The fishing industry has been a mainstay of the industrial and social life of Richmond throughout its history and British Columbia Packers has been at the centre of this industry since the earliest days. In 2001 the company generously donated the contents of its archives to the City of Richmond Archives.
Gar Lunney in 1980. City of Richmond Archives photo.
In this collection are a wealth of photographic images documenting the company’s history, including a group of photographs by Gar Lunney, (1920 – 2016), one of Canada’s eminent photographers.
In the background seiners wait to set their nets during the San Juan salmon fishery. In the foreground the boat begins to retrieve its net and the salmon in it. Crews make it all work despite the crowded conditions and poor visibility in the fog. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
Gar Lunney began his career with the Winnipeg Tribune before serving with the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War.
Women at the “Sliming Table” in the BC Packers Imperial Plant in Steveston, washing fish. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
After the War, he joined the Still Photography Division of the National Film Board where he documented Royal tours, took portraits of famous Canadians,and photographed landscapes, industries and people in their everyday lives from every corner of the country.
A deckhand stands on the stern watching a herring net being pursed and hauled back to the boat. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
In 1970 he left Ottawa and moved to Vancouver beginning a career as a freelance photographer specializing in photojournalism and annual reports, thus making a connection with BC Packers Limited.
A crewman aboard the Western Investor brails herring out of the net. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
The photos taken by Lunney capture an era when fishing was still booming, parking lots at the processing plants were full, and it seemed as if the fishing would never end.
The last sun of the day lights up the wet net. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
While the heyday of commercial fishing and processing in Richmond is over, the history of its time is preserved for future generations at the City of Richmond Archives.
The BC Packers K-5 Camp was the company’s main operations centre for the Juan de Fuca fishery. Anchored in San Juan Harbour near Port Renfrew, it housed offices, a store and refueling facilities. The gillnetters Silver Mate and Kor-Wes are tied to the camp. City of Richmond Archives photograph – BC Packers Fonds Series 9.
The banner of the first Boeing Beam, published January 6, 1943.
Boeing Canada had been building aircraft in the Lower Mainland since 1929 when they bought the Hoffar-Beeching Shipyard at Coal Harbour and began building seaplanes there. The massive expansion of the aircraft industry that came with the start of the Second World War resulted in the construction of more facilities including the massive factory on Sea Island, built in 1942, as well as many other smaller shops in communities around BC. This expansion of Boeing Canada’s production came with a corresponding expansion of the workforce, providing thousands of jobs for men and women during the war years.
The importance of a nutritious diet for aircraft production workers is explored in this cartoon from Phil Dill. Boeing Beam image.
With the flood of new workers, the Boeing Canada Public Relations Department needed a method of communicating with their employees on a mass scale and so, on January 6, 1943, the first issue of the Boeing Beam was published. The Beam, was issued fortnightly (every two weeks) until August 31, 1945 when the war ended and wartime production ceased.
This New Year cartoon in the premier issue of the Beam was the first Dill cartoon to be featured. Image from the Boeing Beam.
Featured in the Boeing Beam were articles about the various plants and shops, information on training and production, stories about the aircraft produced at the plants, health and safety news as well as social news about employees, events and sports. Also featured in the Beam were the cartoons drawn by the Art Director of the Public Relations Dept., Phil Dill.
The Art Director of the Public Relations dept. for Boeing Canada, Phil Dill, shown working on a poster. Boeing Beam image.
Phil Dill was a young man who was originally employed in the Expediting Department but was relocated to Public Relations due to his talent with pen and ink. His work, featuring the antics of character “Claude Hopper” , dealt mostly with worker safety but also covered other aspects of the culture at the plants.
Claude Hopper was the anti-hero of many of the Dill cartoons. The trademark pickle also appears in this early cartoon. Boeing Beam image.
The majority of the cartoons also featured his trademark pickle character, who often added commentary to the cartoons.
The dangers of rumour-mongering are covered in this cartoon. Boeing Beam image.
Mr. Dill also produced posters. He developed a system of glass fronted poster frames which were mounted in key locations in all the factories operated by Boeing Canada.
This image illustrates some of the posters created by Phil Dill. Boeing Beam image.
The posters, dealing with safety, security and production, were numbered and rotated through the plants, providing a constantly changing theme.
A Phil Dill safety poster warns workers of the hazards of crossing Georgia Street near Plant 1, as does the armed guard. Boeing Beam image.
As new problems cropped up, Dill would produce new posters to deal with the subject using a touch of humour.
A little humour goes a long way, as illustrated in this cartoon published during a bond drive. Boeing Beam image.
The poster campaign proved to be so effective that large aircraft manufacturers in California requested photos of the images so they could use them in their own facilities.
Phil Dill appeared in his own cartoon showing the results of Claude Hopper’s poor safety performance. Boeing Beam image.
Dill’s work was acclaimed by National Safety Council as well as the US Navy Visual Aids departments and the Aircraft Industry Relations Committee.
The large female work force at the Boeing Plants was a new situation for male employees. Dill broached the subject with his usual humour. Boeing Beam image.
His cartoons and posters were put on public display at the Vancouver Art Gallery in December of 1943.
The dangers of unfettered long hair on female employees is addressed in this Dill cartoon. Boeing Beam image.
Subjects such as War Bond Drives, security and the relatively new experience of working in a mixed gender industrial workplace were also covered in Dill’s cartoons.
Working at an aircraft plant had its own set of unique hazards, as shown in this cartoon. Boeing Beam image.
After the Boeing Canada plant closed, Phil Dill found a new home for his cartoons in the pages of the “Buzzer”, the BC Electric’s transit publication.
The last Phil Dill cartoon to appear in the Boeing Beam was in final issue, August 31, 1945. Boeing Beam image.
The Eric Rathborne fonds at the City of Richmond Archives consists mainly of black and white photographs of aviation activities at the newly opened Vancouver Airport on Sea Island, taken ca. 1935 to 1960.
Donald Eric Dalby Rathborne was born in England on December 18, 1907. He had his first ride in an airplane in 1924 which sparked a lifelong passion for aviation. He, with his family, emigrated to Windsor Ontario in 1926 when he was 18 years old. In 1930 Mr. Rathborne moved to Victoria in 1930 and then to Vancouver in 1933.
In his spare time Eric did odd jobs around the Vancouver Airport in exchange for flying lessons, achieving his private pilot’s license in 1936. In 1939 he took a full time job as a maintenance man with Trans Canada Airlines, the precursor of Air Canada, his duties including loading food, oxygen and mail onto aircraft, refueling and engine servicing.
In May 1941 he earned his commercial pilot’s license and then joined the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as a staff pilot. The BCATP was the organization responsible for training thousands of Commonwealth pilots and air crew during the Second World War.
After his wartime service Mr. Rathborne was, at 37 years old, deemed too old to work as a commercial airline pilot, so he flew as a private pilot and worked occasionally as a pilot for local airlines while making his living as a commercial photographer for over 30 years.
That Rathborne made his living as a commercial photographer is evident in the quality and composition of the photographs he has left documenting the early years of Vancouver Airport on Sea Island. Eric Rathborne died on November 30, 1990 at the age of 82.
Brighouse is a name that has been associated with Richmond’s main retail and business district since the days before there was any retail or business done there. There is no question that the name Brighouse comes from Sam Brighouse, once the owner of the property on which City Hall and Minoru Park are now located but why did the area, part of Richmond’s City Centre, get and keep that name?
Samuel Brighouse, ca. 1860. City of Richmond Archives photograph RCF 32.
Samuel Brighouse was an prominent early settler, land owner, farmer and businessman in the Lower Mainland. He was born in Yorkshire in 1836 and at the age of 26 years sailed from Milford Haven with his cousin John Morton to New York and then to Panama, to San Francisco and then to New Westminster, a trip of almost two months.The two men made their way to the Cariboo gold fields and, finding prospects poor there, made their way back to New Westminster, making the trip both ways on foot.
Brighouse and Morton partnered with William Hailstone in November of 1862 and purchased 555 acres of land in what is now the West End of Vancouver, some of the most valuable land in the country today. The three men, who became known as “The Three Greenhorns”, built a cabin and spent a couple of years clearing trails and living on the property. In 1864 Brighouse, who had been looking at farmland in the Fraser Valley and speculated that it may become quite valuable, acquired 697 acres of land on Lulu Island, some preempted and some purchased from original preemptors. The property today is bounded on the east by No.3 Road, on the west by No.2 Road, on the south by Granville Avenue and on the north by the river.
Brighouse farmed crops and livestock on the property, building a successful operation and erecting the largest barn on the Fraser River. He purchased another property near New Westminster called Rose Hill, building a dairy farm there. He operated both of his ventures until 1881, when he leased out his farms and returned to his property on Burrard Inlet.
An old barn on the Brighouse lands, ca. 1973. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1977 16 13.
Brighouse was one of the signatories on the petition for the incorporation of the Township of Richmond and he served briefly on Richmond Council in 1883, although he no longer lived there. He served two terms as one of the first Councillors in Vancouver. Sam Brighouse focused his attention on Vancouver and its development after leaving Lulu Island and made a fortune selling his property there after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He retained a great deal of his wealth by never selling his Richmond farmland, instead leasing it to other farmers.
In 1880 Brighouse sold five acres of his Lulu Island property at the present intersection of River and Cambie Roads to the fledgling Corporation of the Township of Richmond where the first Town Hall was built. Sam Brighouse’s later life was marked by ill health and he returned to his native Yorkshire in 1911 where he passed away in 1913.
Michael Wilkinson Brighouse, Sam Brighouse’s nephew and Heir. City of Richmond Archives photograph 2001 9 3.
Brighouse was joined by his nephew Michael B. Wilkinson in 1888 who helped his uncle with the running of his farms as well as investing in canneries. He changed his name to Michael Wilkinson Brighouse, a condition of his uncle’s will, and became Sam’s heir. In 1909 Sam Brighouse sold a portion of his land to a group who built Richmond’s first racetrack, Minoru Park, named for the 1909 Epsom Derby winner. The track went out of business in 1914 with the First World War and the property was bought back by Michael Brighouse and reopened as Brighouse Park Racetrack in 1920.
Michael W Brighouse kept the Brighouse name in the public consciousness through his business and political activities. He served two terms as a Richmond Councillor in 1894 and 1895 and one term as Reeve in 1900. In 1919 he traded the five acres of land purchased from his uncle by the Township for four acres of land at the present City Hall site. Wilkinson Brighouse passed away in 1932, leaving the property to his heirs who sold it to the Corporation of the Township of Richmond in 1962. Until its sale, Wilkinson Brighouse and his heirs continued to lease out their farmland to local farming families such as the McClellands, Shaws, Fishes and Zellwegers.
The CPR train , “The Sockeye Limited”, at Steveston, ca. 1902. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1977 2 38.
So the Brighouse name was very well known in Richmond throughout its early years, but how did that part of town retain the name over the names of some of the other pioneer property owners in the area? One explanation is because of the Canadian Pacific Railroad and the construction of the Vancouver and Lulu Island Line, the “Sockeye Limited” in 1902. Eyeing freight and passenger revenues from the canneries of Steveston and the farms which dotted Lulu Island, the CPR built the railway from the depot in Vancouver to Eburne (Marpole), spanned the North Arm of the Fraser with a bridge and built an eight mile track to Steveston where they built a large train station. Along the line where it crossed a road, still a rarity in Richmond at the time, three smaller stations were erected. At No.2 Road “Lulu Station” was built. At No. 20 Road “Cambie” Station, named for Civil Engineer and CPR Executive Henry J. Cambie, was built. Where the track crossed No.3 Road near the southeast corner of the Brighouse property, owned by the man who had sold large amounts of his Vancouver property to the CPR and its officers, “Brighouse” Station was put up.
It is often the case where railroad stations are placed, the surrounding area takes on the name of the stop and the Brighouse name was even further imprinted on the area in 1922 when the Brighouse Post Office was opened at the train station. By this time the second Richmond Town Hall had opened across No.3 Road from the station and its address became “The Corporation of the Township of Richmond, Brighouse, B.C.”.
Detail of an envelope showing the return address for the Richmond Town Hall, 1922. From the personal collection of H.S. Steves.
Businesses took on the name of the area and names like Brighouse Grocery, Brighouse Cafe and Brighouse Hardware let customers know their location and that they were near the tram station. As years passed Brighouse Subdivision was built on the old farm, served by Samuel Brighouse Elementary School. Brighouse Industrial Estates provided homes for large companies. Today the Richmond Olympic Oval occupies space near the river and condo towers rise where once Sam Brighouse built dykes to protect his farm.
The Brighouse Cafe, shown here before 1940, was one of a multitude of businesses, services, organizations and retailers that used and continue to use “Brighouse” in their names. City of Richmond Archives photograph 2001 10 3.
The name Brighouse has become synonymous with the commercial and administrative centre of Richmond and although the original train and tram station is long gone, a new Brighouse Station opened down No.3 Road from the original one in 2009 as the terminus of the Canada Line further connecting the name of Sam Brighouse to the history of Richmond.
Long time Richmond resident Edwin Herbert Clark (1930-1997), known as Ted Clark, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 2, 1930. Mr. Clark grew up in the Dunbar area of Vancouver and attended Lord Kitchener Elementary School and then Lord Byng High School.
Passengers chat while waiting for the tram at the Marpole Station. The tram schedule is visible on the station wall behind them.
He left high school to complete a five-year apprenticeship as a Machinist, but upon completing the apprenticeship, discovered that there were no available jobs in his field. Mr. Clark pursued a number of different job options before going to work at Hi-Hope Kennels, a business established and operated by his sister. At Hi-Hope Kennels, Mr. Clark did woodwork and built items for resale.
Mr. Clark’s images not only capture the tram and streetcar system, they also show images of the Lower Mainland from an earlier time. This image, ca. 1950, shows car 412 in Victory Square,Vancouver, operating on the No. 14 Hastings East – Dunbar line. The Marine Building can be seen in the centre rear of the photograph. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 220.
From a very young age, Mr. Clark was interested in streetcars and trams. During his childhood, he spent his weekends and summer days riding trams and streetcars, visiting the car barns, and talking to people who worked in the trade.
Mr. Clark’s collection also includes the different types of rolling stock operated by the BC Electric Railway such as this freight locomotive and box car shown on the siding at Brighouse, 1952. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 1043.
The popular sightseeing cars which gave tours of Vancouver. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 390.
He took pictures at every opportunity, gradually developing a significant collection of prints, negatives, and slides that was admired by traction enthusiasts across Canada.
Advertising along the railway lines tended to be large as seen in this image of interurban tram cars 1205 and 1202 in front of the Continental Hotel, Vancouver, July 1951. The cars are operating on the Vancouver-Steveston Line. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 3 702.
A large billboard advertises women’s undergarments as car 107 passes at Broadway and Arbutus, Vancouver, April 21 1951. The car is working the No. 3 Main Line. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 3 1189.
Ted Clark’s collection of images depict streetcars, trams and trains in various locations in and around Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver, Squamish, New Westminster, Burnaby and Chilliwack. Also included are a several images of trains in other parts of Canada, and in the United States.
One of the problems of street level transit systems is the interaction with cars, as shown in this image of interurban tram car 1218 which collided with a Ford Prefect in Marpole en route to Steveston, August 1951. Bystanders gather around to survey the damage. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 656.
Mr. Clark also built models from scratch, creating his own blueprints based on photographs and measurements he took of different cars. He traveled to cities with streetcar and/or tram lines, and his collection of photographs reflects some of these travels.
The tram and streetcar system was gradually phased out under a program called “From Rails to Rubber”, replacing lines with bus routes. This sign was probably used to promote the cessation of one of the BCER lines around 1952. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 284.
On September 11, 1981, he married May Leishman. They lived in Surrey until Hi-Hope Kennels was sold, after which they moved to Nelson, British Columbia where they remained until Mr. Clark’s death on November 6, 1997.
Most of the cars of the BCER paid the ultimate sacrifice after removal from service. This image shows car 367 being burnt at the Kitsilano Yard, Vancouver, April 22 1955. Another car is also being burnt, as a worker inspects the ashes. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 334.
In 1998, concerned that Mr. Clark’s work be kept intact and in his community, his sister Frances Clark and his widow May Clark donated the whole of the collection to the City of Richmond Archives.
A few cars survived to serve in another form. This is a picture of car 712 that has been converted into the Red Racer Restaurant at Penticton, August 1955.
In 2014 Mr. Clark’s collection of more than 5000 still images and one reel of movie film was digitized in a project jointly funded by the City of Richmond and the Friends of the Richmond Archives. It can now be searched and viewed on the Archives website at http://archives.richmond.ca/archives/interurban/.