U.S. consulate general’s office—as a protest against a planned U.S. nuclear test on Alaska’s Amchitka Island. The students sang, chanted and listened to speeches . . . and when the demonstration was over, some of them stayed behind to sweep up and collect litter boxes. A delegation from the group went to the consulate general’s office to explain their opposition to the blast. See the Greenpeace item above.
Sports Hall of Fame
The British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame opened October 21 in the B.C. Pavilion at the PNE. Tributes were paid to sports writer Eric Whitehead as the man most responsible “for the splendid collection of memorabilia, not to mention various splendid collections of money which made the Hall possible and will ensure its future.” Today, with 19 galleries and even more splendid memorabilia (film, video, uniforms, trophies and more), the Hall is in bigger quarters (20,000 sq ft) at B.C. Place—and well worth a visit.
Vancouver Chamber Choir
The Vancouver Chamber Choir, led by its founder/conductor/music director Jon Washburn, was formed in 1971. It is still making great music, samples of which you can hear at their website.
Tamahnous Theatre was founded in 1971 by John Gray, the late Larry Lillo and others. It would present new and challenging work for more than 20 years. A UBC site says: “In addition to scripted works produced by the company, including many plays written for the group, Tamahnous Theatre was known for, and was based in, collective creation. It was a mark of the collaborative nature of this group that even the scripted works developed by the company’s writers went through a workshop process with all of the members of the troupe, and had input from everyone involved with the project. After the 1980s, the number of Tamahnous’ collective creations declined and the company went in other directions.”
D & M
The leading publisher in BC of trade books—those directed at the general public—is Douglas & McIntyre, the largest English-language Canadian-owned publisher outside Toronto. The company began this year—publishing two books—as J.J. Douglas Ltd., named for company founder Jim Douglas. Douglas’ partner was Scott McIntyre, now the company president. Their first two books were: British Columbia Coast Names, by John T. Walbran, a book that first appeared in 1909. It’s still in print under the D&M imprint. The other book was Cooking for One, by Norah Mannion Wilmot, which went on to sell some 50,000 copies and which was in print for many years. The company was off to a great start!
Also in 1971
Lions Bay was incorporated January 2, 1971. Resident (and former Lions Bay mayor) Max Wyman has written: “A plebiscite on incorporation late in 1970 drew more than the requisite 60 per cent majority vote from the 250 residents, and in the spring of 1971 Lions Bay officially became a village municipality. Some members of the GVRD board felt such a small community should not be allowed one of only 57 GVRD votes. ‘I think it’s totally wrong,’ said Bill Vander Zalm, then Mayor of Surrey. ‘I don’t know why it was done.’ A village complex was built: fire hall, fire truck storage, a council room, village office, kitchen and community hall-cum-gym. Allan (Curly) Stewart was elected mayor by acclamation, and villagers elected their first four-member council.”
Seaspan International was chosen January 8 as the new name after the merger of Vancouver Tugboats and Island Tug and Barge. The North Vancouver company operates tugs and specialty barges from Alaska to Mexico.
Vancouver got title January 15 to the old Shaughnessy Golf Course lands that would later be developed as Van Dusen Botanical Display Garden.
On January 25 200 poor people marched on Vancouver’s city hall.
In February 1971 the provincial government assigned the designation of historic areas, thus preventing demolition of historically significant buildings. Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown neighborhoods were designated historic sites. But this silver lining had a cloud. Writes Eleanor Yuen in The Greater Vancouver Book: “In 1971, the municipal government crippled the growth of Chinatown by declaring it an Historical Area where all old buildings of significant value were to be preserved and new developments strictly controlled. This designation was a blessing in those years as it helped fight proposals for a freeway right across its heart. A decade later, however, the heritage classification turned into a curse in disguise and stalled growth and development in the district.”
On March 4, 1971 Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, 52, married Margaret Sinclair, 22, at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver. Later this year they will open the 500,000-gallon whale pool at the Vancouver Public Aquarium.
On April 1 the post office began a test-run of a new six-character alphanumeric postal code in Ottawa. Its use would eventually be extended to the whole country.
The railway through White Rock (now called the Burlington Northern) ended its passenger service in April, 1971. A few years later a ‘fastbus’ commuter service by B.C. Hydro would link White Rock with Vancouver.
The War Measures Act, imposed October 16, 1970, lapsed April 30, 1971.
George Tidball opened his first Keg Restaurant in North Vancouver June 21. In 1987 he would sell his Kegs and other restaurants (76 in all) to Whitbread PLC of London, England.
Vancouver mayor Tom Campbell visited the ‘Four Seasons’ site (at the entrance to Stanley Park) on June 23 and vocally sparred with young people squatting there.
On July 20, a pageant at Empire Stadium marked the centennial of B.C.’s entry into Confederation.
An 18-year-old lad from Dawson Creek named Roy Forbes came to Vancouver in July 1971 and began to sing professionally. He called himself Bim. He was sensational. And more than 30 years later, now singing as Roy Forbes, he still is.
Parking for 850 cars opened at Pacific Centre September 27.
Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin made a state visit to Vancouver October 23. (One result: a novel, Kosygin is Coming, by former Sun police reporter Vancouver’s Tom Ardies, which later became the movie Russian Roulette, starring George Segal.)
Heritage Village (now Burnaby Village Museum) was opened November 19, 1971 by Governor General Roland Michener. It showed Burnaby as it might have looked in bygone days. There are costumed townsfolk, historic buildings, self-guided tours, and a beautiful old carousel. Besides its entertainment purposes, the village is a learning resource for school groups.
On December 31 Province publisher Fred Auger buried a time capsule near the reception desk in the editorial department. It was to be opened on B.C.’s 200th birthday. This was when the newspaper was at 2250 Granville Street, before its move to Granville Square in 1997. Wonder what happened to that time capsule?
Some 83 per cent of Richmond’s population listed English as their first language
The Hyack Festival Association of New Westminster began its activities. These include the annual Hyack Festival, the Hyack Antique Car Easter Parade, the Santa Claus Parade, and the Miss New Westminster Ambassador Program.
The Capilano Fish Hatchery opened. The featured species are coho, chinook and steelhead. A related web site reads, in part: “The construction of the Cleveland Dam blocked the route of coho and steelhead traveling up the Capilano River to spawn. Greater than 95 per cent of their spawning and approximately 75 per cent of their rearing habitat was lost. To mitigate this loss, the Greater Vancouver Water District constructed a concrete river weir and fish ladder. This system collected adult salmon returning to the river to spawn. They were then transported in transport tanks and deposited above the dam to continue their journey upstream. However, young salmon migrating downstream to the ocean suffered high losses, as they had to travel over the dam. Over the next decade the Capilano salmon stocks continued to decline. To address this problem, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans decided to build Capilano Hatchery to rear and release salmon below the dam. Construction began in 1969 and the three million-dollar facility was completed in 1971.”
The Greater Vancouver Water District, which had been incorporated in 1926, became part of the Greater Vancouver Regional District. So did the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District, incorporated in 1956, a successor to the Vancouver and District Joint Sewerage and Drainage Board, incorporated in 1914.
Among the locally-shot films released this year were these five: (annotations by film historian Michael Walsh)
Director Mike Nichols shot Carnal Knowledge here. The film starred Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Art Garfunkel, Ann-Margret and Rita Moreno. Michael Walsh comments: “Vancouver stars as Middle America in a boomer generation drama about guys who spend their lives chasing girls and talking about sex.”
McCabe And Mrs. Miller (Director: Robert Altman) A drifter, Warren Beatty, becomes enamored of a frontier madam, Julie Christie, in director Altman’s second Vancouver-made feature, a Western that he shot in a specially-built North Shore mining town.
Madeleine Is . . . (Director: Sylvia Spring) Reflecting the militant, mystic 1960s, Torontonian Spring created a feminist fantasy about a runaway Quebecoise (Nicola Lipman) who finds personal fulfillment clowning around Kitsilano. John Juliani was in the cast. This was the first Vancouver-made feature film directed by a woman.
The Life And Times Of Chester-Angus Ramsgood (Director: David Curnick) A love-smitten teen (Robert Matson) develops elaborate schemes to impress the ultra-Scottish parents of his would-be girlfriend (Mary-Beth McGuffin) in this Vancouver West Side farce.
Jack Darcus wrote, directed and co-starred (with Susan Spencer) in Proxyhawks, in which “a coastal farm couple experience deepening sexual tensions in their relationship when the man becomes obsessed with falconry.”
The Jericho Youth Hostel was created within what had been a barracks for the old Jericho air station.
Construction began at UBC on the Sedgewick Undergraduate Library (architects: Rhone and Iredale), located in part beneath the Main Mall and featuring conical skylights. It will be completed in 1972.
George Burrows ended his long career (it had started in 1931) supervising Vancouver’s beaches and pools. A cairn in his honor is near the bathhouse at Kitsilano Beach.
A bronze and steel fountain in the plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, designed by Gerhard Hans Class, began operating. The fountain was a gift to the city and province from the German-Canadian community.
The fireboat J.H. Carlisle was taken out of service by the Vancouver Fire Department. She was replaced by four 1,500-gallon-per-minute ‘Super Pumps’ stationed in the firehalls around False Creek, which by then was more easily accessible by land-based fire companies.
The federal government, under Prime Minister Trudeau, announced a new policy of multiculturalism. That made Canada the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. (In 1997 Statistics Canada noted 68 different ethnic backgrounds of people living in the Vancouver region, including 20 Haitians as the smallest group to the English, the largest, at 257,020.) The policy also confirmed the rights of the country’s aboriginal people and the status of Canada’s two official languages. It has been largely adopted as a model by many other provincial and civic governments.
St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church on Arbutus Street was completed, reflecting a growth in the number of people of Greek ancestry.
UBC began offering the first credit courses in Women’s Studies in Canada.
George F. Curtis, the first Dean of UBC’s Faculty of Law, retired. He had served since 1945. (In 1995 he will become a member of the Order of British Columbia, in 2003 will receive the Queen’s Jubilee Gold Medal, and in 2005 be appointed an officer of the Order of Canada.) The Law building at UBC is named for him.
An extension paid for by graduate students was added to UBC’s Graduate Student Centre (Thea Koerner House). The building serves as a social and cultural centre for students in graduate studies.
The Anglican Theological College, Union College (United Church), and the Ecumenical College affiliated with UBC amalgamated to form the Vancouver School of Theology.
Students at the Langara campus of Vancouver Community College, who had been pushing unsuccessfully for a crosswalk at 49th Avenue and Ontario Street, stopped traffic to paint their own crosswalk on the street. The city eventually gave in to the students’ demands, and installed two crosswalks.
Barry M. Gough at UBC submitted a PhD thesis titled The Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810-1914. It was turned into a book this same year by UBC Press. One review read, in part: “This is a scholar devoted to meticulous empirical research and argument; there are surely very few relevant archival documents which Gough has not seen, few sites of maritime importance which he has not visited in person.”
A 169-bed extended-care unit (Evergreen House) opened at Lions Gate Hospital.
Apartment & Building, published six times a year by BKN Publications, first appeared. Event, published three times a year at Douglas College, first appeared. It presented reviews, fiction and poetry. Hellenic View, a semi-monthly with text in English and Greek, first appeared. It featured news of the Greek community in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada. Supply Post, a monthly publication on the forestry industry from Ken Kenward Enterprises Ltd., first appeared. The hugely successful Vancouver Buy and Sell, published twice weekly by Buy and Sell Press, first appeared. It presented free classified advertising in tabloid form.
Another great publishing success, Western Living, published 10 times a year by Telemedia West, first appeared. It was founded by Liz Bryan and her husband, photographer Jack Bryan. Today, this lifestyle magazine’s circulation in B.C. is more than 220,000.
The Port of Vancouver processed 22,800 cruise passenger this year. The total would pass 170,000 in 1981, top 423,000 in 1991, reach 600,000 in 1995 and 929,976 in 2004. The 2009 figure: 897,000.
Callister Park, bounded by Renfrew, Oxford, Kaslo and Cambridge Streets, and a centre for soccer for more than five decades across from the PNE grounds, was demolished. (The park was formerly known as Con Jones Park. It was built by Con Jones in 1912 as a playing ground for his Vancouver field lacrosse team. The name changed to Callister Park in 1942.)
The 41-kilometre Baden-Powell Trail was built on the north shore by various Boy Scout and Girl Guide troops. The trail was named in honor of the scouting movement’s founder. Writes Charles Montgomery: “It cuts a wandering line from Horseshoe Bay to Indian Arm, sampling all the delights of the North Shore: from Black Mountain’s magnificent views of Howe Sound, through dark forests and rushing canyons all the way to the quiet waters of Deep Cove.”
The Tunnel Town Curling Club, which had opened four sheets of ice in a Boundary Bay air hangar in 1958, moved to Tsawwassen.
Time Line, a 16-feet-high concrete sculpture by Tom Osborne, was installed in North Vancouver’s Mahon Park. The work was commissioned to commemorate B.C.’s entry into Confederation. It’s described as “Six wall-like cement structures spaced equally on the periphery of a five-meter earth circle.”
Five former Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancers launched Ballet Horizons in Vancouver. It lasted a year.
Concert Box Office was founded by the late Gary Switlo and Tom Worrall. They sold tickets to rock shows. They would merge with their chief competitor, Vancouver Ticket Centre, in 1987.
Ann Blades, writer and illustrator, began her career with Mary of Mile 18, based on her experiences as a teacher in the B.C. Interior. The Canadian Association of Children’s Librarians would choose it as Book of the Year in 1972.
Pulp Press was founded in Vancouver, says a link from the company’s web site “by a collective of university students and associates disenchanted by what they perceived to be the academic literary pretensions of Canadian literature at the time. The early seventies were a fertile and exciting period in alternative arts and literature, and life at Pulp was no exception.” Pulp would become Arsenal Pulp Press in 1982.
T.W. Paterson, who has written many books on B.C. history, got them going this year with Treasure, British Columbia.
The 35-member CBC Vancouver Chamber Orchestra, conducted by John Avison, became the first Canadian orchestra to perform in the Arctic.
Artist B.C. Binning was named an officer of the Order of Canada.
Walter Gage, while serving as president of UBC, was awarded the Order of Canada.
Sprinter Harry Jerome was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Vancouver’s Bob Smith, who was already presenting the jazz program Hot Air on CBC Radio, became the host of the Vancouver edition of CBC’s That Midnight Jazz. He would do that until 1979. Smith was “an encyclopedia of jazz, jazz musicians and records.”
Gertrude Weinrobe, the first Jewish child born in Vancouver (May 12, 1893) received the 1971 B.C. Pioneer Centennial Medal.
The fondly remembered Saskatoon-born Steve Woodman, entertainer and broadcaster, moved to Vancouver, aged 44. Among his many gigs, he hosted CKWX’s Steve’s Place and Vancouver Variety Club telethons. He was also an original cast member of the zany radio show Dr. Bundolo’s Pandemonium Medicine Show, recorded live at UBC’s student union building. “A man of 1,000 voices.” After a 1974 telethon, a car accident on black ice nearly took his life and ended his career. He died March 13, 1990.
The Penthouse night club was forced to close and, apparently, that led to a rise in street prostitution. It has since reopened in what is the oldest standing striptease club in Canada.
The popular CBC television series The Beachcombers began shooting on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast in 1971.
Starbucks opened at its first location: Seattle’s Pike Place Market.
Chuck Davis is a Vancouver writer who has written, co-written, or edited 15 books. Most of them are on local history, and he describes his next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver, as the capstone of his career.